Friday, January 25, 2013

Kitchen redo

I've splurged a little bit... I've been drooling over these two for quite some time, and after a week of improvising a kitchen in the hallway and carpenters walking in and out of my home with their dirty boots, I felt a bit sorry for myself...
Both are designed by Barbro Tryberg Boberg and Maria Holmer Dahlgren for BoM UNITED and Formverket. I love the 60s vibes, especially on the whimsical tray.

This is how my kitchen looks like just now... Everything in boxes, and I can't find anything! I'm going mad, and it's still 3 weeks to go. Worst part is the constantly dirty floors. Luckily having two floors makes it easier to keep half of the house clean. Eyes on the prize, I keep telling myself, I'm SOOO looking forward to the end results!

Electrical outlets and switches need to be moved, so we're taking down the wood panels on two walls to hide all cables. Everything will get some fresh coats of white paint, and we'll have some new wooden flooring.The picture in the middle shows the existing walls. My house is quite nostalgic, and my strategy is to keep renewing it with modern contrasts on the inside, while letting the walls and floors reflect the style of the house. I'd love to design a house for us one day, but I tell you it's A LOT easier to draw other people's houses! A colleague who lives in a house of his own design once told me "I'm confronted with my own choices all the time, it's quite exhausting!"

When I started planning our new kitchen, I searched everywhere for some great wood surfaces, but they were hard to find. White is big here now, alongside the lighter nordic woods. I just threw out a white kitchen and wanted something else this time. Some time ago, I found this cabinet maker called Tingbø, whose small family business is in the southwestern city of Egersund, home of the great pottery. They started their business just a few years ago, and have already gotten some well deserved acclaim in glossy magazines. I had more or less decided on walnut cabinets, but when Tingbø told me he could make me something in teak, I was sold! They have a small, but very nice selection of designs, but they can pretty much make whatever you want. As mentioned in a previous post, they made the display cabinets and interior for the Egersund pottery museum.

Our kitchen is going to be the first they make in teak, so there's no photos to show you yet, but the following images showes the type of drawers I've ordered. The cabinet doors have the same type of minimal slots. The kitchen below is in walnut and has a bit more pattern than teak, but it gives you an idea. The counter will be white stone, hood, induction top, oven, light switches and electrical outlets black. I've found some very simple matte black cylindrical lamps to put over the counter and I'll order a String shelf (wall hung) in walnut (the closest to teak they have) with black sides to store some of my Figgjo and Stavangerflint pieces. I've also planned to let my Wiinblad plaques add to the black and white theme:-) I have january, february and march, I hope to find some more! Wishing you all the most fantastic weekend!


Sunday, January 13, 2013

A few new ones

How was your weekend? Good, I hope! I took my youngest one (he's eleven) for some Saturday shopping yesterday, he got to have a look in his favorite electronics chain and I got to explore a charity store that I didn't know of.
We both had a great time, and guess what- I think I might have raised a thrifter! Out of a pile of junk he pulled a BAY West Germany planter. In brown!!! He came over and said "isn't this the kind you like, mum?" Remind me to bring him treasure- hunting again! The place was so full of stuff and the aisles so narrow, that at first I was a bit nervous he would break something. What was I thinking?

While he was busy somewhere else (they had a comics department, extremely convenient), I found these two cute Egersund cups in the pattern called "Korulen". Sadly, they had no saucers, but they don't appear in thrift stores very often, so I got them anyway. They cost next to nothing. They are quite small, almost the size of espresso cups. I love this pattern, it's a very happy 70s one. It was designed by Kaare Blokk Johansen and Unni Margrethe Johnsen in the mid 70s.

Are you foreign friends familiar with the Egersund brand? Alongside Figgjo and Stavangerflint, which I'm so proud to see has gained fame worldwide, this was an equally great fayance factory in the southwest of Norway. Alas, the factory has closed it's doors some time ago, but there's this great little museum that we went to when I visited my home town this summer. I really recommend it if you're anywhere near, it's pretty close to pottery heaven. Check out this post. The guy who made the cabinets for the museum is the same one who's making my new kitchen!

Ok, back to the charity store. I got a dilemma as we were leaving. Turns out, they have heaps of Arabia Ruska pieces, the great design by Ulla Procope... I love that design and could have just gone bananas and bought the whole lot, but I guess reason got to me. After all, I'm collecting whatever I can lay my hands on from the Stavangerfint Brunette dinner set, and have found some great serving dishes. Dinner plates seems to be hard to come by, though, so it's going rather slowly. I do love the Brunette design, and the color is gorgeous, so I will keep on collecting it. It's from my home town too:-) The sweet lady in the store told me they normally had a good selection of the Ruska, so I guess I can sleep on it:-) I bought a small lidded bowl that I'll use for jam, as a small reminder. I found this great image that shows the whole Arabia Ruska series on a site that sells great design form Finland, check it out here.

Speaking of Egersund, I don't think I've shown you the beautiful little pitcher my parents gave me as a house gift when they arrived for Christmas? The size is actually somewhere between a pitcher and a creamer, my guess is that it was meant for custard or some other sauce for dessert. It was designed in 1910 by Jakob Sømme and came in five sizes. It was in production until 1973, and is considered one of the factory's most iconic pieces. It's called "Alkemuggen"(Razorbill pitcher/ jug), named after the north Atlantic sea bird. I see that I called it the "Puffin jug" in  the above mentioned post, but that's not the right seabird... Isn't it beautiful?  What I find so amazing about the Egersund museum is to "read" the different eras in the designs when you see them all displayed chronologically. I think this little fella shows some remains of art nouveau and some emerging art deco. I never dreamed of owning one of these!

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

My childhood kingdom

I've referred to my childhood coast quite a few times, and thought I'd finally show you some pictures. I now live on the southeastern coast in a nice little place with lots of wondeful people, but where the landscape is very different, and I miss the openness and drama of North sea. My childhood coast is what really makes my heart beat faster and what has shaped me into who I am. I guess we are all different in how we feel connected to places, I never seem to be able to let go of my longing for the place I grew up.

 I grew up on the southwestern rim of Norway, where I guess you could say the landscape is quite similar to the danish westcoast. A half hours drive inland is where your Figgjo is made! You won't find images of this place in a tourism brouchure, they tend to only show what's considered typical norwegian, fjords surrounded by mountains and blooming apple trees. That's an image that has stuck ever since the poets of the romantic period of the late 1800s considered the southwestern flat and windy coast a very gloomy place with low ground- hugging houses made of timber from shipwrecks on the rugged coast.

Above is an old traditional farmhouse, low and ground- hugging, shaped to let the wind pass over it. Below is a beautiful old vicorage by the ocean, which has been turned into a great gallery for modern art.

I'm happy to observe these days that there's a growing amount of young people seeking the wonderful surfing conditions this stretch of coast has, and thereby treasuring the beautiful landscape. The tough guys come in the winter when the largest waves roll in from the North Sea, in summer when everything has calmed down, you can take surfing classes.

The climate is mild and the differences between winter and summer are not as great as in other parts of the country. There is rarely snow in the winter, mostly rain and wind. The landscape is very flat and there are long stretches of sandy beach, altogether 70 kilometres, the rest is filled with stones that the glaciers of the ice age left there. Today this is one of this country's largest farm regions. When I walk the stoney stretches of coast that are now protected by law, knowing the whole region was once like this, I'm always in awe of all the hard labour that was put into removing all that stone from the ground. Of course, a beautiful result of this labour is that the area is overstrewn with amazing stone fences.

Along the stoney coast there are a lot of bronze age and iron age grave sites, that look like slightly more geometric clusters of stone. Many of these have contained artefacts from the other side of the North sea, showing the degree of interaction our seafaring ancestors had. Much more than with the inland parts of Norway. I guess growing up on the coast always makes you curious of what's on the other side of the ocean.

A great number of WW2 bunkers can be seen along the beaches. These were part of the german Atlantic wall and were meant to stop allied forces from the UK.

The focus on this region in modern times has mostly been on Stavanger as Norway's oil capital. My coastal home town grew rapidly from the late 60s when oil was discovered off our shore, and turned into an international city, very different from our other cities at that time. Until then, the city was shaped by its shipping, fishery and canning industry. We experiensed some pretty amazing times when the oil rigs built there became part of the cityscape and dwarfed the historic wooden houses. When they were ready, we found a good viewpoint and watched the giants start their journey out to the oil fields in the North sea. 

Ocean vessels then and now. The green one is a supply ship for North sea oil rigs. Below are images from the old town, that once housed employees of the canning factories.


My childhood kingdom is rugged, often stormy and grey, but to me, it's the most beautiful place on earth! I miss it so much and hope one day I can move back:-) I'm sure you all come from amazing places too, whether you feel closest to where you spent your childhood or where you live now. Feel like sharing?



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