In Conversation with Alice Collyer
Nobody at everything but the dog is Scandinavian.
As vendors of Scandinavian furniture, however, we need make sure that our buying and selling processes are as well-informed as they can be.
It would, after all, be pretty easy to make a mistake here and not even realise that we’ve done so.
This is essentially why we try to research our subject as much as possible.
It is also how we came across the hugely enjoyable and award-winning blog Alice in Scandiland.
We enjoy it so much, in fact, that we decided to reach out and see if the blog’s author, Alice Collyer, might be keen to chat with us about her work, trends and Scandinavian-inspired themes.
To our delight, she agreed. What’s even better is that she has taken the time to offer a compelling alternative to high-street Scandi that can help keep us on the straight and narrow.
Find out more below:
EBTD: We’ve got to be honest: we were stunned when we saw the images of the front of your house in a recent post. We thought you lived in a much larger residence! Given you so clearly have a gift for creating a sense of space and light, what advice would you give anyone trying to do the same?
AC: I had such an amazing response to that blog post. It was something I felt needed to be put out there as we live in a social media world of smoke and mirrors and I think it's very healthy to give a big dose of reality every so often. Our house is a very standard, small 60’s end of terrace. Inside it takes on a different appearance, but at the heart of our renovations has been the need to utilise what we have, make it work best for us and our children. I don't like to live with clutter. A few years ago, I woke up one day and suddenly had this overwhelming urge to rid ourselves of as much unnecessary 'stuff' as possible. Nothing stays in our house longer than there is a need/ desire for it. Apart from the living room, the entire house is painted white. I like to stick to a uniform palette throughout, to help individual spaces flow into each other, preventing the feeling of zones. I am most drawn to whites with natural elements, wood flooring and furniture. We have the same engineered oak floor throughout the downstairs, this helps to blend spaces, opening up the rooms. Oh, and leggy furniture is key. Raise a sideboard up off the floor a few inches and it feels like it takes up much less space.
EBTD: We couldn’t agree more. While we’re on the subject, we notice that Ercol features in your home and your writing and we’re not surprised to see it fits your aesthetic. This leads us to wonder: did you begin your home improvements with a clear idea of what furniture you wanted? Caroline Rowland surprised us when she said she makes decisions as she goes.
AC: Usually, I know the overall look that I want for a room, but not necessarily which components will feature. Sometimes I'll find a particular piece and this will be my inspiration. For example, I always dreamed of owning an Ercol Daybed, but never had the space for one. Two years ago, when we decided to extend, it suddenly dawned on me that this was my chance. I found one on eBay, took a chance on it and designed the extension around that one piece of furniture. I can't imagine anything else looking right there, it's one of my most favourite possessions. I'm not afraid to change my mind, though. Many room layouts and details have adapted if I find something that I just have to have in the house.
EBTD: Your recent post on committing to your home brought us back to a conversation with a customer who wanted to “fall in love with [her] home again” rather than start afresh somewhere else. Given your experience, what would you say to someone who was less certain?
AC: As I said before, we live in a very standard looking/ sized house, not my dream property, but we decided we didn’t want to overstretch ourselves in order to move, so instead turned our attention to how we could improve on what we have. My advice, if you just don’t feel the love for your home but can’t move, is to look at it with fresh eyes. If you were viewing the property as potential buyers, what would be on your ‘Needs to be Done’ list? Write down the things you love and the things you feel are lacking, then drink a bottle of wine and come up with all the ways you could make them happen where you are.
EBTD: Your blog is called Alice in Scandiland so we feel it safe to assume you are drawn to the Scandinavian look. If you had to pick the three most important elements in a Scandi theme, what would they be?
AC: For me, the high-street take on ‘Scandi’ has been quite damaging, creating a trend that at times can feel very far removed from my understanding of it. As a result, I have questioned the name of the blog on more than one occasion, but decided to stick with it for now. It’s the simplicity of Scandinavian design and culture that I love, the connection with raw, natural materials used in décor details and the celebration of small, otherwise ‘normal’ moments within a home. The little things, like candle-lit dinners with the children, homemade cake to celebrate the end of the week, eating on beautiful plates, sitting, watching the flames dance in the wood burner. These are the things that make up the important memories in life.
EBTD: And last but not least, what interior trend do you think is going to be big in 2018?
AC: I’m not really sure how in touch with trends I am, I know what I like and that wouldn’t change if it went out of fashion. It’s important to be true to yourself, you’ll never be completely happy if you’re living in a space that is designed to please others, it has to speak to you and inspire you daily.
If you haven’t seen Alice’s blog, we highly recommend that you check it out. As we have alluded to already, and as Alice has made explicit, it’s about much more than interiors.
There’s a lot of great material in there to help you get the most from what you have and the moment you are in.
Equally, if you feel like exploring the simplicity of design that Alice speaks of, you can head to our Scandinavian furniture collection.
If where furniture is made is of no consequence to you so long as it is good, head to our mid-century furniture range instead.