Inside Scoop: A Scandinavian Style Retreat


Hello hello! I have an exciting new project keeping me sufficiently occupied these days, so apologies for my absence lately. But I have something that might just make it up to you: a dreamy white Scandinavian style retreat to soak up, and the holiday home of my good friend Tessa of Nu interieur | ontwerp. We recently ventured to her home to style it for a feature on Houzz, and now that the article has published, I am thrilled to take you inside for the full scoop! Ready?




Having grown up taking summer holidays in her parent’s cottage in Drenthe, The Netherlands, interior designer Tessa and her husband Martin jumped at the chance to purchase the neighboring cottage four years ago as a place for them to escape to the countryside with their three daughters. What was once a dated interior sporting heavy brown woodwork and a tired kitchen, Tessa infused her signature contemporary and cozy style to create an inviting space that she and her family can enjoy throughout the year.

As the floors were already a pale wood and the walls were white upon purchase, the first thing Tessa and Martin did to the place was add a few coats of white paint to the dark brown woodwork and infuse their new getaway with their minimalistic sense of style. The new colour scheme soon had their petit living room looking and feeling a lot larger, while a navy blue sofa grounds the space and adds contrast and ample seating for the family of five. The grey rug from La Perla adds a cozy touch to the room and combats the chilly autumn and winter temperatures.







Tessa’s preference for uncluttered spaces meant that smart storage solutions had to be installed to keep mess and clutter at bay during their visits. As a designer, Tessa strives to offer the same combination of practicality-meets-aesthetics to her clients. She and Martin used a set of ‘Billy’ cabinets from Ikea to create storage behind the sofa, but customized it by making the doors themselves.

When decorating the cottage, Tessa chose to use lots of white and neutral tones throughout with wooden accents to add warmth. “I didn’t want it took look particularly styled, but I did want it to have a light and bright look and feel, like a Swedish summer cottage,” Tessa says.

I love the little writing desk above. Beside double doors that lead off the living room out onto the patio, it makes the perfect spot for creating, reading or writing.





The tiny kitchen can be found beyond the dining area, and consists of a small row of cupboards top and bottom, which were original to the cottage when Martin and Tessa purchased it. The kitchen window looks out onto the back garden with views onto green fields beyond. I love that they upgraded the original kitchen with a few details, such as a new countertop and hardware. I also love the glass Ikea cabinet that Tessa customized with her own self-designed leather handles. Such a simple, clever and pretty solution for a small space!




Tessa and Martin’s bedroom is compact but comfortable and cosy. The twin cupboards on either side of the double bed were there when they took over the cottage, but they customized them by adding Ikea ‘Besta‘ cabinets above the bed for extra storage space and finished it all of with a set of black leather handles. I love the memories of past summers scattered around the cottage.




Tessa’s three (gorgeous!) daughters share a cute little bedroom, which they love. I can just image the excited little giggles that must come from that tiny space late into the night. Tessa made that little yellow owl, the clever thing she is, and interspersed between white on white are some little fall inspired accents here and there. IMG_5083

Though Tessa and Martin don’t visit their cottage as often as they would like to as it’s a two hour drive from home, they do plan to take advantage of their getaway more in the future. “We will soon be moving to live in the city, so it will be nice to have this little escape amongst the nature,” Tessa says.

I’m looking forward to spending a weekend with Tessa and her gorgeous family there (yes, Tessa, I did just invite myself, and my crazy family!). I can just see myself perched on a low slung deck chair breathing in the fresh country air, glass of wine in hand, while the girls (mine included) explore the surroundings and run to their heart’s content…

What did you think? Did you enjoy that little tour? Tessa’s interior design aesthetic relies on a lot of white with black and cognac brown highlights to add coziness and contrast, which is so right for small spaces like this. Who knew white could be so cosy?

Not quite done yet? See more pics I shot of this home and read the full story here! I also noticed that a Houzz contributor Laura of the gorgeous UK based blog Lolalina was so inspired by this little cottage that she featured it over on her blog too. Thanks Laura!

Have a great day!


* Images by Holly Marder for Houzz

3 Responses to “Inside Scoop: A Scandinavian Style Retreat”

  1. […] Un’atmosfera serena e tante idee semplici ed economiche a cui ispirarsi in questo favoloso cottage in Olanda, Avenue Lifestyle. […]

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