Posts tagged Mel Chesneau
Studio of Swedish Textile Designer Ulrika Gyllstad

Swedish style is known not only for its clean lines but also for its bold fabric designs, both working so well in highlighting the other. Hi guys, this is Mel, and I'm back this month reporting live from Stockholm to introduce you to Ulrika Gyllstad, a textile designer here whose graphic patterns are created with nature and architecture as its muse and with a strong environmental conscience. 

Tour The Studio of Swedish Textile Designer Ulrika Gyllstad

Recently I paid Ulrika a visit to her studio and was greeted with a warm smile followed by a chat, the good Swedish way –  over fika (a typical Swedish coffee break). Here she told me about the early days of her career, working as a pattern designer for H&M and GANT after graduating from Beckmans College of Design. “I really enjoyed working and learning much from these fashion companies, but I always felt the pull towards my love of interior textiles.” She moved in that direction in 2006 before founding her own company, Gyllstad in 2014. 

Textile Designer Ulrika Gyllstad

Textile Designer Ulrika Gyllstad

Ulrika not only created a brand with her own designs but being fully aware of the undesirable footprint many traditional textile companies have left thus far, she began to explore ways in which she could create not only a beautiful product but something that is as environmentally friendly as possible. This has become somewhat a passion of hers and she has gone on to ensure that her fabrics are certified organic and that the designs are pressed with traditional screen technology using certified pigments. “This helps me sleep at night,” she says. I told her that from a consumer point of view, I have to say that this kind of a commitment from a maker or company is a huge plus for me. 

Nature and architecture are Ulrika’s biggest inspirations and whether it’s the lines and form of a leaf, the perfection of a cut kiwi, or the twirl of a spiral staircase, she always has a collection of photo books on these subjects on hand to find her next motif. She then gets sketching, and I was surprised to learn that all of her designs are done in freehand.  

Tour The Studio of Swedish Textile Designer Ulrika Gyllstad

All of the fabrics are weaved here in Sweden, another feat in the environmental commitment by keeping things as local as possible. The other advantage of having this done in locally is that Ulrika has been able to work closely with Swedish artisans to experiment with new weave structures for some of her cushion covers in solid colors that will sit beside and compliment her striking bold designs.

Tour The Studio of Swedish Textile Designer Ulrika Gyllstad
Tour The Studio of Swedish Textile Designer Ulrika Gyllstad
Textile Designer Ulrika Gyllstad

Textile Designer Ulrika Gyllstad

Tour The Studio of Swedish Textile Designer Ulrika Gyllstad
Swedish Textile Designer Ulrika Gyllstad
Tour The Studio of Swedish Textile Designer Ulrika Gyllstad
Textile Designer Ulrika Gyllstad

Textile Designer Ulrika Gyllstad

Looking through her collection, it’s hard for me to find something that I wouldn’t love in my home. Her fabrics are designed to mix and match and her cushions are an easy way to inject some new life into a room and her fabric, sold by the meter, can be made into a tablecloth. Patterned tablecloths are very popular here in Sweden and something that I had never considered until living here. It brings so much warmth and cheer to a table don’t you think? - Mel x

 (Text/Photography: Mel Chesneau)

Tour the Ceramics Studio + Shop of Erika Petersdotter in Stockholm

Do you believe that if you fall on to your right path in life, everything just falls into place for you? Hi everyone, it’s Mel here and this month I’m introducing you to a talented ceramicist here in Sweden and her story of how exactly that happened for her.

Erika Petersdotter for decor8

I first discovered Erika Petersdotter’s studio-in-shop a couple of months after first arriving in Stockholm. It was December 2016 and we had some good friends visiting from France, with the goal to fill their luggage with Scandinavian Christmas presents for their lucky family back home. Together we wandered the streets of Södermalm, I didn’t really know where to take them as I was only just discovering our new home myself. We took a shortcut towards the main shopping street and just before reaching it, we stumbled upon the sweetest little store full of handmade ceramics. What made this store even more special was that we could see Erika in the back room throwing her bowls. 

Erika Petersdotter for decor8

Our friends made their purchases and as we were about to head out the door, I grabbed a card, as I knew that I’d like to come back to do a feature story. I misplaced the card though, and I couldn’t remember for the life of me where the studio was, until around the same time of year the following year, I went walking in the neighborhood and found it again. 

Erika Petersdotter for decor8

I’m glad that this happened though; because now Erika has brought her potter’s wheel to the front of the store and it’s here that her customers can truly experience the magic of how their purchases are made. It’s these tangible differences that are needed, to give retail an edge, and interestingly something that Tom Dixon touched on when I interviewed him recently. It’s giving people something more than just a browsing experience. 

Erika Petersdotter for decor8
Erika Petersdotter for decor8
Erika Petersdotter for decor8
Erika Petersdotter for decor8

In her early twenties, Erika moved to Stockholm from her hometown of Umeå in Northern Sweden, to be with her partner and now, father of her children. She was looking for work in her new city, not entirely sure what to do, however, one thing that stayed with her since her final years of school was her love of pottery and the feeling that she felt when touching the clay.  Erika found her current store, which was then run by a well-known local ceramicist, Mikaela Willers. She became her intern for a year and during that time, learned a lot about not only potting but also about being an entrepreneur. 

Erika Petersdotter for decor8

Mikaela then decided to sell and move to middle Sweden.  She had a buyer for the store, however, at the last minute, it fell through. She called Erika to say that it was now time to take the step. That was five years ago. Erika was twenty-five at the time and she is so grateful that her mentor believed in her, despite her young age. She still calls Mikaela, her ‘Mother Potter’ today.  

Initially, she shared the space with other artists and sold mostly other people’s work to take the pressure off while she practiced her craft and found her style. She has certainly found it and throws most of her ceramics, leaving the forms simple and clean, letting the clay show and lead the way of the final look. Quite often she will mix lava with white clay and experiment with firing.


Her creations are for every day, it might be a favorite cup or bowl to hold and love. The style is Northern Swedish with a touch of Japanese inspiration.

Watching Erika at the wheel is truly mesmerizing and I wonder if she could ever get stressed doing what she does. She admits that it really is a dream scenario for her. Along with her store, she holds workshops so that others can experience the magic of throwing and showcases a few other ceramicists work in the store. 

Erika Petersdotter for decor8
Erika Petersdotter for decor8
When you are on the right path of what you’re meant to be doing, it’s like everything conspires to help you and quite often, a teacher appears.
— Mel Chesneau
Erika Petersdotter for decor8
Erika Petersdotter for decor8
Erika Petersdotter for decor8
Erika Petersdotter for decor8
Erika Petersdotter for decor8


Listening to Erika’s story affirmed what I have always believed in, which is, when you are on the right path of what you’re meant to be doing, it’s like everything conspires to help you and quite often, a teacher appears. Do you believe that dear readers? Have you ever had someone that made a difference to you by believing in you and showing you the way? Or perhaps right now you’re at a crossroad and you just need to follow your heart and make the right turn. 

See you in JULY! -

(Photos, Text: Mel Chesneau)

Exclusive Interview With Tom Dixon Regarding His IKEA DELAKTIG Collaboration

We’ve all heard about IKEA hacks right? Well they’ve now come up with the first official hackable product, designed by Tom Dixon for IKEA and which is open for your interpretation and imagination. 


Last week my adopted city of Stockholm was jam-packed with events around town for Design Week, in conjunction with the Stockholm Furniture & Lighting Fair. One of the events I attended was a press talk on sustainable design and circular economy with IKEA and Tom Dixon, to coincide with the release of their collaboration, DELAKTIG. At the end of the talk I had the opportunity to interview Tom, which I’m so excited to share with you here on decor8! But first, some background about their partnership. 

I attended an evening in conversation with Tom in Auckland, New Zealand a few years ago and one thing that struck me about this iconic British designer is that he is anything but conventional. So when I heard that he spent time in car factories when researching for a new functional and sustainable furniture line for his collaboration with IKEA, I wasn’t surprised. From there, he looked at smartphones, where people are constantly downloading and changing the applications and interface to suit their changing needs. He then got to work on the project with seventy-five design students around the world as part of their Masters degree, a great way to look at design through another generation’s eyes and needs. 


To Tom, sustainability is very much about the longevity of a product that will stick around for longer, as people use it differently and as their lives evolve.  He came up with a base that is a comfortable and affordable bed and that has add-on components, to make it into a sofa. What I find exciting here, is that is that not all parts for DELAKTIG, which translates to, “involved”, are available at IKEA. I’ll explain how it works.

You’ll find the base, which comes in three different sizes, along with backrests, tables, sides and light units at IKEA. All of it is very functional and adaptable as is, however as a world first, approved hacks can be purchased elsewhere. Tom Dixon has covers and add-ons available exclusively through him and Bemz who are known for their custom sewn IKEA sofa covers. You can, of course, get creative and hack the product yourself, hence the aluminum frame, that, along with its durability, is a metal that’s easy to design in grooves and parts, making it easy to hack in. 

It’s an interesting idea, as a designer you’re always trying to create the perfect iconic product to sell and market. Here we were doing the opposite, it was: How can we make the perfect base for people to do what they want? It’s both thrilling and terrifying.
— Tom Dixon

The day before the interview, I walked along Hamngatan, a main shopping strip here in Stockholm. The four main windows of the department store, Nordiska Kompaniet, were dedicated to Tom Dixon, design icon. Seeing his creations there all together reminded me of just how huge this man is in the design world and I admit, it stirred up a few healthy nerves in me. Tom soon put me at ease though. He is sharp, super passionate and he is self-taught, which I suspect might be his weapon in pushing the boundaries of design. 


Mel: I love the idea of good design being available to everybody. Is that one of the reasons that you teamed up with IKEA?

Tom: I worked for ten years as creative director of Habitat, which was owned by IKEA at the time, so I had a much deeper insight into what they do and how they do it, than most other designers.  In that context, when I started my company and after ten to twelve years working as an independent and building my own brand, I did miss the affordability, mass production and the might of working with experts in that field. So those two factors and also the fact that realistically I don’t think that we’ll ever do beds because of the logistically they are complex with comfort levels and various mattress sizes in different territories. It’s not the sort of thing that we’d be able to do properly because IKEA dominate in this area. In that context, it was the right person to go to. I also like that more luxury fashion labels are working with high street and doing something that is mutually beneficially stretching themselves. I loved the Commes des Garcons and H&M collaboration.

M: Did you learn anything through IKEA’s production chain? 

T: The learnings were more about the mentality towards change and working with a company that has resources to pull on and can make big decisions that have got global impact. They spoke about that earlier in regards to the amount of glue they use (referring to how IKEA is now developing a more environmentally friendly glue which will reduce 2% of their emissions). You learn a hell of a lot from the work methods and the way they are organised. There is also a kind of second generation in IKEA coming through now and they are intent on changing the way in which they work. There are bigger openings. The hacking idea three or four years would have been impossible because they were keeping their secrets. We were talking about this project once it (hacking) started. Why would we do that for, when there is nothing to buy, so why would we talk about it? But in the modern world, that’s what you do. You also have access to vast amount of data of what goes on in people’s lives and how they live, which you never get in a small company.


M: What do you think about sustainability in general and how are designers like yourself trying to solve the problem? 

T: I think it’s essential to have an aptitude to it and take it very seriously. Every designer has a duty to do that but then again, so does every consumer and every government. It has become such a pressing thing and obviously for most of us, it’s very hard to unravel the complexity of what one should do about it. I think just being active is definitely what you have to do and be conscious. Then also, without a doubt, my thing always comes back to making something that will stick around long enough to justify the production in the first place. Then there’s aluminium, obviously there are all sorts of issues in terms of mining but if you make it, it can be recycled, it’s valuable enough that if you left the sofa on the street, someone will recycle it because there is a few pounds in it. You can also recycle it forever, you have to add a small percentage of virtual material, something like ten or fifteen percent, but it is infinitely recyclable, unlike plastic.

M: What designers have your attention in London at the moment?

T: There are more conceptual artists at the moment that are amazing like, Philippe Malouin and Max Lamb. Watch out for Faye Toogood who is a stylist turned furniture and fashion designer. I can’t think about any stores off the top of my head though. 


M: On the topic of retail, what do you think about the future of it, and how can shops keep people coming in, as apposed to shopping online?

T: It sounds cliché but you have to entertain people, you have to go into the world of entertainment and activity and exclusivity for some things. You have to work harder than ever before because locations are expensive. That’s not why we’ve gone into having a restaurant in place but you want to keep the place alive then people will want to visit. People will still want to go places, whether they buy in store or later online is almost immaterial but you need to engage and you’ve got to work a lot harder than before. 


Okay lovely decor8 readers, I have a question for you now. How do you shop for things for your home these days? Do you pay attention to whether the product has had a sustainability component in the design process? What do you think about a product like DELAKTIG adapting to your changing needs and would something like that work in your life?

(Article: Mel Chesneau, Photos, IKEA and BEMZ)

Why Dried Flowers Aren't Just For Grandma

When I mention dried flowers, what do you picture? Be honest now, are those memories of dried roses that gathered dust on your grandmother’s bookshelf creeping to mind? Or, perhaps you’ve seen a bit of a revival happening on Instagram with that sweet whimsical look? Whatever idea you have about dried flora, I am certain that you’re going to be wowed by the work of Mark Antonia, who is pushing the boundaries of dried floral art! Plus, had you been at Domotex this weekend with Holly and her panel of professional bloggers, you'd have heard them all unanimously agree in their trend talk show that past season (also known as dead/dried) flowers are a micro trend at the moment.

Makers | Mark Antonia Dried Flora-9.jpg

What has touched me the most the past few years in the industry, would have to be the momentum that the maker movement has had. I’d say that the surge in this area no doubt goes hand-in-hand with the slow-living phenomenon. I admit I do yoga, and I’m really working on being more in the moment rather than thinking about next week (anyone with me here?), but most of all, I’m beginning to be aware of the small pleasures in my day-to-day life.

Makers | Mark Antonia Dried Flora-10.jpg

One standout for me is enjoying my morning cup of tea in an earthy mug that was made by a favorite ceramicist of mine. When I look around my apartment, I can find other examples of that simple joy that a handmade, or small-scale object brings me. With that in mind, makers from Sweden, and when the opportunity arises, from abroad, will be my focus here on decor8 for all of 2018 and I hope you will enjoy discovering them here with me.

Mark Antonia Dried Flora

So, back to dried flowers. When I stepped into the Mark Antonia studio, in Auckland, New Zealand, I was naturally expecting to see a lot of dried flowers; but I never imagined the sheer volume that was actually there. The raw plywood was the perfect backdrop to display the array of drying branches and flowers that will soon see Antonia’s magic hand.

Mark Antonia Dried Flora

Antonia De Vere works beside, Mark Seeney, (hence the namesake) whom she met at art school. The couple combines their talents with floristry and hand-poured candles by Antonia, along with custom industrial furniture, homeware, and retail fit-outs by Mark.

Mark Antonia Dried Flora
Mark Antonia Dried Flora

I had been a fan of her custom arrangements for some time after admiring them in some of the coolest stores and commercial spaces in Auckland. I even owned a small one myself. There was just one small detail that I failed to notice in her minimalist creations; that all this time, she has actually been recreating Mother Nature. I'll explain what I mean.

Mark Antonia Dried Flora
Mark Antonia Dried Flora

The idea struck Antonia when she saw the waste left behind from her fresh floral commissions. She experimented with the scrap flora she dried, until she found her signature minimalist style, treating each consignment as a sculpture. Watching her at work is simply mesmerizing.

Mark Antonia Dried Flora

Each leaf, berry or bud is painstakingly clipped and glued onto a twig and done to such meticulous perfection, that you might be mistaken, like I was, and assume that the variety already existed in nature. That's what I meant when I said earlier that she is, "recreating Mother Nature".

Mark Antonia Dried Flora
Mark Antonia Dried Flora

Antonia has taken dried floral art to a whole new level, suggesting an almost Japanese Ikebana feel. Not only do these arrangements look stunning on display, the bonus is that it stays looking like that for a long time to come.

Have a great day everyone!

(Article + Photography: Mel Chesneau except for bottom grid by Mark Antonia)

4 Everyday Swedish Design Staples For Creating A Scandinavian Home

Do you want to see some everyday Swedish design that I use daily in my Stockholm apartment? I bet you could imagine that moving to the heart of Scandinavia for a few years, as I have, comes with its temptations.

Every day Swedish Design in the home-grid storage.jpg

To be truthful, it is taking every inch of my self-control to not empty my bank account and fill my home with the beautiful things that I’m constantly faced with! That being said, I am slowly adding some key pieces designed in Sweden that I know will stay with me for years to come and remind me of this special time here. Would you like to have a little peek?

Every day Swedish Design in the home-lily pad.jpg

1 // Bold Cushions

Scandinavians love bold, graphic prints on their cushions. I have loved Elizabeth Dunker of Fine Little Day’s designs, based in Gothenburg, from day one. I purchased this Lily Pad cushion online recently and I have to admit that I did my calculations wrong and bought an oversized one. I’m so glad that I made this mistake!

I absolutely love this statement cushion on the sofa and it is so comfortable to sit back on and relax. Just so you know, it does come in a regular size.

Actually, there are so many gorgeous things that I have been coveting in the Fine Little Day online shop and I can’t wait to one day visit it in person when I go to Gothenburg. You may have seen that Holly recently visited the store and met with Elizabeth when she was in Sweden.

Every day Swedish Design in the home- nordic candle holder.jpg

2 // Candles, Always, in Stylish Holders

The Nordic Light Candleholder by Design House Stockholm gets so much use in our home, especially at this time of year! You may have heard that daylight is minimal in this part of the world during the colder months. Very soon, at the winter solstice, the sun will set at 2:45pm in the afternoon and in the north of Sweden, the day will be in almost complete darkness!

It’s not all bad though because everything gets all lovely and hyggeligt.  You’ve no doubt heard of this Danish term, “Hygge”, well the concept is very much in use all around Scandinavia. One of the ways that they combat, or should I say, “embrace” this darkness, is by lighting candles around the home. As soon as I arrive home in the afternoon after collecting the children from school, I light this candleholder on the windowsill. I’m not alone. When I look out to the other apartments on the street, I see candles flickering through the windows. The Nordic Light Candleholder is a design classic, and it’s one that I’ve admired for years, before finally purchasing it here. I love how the arms can be moved around to form different shapes.

Every day Swedish Design in the home-nordic candleholder + lagom.jpg

Special mention on the windowsill: Lagom by Niki Brantmark. This is a guide to living a balanced and happy life. “Lagom” means “just right” and is often used to describe the Swedish way. They truly put lifestyle and experiences as a high priority and I have to say, I have not yet met a stressed person here. Niki of My Scandinavian Home captures the meaning perfectly in this little book and gives examples of how you can inject a little of this secret into your life.  

Every day Swedish Design in the home_vintage swedish + let them eat cake .jpg

3 //Vintage Swedish Design

Shown here is the Sirocco Safari chair by Arne Norell and the table by Bröderna Miller. I love to include some vintage design pieces in my home, and since moving here, we have discovered the art of online auctions! It’s a great way to grab a design piece at a fraction of the cost. Note that this doesn’t always happen, so you need to put all emotions aside and decide on a maximum price that you will pay. 

What we have are not in the perfect “as new” condition, and there are a few scratches and scuffs, but I like that lived in look; it gives a home a little more character. Here in Sweden, we’ve used two auction houses, Lauritz, who I believe ships internationally and Bukowskis. If this service isn’t available to you, bargains can always be found around the world on  Search under “mid-century Swedish or Scandinavian design” 

Special mention on the table: Let Them Eat Cake plate by House of Rym. This is a lovely brand collaborating with Swedish Designers and Tunisian artisans. 

Every day Swedish Design in the home-grid storage + ypperlig candle holder.jpg

4 // Clever, Good-Looking Storage

Swedes have interesting ways to store things, especially in the kitchen and office. Granit is my go-to-store here in Sweden for anything practical and stylish. This storage grid is perfect to stow away the latest magazines that I’m reading and great to create a mood board with inspirational images and objects, along with the more practical things. Adding something like this to the wall really pulls the look together. 

Special mention on the desk: Ikea Ypperlig Candle Holder. This is one of the pieces from the fantastic HAY + IKEA collaboration you may have seen here. If you’re after some very affordable, beautifully designed furniture and accessories, you need to check this out. In fact, just today I picked up a few more items from this collection. 

I hope you enjoyed a little look at some everyday Swedish design that I have introduced to my home. Did you spot anything here you’d like for yourself? Do you have any favorite Swedish brands?

(Article and Photography by: Mel Chesneau)

10 Lovely Decorating Tips From Haymarket Stockholm

Today I have 10 lovely decorating tips from my recent visit to Haymarket in Stockholm and I can't wait to share them with you.

Haymarket Stockholm

Haymarket which uses the English translation of "Hötorget", is the first signature hotel by the Scandic Group and today, you're going to check out their lovely cafe, Greta’s, and their restaurant, American, with me and see some decorating ideas that I found just by spending time in these spaces.

But first, a little history...

Haymarket is a hotel situated in Hötorget square, a popular downtown marketplace that has been in operation since the 1600’s. It isn’t just a hotel for international guests though; it’s a destination for many Stockholm locals to meet for lunch or for an aperitif after work.

The building once housed the fashionable and iconic PUB department store, where one of Sweden’s biggest Hollywood exports, Greta Garbo, began her career in the millinery department. The hotel restored the building’s historic art deco details with a nod to the history and glamour of the roaring twenties, yet giving it just enough of a modern twist. 

Whenever I’m in the area, I pop into the hotel’s café, Greta’s, (named after the one and only) for fika. They’ve decorated it with that winning combination of pink and green and just the right amount of gold accents. While millennial pink is certainly the color of the moment, their use of it has a classic edge that will no doubt stand the test of time. The cane chairs give a laid back vibe to the space and are set off with luxurious peacock cushions. I would never imagine using that combination until I saw it here and now if the opportunity arose, I might have to borrow the look too (wink).

While I’ve been known to enjoy a glass or two of champagne with friends at Greta’s, the place to go to for a touch of glamour and a good cocktail, is the bar, American, which overlooks the square’s marketplace. You feel the opulence the moment you enter. You’re greeted with plush velvet sofas in hues of moody blues and burgundies and brass art deco ornamental wall paneling. My all time favorite here is the statement black Atollo lamp. It just breathes luxury.  

The exquisite décor is a huge draw for me, and each time I visit, I soak up so much interior inspiration and I’m sure that you will too.

Would you like to take a look and to gather some decor tips for your home? Here are my 10 tips:

Haymarket Stockholm

TIP 1: Ceilings needn’t always be discreet. Here the color scheme and mood of the room continues above, for a sweeping and dramatic effect.

Haymarket Stockholm

TIP 2: By adding darker bar stools, the somewhat pretty room is finished feeling more grown up.

Haymarket Stockholm

TIP 3: The rattan chairs give a laid back vibe to the space and are set off with peacock cushions.

Haymarket Stockholm

TIP 4: Place fluffy feathers in a vase for a nice twist on flowers.

Haymarket Stockholm

TIP 5: Patterned floor tiles lend an extra wow factor to a room.

Haymarket Stockholm

TIP 6: Mirrors are the oldest design trick in the book but work beautifully to reflect natural light from the large windows and play with the eye making a room seem to go on and on....

Haymarket Stockholm

TIP 7: Table lamps add to the ambience of a room but can also be the perfect standalone statement piece, like this Atollo lamp in black.

Haymarket Stockholm

TIP 8: Velvet sofas are soft and inviting but it’s not always possible to buy a new sofa, or to reupholster your current one. Why not borrow from the look by mixing in velvet cushions to your current sofa to add a sumptuous feel?

Haymarket Stockholm

TIP 9: Plants bring the outdoors in and also visually fill boring corners and hide things like ugly outlets or your wifi router.

Haymarket Stockholm

TIP 10: Art Deco geometric patterns look striking when carried throughout a room like the designers have done here with the rug and screen.

If you find yourself in Stockholm, a visit to Haymarket is something you must tick off your list of things to do and see. Perhaps you could pop in for a dinner and drink after enjoying a performance at Konserthuset, Stockholm’s famous concert house, which is just opposite. Or for something really special, treat yourself and stay as a guest. Either way, I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do. 

Have you found any decorating ideas here at that you love?

(Article + Photography: Mel Chesneau)