doorsixteen_bronbroen_thebridge1

The last time I blogged about a TV show was a year and a half ago, and that show was Breaking Bad. By the time the final episode BB aired, I (and seemingly every other human with a television) had become so emotionally invested in the series that it was a bit traumatizing to have it all come to an end. With the possible exception of The Sopranos, I had never felt that strongly about a TV drama before. I’ve half-heartedly tried to watch The Wire and Sons of Anarchy and House of Cards and so on, but I can never fully commit. (I did think Top of the Lake was excellent, but it wasn’t a multi-season show—it’s in a different category.)

There is now another show that has managed to suck me in and make me want to binge-watch 10 episodes in a row, though, and it’s the Scandinavian series The Bridge (Bron in Swedish, Broen in Danish). It’s SO GOOD. I keep telling everyone I know that they HAVE TO WATCH IT, OMG, but my power of persuasion isn’t working! I don’t know if it’s because they’re skeptical about being able to get into a foreign-language show with subtitles or the fact that they’re all too busy watching True Detective or because they just think I have bad taste, but no one is taking my word for it. Argh.

(For the sake of clarity, it’s worth mentioning that there is an American remake of The Bridge with the same name on the FX network, as well as a British/French version called The Tunnel. I’ve never seen either of those shows so I can’t compare them, but I can assure you that the original is perfection.)

doorsixteen_bronbroen_thebridge2

The title of the series refers to the Øresund Bridge, which crosses the Øresund strait between Copenhagen, Denmark and Malmö, Sweden. It’s on this bridge where the story begins, with a body that’s been found on the territorial line—with precisely one half in each country. The crime falls to both Swedish and Danish police jurisdictions, and homicide detectives Saga Norén (Sofia Helin) and Martin Rohde (Kim Bodnia) are assigned to the case.

doorsixteen_bronbroen_thebridge4

They are both very attractive, of course, but not in the way people are on American TV. Saga’s character in particular isn’t like anyone I’ve seen in a show before. Her hair is a mess, she’s got a big scar on her face, she looks tired, she wears the same outfit almost every day, and she seems as though she possibly has Asperger syndrome. Martin is slightly more polished (and his house is really beautiful—but I’ll direct you to this great post at Ouno Design for more about that), but he’s still quite rough around the edges and emotionally insecure to the point of being self-destructive. They’re quite a pair when you put them together! The entire supporting cast is great, too, down to the most minor characters. So much good acting—and so little over-acting, something that usually keeps me away from crime dramas.

The story line is completely gripping and totally unpredictable. It takes twists into politics, social problems, infidelity, parent-child relationships, race relations…and it all ties together perfectly somehow, with plot turns that are perfectly paced. We just watched the season one finale tonight, and the conclusion was satisfying. Season two takes Martin and Saga to a different crime entirely, and I’m not even going to read a synopsis before diving in.

If you’re in the US, you can watch the entire first season on Hulu for free right now. I’m not sure when the second season will be available here, but hopefully very soon because I need mooooooore!!

doorsixteen_stockholm2_bw

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.

doorsixteen_stockholm_tapestryfull

doorsixteen_stockholm_tapestry3

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.

doorsixteen_stockholm_tapestry2

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.)

doorsixteen_modernamuseet

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.)

doorsixteen_svenskform

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.

doorsixteen_svenskttenn

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.)

doorsixteen_bolon

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.

doorsixteen_lantern

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.

doorsixteen_icebar

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.

doorsixteen_fargblanche

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…

doorsixteen_notedesign_silo

doorsixteen_notedesign

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.

doorsixteen_light_bathroom

Something happened with the light this weekend. Despite the three feet of snow still piled up along the side streets in the City of Newburgh, it suddenly feels like spring is coming. The weather was beautiful yesterday, and the daylight pouring into the second floor of our house made want to do nothing but wander from room to room.

I don’t really take many pictures of the house anymore unless I’m working on a specific project, but after eight years, those projects are fewer and farther between—especially since the remaining ones are expensive and daunting, but not necessarily interesting to look at (like replacing our exterior window casings or buying a new boiler…snore + $$$ = no fun). I still love my house, though, and it still makes me happy to share it. So maybe it’s OK to just take some pictures without them being about a renovation project!

Here’s a walk through the oft-neglected second floor of the house, taken while admiring the almost-spring light.

doorsixteen_light_bedroom1

doorsixteen_light_bedroom2

My fiddle-leaf fig tree is still alive! Miracles. The print is from Fieldguided—I bought it ages ago but just got around to framing it last month.

doorsixteen_light_bedroom3

Ah, it’s the rarely-seen east wall of the bedroom! I’m still unsure about the Heywood-Wakefield dresser. HAH. I’ve been thinking about either painting it (don’t bother with the hate mail, H-W protectionists, I already know) or getting rid of it since pretty much the day I bought it, but it’s kind of grown on me? I don’t know. It’s not hurting anyone, so it can stay for now. I promise not to paint it. Really. It is an amazingly well-built piece of furniture, I’ll say that much.

doorsixteen_light_dressingroom

I love you, Tom Dixon Offcut Bench. This is one of the best things I’ve ever bought. It really needs to be seen in person to be appreciated—the fluorescent orange is nearly blinding. I got a good deal on it because it was a floor model and it’s a little banged-up.

doorsixteen_light_guestroom1

doorsixteen_light_guestroom2

The guest bedroom gets such nice light. It’s in the middle of the house, directly above the dining room. It’s a little shadowy, but the sun that comes in the huge window is beautifully filtered. It’s such a nice place to be. I wish we had more guests. (Sadface.)

doorsixteen_light_hallway

Frames. Everywhere. Always. I’ve been making a big effort lately to get artwork I’ve collected over the years out of storage and into frames, and, hopefully, onto the wall. It never ends! One of these days I need to sit down and make a master list of frame sizes, what I want matted, and what I can frame myself versus having to send to a shop. It’s overwhelming.

doorsixteen_light_studio2

doorsixteen_light_studio1

And finally, the studio. I never get tired of this white floor—it’s the best room. It looks bright and clean even at midnight, and even when there are guitars and amps and cables all over the place. Yes, that section of molding is still missing. And yes, that’s OK—it’s good enough.

doorsixteen_sorelmedina_rainheel

I swear I’m getting closer to having my second Stockholm post finished up (I edited my photos down from 2000+ to 66! Progress!), but in the mean time, here are some really stupid boots I bought! OK, they’re actually not stupid at all, but since I can hear the creak of eyeballs rolling out of their sockets right now, I might as well acknowledge that they do appear to be the footwear choice of complete idiots.

If you (a) live in New York, (b) following someone who lives in New York on any form of social media, or (c) live in the US and own a computer or a television, then you are probably aware that we’ve had a whole lot of snowstorms here this winter. None of them have been devastatingly huge individually, but the sum total has been…well, it’s been exhausting, even for an avowed snow-lover like myself. Sanitation trucks can’t fit down the streets with alternate side parking suspended, so there are trash bags frozen to the sidewalk layered with snow and ice and more trash bags and snow with cigarettes and coffee cups on top (for garnish). Trash bag parfaits, if you will. It’s disgusting. It’s also tough to navigate the massive slush puddles* at every corner and the ice-encrusted streets, especially with wind and snow whipping at your cheeks and eyes.

*Bill Cunningham’s photo essay of men attempting to jump slush puddles is fantastic.

Anyway, yesterday it hit 51°F, and all of these giant hills of snow started melting with a vengeance, creating rivers of salt-brine and filth. And you know what? I was PREPARED. I was prepared because last weekend, in a fit of madness after discovering that my decade-old, much-loved brown Frye boots were apparently starting to dissolve from constant exposure to salt and snow, I ordered a pair of rain boots. Super-ridiculous high-heeled rain boots, mind you—Sorel Medina Rain Heels, to be precise. Short review: They are AWESOME.

I have a pair of serious snow boots that I wear when I’m upstate, but wearing them in the city is kind of silly. They’re overkill, and I wind up avoiding wearing them because my feet get hot and I don’t feel like dealing with changing in and out of them at the office (and carrying shoes with me, etc.). I don’t find regular rain boots comfortable enough to walk in for long distances, and again, I don’t really want to sit around in them at work all day long. Basically, if I can’t wear a pair of shoes from the time I leave my apartment to when I come home at night, they’re just going to sit in the closet.

The difference with these Sorel boots is they look like regular footwear, yet are totally waterproof (aside from the gusset, they’re completely rubber—even the heel is rubber-wrapped) and have excellent traction on the soles. I walked across patches of ice, went down slushy subway stairs, and stepped in deep puddles, and my feet and ankles felt steady and stable the whole time. No sliding, no slipping. (Funnily enough, the only time I had an issue was in my office, where the rubber soles skidded on the flat carpet and I almost tripped.) Because the shoe has a hidden platform, the heel height doesn’t actually feel very high—it’s comparable to walking around in my favorite boots in the whole world.* I’ve only walked about two sidewalk miles in them so far, but I don’t doubt that I could spend a whole day on my feet in them, just like I can in my Leslies.

*For some horrible reason, Frye has discontinued the Leslie Zip Booties! Tragic. They are the best boots. You can still get them on sale in a few sizes on Amazon, though. Sigh.

I have no doubt that these guys are going to become my go-to footwear every time it’s wet outside, regardless of the season. We get a lot of rain in New York, and I’ve gotta stop killing my leather boots—which I expect to have and wear for decades—by constantly subjecting them weather conditions they’re not designed for. High-heeled rubber rain boots, welcome to my world. Let the people laugh at us, I don’t care. I hope to get many years of use out of you!

doorsixteen_wintergrossness

doorsixteen_stockholm_bw

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…)

doorsixteen_stockholm_snickarbacken7

doorsixteen_stockholm_snickarbacken7_group

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.

doorsixteen_stockholm_nobis

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.

doorsixteen_stockholm_nobis2

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.

doorsixteen_stockholmstagrams

doorsixteen_joannalaajisto_residence
Home of Joanna Laajisto / Photo by Mikko Ryhänen for Residence Magazine (via Emmas Designblogg)

Once or twice a year, I get really serious about thinking about getting serious about painting all of the orange wood floors upstairs in our house white. I’ve been doing this at least since June 2008, which is…a while ago. Yes, the studio at the back of the house is long done, but what about the rest of the second floor? Guys, I feel like this spring is when it’s going to happen. We’ve been trying very hard this winter to give away a lot of extra furniture and rugs and stuff, and I really want to pull everything together and make the bedrooms (ours and the guest room—and yeah, I still want to put up that Half Moon wallpaper!) really nice and bright and fresh. All of our energy has been focused on the downstairs for so long!

Once you start thinking about white floors, of course, you can’t stop—so here’s a little round-up of some of my recent favorites. (If you can’t get enough of white floors, here are lots more.)

And yes, the floor in that top photo is actually a pale gray, but I make my own rules.

doorsixteen_dustydeco_elleinterior
Home of Dusty Deco owners Lena & Edin / Photo by Martin Löf for Elle Interior

I can’t enough of those Granit string lights! The Granit shop in Stockholm is on my list for next week, and I really hope I have time to visit.

doorsixteen_dustydeco_elleinterior2
Home of Dusty Deco owners Lena & Edin / Photo by Martin Löf for Elle Interior

I’ve been going back and forth on whether I want a rug in the kitchen, but yeah, this confirms it—I want a rug in the kitchen. Commence years-long hunt for the perfect antique rug…

doorsixteen_daniellawitte_inredautreda
House Doctor rug from Inreda Utreda, photo by Daniella Witte

Or wait, maybe I want THAT RUG. That’s a really nice rug.

doorsixteen_varpunen_bedroom
Photo from Varpunen

Ahhh, the definition of peaceful! I love the EYE EYE poster from Fine Little Day, and the light reminds me of the one I’ve been coveting from Schoolhouse Electric. Such a perfect spot.

So, shall we meet here again next year when I start talking about how I’m finally going to get serious about painting my floors, or should I wait until the 10th anniversary of owning the house? That’s not too far away!

doorsixteen_newyorktimes_peteseeger
Photo by Sam Falk/The New York Times

And a hero has gone. May we all try to live with even a fraction of the dignity, compassion, spirit and mindfulness that he did, and may we all carry his music in our hearts along the way. Goodnight, Pete.

Pete Seeger, Songwriter and Champion of Folk Music, Dies at 94

doorsixteen_weavers_peteseeger

My father gave me this record when I was about 3 or 4 years old, and some of my earliest memories are of listening to it on the stereo in his studio—and, of course, singing along. When I was a little older, maybe 6, we listened more to Pete’s political songs like “Little Boxes” and “What Did You Learn in School Today,” and Dad explained to me what the words were all about. I learned what activism is. Big lessons for a little kid, but Pete (and Dad) made a huge impact on me and started to shape my social, political and ethical beliefs at a very early age. We’d go to see him play down by the Hudson River at the annual Clearwater Festivals, and later on, when Evan and I moved to Beacon, Pete became our neighbor. I’d see him at the train station all the time, and he kept on playing at local benefits in Beacon and Newburgh well into his 90s. The last time I saw him play was a few years ago in front of a small group of captivated children on the dock of the Hudson River, surrounded by the mountains and with his beloved Toshi nearby. I’ll miss you, Pete. Sorry to see you go.

If you have memories of Pete Seeger, whether from growing up in the Hudson Valley or from being a part of the political folk movement yourself or just from listening to his records, I’d love to hear them. Please feel free to share.

“I decline to discuss, under compulsion, where I have sung, and who has sung my songs, and who else has sung with me, and the people I have known. I love my country very dearly, and I greatly resent this implication that some of the places that I have sung and some of the people that I have known, and some of my opinions, whether they are religious or philosophical, or I might be a vegetarian, make me any less of an American.”
Pete Seeger, speaking before the House Un-American Activities Committee (1955)

doorsixteen_marcuseriksson_swedishthings
Poster designed by Marcus Eriksson

I’m not usually a fan of being surprised, but sometimes crazy, unexpected GOOD things happen. This is one of those times, and even though part of me is sure there’s been a mistake, I’m letting myself be CRAZY excited.

A couple of weeks ago, I got an email totally out of the blue from the Consulate General of Sweden. That in and of itself was pretty exciting (I figured it was maybe an invitation to an event in NYC), but then I read the whole email…and IT WAS AN INVITATION TO SWEDEN. Specifically, it was an invitation to attend the Stockholm Furniture Fair in February! YAY!!

And, like, everything is paid for. The flight, the hotel, the food…seriously? For me? Yeah, seriously. What is this craziness?! I guess this is a totally normal thing for other people, but not in my world. You might as well have told me I’d won the lottery. (OK, maybe not Mega Millions, but a really good scratch-off.) How did this happen? I have NO idea, but it did, am I’m going. To Stockholm! My motherland! To look at tons of innovative and beautiful new furniture and lighting! And take pictures and talk to people! In Sweden! Me! Anna!

Once I convinced myself the email was real, I started thinking about how remarkable it is that the Swedish Consulate has a program in place to promote Swedish culture in the United States, and that part of that program includes covering the cost of transporting New Yorkers to Stockholm to learn about Swedish design. I guess I don’t know for sure, but something tells me there aren’t US Consulates bringing people from Europe to the US to cover American design. Are there?

The Stockholm Furniture Fair has been on my radar for as long as I’ve been reading Emmas Designblogg and admiring all of the photos she takes when she attends every year, but I never imagined I’d get to go. I am really looking forward to seeing as many booths as I can (the list of exhibitors is bananas, so I need to strategize…and get comfortable using Evan’s old iPad), taking loads of photos, writing up a ton of notes, and meeting lots of people. I’ll blog about the entire experience and all of my favorite discoveries, of course!!

I’m only going to be in Stockholm for a few days, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to find a little time to visit with my aunt and uncle while I’m there. I haven’t seen them since they were in New York several years ago—the last (and only) time I visited Sweden was when I was 10 years old! Even though that was 28 years ago, I still remember so much about the trip and about Stockholm. The only thing that could make this better would be if my mother were able to come along, but maybe next time.

What a great opportunity this is! I feel very, very lucky.

doorsixteen_IKEA_BRAKIG_01

IKEA’s 2013 limited edition collection, TRENDIG, is just now becoming available in the US, but we have another one to look forward to* soon: BRÅKIG. And ohhhh, it’s good. Lots of pale wood and bright colors and geometric patterns.

*UPDATE: Actually, if you’re in North America, you have nothing to look forward to, because BRÅKIG will not be sold here. Heavy sigh…

Designed by Danish art collective ArtRebels, BRÅKIG includes modified versions of existing IKEA pieces (the FROSTA stool and my favorite LERBERG trestles—that’s them above, re-imagined in COPPER [!!!] with a thin plywood top), as well as entirely new works.

doorsixteen_IKEA_BRAKIG_02

I’m in love with that wood rack/stand thingy, right down to the copper hooks. I have absolutely no idea what I’d use it for, but I feel like I need it in my life anyway. If I had a need to hang 20 dish towels and some mugs in one spot, I’d be all over it. (OK, I’m sure there’s an obvious, practical use for it that’s just not occurring to me. Blankets? But then what are the hooks for?) Anyway, it’s pretty. Those ice cream-colored FROSTA stools are pretty, too, though I think I’d only want the pink one. (Remember my FROSTA makeover? The FROSTA has been discontinued here for so long.)

doorsixteen_IKEA_BRAKIG_03

Cups! Saucers! Trays! A whole line of textiles! These triangle patterns remind me of IKEA’s own 2008 textile collections (I still have mine squirreled away), Eugen Trost’s Zebra ceramics, and of course Sven Markelius’s classic Ljungbergs Pythagoras pattern—not to mention more recent designs by House of Rym and Ferm Living. These elongated triangles have become a staple of Scandinavian design over the past half century, and I love seeing the theme continue through so many new designers’ works.

doorsixteen_IKEA_BRAKIG_05

The multicolored knobs on the BRÅKIG dresser are great. I’m surprised by how much I like this, though I can’t imagine having it in my house. Maybe it’s because the knobs remind me of the SNODD cabinet knobs I used in my old, old apartment kitchen—they were really nice, so of course IKEA discontinued them immediately. I hope whoever lives in that apartment now appreciates them.

And THE CHAIR! It comes in a couple of pastel shades, too, but I think the unpainted (birch?) version is nicest. I like that the back is cut from a single piece of wood. I kind of want to paint black “socks” on it, though, just to break up all the wood a little.

doorsixteen_artrebels

These art prints aren’t available from IKEA, but I thought it would be fun to include them anyway. ArtRebels have put together a whole selection of artwork inspired by the BRÅKIG collection, and yes, they ship to the US. My favorites (clockwise) are these by Camillia Konradsen, Sara Gade, Kristina Green Bonne, and WAAITT. Hooray for discovering new artists and designers!

You can read more about the BRÅKIG collection and see pictures of some of the other stuff in the line on ArtRebel’s blog. The full collection contains 36 pieces, so there’s a lot more to come! IKEA doesn’t have anything on their site yet, but the products are due to roll out in Europe beginning in February. No word yet on when we’ll see BRÅKIG in the US, but hopefully soon—there are a few pieces I know I’m going to want to bring home with me. UPDATE: Unfortunately, the BRÅKIG collection will not be sold in North America.

And here’s the BRÅKIG line as it progressed, as presented in a fun video by ArtRebels

doorsixteen_vivahate

For the past six months (and by “six months” I mean my entire life) I’ve carried this looming sense of having forgotten to do something really important, but being incapable of remembering what it is because I’m so overwhelmed by all of the things I either procrastinated doing or discovered I had to take care of at the last minute. It’s a terrible feeling, but it’s one that’s come to define how I (mal)function on a day-to-day basis. Everything is always about catching up. I never feel on top of things. I am always certain I’m disappointing at least one or two or a dozen people, including myself. Any time I feel like I might be getting close to making progress, something happens—usually I get sick (like yesterday, which was spent lying on the sofa curled up with a box of Kleenex and a couple of dogs), but sometimes my website gets hacked or the furnace breaks. You know, normal things that happen to people. When you’re already struggling to keep up with the rest of your life, though, those little roadblocks start to feel uncrossable.

That’s when the recurring dreams start. I have a few that keep coming back to haunt me, but the one that I associate the most with stress is what I call “Forgotten Animals.” In this dream, there is either a small room or a basement or some neglected space in my house that I enter after a long absence, only to discover that it’s filled with animals (usually mice or rats, but sometimes ferrets—all pets I’ve had in large numbers in the past) in cages that are dead, dying, or living in filth and suffering. They are pets I’ve forgotten about that had bred out of control but have no food or water source. I immediately struggle to get their cages clean and hydrate and feed them, but I can’t move quickly enough. It’s a terrible dream, and it’s one that I have at least two or three times a year. It’s not hard to figure out what it means, and I try to take it as a warning.

Well, THAT was a fun therapy session! Anyway, yeah, I need to heed the dream warning. I need to figure out how to get myself organized so I can deal with the simple stuff and not get overwhelmed by the big stuff. There’s no reason to be in a constant state of chaos. I’m not really into resolutions, but I guess I’m kind of making one.

I don’t want to end on a low note, so here are some nice things from this weekend…

doorsixteen_weekendstagrams

Top to bottom, left to right:

VIVA HATE banner on my living room mantel by Going Steady Shop.
Next up on my reading list, Gary Shteyngart’s Little Failure. Have you seen the trailer?
My new jade plant has passed the three week mark, which might be a record. I’m determined to not kill it.
I’ve been OBSESSED with Patrick Townsend’s Orbit Chandelier for years. This was a very, very nice thank you gift from Victoria, and it’s going up in my living room just as soon as I figure out how to deal with the old, non-standard electrical box in the ceiling medallion that thwarted my efforts this weekend. (Sigh.)
Daniel and Max came down for lunch this weekend. I made fancy grilled cheeze sammiches and we watched Flowers in the Attic. Perfect Sunday?
Nothing really, just admiring the tiles in the living room fireplace. So nice.
Fritz had his 6th birthday yesterday! Remember when he was brand new? (Warning: SO CUTE IT HURTS.)