A much overdue blog post, I know – but finally, it’s here! I rarely do anything halfway, hence why this blog post has taken so long to put together. 2020 has been a pretty rough year for us all (understatement of the century perhaps?) – and definitely a year which will be going down in the history books. Personally (aside from COVID-19) – 2020 has been incredibly intense year for us as a family. After searching for some time, we finally purchased our first apartment in the Oslo after moving from London in 2019, which was exciting, as it was another renovation project. We had been deliberating for ages about a house or an apartment, but came to the conclusion that city living would work well for us for a few more years. Sadly, right in the middle of the renovation, we endured a heartbreaking loss. Of course, we had to continue on with the renovation project (it weirdly kept me sane throughout), as we were on such a tight deadline to finish it off and move in. Then the pandemic hit us all, and Norway went into lockdown (literally during the last few days of completing and moving in). A month prior to this, we also bought our dream cabin in the mountains – which has been a long-term dream of ours – and although it wasn’t a renovation project (we decided to invest in a new-build cabin, with all the traditional features), it still needed everything of furniture, decorating and styling.
Then, during all of this, a miracle happened out of a nowhere – and I was pregnant again! Very unexpected, but obviously we were overjoyed and it’s certainly what’s got us through these past 6 months. So, what turned out to be a pretty hectic 2020, just got a whole lot sweeter, and we could finally settle in, and enjoy our new city apartment…
Set in the heart of Oslo west, in an area called Frogner, this 140sqm 1st floor corner apartment was love at first sight. We first saw the the apartment on a dark and rainy evening; the fireplace was lit and the candles were on, and for some reason I just instantly knew it was the one for us. The flat consists of 1 large hallway, 3 double bedrooms, 1 lounge, 1 kitchen/dining room, 1 bathroom, and a balcony. I loved all the period features, the ultra high ceilings (nearly 3.30m high), the fact that it was a corner flat with so many windows and outlooks a quiet courtyard balcony – and most importantly, it had an almost ideal layout and space (which we perfected during the renovation). Simply put, it was an apartment I just felt would really work for us as a family. Even though we moved away from a 5-bedroom house in London – this apartment had all the space, storage and layout we wanted, and being so central to my husband’s work and my son’s kindergarten – it ticked all the boxes for us.
Most ‘normal’ people would perhaps not have done as much work as we ended up doing (as the flat was in a pretty OK state), but at the time, as we were planning on staying here long-term (2 years+), we decided on doing the full works, which included: plastering and skimming of all walls, re-painting every room, new flooring throughout, brand-new electrics, new kitchen an re-configuring of the kitchen/dining-space, updated bathroom layout and plumbing system, replacement of new fitted wood-work and panelling, removing a non-retaining wall to open up the dining space into the kitchen… The list goes on. However, whilst doing all of this work, it was very important to maintain all the original features in the property – such as the wood panelling in the hallway, the cornicing, door frames, the majority of the doors (the ones which were salvageable), the double doors from the lounge (these are my favourite), and the fireplace. As well as maintaining all the features that we could, I also wanted to add some more character, to really pull the look together: so we had two ceiling roses hand-made for the lounge and the main bedroom, and simple wooden wall panelling throughout.
We started renovations in January 2020, and we completed the project mid March. This was 2/3 weeks over the original estimated time, due to some unforeseen problems with the plumbing, the levelling of the flooring base, wall issues, and some wrong deliveries, etc. Taking all of this into account, we were pretty happy with these timings; building work and renovations, always run over!
If you’ve been following my new interior account @annelibushinteriors – you’ll be pretty much up to speed on the renovation process, and the end result. For me, even though it was already an incredible light, spacious and airy apartment (mainly due to the large rooms, ceiling hight and all the windows) – I had this vision of a bright, neutral and white space – combined with the warmth brought in via natural materials and textures, such as wood, rattan, bamboo, linen, jute and brushed brass. My inspiration and theme for the space, was a classic and clean Scandinavian style, mixed with a hint of casual Californian coastal vibes. I am forever mixing old with new, antique with modern lines, and this was the vision throughout. Contemporary, yet soft and inviting – neutral, yet warm and cosy. For me personally, the end result was a relaxing and practical family space.
A relatively light hallway (due to the downlights, the ceiling height and the double glass entrance door), but in the need of a face-lift and overall update.
We kept the original wood wall panelling on the wall, as well as painting everything in the same white throughout, and new skirting. As I really wanted the focus of the space to be on the wood panelling, I added really clean, neutral and flat wardrobe fronts with simple brass knobs, which more or less just blends into the space. The result is a really spacious, tidy and practical entrance (all that wardrobe space is a true godsend!).
Flooring (throughout) / Meister (Residence Oak Natural Limed Off-White)
Wardrobe Fronts / IKEA
Wardrobe Handles / Beslag Online
The lounge is the biggest, and most impressive room in the apartment (it’s certainly what sold the flat to us) – with three large windows across, 3m+high ceilings, fireplaces and original cornicing. But as with everything else in the flat, in need of modernisation and a new, fresh feel.
The first thing I was desperate to do in this space, was brighten it all up! Seeing as it was the lightest room in the apartment with all the windows, it had dark flooring and a very dull yellow colour, which didn’t do the space any favours. The first step was to re-plaster and paint the walls. Unfortunately we had to remove the original panelling on two of the windows, due to the condition of the woodwork – as well as wanting it symmetrically the same across all three windows. Within the panelling, we added new skirting (with all hidden electrics and wiring), and laid a light and soft herringbone flooring throughout.
In terms of the thought process behind the design of this room – my main inspiration was a bohemian minimalistic style; lots of clean lines and contemporary pieces, mixed together with soft, earthy and patterned furnishing. I wanted to bring in the warmth via wood, rattan, straw and sheepskin – as well as elements of glass, metal and brushed brass to add contrast. The primary colour palette is white, natural and grey – with pops of colour via soft sage and mint green, greenery with the plants, brass, dusty pink and black.
This was the only room which had the original cornicing remaining , but sadly the ceiling rose had been removed at some point, so I commissioned a custom made ceiling rose to match the style and era of the cornicing. From the ceiling rose, I chose one of my favourite lamps (ever) – a hand blown glass bubble pendant; a feature in itself, yet still light and sheer so the ceiling rose is still in focus.
With the windows being so large scale and open, I wanted to add some privacy, whilst still retaining the light, so I found some sheer linen ones in a natural colour, which brings all the natural day-light in, yet makes the room feel warm and cosy. Adding curtains both elongates the feeling of height in the room, yet it also makes the room feel much more inviting to be in.
Other changes that were made, was the fireplace, which also had a much needed make-over. Although I love the original stone and setting, I never liked the huge and overpowering surround. Unfortunately – due to lack of time and a tight budget, we had to keep the surround, but we were able to lower it, as well as creating a practical shelf design – which not only opened up the space, but made the surround into a feature – where the focal point was no longer the large box around the fireplace, but a place to store books, plants and candles.
One of my favourite details in this room, is the arched mirror, which is placed between two of the windows. I love how it reflects into the kitchen window – ensuring you have even more window views – which in turn widens and creates a real sense of flow and space throughout.
Even though it’s a large scale room, this was actually the space I struggled the most with in terms of furnishing. With the fireplace being positioned where it was, we wanted to ensure that wherever our L-shape sofa was placed, we could see the fireplace as well as the TV. So the TV was positioned facing the direction of the hallway, with the windows at the back. This also ensured that we had a really practical and a good flow throughout the room, with a proper space to walk past when entering into the kitchen, however, had we planned on staying here for longer (more on that at the end of this post!), I would have changed out the L-shape sofa, with two 3-seater sofas facing towards each-other. Then I would have moved the TV to where the double rattan cupboards are – so one sofa faces the TV, and the other sofa is in the direction of the fireplace – yet both have the view to the windows…
Ceiling Light Pendant / By Rydens
Arched Mirror / Ellos
Coffee Table / Muubs
Sofa / Bolia
Rug / West Elm
Pouffe / KID Interior
Rattan Chair / IKEA (vintage)
Sheepskin Chair & Stool / Home & Cottage
Rattian Cupboards / IKEA (part of limited edition 2017 collection)
Floor Lamp / Hübsch
Artwork / A mixture of vintage, Desenio & MyGuideTo
Curtains / Home & Cottage
Selections of Cushions / West Elm, Etsy, H&M Home & Ellos
With an angled kitchen and a lot of awkward solutions, as well as a retaining wall to create a third bedroom (which was then the room leading out to the balcony), this was the one space in the apartment which needed some major re-configuration and opening up.
On top of all the obvious (re-plastering of the walls, painting, new flooring etc.), the first thing which was needed, was to open up the space, take down the wall to the third bedroom, rip out the entire kitchen, removing some strange solutions and angles (one of which they had hidden a small window), and straightening out the angled kitchen wall, moving it forward and levelling it all out. There was also a painted brick wall on the one side, which was unfortunately tired and uneven and not really salvageable. Also, as we were opening up to the other room, we needed it all straight in one line – so we re-plastered this whole wall and levelled it out with the rest.
After the kitchen wall was fully straightened and the existing kitchen was ripped out – we fitted a new kitchen in the same position. We added a kitchen island opposite, with bar seating and more storage space. As the island is placed in the front centre of the room, and becomes a pretty big feature in the space (as well as a room divider between the kitchen and the dining area), we really wanted to make it look as elegant as possible; more like a beautiful piece of furniture, than just a regular kitchen island. So we did wrap down kitchen island, with the stone all the way down, which is one of the features I love the most in this room…
My theme and mood for the room, was creating a spacious, elegant and practical space – with all the functional elements in place, yet with lots of unique and natural accessorising and fittings to make it feel like a cosy family space. The core colour palette is grey, black and white, with undertones of wood, brass and green. With simple and classic grey units, we added a light stone worktop to lift the overall look, with simple and understated brass fittings.
I decided to keep our original dining table, as it was the perfect fit in terms of size and colour, and added new black and rattan chairs to them, to pick up the other elements of black and texture throughout the room. Lots of plants and greenery throughout the room and on the balcony – which is the perfect little outside extension from our dining area. It gets lovely afternoon and evening sun, so we often have dinner with the balcony doors open or out on the balcony itself, which extends onto a quiet courtyard.
…and if you’re wondering what the white door leads out to from behind the dining table; this is our second entrance, which leads into the back stairs and straight down to the courtyard.
Kitchen Fronts / IKEA (Lerhyttan model)
Kitchen Handles / Beslag Online
Kitchen Worktop / Easystone (Norwegian company)
Kitchen Tap / Primy Steel
Splashback Tiles / Flisekompaniet (Norwegian company)
Bar Stools / Hans K
Blue Print / Desenio
Dining Table / Out & Out Original
Dining Chairs / Thonet
Artwork / Marianne Forbord
Rug / IKEA
Black Cabinet / Ellos
Balcony Sofa Set / Plantasjen
Balcony Rug / IKEA
This space was previously used as the dining room, but with some re-configuration of the existing layout, we switched the third bedroom from the back-room off the kitchen to this room, to make this room into a large master. It has two large double aspect windows and is a really light and airy space – so all-in-all a very good starting point.
We re-plastered and painted the walls, removed and added new skirting and wooden panelling, and laid new flooring. As the room was originally used as a dining room, aside from the adjoining lounge, it’s the most impressive room in terms of height, light and features. The original owners had filled in the original doorway arch (which leads into the guest bedroom), however we didn’t feel the need to keep this opening, as it made sense to us always have these two rooms separate, so we boarded it up completely. The room had a fire wall in the corner (which is the wall in front of the chimney), so we had to keep this, but we covered it with plaster and removed the skirting (all to the new fire regulations), and painted it the same colour as the walls, so it more or less blends in. I also commissioned a handmade ceiling rose for this room, to add some original character back to this large scale space, and just in case any future buyers would want to re-use the room as a dining room again.
For my wardrobes, I knew I needed a lot of storage, but I didn’t want them too imposing in the room. We also had to work around both large windows in the bedroom, and the large bed/headboard. So I designed two clean looking wardrobes with simple white fronts (I didn’t want any profiling on the fronts, to let the rest of the traditional woodwork to stand out) – again, in the same colour as the walls, so they really just blend into the space and don’t look as wide and tall as they actually are.
In terms of the style and and look of the room, as with every bedroom I design, the key for me in a bedroom is creating the most restful, calm and harmonious space. This means a room full of flow, peaceful elements and material choices, such as linen, cotton, soft wood and even straw (obsessed with this at the moment). Although I like my bedrooms incredibly restful and clean, it’s also important to add in personal and warm elements, such as picture frames, plants, and pieces which signify the people using the room. In our case, our biggest passion is to travel, so I love having “his and hers” Panama hats on each side, which just adds that little extra personal touch to the room.
Bed / Feather & Black
Bedside Tables / IKEA (with handles from Etsy)
Bedside Table Lamps / Lampehuset
Wardrobes / IKEA (customised)
Wardrobe Handles / Beslag Online
Rug / Jotex
Black Table / KID Interior
Straw Basket / Savannen
Curtiains / H&M Home (customised for the extra length)
Wall print / Desenio
Selections of cushions / Ellos & H&M Home
Bed Spread / Ellos
Chest of Drawers / IKEA
Mirror / Second hand
Ceiling Pendant / Modernica George Nelson
A tired-looking bedroom in need of a re-fresh and a lot of love!
We re-plastered and painted the walls, removed and added new skirting and wooden panelling, and laid new flooring. To save costs, we decided to keep the existing wardrobes (as they were the perfect size and layout), but sanded them down, re-sprayed them in a light grey, and changed out the handles, to freshen them up. The idea behind Rio’s room was to create a playful, cosy, and practical room – with an animal/safari theme. Overall the colour palette was soft, with white and greys – whilst using natural materials such as wood and straw, combined with pops of colours, to bring some fun back into the room.
The aim was to create a calming bedroom for Rio to feel comfortable sleeping in – whilst still having an entertaining and playful space during the day time. This is definitely his biggest room to date, and with the extra high ceilings, it was important to make the room still feel super cosy for him, so I made sure to bring in lots of soft textured toys throughout the room, as well as photos and pictures on the wall.
Bed / Boori
Chest of Drawers / Boori
Ceiling Light / IKEA
Round Rug / H&M Home
Wardrobe Handles / Beslag Online
Chair & Table Set / My 1st Years
Chest / My 1st Years
Giant Bunny / My 1st Years
Wall Prints / Desenio
Storage Unit w/Baskets / IKEA
Stuffed Wall Animals / H&M Home & Anthropologie
Personalised Name Sign / Roscoe Rules
Similar to the kids room; a tired looking room in need of a little re-vamp and a lick of paint.
Same as with every room; re-plastering and painting of the walls, removing and adding of new skirting and wooden panelling, and new flooring. The idea behind this room, was to create a calming, light and comfortable bedroom for guests to relax and retreat to – with elements of white, grey, nudes, tan and green. Although it’s not been used as much as we would have liked yet, it’s such a quiet and harmonious space. We’ve also fitted floor-to-ceiling wardrobes in the room, which functions as my husband’s wardrobe – so a pretty practical space as well.
Headboard / Jotex
Selection of Cushions / Ellos
Bed Spread / Ellos
Mirror / The White Company
Floor Light / Jotex
Rug / H&M Home
Lounge Chair / Ferm Living
Wall Print / MyGuideTo
Ceiling Pendant / Vita Copenhagen
Of all rooms, the bathroom was probably the one which was in the worst condition – in terms of quality, layout and overall functioning space – so everything had to be changed here.
Although the overall flat itself is very large, the bathroom isn’t the grandest in terms of size, so the key was to really open up and lighten the space, as well as change the layout, and make it much more practical, with lots of storage. We also added in more downlights, to make it brighter, as well as creating some clever storage solutions for our washer and drier, toiletries, excess products etc, so everything could easily be put away to create more space. I chose floor-to-ceiling mirrored sliding wardrobe fronts, to again, open up the overall size and feel in the room.
The colour scheme and look of the bathroom is clean and modern, mixed with more industrial elements, with the black metal details and oxidised brass finish on all the bathroom fittings. I wanted the room as bright and light as possible, without it feeling ‘cold’, so I opted for large marble finish stone tiles (I chose the larger tiles to make the space feel bigger), and a soft and smooth grey concrete for the floor, which complements the black and brass industrial look. I chose a large, round mirror, to really widen the room and also to create a real focal point in the space. I went for a wall hung cabinet and toilet, to again, have a lighter and more airy sense of space.
Tiles / Flisekompaniet (Norwegian company)
Brass Fittings / Tapwell
Sink Cabinet / Gustavsberg
Round Mirror / House Doctor
Glass & Brass Shelf / House Doctor
Round Brass Light / Globen Lighting
Mirrored Doors / IKEA
After a happy 7 months living in what we thought would be our 2 year home – we are moving out from this beautiful apartment in November this year, after realising (especially during these recent Corona times), that we really miss a garden… Now with baby number two on it’s way, it made sense to make this move before she arrives! Make sure to follow me on @annelibushinteriors for all my house updates going forward.