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Art + Design

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I recently discovered Australian ceramist Jane Kelsey and her line, Dot & co., thanks to a friend who tagged me in one of her Instagram photos. I am smitten. I had planned to include a couple of pieces in an upcoming post I’m working on about my favorite new ceramics, but I knew it would impossible to narrow it down! Dot & co. deserves a whole post.

All of Jane’s work is made by hand in her Melbourne studio, and the ceramic range includes planters, dishes, salt cellars (I especially love the Black Flag set, pictured above), vases, and the prettiest, most delicate spoons imaginable. She makes gorgeous woodblock prints, too.

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Clockwise: Mini Flag planter, Flag salt set, Lunar spoon

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Photos from the lovely Dot & co. Instagram

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White porcelain with an unglazed matte black finish: the Lunar dish

(I would like one of each, please!)

I’ve been supporting Small Business Saturday (that’s the day after Black Friday, of course—this year it’ll fall on November 29th) for as long as I’ve known it’s a thing, and for many years now I’ve chosen to do all of my holiday shopping with independent artists, crafters and designers, both locally and online. One of my favorite parts of having a blog is opening up the comments to those independent sellers in my annual D16 handmade posts, and I love promoting my favorite sellers here and on my Etsy page.

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Little Paper Planes, San Francisco

It goes without saying, then, that I love what Etsy is doing this year in conjunction with Small Business Saturday: They’re connecting small shop owners with local Etsy sellers to host trunk shows, bringing products from the online realm into the brick & mortar world! This is such a great way for boutiques to draw in people who are curious about discovering things they can’t see anywhere else, and of course it’s wonderful for bringing local retail visibility to Etsy sellers. Very, very cool. The list of small businesses who have already signed up to host Etsy trunk shows in their shops this year is impressive, and includes a bunch of my favorite folks—including the ones I’ve pictured here.

I’ve been asked to help support this movement by promoting the event and encouraging other small business owners to participate in the Etsy trunk shows, and I am more than happy to oblige!

Are you a small business owner?
Would you like to host an Etsy trunk show in your shop on Small Business Saturday? Yes? I thought you might! Participating shops will receive a trunk show kit* that includes bags, promotional materials, presence on Etsy’s Small Business Saturday event page, and more.

Here’s how to participate:
1. If you haven’t already, apply as a member to Etsy Wholesale
2. Connect with a local Etsy seller to showcase their products and host them in your store for a trunk show
3. Complete the trunk show enrollment form, here
4. Start planning your November 29 trunk show

You can learn more about Small Business Saturday and Etsy trunk shows on the Etsy blog! And if you do participate, either as a shop owner or as an Etsy seller, be sure to let me know—I’m looking forward to attending the trunk shows local to me.

*Merchandise is only available to eligible small businesses through 11:59 P.M. ET on 10/24/2014 or while supplies last. Limit one order per business. Subject to Merchandise Terms. See Merchandise Terms at etsy.me/sourcesmallmerchandiseterms.

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Radish Underground, Portland

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Fair Folks & A Goat, New York City

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Olives & Grace, Boston

This post was written in partnership with Small Business Saturday and Etsy, but I support this endeavor wholeheartedly, and all words are my own. Yay!

There are a million different monthly subscription boxes out there—ones for dogs, for people with curly hair, for cosmetics junkies, for craft project lovers, and so on. I have never subscribed to one, though. I tend to be slightly (not slightly) picky about what I buy, and surprises (even gifts—I’m horrible) make me nervous. A box full of carefully-chosen Scandinavian stuff, though? Well, it’s tough to go wrong when that task is put in the right hands. Enter Skandicrush, the Scandinavian subscription box!

Ana Denmark (her real name, I swear—and yes, that was the first question I asked her), the founder of Skandicrush, contacted me a while back asking if I’d be interested in reviewing the debut box for the blog. It took me all of 2 minutes spent checking out the sample boxes before replying to Ana with a resounding YES! How could I say no?!

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And then I waited. Oh, the anticipation! I was so excited when the October box arrived at my office last week—I totally get the whole subscription box thing now. It felt like my birthday! I had to force myself to wait until I got home to open it up so I’d be able to take photos in a setting that didn’t involve fluorescent lights and industrial carpeting.

So, what was inside this magical box of fika-themed Scandinavian goodness? All sorts of good things!

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Wheee!!! SO MUCH PRETTY. The total retail value of everything together is about $90, so the Skandicrush box price—$50/month with an ongoing subscription, $60/month for individual orders*—is quite a good deal. Yes, you’re putting faith in Ana’s ability to assemble a collection of items every month that you’ll love, but judging by this first box and the samples on the site, she really knows what she’s doing. I’ve already signed up for an ongoing subscription, and I’m really excited for my next box!

Ana kindly created a discount code for Door Sixteen readers, if you’re interested in subscribing or ordering a box. Between now and October 31, you’ll get $15 off your first box when you enter the code D16-OCT at checkout.

NOTE: Apparently some folks are getting a DNS or “server not found” error when they try to place an order on the Skandicrush website. If this is happening to you, please contact Skandicrush directly at hello@skandicrush.com so that Ana and her team can get your order taken care of. Sorry for the trouble!

*By the way, Ana just let me know that she’s added an option to order just 2 or 3 boxes at a time, a perfect gift option for a lucky Scandinavian design lover in your life.

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I haven’t decided what I’ll use the wood-lidded airtight Sagaform storage container for yet, but it’s definitely going in the kitchen. I’m thinking it might be perfect for teabags. The oak tongs look so nice with the container, and they’re just right for yanking bread out of the toaster without burning your fingers or electrocuting yourself. Safety first!

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Eek! So cute. I love love love this little Diamond Box from Areaware. The lid is held in place with two strong magnets, making it a perfect place to hide real diamonds (not that I have any of those—but I have a good imagination) or favorite cookie fortunes.

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You already know I love these Geometry cups from Ferm Livingobviously. I’ve written about Ferm’s Geometry collection several times, and I’m excited to finally own a couple of pieces! I’m in a bit of a state of mug overload right now, so one of these sweet cups will be used for holding makeup brushes in the bathroom, and the other will probably get to just sit around looking pretty.

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Thanks so much for giving me the chance to review the first Skandicrush box, Ana! I couldn’t be happier, and I am really looking forward to seeing what’s in the November box. I’m sure it will be beautiful!

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Back when I started my little K IS FOR BLACK shop on Society6, I didn’t know if I’d stick with it. I was feeling very unsure about designing stuff without a client (other than myself!) in mind, and it was really a personal challenge more than anything.

Happily, I did stick with it, and I’ve added lots of new designs to the shop since that initial launch. It’s been SO fun.

That said, I think it’s a little boring to have the same things in the shop forever, and it’s time for me to do a big overhaul. On the first day of fall, September 23rd, I’ll be discontinuing ALL of the current designs so I can start introducing new work. Between now and then, all of the prints in the shop are discounted 20% (the discount is reflected in the listed prices). Society6 doesn’t allow members to set pricing for anything other than prints, otherwise I’d make the discount shop-wide.

ALSO: Between now and September 14th, Society6 is offering FREE WORLDWIDE SHIPPING on most items (framed prints, stretched canvases and rugs are excluded), and all phone cases (including ones for the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus) are $5 off.

That’s a lot of discounts, so if there is anything at all that you’ve had your eye on in the K IS FOR BLACK shop, now is the time to get it. After September 23rd, none of the current designs will be available. (You must use this link to get the free shipping and phone case discounts.)

OK! Onward.

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I wasn’t looking for a new duvet cover, but when I spotted the new-ish TOFSVIVA at IKEA a few weeks ago, I got heart-eyes and had to have it. The color palette is perfect, and I my affection for droplet patterns and clouds is unending. So nice! I love it against the dark wall in our bedroom.

TOFSVIVA was designed for IKEA by Linda Sjunnesson, who is also responsible for the Josef Frank-ish KNAPPSÄV cushion I’ve had my eye on.

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OK, I don’t iron my bed linens. I don’t really iron anything unless I absolutely have to, honestly. I started cloning out the wrinkles in this photo last night, but I quit after five minutes. Apparently I’m no less enthusiastic about digital ironing than I am in the physical world. So…wrinkles. Whatever.

The TOFSVIVA duvet comes in a set with two pillow shams for the alarmingly low price of $29.99. Like other IKEA bed linens it’s 100% cotton, but I must say it’s definitely on the rough side texture-wise. The thread count (144) is somewhere between burlap sack and dishtowel. That doesn’t bother me at all for the duvet cover, but the pillowcases are pretty scratchy on the face. Evan switched his to a plain white case last night. I think they’ll get softer with more washings, but I may just go ahead and turn the pillowcases into tote bags or throw pillows or something. But still, $29.99 for a really nice-looking duvet cover? I’ll take it.

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I still have not painted that radiator. I don’t like silver radiators, and this one is really peeling and icky—I have to address it. I know I won’t get to it before winter, though (what happened to summer?!), so I guess my new goal is to paint it by spring. And by that I mean spring 2016, which will likely come and go without the radiator being painted…

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That beautiful silkscreened “vu de l’extérieur” print is from Fieldguided. I love Anabela and Geoff’s work, and I think this piece is my favorite. So dreamy.

Happy Sunday…

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Last week I mentioned that I had styled a couple of rooms for the new Society6 lookbooks. They’re up now! I’ve never done anything like this before, and it was a real challenge. They asked me to pick out a couple dozen items (I was given free rein, so rest assured 100% of what’s in the lookbooks is there by my choice alone), and then I spent a weekend setting up a staged bedroom and workspace in my house. FUN!

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Society6 “In Flux” workspace lookbook

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Society6 has a special sale going right now to promote the In Flux collection: $10 off $75/$15 off $100/$30 off $150. The sale ends tonight (Sunday) at midnight PST, so if you’ve been wanting a bunch of stuff, now’s the time to get in there quickly.

As always, if you have any questions about the products themselves (whether they’re from my own K IS FOR BLACK shop or any of the others), please feel free to ask—I’ll give you my honest opinion about everything. Also, just for the sake of full disclosure, I was not paid to write this post (they didn’t even ask me to write a post) or to style the lookbooks, but I did get to keep the stuff I picked out and photographed.

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Society6 “In Flux” bedroom lookbook
Featuring designs by: K IS FOR BLACK; RK // Design; Nicklas Gustafsson; Kurt Rahn; Party in the Mountains; Terry Fan; Garima Dhawan; Fieldguided; Budi Satria Kahn; Beth Hoeckel; Man & Camera; Matthew Korbel-Bowers; Georgiana Paraschiv.

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Society6 “In Flux” workspace lookbook
Featuring designs by: Priscila Peress; K IS FOR BLACK; Nicklas Gustafsson; Matthew Korbel-Bowers; Bree Madden; Justin Cooper; Beth Hoeckel; Georgiana Paraschiv; Laura Moreau; Thoughtcloud; Wasted Rita; Dawn Gardner; David Olenick; Jesse Draxler; Fieldguided; Tordis Kayma; Julia Kostreva.

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This is going to sound silly, but I’ve never hung anything on a wallpapered wall before. Considering the amount of wallpaper in my house, that eliminates a lot of possibilities when it comes to hanging art! I’m not usually so precious about stuff, but the thought of making a permanent hole in something that’s bonded to my walls fills me with panic. I got over myself this weekend, though, and I’m so glad. The dressing room looks so much more finished now!

The print that got me to finally pick up a hammer is Animal Sounds 002 by Matthew Korbel-Bowers. I recently did a styling project for Society6 (I think it’s going up on their site today–I’ll update this post when that happens), and this was one of the pieces I chose. I ordered it pre-framed (Vector White, 26×38″) since I didn’t have much time, and it looks great. I really love the design combined with the wallpaper pattern, and the way that bright green looks with my crazy orange bench.

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Long view! The dressing room is really narrow and difficult to photograph, but you get the idea. Oh, and the wallpaper (installed five years ago) is Berry Black from Ferm Living, the fluorescent orange Offcut bench is from Tom Dixon (discontinued, sadly, but you can still get the Offcut stool), and the rug is by Nate Berkus for Target (also discontinued, argh!).

I’m still feeling really hesitant to start hanging stuff all over my wallpapered walls, but this was a great baby step. Assuming I don’t hate it a year from now (I won’t), I’ll consider the hole worth it. Otherwise, I’ll take down the frame and point out the miniscule, barely-noticeable hole to every single guest who gets a house tour, because that’s just what I do.

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I picked up this set of four terracotta nesting bowls yesterday at Newburgh Vintage Emporium, a vintage and antique marketplace that just opened a couple of weeks ago. I’m amazed I made it out of there with just one purchase. So much great stuff! I have a feeling I’ll be going back there every weekend.

The vendor tag on the bowls said they’re South American, but after doing a little research, I think they’re actually Mexican. More specifically, they look like they could either be Talavera pottery (the glaze and terracotta reminds me so much of a set of Talavera plates from Spain that I inherited from my grandmother, but the pattern reminds me of Mexican pottery…though it’s also possible I have no idea what I’m talking about) or like designs I’ve found from Tlaquepaque.

I’m really curious to know more about where these bowls might come from or how old they are, so if you have any knowledge about them, please share!! There are no markings anywhere on them as far as I can see.

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The largest bowl in the set is about 9″ in diameter, and the smallest is 5.5″. The base glaze is a milky off-white, and the design appears to be black—though in areas where it’s bled a bit, it does seem like it could be a very deep cobalt.

They’re so pretty in the kitchen. I’m a little scared to use them for anything other than putting fruit or bread on the table, but they look beautiful just displayed as they are. It seems like a shame to nest them, though—I want to look at them all at once!

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Remember when I went to Stockholm like three years ago? OK, it was last month, but geez, could it take me any longer to put a second post together? I know I’ll regret it if I don’t do it, though. Last night I was talking to a friend about how my blog still serves as a rough diary (albeit a very selective one) for me to refer back to, and how legitimately sad I feel that I haven’t written posts about a lot of stuff. My memory isn’t as good as I’d like it to be, and it’s comforting to be read old posts and see how I felt about things in my life when they happened. OK, so now that I’ve explained the arcane concept of a diary…haha.

The schedule on my second day in Stockholm was, to put it mildly, bananas.

10:15am — Get on bus to Skeppsholmen.
10:30am — Presentation about the history and design of both Hotel Skeppsholmen and the Nobis Hotel, both designed by the studio Claesson Koivisto Rune. Tour of Hotel Skeppsholmen.

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During the presentation at Hotel Skeppsholmen (which, by the way, is very beautiful), my eye wandered across the room to this AMAZINGLY FABULOUS textile hanging on the wall. I couldn’t stop looking at it. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a great full-size shot of it without moving the banquet table (don’t think I didn’t consider it), but you get the idea.

I asked the hotel director if he knew anything about it, and he said he was a little unsure but that he thought it was from the 1890s. This seemed a little bit maybe not right to me, but I wrote it my notebook and decided to look it up later.

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As I was looking at my photos, I noticed these details in the corner: The number 1961 (which seemed much more likely to me as the year of origin than 1890) and the initials MR. A little bit og Googling later, and I had answers! The textile, called “Karneval,” was designed by Marianne Richter (MR) for the Märta Måås-Fjetterström AB studio in 1961. If you have a whole bunch of money, keep an eye out for auctions! One recently sold for about $12,000. Gulp. (The photos at the auction link are much better than mine, by the way.)

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Visiting the Moderna Museet wasn’t on the agenda, sadly, but I did gaze longingly at it from the window while I was in Skeppsholmen.

11:30am — Walk to Arkdes for presentations on Swedish design at the Arkitektur– och Designcentrum. (The presentations were excellent and I took loads of notes, but I’m not sure how well they translate into a blog post. They did, however, give me an awful lot to think about when it comes to the future of design, Swedish politics, and sustainability.)

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1:00pm — Quick stop at the offices and library of Svensk Form, the Swedish Society of Crafts and Design.

I could easily have stayed there all day looking at the bound issues of Form Magazine, the world’s oldest design magazine, reaching back to 1905. I was in heaven…but only for 15 minutes. It was at this point that I started feeling very sad about having to adhere to such a strict schedule, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it. Next time. (I said “next time” a lot during this trip.)

1:15pm — Bus to Pizza Hatt, where designers from LAST introduced their new brand and collection of design pieces.

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2:30pm — The event scheduled for this slot was canceled, so the bus dropped us off at Svenskt Tenn for about 20 minutes.

Svenskt Tenn was on my list of places I really wanted to visit, so I’m grateful for even that short bit of time to quickly zip around the whole store and take in as much as possible. I admire Josef Frank and his work so much, and seeing it in this context was overwhelming and emotional (and over all too quickly…next time). As I was leaving, I noticed Barnaba Fornasetti on his way in! I was immediately star struck, and could barely manage to sneak a quick picture, much less introduce myself.

I later spotted Fornasetti and his son at my hotel eating breakfast, waiting for a cab on the street, at baggage check at the airport, again while going through security, and then buying a banana and browsing design magazines at a new stand. I think maybe he thought I was stalking him. And yes, he dresses like that all the time. Style for days. (When you have a minute, go look at this slideshow of Barnaba Fornasetti’s house—it is fabulous.)

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3:00pm — Bus to Snickarbacken 7’s art space, where woven vinyl pioneers Bolon were presenting their new collection. A short film by choreographed by Alexander Ekman (who was in attendance) was presented.

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While loitering around on the sidewalk waiting to get on the bus, I noticed that seemingly all of the businesses in Stockholm had lit up lanterns on the ground outside their doorways at dusk. The effect was so beautiful and welcoming, and all I could think about was how having an open flame on the ground in public in NYC couldn’t possibly be legal, and how sad that is. Then I remembered a story my mother told me about a Christmas tree decorated with candles (!) catching on fire when she was a child, and I started to question whether Swedes are committed to fire safety. Then I realized it had been about 20 hours since I’d eaten anything, and went back to enjoying the lanterns.

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4:30pm — Visit to ICEBAR by ICEHOTEL, where Monica Förster introduced her new designs.

The ICEBAR is exactly what you think it is: a bar made out of ice. The walls are ice, the bar is ice, the chairs are ice, even the glasses are ice. The floor is not ice. Helpers drape you in very heavy, very warm, surprisingly flattering capes before you enter. Drinking out of a glass made of ice is unsurprisingly unpleasant, but the lingonberry and vodka cocktails are delicious.

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5:45pm — Visit the FÄRG & BLANCHE design studio for the release of an art/dance/design film by architect Erika Janunger and choreographer Oskar Frisk.

There were fresh oranges and hot tea at the FÄRG & BLANCHE event, so I was able to fuel up a bit and get my senses back in order! The film was really beautiful, and a nice (if abstract) way to introduce a furniture line. The designers behind the line, Fredrik Färg Emma Marga Blanche, were very charming and graciously showed us around not only their showroom, but also the workshop at the back of their studio where they produce all of their pieces. I’ll be keeping an eye on them in the future…

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7:15pm — Exhibition and dinner at Note Design Studio.

Note’s studio is a knockout. The whole thing is white and glass from floor to ceiling, with black dots marking the tops and bottoms of the stairwells. A bunch of their designs were on display, and I fell in love with the Silo lamps. I fell in love with everything, actually, including the chef who went out of his way to prepare a beautiful vegan meal for me (after I sneaked into the kitchen and did a little bit of begging). Shaved fennel, radishes, and cauliflower with slivers of toasted bread. I don’t know what he used as dressing, but the flavor was both delicate and full at the same time—very subtly vinegar-ish and a bit sweet. I could eat like that all the time.

11:30pm — Arrive back at hotel, crash, burn.

The final installment in my Stockholm adventure, Part Three, is coming soon! For real soon, too, not two weeks soon. That’s the most fun day, the Furniture Fair!

Here’s Part One, if you missed it.

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YAY, I’m finally writing my first Stockholm post! I got back from my trip a week ago, but I’ve been scrambling to recuperate/catch up since then. If you follow me on Instagram then you’ve seen a bunch of snapshots, but holy mackerel (holy lutfisk?)…I took a lot of photos with my camera-camera. I kind of don’t even know where to start.

WHAT A TRIP. I left for Stockholm the evening of Saturday the 1st, lost an entire night of sleep to the 6-hour time change and the 9 hours of traveling, then arrived at noon-ish local time on Sunday. I can’t sleep on planes no matter how hard I try or don’t try, so I was a mess by the time I got to the hotel. I pulled myself together and met up with my aunt and cousin (who was at work 5 minutes from my hotel) for lunch, though, which was really fun! I’d never spent time with my aunt apart from my mother before, and in her absence I felt very moved by how similar they are. They may live thousands of miles apart, but they are sisters to the bone—and I love knowing that there’s another person in the world who reminds me of my mother. (I feel more than a little choked up writing this…)

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From there I met up with Emma, who very kindly took me around to some of her favorite shops in the area despite the icy rain that was falling. Unfortunately a lot of stores are closed on Sunday (or because it gets dark at 4:00 in the afternoon!), so we were a bit limited, but I still managed to take in some of the city and squeeze in fika time at Snickarbacken 7. Mostly it was just so nice to spend time with Emma! We’ve known each other through blogging for years now, but we’d never met in person before. I felt instantly comfortable being with her.

Side note: I love saying “snickarbacken.” Google translate tells me it means “carpenter hill,” but I prefer to imagine it having something to do with peanuts and caramel and maybe a graham cracker crust.

I stayed at the incredibly fancy Nobis Hotel (more on that later), which is in what travelers call an “ideal” location, but it’s really a very touristy/business-y part of the city. I still don’t really have a great sense of Stockholm geography, but I’ve learned that next time I probably want to stay in Södermalm, which I repeatedly heard referred to as “the Brooklyn of Stockholm” and “the Williamsburg of Stockholm.” As a transplanted Brooklynite, I understand what that means (nope, I’m not going to use the H-word)…so, noted!

Anyway, despite being a bit restricted by location, Emma and I had an amazing dinner out at Riche. Their menu is decidedly un-vegan, but the chef was MORE than happy (I’d say he was excited, even) to prepare a special vegan meal on the fly for me. I don’t even remember everything that was on my plate because I was so tired and I wasn’t thinking about foodstagrams, but I do know that there was a vegan risotto, a fennel salad and something with hazelnuts. Whatever it all was, it was DELICIOUS. Such a nice place to sit and talk, too.

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Even though my photos of it aren’t great, I need to mention the Nobis Hotel, who put me up for the three nights I was in Stockholm. The Nobis is by far the fanciest hotel I’ve ever stayed in (though to be fair, it’s competing mostly with fleabag roadside joints—I don’t have much fancy hotel experience). It’s located in a former bank—a very famous bank, in fact—the one where the Norrmalmstorg robbery took place in 1973, and where the term “Stockholm syndrome” comes from. It’s a gorgeous building, with its protected late-1800s interior layout and architecture preserved yet made contemporary by the Swedish firm Claesson Koivisto Rune in 2010. The picture above is of the ceiling over the atrium that houses a lounge area.

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Orla Kiely toiletries, Scandinavian design everywhere, and a collection of great lamps from all over the world in the lobby. I wish I’d taken more photos, but I didn’t have much time at the Nobis during daylight hours. Here’s a really nice collection of both the common areas and the rooms, if you’re interested to see more. So. Damn. Fancy. (Also, the mattress and pillows? They’re making me rethink my entire approach to sleeping at home, where my bed now feels like a pile of rocks in comparison.)

After that first afternoon in Stockholm, I basically had NO free time whatsoever to do anything on my own. There were media events (and the Furniture Fair, of course) scheduled from early morning until late at night, so no time to go to shops or museums or restaurants that weren’t part of the Design Week tour. So Monday and Tuesday were jam-packed, and then I left for New York very early Wednesday morning. Talk about a whirlwind! My sleep schedule was completely crushed, and I brought home a nasty cold and a whole lot of exhaustion with me. It was a amazing trip, yes, but I really wish I could have added on a couple of extra days just to be able to breathe a little and get out to explore Stockholm. Next time.

I have SO MUCH MORE to talk about and share from my trip, but it’s too much for one post—I think it might be more like a dozen posts! Next up, lots of studio visits. For now, I leave you with a collection of Instagrams from Stocklhom…a little taste of what’s to come.

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