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Home visit: a place for slow living and creativity

It took three years to turn a Second World War dancehall into a welcoming family home. Today, jazz music drifts from the window, signalling another afternoon spent together in relaxed comfort. Step inside…

A living room with white corner sofa, dark wooden sideboard and gallery of pictures on the wall.
A living room with white corner sofa, dark wooden sideboard and gallery of pictures on the wall.

Make space for time together

An open-plan home was at the heart of Sarah and Gigi’s plan. The design makes it easy for the family to be together. “We got rid of all the internal walls,” says Sarah, who designed the space. Furniture and colour are used to create zones. Soft grey is a neutral base for a picture wall, making a flexible focal point Sarah can update to change the overall feel of the space.

We don’t have a television. Without the distraction, we interact better as a family. We read, play music, work, draw, eat and cook together.


Cherish what you have

“Of course I didn’t get everything right,” says Sarah. “I’d like a different kitchen layout – but we put our love into it and each room bears the traces of our family, of precious everyday moments.” Using storage jars in an open-plan space is a neat way of organising dried goods, as well as the mushrooms and nuts that they forage on walks in the countryside behind their house.

My tips for display? Play around. Choose a colour theme. Avoid clutter by using small drawers for the things you don’t want to see, like phone chargers and plug adaptors.


Use your walls

“I read one book a week, and the girls race through books too,” says Sarah. In a home that’s open plan and clutter free, a clever wall solution to store books is essential. High shelves – with spot lighting – in the stairwell turns otherwise wasted space into both a storage solution and art installation.

Sleep easy

“For me, the key to feeling calm is good organisation, with only a few things on display,” says Sarah of her bedroom. Clothes are hidden in customised storage in the alcove behind her bed, which is dressed in bedding made from feel-good, natural materials. Weekend mornings are spent relaxing here – “I love to lie in, lost in a book.”

Space for everyone

Interior designer Sarah lives with her husband Gigi and daughters Beatrice and Mathilde in a converted house on a quiet hillside outside Genoa. The 120m² home has two bedrooms (one cleverly divided for the girls), a big open-plan living space, dining area and kitchen, and a small studio for Sarah. “It’s where I find inspiration, update my blog and my projects take shape,” she says.

We love to see our customers get creative with our products. Go for it! But please note that altering or modifying IKEA products so they can no longer be re-sold or used for their original purpose, means the IKEA commercial guarantees and your right to return the products will be lost.

Made by
Interior stylist: Pernilla Warnhammar
Photographer: Lina Ikse
Follow Sarah @shabbychicinteriors