Susanne Holmsäter welcomes us to her one-bedroom apartment on Södermalm in Stockholm with wooded walls and stained glass windows, designed by famous Swedish architect Ragnar Östberg. In this space she has created an oasis with art, personal objects and second-hand findings. Along with an unbeatable view of Stockholm’s inlet and a lovely atmosphere, we begin to look for reasons to stay longer.
Susanne’s 66 square meter apartment has views of Skansen and Skeppsholmen in Södermalm, Stockholm. She is one of those people who always seems to be close to laughter and make everyone feel comfortable in her presence, which also reflects the atmosphere of her home. As soon as we step inside we are welcomed by a calm and relaxing atmosphere. Susanne treats us to cardamom buns and tea and we almost forget about the reason for our visit. Susanne works with PR and events at the global marketplace Tictail, where she has now been for two years.
Let’s back up a little, to 2001. Susanne was 12 years old and had a summer job in a kiosk in Älgö where she grew up. The reason was that she wanted to buy a pair of designer sunglasses that she had her eye on and her dad told her she had to earn the money herself, to learn the value of money. As fate would have it, she was scouted by MIKAS, one of Stockholm largest model agencies in that kiosk. Since then, modelling has always been an extra job for Susanne, with the exception of a year in New York after studies. A way to take responsibility for her economy early on, to get an outlet for her creativity and to learn more about photography which is a favourite hobby.
As soon as we step inside we are welcomed by a calm and relaxing atmosphere.
How long have you been living in this apartment?
I’ve lived here for almost three years. It is a rental and I was really lucky with a swap. I had an apartment that the woman who lived here was looking for. My previous apartment was newly renovated with an elevator in the building, something that suited her needs better because she was starting to get older. And I was looking for something bigger. It was a lot of luck that made us get in touch with each other in that period in our lives.
Lamp from Tom Dixon, the table is inherited and the chairs are from Inside Möbler in Stockholm. Vases on the floor are from Oscar & Clothilde, magazine rack second hand from “Stadsmissionen” and the basket from Afroart. The chair is Hunter Easy by Torbjörn Afdal, bought on Blocket.se and the photo art Moutife, En Route by Michaela Wissén in 70×100.
Bedside tables from Mio och lamps from Blocket.se. The cushions are bought at H&M Home & Afroart. The headbord is a second hand bargain also from Blocket.se & the painting is made by Susanne’s grandfather Carl-Olof Holmsäter.
The camera is a Vintage Nikon FE, bought at “Ohlson’s foto”. The painting is from Elin Krönström, Tictail.com and the book from Printworksmarket. The seashell in porslin is bought second hand.
How much have you done with it since you moved in?
When I moved in, the kitchen was in bad condition, so we pulled out everything. And by “we”, I mean my dad and his friend who is a craftsman. They built a new kitchen and the landlord brought in new appliances. The bathroom was also damaged, which was a bummer because there was such beautiful green tile, which unfortunately had to be replaced. In addition to that, I’ve built some bookshelves and painted some walls. My boyfriend Jona will move in shortly so we will probably change things up with the interior. He’s going to want to put his mark on it but luckily we like the same style, to mix new with vintage. Jona is as obsessed with wood as I am, which may be a good thing when you live in this apartment.
It’s a very unique apartment, what do you know about the property?
The building was designed in the 30’s by the same architect that designed Stockholm City Hall, a man named Ragnar Östberg. You can see it in lots of details like the knobs on the doors and the decorated ventilation openings. The wooded walls are also very typical for him. I was told a story that there was a writer, by the name of Sven Stolpe, who used this apartment in the mid 1900´s.
The building was designed in the 30’s by the same architect that designed Stockholm City Hall, a man named Ragnar Östberg.
– Susanne Holmsäter
How would you describe your style?
Romantic! I am a little of a romantic which is mirrored a lot in my style. And some artistic minimalism, maybe. I think you just have to go for it and not think so much. Someone told me a while ago that when you are challenging yourself and think “this may not be good at all”, then you are on the right track. It should be a bit uncomfortable, otherwise you have made it too easy. I am deeply inspired by artists apartments where there is art everywhere and things may be a bit unorthodox. Where everything doesn’t necessarily go together, but it works because it’s all in the same apartment. I am obsessed with shopping second hand, which also means that you have be comfortable with the fact that things won’t automatically match. I love mixing art with photo art. Both are very close to my heart. For me, there can’t be too much art in here.
Sofa from Stalands and cushions from Afroart, the coffee table is made by Susanne with steel from “Bromma Stål” in Stockholm. The cups are inherited from Susanne’s grandfather.
The bottle is bought at a flee market, and the brass basket at Adornment.se.
Chair, Hunter Easy by Torbjörn Afdal and pillow from Afroart.
You have a lot of photo art, what do you like about it?
I love the contrast between photo art and art, much because I have so many paintings from my grandfather who was an artist. He painted with a lot of color and they are so special in themselves. Then I think it’s nice to break off with modern photo art. I’m drawn to photo art because I think the motifs say so much about the photographer, I love the stories behind them. There is so much storytelling in each subject, both the image itself, but also the photographer, and one can make their own interpretations. What I really like about Moutife, is that you can read about every photographer and get to know them a bit.
I love the contrasts between photo art and art.
– Susanne Holmsäter
What is your favorite piece of furniture?
Oh, how difficult! I love my typewriter in the hallway, it was bought second hand in Älvsjö on My Dearest Second Hand. I love my green bubble vase in the window. But I’m not so fiercely attached to certain furniture, even if I like them I think it’s fun to replace things. There are, of course, exceptions. Some things have a higher sentimental value than others. For example, I have inherited a set of dinnerware from my grandfather, I like being able to serve a whole dinner with it. My grandfather’s paintings are super special to me as well.
Frames in plexi from Ordning & Reda, lamp bought second hand from “Stadsmissionen” and the vase is a gift. The candlesticks in brass are also from “Stadsmissionen”.
Do you have any tips for what to think about when decorating a home?
There are so many cliché answers here but, Pinterest, let’s not lie. There is so much inspiration no matter what style you have. I usually hover between cluelessness and a clear direction. It can help me make a small plan of what I’m actually looking for. And to get a reference point. Pinterest, or places similar to it, are a good starting place to make a mental note of “it’s something like this I want”.
What do you think is beautiful? Buy it! Does it match? Who cares!
– Susanne Holmsäter
What do you think makes a home unique?
To be able to see who it is living there, I think that makes it unique. I really think you should go all in, and certainly not let the expectations of others limit your own choices. What do you think is beautiful? Buy it! Does it match? Who cares! If you think it’s pretty, it’ll probably look great together with the other stuff you’ve got at home.
Is it important to you that it is unique?
I think it’s important to feel at home. Knowing “this is my temple” when you get inside the door. Here I can breathe out and just be. If you feel that way, I’m also fully convinced that your guests will feel at home when they come to visit. No matter what style you have or how it looks.
Painting from Carl-Olof Holmsäter & lamp from Blocket.se. Tray from Tictail.com.
Pedestal from Blocket.se & shelf from String. Hanging basket is Createaholic, from Tictail.com.