In a column in the latest issue of Swedish Residence Kjell Häglund says Swedes have become trend-bulimics. We are compulsory eaters of home decor trends. Chew and spit, spit and chew. In a furious speed. Before the “right” lamp or furniture piece is for sale, we have bought it.
Worse still, we put ourselves on high horses with our “knowledge”. You can see it in the evening newspapers. They have started to let people send in pictures of their homes and comment on others’ home pictures. Result? Many disparaging remarks. Mean notes and remarks on almost everything from fellow readers who know exactly how the decor should be. Swedes are anxious, believe me, and our resistance to supreme trends is weak.
In view of this, let’s strike a blow for a narrow – almost no trend at all- trend: again; the Swedish folk style. Something old, reliable and genuine. No fuzz. One can not write about Swedish folk decor without mentioning Carl Larsson (1853-1919).
photo: Carl Larsson Garden
The home – the interior ideal – created by artist couple Carl and Karin Larsson in Sundborn more than 100 years ago, has been given standing as the archetype of Swedishness. Sweden’s first interior design book A home by Carl Larsson, with 24 paintings from Little Hyttnäs in Sundborn, came out in 1889. In this book Carl Larsson describes how a nice home can be created with simple means. He writes:
Therefore, o, Swede, save yourself in time, again become simple and dignified, be rather clumsy than elegant, dress up in leather, fur and wool, make yourself furniture that fit your heavy body, and way in strong colours in everything, yes, the so-called gaudy, which are necessary as contrasts to the deep green pine forests and the cold white snow, and let your hand freely cut or paint the meandering he is willing and able to on your furniture. Then you will become happy in the feeling of being yourself, it will go well, and you shall live long upon the earth. Amen.
The painting “Skamvrån” (‘The Shame Corner’) by Carl Larsson