Get your Scandi On- Insights of Interior Design

Get your Scandi On- Insights of Interior Design

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

 

We ponder with Netherlands native and Geelong’s newest addition to the style scene- Maartje Hartveldt.

 

Scandinavian influence on design, and its persistent popularity make it more than a cultural trend we infuse, copy and paste – but rather an enduring aesthetic that appears to really resonate with those seeking simplicity, elements of nature, light and refuge. Rising to popularity in the 1940’s and 1950’s Nordic clean line interiors have a philosophy behind the style. We caught up with Maarjte Hardveldt from MH Interior Decorating to ponder the intrigue of Scandi design and renovation decisions. 

  

Why do you think the Scandi Style has grown so popular in Australia?

I feel that the Scandi look really reflects the Coastal Lifestyle here in Australia. You see many Scandi styled homes with BOHO influences, a beautiful mix with a true Coastal Vibe.

What are your favourite aspects of the style?

Besides light and airy, the Scandi Style is also characterized by simplicity, minimalism, and functionality, bringing this overall feeling of serenity and relaxation to the space. I love the neutral colour scheme, the whites, the use of lots of natural fibres, the clutter-free aesthetic and clean lines.  

In your field of expertise, how important are ambience and aesthetic when creating space?

These two words are equally important when designing a space. Ambience determines how you will feel in a space, so think about lighting, for instance. I am a big lover of dimmable lights, so you can play with the mood and create the right atmosphere for every occasion. The aesthetics of a space is really the heart whilst designing as that’s the overall style in which you consider balance, shape, colour, pattern, scale and use of material.   

When undertaking renovations, particularly new structures within the house, kitchens, bathrooms etc.- what do you look for in a tradesperson?

That’s a very good question and from my experience in all those years renovating in The Netherlands and Australia, I think tradespeople should be very good at their job. People sometimes don’t consider an essential skillset- Listening! Is your tradesperson a good listener, and do they have an open mind? Being willing to go beyond what they know and visualizing with an open mind focussed on quality will get the best result. 

How can people create simplicity and get that minimalist vibe in cohesion with making a space that reflects your personality?

First of all, I would recommend to see the space as a white canvas and draw up a floorplan in which you choose statement pieces of furniture rather than having too many pieces that will take away the minimalist feel of the space. 

Make use of the natural light, choose muted colours, wood accents, natural fabrics, textures and fibres, greenery and always consider the less is more approach. 

By adding photos of people you care about or moments captured in a photo, grouping your treasures in a cabinet, add your favourite flowers, put some of your best books on display and use a scent diffuser with your favourite smell, you can reflect your personality without ‘destroying’ your new beautiful, cohesive minimalistic space. 

 

What is the most common mistake people make when doing a room upgrade or changing the space?

I guess not looking at the space as a whole but bringing in details they like without considering all elements together.  

What is the first thing people can do to make the process of changing a space less daunting?

My biggest advice would be to start with a mood-board, so you have an idea of what style you like and consider how you want to make the room to feel. 

Key questions you should ask yourself are:

 How will the space be used? 

What are the practical needs? 

Who uses the space, when is the space used and what activities will happen here? 

Set a budget and identify where the most significant impact can be made, so where is it important to spend money and work out to save money. 

Consider what already exists within the space that can be upcycled, repurposed, and decluttered throughout this process. 

Research product prices, check out the portfolios of those you are considering, ask for quotes, make a renovating/decorating plan, and start the exciting adventure.   

My biggest advice would be to really consider The Story that you want your home to tell about you, your family, and life; stay true to your own personal treasures. Sometimes you see these amazingly styled homes, but they lack personality. 

 

‘An interior is the natural projection of the soul’ – Coco Chanel.

so I believe that your home should be a reflection of yourself.

 

What is your background in design and what lead you to design now?

 

My background is basically working for a High-End Dutch Fashion Designer in Amsterdam for over a decade, in which I have been infused with design in general. Every season, creating a new Catwalk Collection always with a meticulous balance between materials, texture, colour, pattern, and shape. Besides this career in the Fashion Industry, I was renovating and styling houses. Creating a collection or creating a space feels very similar as it’s all about completing the puzzle, metaphorically speaking.

To find out more about Maartje and her renovation journey, head to:

insta: mh_interior_decorating (Maartje Design Solutions)

http://www.mhinteriordecorating.com.au

https://mhinteriordecorating.com.au

If you are looking for excellent Cabinetmakers who are open-minded, innovative and quality- go no further than ICM- Independent Cabinet Makers Geelong.

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The Art Of Hygge- It’s A Happiness Vibe

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

 

Fancy a cosy corner or a warm fuzzy feeling of contentedness? 

If you love an ambient pub or fireplace chats with warm cookies and great company- there’s an excellent reason! It’s a Hygge vibe. 

According to the World Happiness Report, Finland and Denmark take first and second place as the world’s happiest countries. What’s the secret? Quite possibly Hygge! According to the Danes, our northern counterparts; Hygge- pronounced “hue-gah” or “hoo-guh is a Norweigan word that falls under a cultural category, meaning -a hug without the touch. 

For the linguaphile -the word hygge comes from a Danish word meaning “to give courage, comfort, joy”. Hygge stems from hyggja which means “to think” in Old Norse. Hygge is built from the Old Norse word hugr which later became the hug which means the soul, mind, consciousness. 

Meik Wiking is an expert and author of The Little Book of Hygge. According to Meik Wiking, the practice of Hygge is charming, cosy, wholesome but with a sprinkle of sinful snacking like chocolate. 

“Hygge has been translated as everything from the art of creating intimacy to the cosiness of the soul to taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things. My personal favourite is cocoa by candlelight”. 

Ponderers, there is even a Hygge cookbook – ( I ordered it, and the recipes are most certainly sinful) Click here to check it out  Scandikitchen: Fika and Hygge.  

How do we achieve that fuzzy feeling of Hygge? 

Well there are so many ways to have a Hygge moment or make time for Hygge, but the fundamentals according to Meik are; 

1) Light! Ambient light. Ever wondered why the Scandi style is so focussed on lighting?

The design aesthetic and colour temperature are essential to creating Hygge. Candles are also HUGE; the Scandi countries are the largest consumers of candles in the world. We have some for you here – the wonderful folks over at Angel Sent Candles have a Hygge range and they’ve shared them with us at www.shop.angelsentcandles.com

2) Presence- get off the phones and be in the moment! 

3) Pleasure-

Think cakes, pastries, hot drinks and lollies! Here’s the link to that book again if you didn’t see it already- Scandikitchen: Fika and Hygge  

4) Equality – We over Me

Sharing is caring. Share household chores. Share attention and listening. Share your love for those around you.

5) Gratitude-

 

Take it all in; this might be as good as it gets.

 

6) Harmony,

 

We already like you, no need to mention your achievements or the current political environment. You get the drift.

 

7) Comfort, cosiness, blankets,

 

Take a break and relax. But Hygge is humble and slow, not expensive. Ugly warm socks and homemade cookies are more than acceptable vs champagne and heels. Simplicity and modesty are crucial components.  

 

8) Truce-

 

No drama and a sense of belonging will ensue. No topics of tension and arguments must be put to one side. 

 

9) Togetherness,

 

Build a narrative, play a board game. Do you remember the time we…? Oxytocin is released when we are physically near someone, its called the hug hormone, so Hygge away! Cooperation, trust and love are the buzzwords here. 

 

10) Shelter,

 

This is your tribe and a place of peace and tranquillity. 

 

Sounds wonderful right? 

Every home I have lived in; the first thing I needed was a cozy corner. Always. I love nothing more than snuggling up in my favourite chair, pooch at my side, a candle burning, a cup of herbal tea, soothing music and if it’s winter- that fireplace earns its keep. 

So after reading Meik’s book, I decided to introduce the family to Hygge night- Sunday evenings would be dedicated to pure Hygge-ness. 

We rolled out our new Harry Potter Cluedo game, put the earlier made cookies on a plate, made some dutch cocoa, grabbed some comfy blankets, pillows and dimmed lighting all topped off with the Harry Potter soundtrack playing in the background. Phew. It was pretty magical. A cringe-worthy moment of wholesome indulgence. 

I was very tired, so I snuggled in on the couch with the bunch and watched on picking broccoli seeds and enjoying the merriment. It was beautiful. 

Then the dog farted- no one had explained Hygge to him so totally not his fault. Kind of ruined the vibe. When I looked at the aforementioned hound with a raised eyebrow, he stared at me right back; I imagined a Seth McFarlane Brian Griffin-Esque voice “stupid humans.”  

Have you got the Hygge vibe?

Check out our Pinterest curation of all things Hygge and the video below for further awesome ideas. Go to app.ponderings.com.au to get the Hygge links or check us out on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook

We partnered with Angel Sent Candles – here’s their new Hygge range of candles. 

PS- 

“The World Happiness Report is a landmark survey of the state of global happiness that ranks 156 countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be. The World Happiness Report 2020 for the first time ranks cities around the world by their subjective well-being and digs more deeply into how the social, urban and natural environments combine to affect our happiness.” 

https://worldhappiness.report

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Stephanie Asher- Geelong’s Shining Light

Stephanie Asher- Geelong’s Shining Light

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

Mayor, Committee Chair, Advocate, Mother, Businesswoman, Consultant and Author, amongst other delightful discoveries- this reads like an à la carte menu of achievement. However, amongst the glaring lights of success, it is the sunny, fresh-faced honesty and integrity that has you standing in the shine that is Stephanie Asher. 

Many describe you as being very positively driven with an abundant flair for leadership- did you have someone in your life as a child who inspired you or a role model you believe influenced these aspects? 

My parents were career-focused and managed to balance their work ethic by providing my sister and I with a happy and healthy childhood, which I consider the ultimate privilege.

My dad has always been incredibly focused on values and the importance of a society founded on sound moral values. At the same time, my mum is extremely social and managed the connection between work relationships and friendships very well. I learned a lot from them both, and I’m grateful every day for their emphasis on a good education.

 The leadership aspect probably comes about because I see solutions quite easily and over time, I’ve learned to voice them and own them. As Rosanne Barr said, “As a woman, no one is going to give you power, you have to take it.”

Do you believe a growth mindset is a skill someone can learn? 

If that means a focus on abundance rather than a fear of scarcity, absolutely. And once learned, it’s so important to keep remembering – to bite down on that panic that we are not enough and that we may miss out.

There is a huge sense of freedom and confidence in shifting from the marketing-driven ‘need to compete’ to a spirit of generosity and appreciating that there is actually plenty for everyone. 

If you could only use three words to describe your perfect day; what would it be? 

Sunny, active and fun.

Have you had a crisis that transformed into a valuable learning experience? 

Probably more than I’m prepared to put in writing! Travelling alone to Europe on a one-way ticket four days after turning 21 was filled with challenges and mini-crises, but the year away backpacking was life-changing. 

One example was arriving in Nice late at night to no accommodation, and my plan to sleep at the train station was foiled when it closed at midnight. I ended up sleeping (with one eye open) on the beach, which was vaguely terrifying and decidedly uncomfortable as it’s not sandy! Learning to survive through challenges provides inner strength.

What is a habit in people you find irksome? 

I’m fascinated by people, and I find that the most irritating traits can also be funny. But sniffing is annoying and licking a knife is disgusting and more than a bit dangerous.

 What are you reading right now? 

 The Gina Rhinehart biography by Adele Ferguson.

 Favourite movie of all time? 

 

I have the memory of a sieve with movies, but seeing Watership Down as a kid had a major impact on me, not least because the music was so powerful. All-time faves are probably Zoolander, Happy Gilmore and anything Monty Python because I laugh out loud every time I think about particular scenes. 

 

What inspired you to write The Footy Lady, and if you could choose one resonating memory from this experience, what would it be? 

A mutual friend connected Sue Alberti and I, and we clicked at our first meeting over coffee. Sue’s life story is so colourful, so dramatic and such a powerful demonstration of the power of grit and resilience to transform lives. It was impossible not to want to write about it! The unexpected aspect of being Sue’s biographer was the inspiration she provided to me personally about never giving up. It is a message that is so important to women, in particular, as we face many hurdles and a lot of them are invisible. Sue literally keeps showing up despite constant knockbacks, and she is always flawlessly groomed and brings a beaming smile. My resonating memory is of Sue’s beautiful smile and wicked sense of humour. She is a winner.  

Favourite genre of music? 

 

My taste is so eclectic it’s ridiculous. I grew up with dad rocking our Saturday mornings with Creedence Clearwater Revival, Neil Diamond, The Fifth Dimension, Aretha Franklin and Roberta Flack. I then spent my teens and 20s in Melbourne’s live music venues being a ‘friend of the band’, had a housemate for seven years obsessed with 70s metal and now my daughter is valiantly educating me with current artists. Having said all that, I do have a soft spot for 60s soul.

I feel as though you have a solid collaborative and progressive impact on Geelong and district, which is positive at least and in a dignified way that gives a flourish of class and excitement. This kind of cohesion in a council once described in less favourable ways is inspiring. The legacy seems to have changed course significantly- in light of this, what do you believe is intrinsic to happiness and productivity in a complex workplace? 

 

Thank you for your very kind words! Be assured that I don’t work alone; I have a great group of councillors around me who are part of that shift to professionalism and collaborative spirit.

For happy and productive workplaces, I believe acceptance is really important – acceptance of other people, different views and new ways of doing things. I always distinguish between tolerance and acceptance because tolerance has a condescension about it, whereas acceptance is kind and generous.

A sense of fun is also mandatory wherever I spend significant time and effort – if you can’t have a laugh, it’s not worth being there.

Professionally speaking, accountability is critical. I manage large people-centric projects as a consultant, and high-performing workplaces are focused on getting things done and clear accountability. When people know their role and the timelines associated with tasks, they can function more effectively. Opacity and incompetence go hand in hand.

Treehouse or cubbyhouse and why? 

 

Both are hugely appealing, but I’d opt for a treehouse for the view and the perspective. And the birdsong!

 

What message would you like us to ponder?

 

 It made a huge impact on me when I chose to embrace uncertainty in life. At 27, I chose a career as a consultant and set up my own business. As a female, I could see the challenges ahead with trying to have a family in a permanent corporate role. The alternative – uncertainty – has the benefit of flexibility and freedom.

Having moved from Melbourne to the surf coast 20 years ago, I have a non-local perspective, and I suspect it’s my city upbringing that allows me to see how regional areas can struggle with change and lack of certainty. 

Once we accept that change is inevitable and that it can be positive and exciting, there is the chance to then look at what we can influence and what we can’t. Fighting change usually means missing out on the opportunity to control that change. 

My observation is that the people of Greater Geelong are starting to see the benefits of managing change well. So many people say Geelong has great potential and I believe that if we continue to work together to manage our regional growth in a sustainable way then we will realise that potential. 

It is such an amazing region – I call the Bellarine ‘the best holiday place to live’ – and I am confident we are all of a similar mindset that we want to prosper at pace, but in a gentle and sensitive manner.

To find out more about The Right Worshipful the Mayor of Geelong, Ms Stephanie Asher- (her well earned title, eloquent don’t you think?) head over to: 

https://geelongaustralia.com.au/councillors/article/item/8d540963de6a0dd.aspx

https://geelongconsulting.com

Click here to get your copy!

Bought to you by Stephanie Asher- Susan Alberti- The woman from the working-class suburbs has battled boardrooms, cancer, diabetes, open-heart surgery and shed 59 kilos—half her body weight—on the road to recovery. She has stared down adversity and prevailed.

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Love Letters From The Ukulele Dream Girl

Love Letters From The Ukulele Dream Girl

Romance to survive Covid, thanks to a novel Valentine’s Day gift from an Adelaide Fringe artist and Love Letter Enthusiast.

When dating options took a hit during the height of Covid-19 social distancing restrictions, Adelaide Fringe artist, Phi Theodoros, put down her ukulele and turned to her pen to keep the romance alive with her partner through the art of the love letter. 

“Lock down was a real catalyst for people to slow down so it was a nice return to handwritten love letters when my partner had to move back to Brisbane in late March. Through the nostalgic thrill of sending them and the anticipation of a reply, I became aware of how this simple joy had been lost in the pre-Covid times of busy nights out and fast-typed words in Messenger,” says Phi.

“This is why I decided to do something to help others rekindle passion and encourage new ways to express their affection for their significant others or others-to-be.”

“For everybody who buys tickets to my Adelaide Fringe show, Ukulele Dream Girl – Love at a Distance, before Valentine’s Day, I invite them to contact me directly so I can offer a little, personal serenade to them and their beloved during one of my shows,” she says.

Ukulele Dream Girl – Love at a Distance uses song and storytelling to explore different perspectives of distant love. More relatable now than ever while we strive to maintain genuine human connections with loved ones in the world of instagram, facebook and social distancing.

It covers Phi’s long distance love story alongside Tinder Casanovas, high school stalkers, mental health and migration. This poetic journey is more than your typical love story.

To celebrate love during Valentine’s Day, Phi is offering a personal serenade to couples who pre- purchase a ticket before Feb 14th. To find out more, romantics are asked to message Ukulele Dream Girl directly via Facebook or sign up to her mailing list to receive an exclusive discount code.

The Lark at Gluttony – Rymill Park

East Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000

20, 21 and 26th of February at 5pm

5, 6, 7, 8 of March at 5pm

Tickets – Full Price $25, Concession $20

Show Dates & Venues:

Laneway Garden Stage at Mixed Creative

20, 27th of February at 8pm

28 of February at 7pm

Tickets – Full Price $25, Concession $20

Tickets available via: bit.ly/LaaDFringeTix

Email Phi via storyteller@phitheodoros.com or 0401 517 082 for enquiries relating to

interviews, group bookings, media/reviewer comps or accessibility enquiries

Thanks to the Department of Premier and Cabinet through Arts South Australia and Adelaide Fringe.

 

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Subscribe & Support Positive stortelling

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