Like a mantra I keep repeating that the home is one of the crucial keys to our happiness. Coming back to a home that speaks to you, that tells your story and that makes you ‘feel at home’ is something we should all strive for. Now I understand that this can be somewhat tricky when we rent a space. If we add the fact that the home is maybe just a temporary one, then things get even more challenging. Something that people who worked as expats can relate to. During one of my recent Moscow trips, a friend of mine asked me to help restyle his home – a rented, furnished city apartment. I was more than happy to take over the challenge.
To start with I have to admit that this friend has already an impeccable taste when it comes to design and interiors. But I was happy to chip in and share a few ideas, sources, bits and pieces to create a home that not only looks nice (at least much nicer than before) but also shows the tenant’s personality to some extent. Unfortunately I was not quick enough to snap proper ‘before pics’ but let me reassure you: there were some chunky wooden furniture pieces randomly added over time. However, the apartment has great potential: nice wooden parquet, spacious, flooded with daylight.
One of the first things was to get rid of the questionable furniture – which happened before I arrived so no pictures here. Afterwards some new practical and nice pieces moved in. Now when you design a rented space (especially one for a specific period) you do not go and blow your budget. So yes, IKEA is a good and reasonable way to make such an apartment much nicer. Two white sideboards replaced a wooden rack and brightened up the space instantly. A practical trio of sliding coffee tables replaced two very heavy wooden coffee tables.
Then there was this famous Klippan sofa from IKEA. All good and nice. But with a jeans sofa cover. Questionable? You say it. But when you say IKEA sofa and sofa cover in one sentence there’s only one thing that comes to my mind: Bemz. This Swedish design label offers a wide range of covers for IKEA furniture as well as sofa legs, cushion covers and more. And in just a few steps the jeans sofa transformed itself into a sleek white sofa with linen cushions and cute round wooden legs. Much better!
Since my friend is rather minimalistic and loves Scandinavian design, we kept the interior theme clean and puristic. To pay tribute to the new location, that is Moscow and Russia, I wanted to bring in something local that would nod to the local design scene. I decided to work with some local labels I met online through my plant love, in particular My Botanica, Penny Royal, Pole Home and Fragile Things ceramics. Let me tell you a bit more about them.
The first three brands, My Botanica, Penny Royal and Pole Home are all located in a design space called Design Usadba. There are actually even more amazing brands with furniture and lighting design such as Woodled (amazing wooden LED lights), The Sarai (cool wood & steel furniture) as well as AN.KHA (also cool furniture and accessories with a sustainable twist). However, for this project I added two botanical frames from My Botanica (the quality is AMAZING), an Alocasia as a Kokedama in a ceramic bowl from Penny Royal (they also make amazing terrariums), as well as a jute basket as planter from Pole Home. Fragile Things is a wonderful ceramics studio (I will do a full blog post about them soon), and my friend got some wonderful plates and bowls from Nadia (see also the tabletop styling with their ceramics HERE).
Moreover, the hallway got a few redecoration touches. The famous Hönefoss mirror from IKEA with its honeycomb style and copper look was a perfect addition to the vintage sideboard. The Koppel vase from Georg Jensen breaks the vignette perfectly for more interest, and the orchid is beautifully placed for a doubling effect in the mirror. I really like the simple yet sophisticated look of the hallway.
But what really makes a home a home, are the personal touches. So yes, these were crucial. Luckily my friend is a well-traveled person. From previous work missions and travels he brought bits and pieces back home, like an embroidered cushion and wonderful blanket from Turkey, original art pieces from the Ukraine, Danish design pieces from Georg Jensen, the Kay Bojesen monkey, Stoff Nagel candleholders, a fruit basket from Brazil, candles from Diptyque and Vela from Sao Paulo. These found their place in both the living room as well as the kitchen.
I hope you enjoyed this little home tour as much as I enjoyed and loved doing this restyling with my friend. It was really a project full of passion and happiness. I loved to see how the space transformed and how my friend started feeling at home in his stylish Moscow apartment. Also I hope you all get the idea that restyling a place must not mean blowing your budget with designer pieces. Sometimes a more affordable approach can look as sophisticated as a design apartment. Just make sure your home represents you! Happy decorating!
This blog post has been brought to you in collaboration with the mentioned brands Georg Jensen, Fragile Things, My Botanica, Penny Royal, Pole Home, Diptyque, Vela Made in Sao Paulo. As always all opinions and photos are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands who support this blog!
Photography by Igor Josifovic