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Good Design {For All} In Stockholm

One thing amongst many that I completely loved about Stockholm is that good design truly is accessible to all income levels. It wasn’t just at DesignTorget, ?hl?ns, or Svenskt Tenn, but great things could be found in even the budget shops and especially the vintage and antiques stores.

Some textiles that I purchased, I love the new Elisabeth Dunker pattern to the far right called Str?ssel, I have 2 yards now for sewing a roman shade for my kitchen and it cost about $80 USD total for the fabric from ?hl?ns.

(this image only via Elisabeth)


This (below) is ?hl?ns, it’s right in the center of Stockholm so you can jump off the train at Central station and go directly upstairs to ?hl?ns, DesignTorget, even an inexpensive store called Lagerhaus that we discovered while roaming around that I’d not heard of before. I’ll show you Lagerhaus further down in this post. But first, back to ?hl?ns. It reminded me a lot of Herrods in London or KaDeWe in Berlin.


The sales lady in their fabric department was so sweet, she even allowed me to take a few photos. Look at these gorgeous bolts of drool-inducing Scandinavian prints. I had to hold myself back because I truly wanted to buy a yard or two of each for further projects.
I should add that this store not only has amazing textiles, but the best selection of things for the home, like curtains, duvets, cookware, and I can’t even get into their floor of fashion. I could have dropped several thousand dollars on each floor, everything was so on target with my personal taste that I felt like I had walked into a giant decor8 blog or that perhaps the entire store wasn’t called ?hl?ns at all, but Holly-Land perhaps? Have you ever been into a store where you could own everything? For me, ?hl?ns was such a store. (Along with Pure And Simple, a boutique store near our hotel.)


Of course, good design should be available to all, and in Stockholm, it truly is. Lagerhaus located at Birger Jarlsgatan 18 was so inexpensive that I had to pinch myself, in some cases prices were lower than IKEA. From tin tea cans to bread boards, curtains, pillows, decals, postcards, mugs… Okay just about anything you can think of, Lagerhaus had it in abundance at great prices. I snapped a few quick photos while inside their store to give you a glimpse. Most of what you see is under $10!


Speaking of affordable, Swedish blogger Emma took me to a Salvation Army store in SoFo that is a fair trade store and they had some incredible stuff for the lowest prices. Of course, there’s a lot of vintage shops around the city, a few of my favorites include Retro Etc., where I found this bread board that is 30 years old for under $20. This shop was so color loaded that you nearly need sunglasses to walk through the front door. And it’s not just retro vintage stuff, there’s lots of brand new goodies to look through like Mibo lighting and Orla Kiely deliciousness.


I also must comment on how easy it was to find gorgeous textiles in Sweden. Almost every store that offered pillows or curtains also sold the same fabric from bolts, you could purchase whatever you wanted and as a sewer, I appreciated seeing this so much. My ‘issue’ back in America is all the “to the trade only” nonsense, and although I can walk in and buy what I need, many cannot so they’re banned from these items unless they have an contact or hire a designer, etc.

Back home, the common shopper, and I say common with all due respect just to mean someone who doesn’t belong to the trade, has to go to fabric stores in either the big cities or the suburban chain fabric stores and hope to find some stylish textiles because what they really want is only available to certain people, if you know what I mean, those trade people. And I dislike this very much.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think this whole “to the trade” even exists in Sweden because again, good fabric was all over the city and anyone could walk up to a sales clerk and purchase yardage in their favorite print. I couldn’t believe it. I really wish that in America, this whole practice is eventually done away with because it shuts out so many from things that they would otherwise own if only they had access to it.

I like Elle Decor, House and Garden, and other high end glossies for their gorgeous style and eye for design, but when I check the resource guide and see 90% of everything shown in the magazine is mostly to the trade only, I get this sinking feeling because I know that my friends are shut out and it’s not fair. Then, on the opposite side of the spectrum, you have design-friendly and extremely accessible and savvy Stockholm. Another reason why this city completely rocked.

{I’m heading out to a fusion Japanese Jazz concert with friends, so I’ll be back tomorrow with more Stockholm finds for you to enjoy.}

(images from holly becker for decor8)

Posted in textiles, travel on October 10, 2007

Afroart (Stockholm)

I loved Afroart and could have lingered in this gorgeous color-filled shop for hours sifting through the endless piles of rugs, blankets, textiles, ikat fabrics, woven this, embroidered that… Oh it was just such a great place to discover, and it was a block from our hotel. Heaven.


Yum! All so very delightful and the greater good is accomplished when you shop here as it is owned by a group of Swedish designers who work directly with artisans all over the world and purchase directly from them. They have lots of information on their website about their cause, you should read it for all the details.


I couldn’t take it all home with me, so I decided to locate one item that I would forever keep – something special. And this was easy, as it was the first thing I spotted the moment I stepped into the door. It was on a wall ladder that I found my dream blanket, which will go in my living room when I return to the states, a queen size hand-embroidered 100% cotton blanket from Bangladesh with the most beautiful birds on it. It was around $1,200 kroner which was maybe $200 USD (I think, I have to check with my bank). There was also a stuffed elephant and bird to match, as well as a small blanket for kids that was around 400 kroner. I love ethnic stores like this one because the designers select things that are very hip and colorful, bright, fresh – some stores offering ethnic things tend to go more towards the dark woods, colors, and lots of kelly green and orange. Not this place – it was a hue-infused exotic paradise.

They have two stores in Stockholm, but I preferred the one on Hornsgatan 58, in the S?dermalm district because it’s much larger than it’s newly opened sister store. I highly suggest Afroart when in Stockholm, it’s a must-see for those in love with ethnic prints and patterns, helping the environment and villages around the world, and of course, recycling.

(images from holly becker for decor8)

Posted in travel on October 10, 2007

Stockholm Scoop!

I hope you’re prepared to travel this week, because I’m back from Stockholm and ready to give you the full scoop. So if you’ve ever wanted to travel there, this will be your virtual vacation. I can’t wait to share the ‘best of’ highlights from this delightful travel destination. You’re in for a treat this week!


But first, a big thank you for your patience while I’ve been away. I think all bloggers battle with taking time away from their blogs and although I was only out for 3 days, it feels like eternity! But no worries, I’m back in full swing now!

Ah Stockholm. What a terrific time away and certainly one of the most inspirational — everything is super stylish, from fashion to interiors, and the people are friendly and helpful, streets are clean, food is amazing, magazines and books are filled with color and character, I’ll have great memories of this city for the rest of my life. What I appreciated the most is that despite ‘having it all’, the people are the most laid back and unpretentious in the world despite how they hold the key to so much beauty, talent and style. There’s no “too cool for school” vibe like I sometimes feel back home in America in certain areas, where you almost think you aren’t good enough to run with certain crowds. I’m sure some of you know exactly what I mean. It was just so nice to land in a place where I instantly felt accepted and welcomed by the people, but that I in turn felt an attachment to – like I could live in Stockholm because I had the feeling that living there could work. It’s not a feeling I have too often.

Stockholm is welcoming, open minded, confident, modern, vibrant, and if you love design and food (as I assume you must), you have to visit at least once in your lifetime. It takes a lot for a city to impress me these days, due to my own age and experience I guess, but wow – it’s a fascinating, beautiful spot that I can’t wait to share with you.

Book from DesignTorget, ceramic pieces by Karin Eriksson via Cosas.

Oh, and if you like the horse from the first image above, he’s also from Cosas, a gorgeous Swedish online store that I was able to shop from in person at their booth at the Hem ’07 show. I love his little wool saddle. :)

…Back soon!

(image by holly becker for decor8)

Posted in travel on October 10, 2007

Vacation Time!

Time for a girls’ getaway! I’m signing off now because in the morning I’m heading up to Stockholm to meet up with Danielle, who is flying there to meet me for holiday. We’ve both wanted to see Stockholm for many years now, so it’s exciting that the time has finally arrived and that we’ll be taking in the sights together, with Emma and a few other friends as our trusty guides. (Psst: Emma wrote a terrific guide to Stockholm if you’d like to see some of things we plan to do while there.) I can’t wait to finally meet Emma!

I’ll be away from the blog until Wednesday, October 10, so please feel free to browse through the archives and some of my favorite blogs in the left column while I’m away. And when I’m back, I’ll share with you all the highlights from our little adventure in Sweden, from the stores to hotel photos, and a ‘best of’ round up from the Hem design show. I’ll see you back here on Wednesday, October 10th! – xo Holly

(Image: Rob Schoenbaum for the NYTimes)

Posted in uncategorized on October 04, 2007

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