My Vintage Classroom Poster From Sweden

Hello friends. I am now back to my daily routine — for real. Recharged and happy, summer is sadly officially over for us in Seattle and my children are ready for school equipped with tanned legs, new back packs and shiny shoes. I want to thank you all for the support you gave me during the summer months when I, at times, felt like a lousy blog friend. To my surprise, the blog statistics even show that my traffic is up quite a bit. I don’t know if I deserve it but thank you, thank you!

Now, let’s jump right back into business.

It is hard to miss the “Industrial trend” that has been going on in the design world for a little while — galvanized steel products combined with rough wood and a vintage look & feel. We have also seen a lot of educational posters coming back in vogue.

When visiting Stockholm a few weeks ago, I found a fun store around the corner from the apartment I was staying in, called Brandstationen” (The Firestation). The store is jam packed with lovely and funky, mainly Swedish, vintage design things.

In one of the corners I found a whole stack of lovely vintage classroom posters. I put one on hold.

A few days later, I finally got to meet this lovely lady who I met in the virtual blog world about a year ago (thanks to our Ally!) . Her name is Mia and she is the stylish and creative soul behind the must read blog Solid Frog

I had invited Mia to join me in a design project (I will tell you more about that later) and she drove up to Stockholm with her family to meet up with me. This picture is taken about 20  minutes after we had officially met for the first time and what do I do? I drag her into my newly discovered store to look at vintage posters! No wonder we connected!

Mia and I spent the entire day together and it felt like we had known each other for 20 years. Later in the evening we went out with a couple of my close friends in Stockholm — and the fun just continued!

Anyway, Mia gave one of the educational posters a big nod and it came home with me. I find it very unique with its black dramatic background (I have never seen one like this before. It reminds me of Josef Frank’s famous fabrics). I think it requires a white wall and the guest room might just be the perfect space. I will share with you later where it ends up. Meanwhile, I am just enjoying the colors and the fun details. The poster is from the 40’s and shows all the intricate elements of a Violet. (There is a cheat chart in the back for the teacher). Very often these posters were made by well known Swedish artists.


With all the beauty it offers it also makes me stop in my tracks and reflect a little. Schools (in fact our entire society) are moving away from real books and anything that requires manual (or should we say real?) effort. Instead web based classroom education seems to be the future. I can’t help but wonder what that will do to our kids’ use of their senses? Will they even learn to see in color? I think this poster is a stunning piece of art and I would like to think that the students back then were inspired when the teacher went thoroughly through all the elements of this beautiful flower. Will beauty and art be lost in this web crazy, social media and often surreal world?

I am holding on to my old educational poster and it will work as a reminder to myself  making sure that my kids are exposed to a lot of color and realness in their daily lives.

Before I end today I would like to extend a big thank you to the lovely Manvi, Lana, Charlotta and Mackenzie who all helped out with the second batch of guest posts. You are all oh so so talented and always kind and mega supportive.

Thank you all — it is good to be back in the saddle again!

Images via:
1. Apartment Therapy, 2. Apartment Therapy, 3. Hannis Hem. 4. Olands Byggnadsvard, 5. Unknown (sorry!). All the rest via Splendid Willow.

Written by Splendid Willow in: My Home | Tags:


My Home & The Chest Is Now Blue!

Welcome to my home in Seattle! The very talented (and funny!) Patricia Van Essche made this drawing of my home. I absolutely love it! (it has kind of a retro feel to it, which is what I wanted and she made the house look even better than in real life! Haha!). Thank you Patricia! This was a winter picture. We are now starting to get more greenery in our front yard. And yes, the sun shines even in Seattle!

Here is a montage of some things/areas at my house. (If I am brave enough, I might share more with you. A little bit of remodeling will begin soon and I would love to bring you along on my very personal design trials and tribulations!). My blog style “Edgy classic with a Swedish twist” is also my style at home. I like to mix old with contemporary and high-end with flea market finds. (I have no problem pairing original 18th c. dining chairs with Ikea chairs. (As a matter of fact I encourage it!). Our love for art and books is real and of course my home would not be called “home” without a good dose of “Swedish”! Not many pieces here are brand new. I like classic pieces and I am not  a slave to trends. I know what I like and what works for me and my lively family (3 kids + two cats!). Comfort has highest priority for me and a good welcoming vibe for people of all sizes. The kids climb on very single piece of furniture in our house – 24/7. (I grew up in a family where we kids were not allowed to enter the dining room except on very special occasions). If you look closely you will find signs of markers on my dining table and chocolate fingerprints on just about anything upholstered. And I love it! A house needs to breathe life).

This is pretty cute. When I was taking a picture of the foyer, little William (2.5) decided to park his bumblebee vehicle right in front of the camera – on his way to grab a snack in the kitchen! This is why I love kids!

An old, antique Italian secretaire paired with a cubby shelf from Pottery Barn! You can read more about that here.

Do you remember my little chest dilemma, a while back (read here)? My question to myself (and to you!) was if I should paint my antique chest navy blue? And perhaps add new hardware? The majority of you said yes.

And after some soul searching and looking at it from all angles – I went for it! And I could not be happier! Let me introduce to you my new night stand table!

I had the chest first primed and then painted in Benjamin Moore’s ” Old Navy” (oil based, high gloss). I replaced the dull ornaments with these wonderful and substantial lion pulls from the fabulous hardware company Whitechapel Ltd (the pulls are in brass and originally from England).

Now, I would not recommend painting just any kind of antique. Actually, in many cases I dot not recommend even touching them at all. But having imported antiques in the past, I can assure you that this is not a a quality piece. And instead of it not having such a prime spot in our home, it is now the delight of our master bedroom!

I also decided to leave my consignment shop gold mirror ($27 dollars!) in its original state. Gold is back in vogue again and several of you convinced me not to touch it!

Old marching band music cards!

So, there you have it! My chest makeover. I could not be more pleased!. This  folks, is the ONLY area in the entire house that is mine – ONLY mine! It feels so luxurious to me (and yet this project cost me less than a good pair of shoes)! Here I keep things nice and organized and I surround myself with only things that I love. This corner is my own little piece of heaven!

Thank you for letting me share my home with you. Happy, happy to you all! And check in on Thursday when you will meet a lady with really good taste (and who inspires me!)

Written by Splendid Willow in: My Home |


Shall I Paint This Antique Chest?

Shall I paint my antique chest or not? I am thinking yes! My husband says no and that I will regret it. What’s to regret? We are talking about a piece of furniture from the mid or latter 1800-hundreds in Sweden that you see in droves and that most people in Sweden wouldn’t give a second look.

So, this is my inspiration piece. A family room designed by Mr. Handsome Nate Berkus himself, and featured in Elle Decor not a long time ago. (Most of you have probably seen it). That same dark, royal blue color on the walls can also be found on a lovely, contemporary painting in my master bedroom. (I will show it to you in an upcoming post).

And here is my chest – looking all sad and lonely as it has been in hiding. I have now moved into the light for further inspection. I think it is “not-so-handsome” right now and only changing the hardware doesn’t do the job for me. And trust me we are not exactly talking high quality either (otherwise the thought would never have crossed my mind). But the carved details are quite lovely and in my book, the chest has potential.

What do you think about the idea of having it professionally painted in a high-gloss royal blue color, very much like the door in the living room above? I personally think that the carved lion heads would be even more stately and visible.

I would also have all the  hardware replaced (and some even removed) with some lovely Lion Pull Heads like this from Paxton Hardware.

Now that, to me, would be a lovely statement piece that I would want as my new bedside table. I would welcome that added drama and glamor! I would proudly show it off.

Since I am at it, I am also thinking of painting this lovely vintage mirror (actually of very good quality) that I found at a consignment store for – hold on to your hats! -$ 27!!! (I ran out of the store with it carefully protected in my arms). I am thinking perhaps white or light gray? I so adore the lines. Both classic and modern. (The mirror is larger than it looks in the photo).

Yes, no, maybe? Bring it on! I can take it! If I don’t get too many no’s I will get to it right away. I am not exactly famous for being a procrastinator(!). And my husband, you say? Well, I will just have to blame the verdict on you! Haha! (He is a usually a very good sport my wonderful husband!)

Thank you all for being in my life. You are the best!

Written by Splendid Willow in: DIY,My Home |


My Apple Crown, 10th Picture & Blog Love


When my lovely blog sister in Australia Charlotte over at Space for Inspiration tagged me about the 10th picture stored in my computer I was happy to discover that it was not a picture when I was a pregnant hippo Mama but instead it was a blurry shot of a Swedish 18th c. sideboard from the days when I was importing Swedish antiques. (Kiki, if you read this – wasn’t it a fun time!). The photo also showed a slightly cut off apple crown of my own design which I was going to tell you the story of.

Well, this weekend – as many of you know –  my computer crashed and I lost hundreds of images – including that very image. But I managed to restore a photo of the same sideboard – but here looking a little bit sad and lonely. Thankfully I had some old paper images of my crown that I could scan.

So, this is the story about my Apple Crown.

I  have always admired my Mom’s Swedish iron apple crown that she brings out every Christmas. When I was a little girl she would place the candles and I got to attach the apples – and I knew that Christmas finally was here. The tradition goes back to before we had Christmas trees in Sweden and when a male in the family would carve a tree in wood as a center piece for the holidays. For ambiance and decorations, candles and apples were used. (Remember this was winter time and apples were one of the few things with color that could be stored in the earth cellars). Many versions of these trees and crowns have been made over the years.

About 5 1/2 years ago, I decided to design my very own version (and the first of its kind). All I knew was that wanted it to be beautiful and handmade in Sweden. I teamed up with a fantastic antique restorer who specializes in precious metal work and he put it all together technically according to my specifications. I had contact with people all over Sweden to find all the pieces like the rings and ornaments, the candle holders and all the details that made this crown look like it could have been handmade in Sweden in the 1700-hundreds.

So here it is, in its glory. My own Apple Crown prototype – all handmade in bronze and 24K gold.

During the design process I learned that it would be rather expensive to have it handmade in Sweden. (Which I had anticipated but was still hoping it wouldn’t be the case). I still hold a patent and will most likely go back to the drawingboard with a different plan. I am still very attached to the idea. And it is so meaningful to me personally and to my Swedish roots.

Now when Charlotta tagged me, the idea was:

1) For me to find the 10th picture stored in my computer

2) Tell the story about the picture

3) And tag 5 other bloggers

If you want to play along (not mandatory, friends) I would like to tag the following blogs (I increased the no. just because I felt like it):

In no particular order:

1. Blue Bird Notes, 2. Being Ruby, 3. Helt Enkelt, 4. Haute Design, 5. Purple Area, 6. Belgian Pearls, 7.  Head over Heals,  8. Mochatini, 9. Lime In The Coconut, 10. Trouvais,

I have saved this particularly for you guys. Why? Because you are either so brilliant with your cameras or showcasing images (or both!). And you are so good with your writing. And I love that you are all so different. (I am anything but a clicky girl). Your blogs are all wonderful!

(Helt Enkelt, Bluebird Notes and Being Ruby – the 3 of you need to talk because you are also my wisdom girls!).

Going back to dear Charlotta, in Australia who also is Swedish and like myself a happy Mama! She posts absolutely wonderful images on her blog and I so treasure our friendship across the Pacific. But as the big sister I also feel that it is my responsibility to push her a little in another area! This girl is very creative and talented with childrens’ artwork. (I can’t draw to save my life, so I find it so inspiring). She has a work blog but doesn’t talk about it very much. I most definitely think that she should do something more with her talent!

Now how cute is this?

And this? Hello?!

I think that Etsy would welcome Charlotta with open arms! Don’t you agree?!! (Etsy is the largest market place in the world for handmade objects). But of course Charlotta, only do it if it feels right in your heart. But if and when you start selling big my friend, remember who pushed you!

This was a strange mix of content. Everything from the 10th picture to blog love, Etsy and my own Apple Crown. But it has one common thread – it is all written from my heart.

Happy rest of the week, friends!

Written by Splendid Willow in: Art & Antiques,My Home |


Vintage Star Constellation Charts On My Mind

Images from Thomas O’Brien’s wonderful NY apartment has been circulating in magazines and on blogs for quite some time. (Some claim his apartment is over-exposed, but I love it!). The single object that has caught my attention since I first saw it in 2007,  is his large hemisphere chart (navy blue). It has been in the back of my head, without even knowing what it was. And for the last past six months or so we have started to see planets and stars as themes in just about every design magazine and furniture catalog.

I do not want to adopt a whole room theme but I still find those vintage star constellation charts so attractive and so perfect for classy boys – young and old!  I think they would make for the perfect wall art for my little William (2.5) who is now ready to leave his baby room (or his Mom is!) and move into a cozy room suited for a big boy.

I have been lurking on Ebay for a while and missed winning a chart similar to this (don’t even get me started on that story, it just makes my want to cry!)

But then a few weeks ago I found these lovely vintage Astronomy Celestial maps (ca 1894) on E-bay. Not identical, but similar in style and quite handsome. And these I won for a mere $27! They will work just fine until the perfect piece comes along. (Or I might never want to depart from them!)

I had them framed at Aaron Brothers (leading framing store chain). We all know that framing can be hugely expensive. So to save a little, I actually bought two of their square (16×16 inches or 41×41 cm) pre-made white frames on the the big frame sale day (40% off) instead of having them make something for me. I only had them cut the matting and saved even more money by putting it all together myself.

I picked them up yesterday on our way home from Canada. Pretty nice for a 2.5 year old’s room, don’t you think? (Sorry for my mediocre images. They look better in real!)

These will work as inspiration for the rest of Prince William’s room. I have no idea where I am going with this. But when designing a room I like to start with one thing that I really like and have the rest follow. More on this room to come. Hope you don’t mind!

Happy Easter to you all – if we don’t talk before! You are the best!


Image 1+ 2 via House&Home, Image 3. via Habitually Chic, Image 4. via the lovely Space for Inspiration, Egg image via We Heart It. All others via Splendid Willow.

Written by Splendid Willow in: Art & Antiques,My Home |

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