”My plan for an easy style home”

Hanne has created a home that’s high on style but low on maintenance. ”It’s easy!” she says, ”I just decided a long time ago that my home look would be slightly ‘falling down’.”

Meet Hanne

”I live with my sons Alexander and Sebastian, and my boyfriend Rafaelle, in a rustic house in the Italian countryside. My home might look luxurious, but my style is about making life as easy as possible. I’m an interior designer, so the last thing I want when I get home is to be playing around with my home! I prefer to make time to read, play with my kids, and have long candlelit suppers in the garden.”

My style

”I picked stone colours and natural textures and fabrics for my home because I find them soothing. I’m completely allergic to green and yellow in the house – I prefer to see those colours outside. I don’t think that you should ever compete with nature.”

My home room by room

Furnish according to room function

”Because we spend so much time outside, I can’t afford to be precious about my floors, or anything else. I have dressed the garden room in hardwearing natural fabrics like leather and hide. In the winter we bring our dining table in from the garden and eat in here.”

Bring the inside out

”I added the patio to the house, but I used old tiles to make it look like it’s been here forever. Because there’s so little rain here, I’ve been able to furnish my outside space as if it was inside. Now this patio is one of my favourite spots.”

Make it easy to dine outside in the sun

”We eat all our meals out here in the summer – it involves a lot of running from the kitchen. I have a large collection of trays to help carry things. And I am in charge of keeping the lawns mowed, which is also good exercise!”

Choose furnishings that are easy to clean

”This is really the kids’ space, where they watch TV. It’s important that they feel they can relax here too. They can put their feet on the sofa and I don’t have to stress. I’ve had this IKEA sofa and armchair for 19 years and all I have to do when they get dirty is take the covers off and stick them in the wash.”

Mix hard and soft items for a balanced feel

”The colour of the walls in the kitchen is dark, which makes it feel really cool in the summer. The kitchen has quite an industrial look, but I’ve contrasted that with very feminine touches, like the fairy lights wrapped around the utensil rack.”

Create your perfect haven of calm

”I’m minimalist by nature, I like things to look simple and natural. With lots of people in the house most of the time, I’ve made my room into a sanctuary to relax and unwind in. But it’s space, not things, that is the luxury here. Tons of textiles on the bed and a dramatic ‘headboard’ give the feeling of extravagance, but things couldn’t be simpler. The head board is made from a hanging tasseled curtain.”

Encourage independence by having a kids’ zone

”Their rooms are linked by their own bathroom, so they can play, or fight, in between if the doors are open. This creates a kind of ‘kid zone’ for them. I think it’s good for them to have as much space as possible.”

Store things visibly so they’re easy to find

”Open storage for my clothes means that I can easily see where everything is. I have a mixture of rails and shelves – I tend to hang as much stuff as possible so I don’t need to iron!”

Create a relaxed mood with soothing décor

”When I designed this room, the idea was that I would be able to lie in the bath tub and look outside at the garden. I’ve created a relaxing retreat in this room, using attractive containers for my lotions, candles and full, draping curtains.”

My tips and ideas

Make a picture wall

”I think things have to grow organically, so I decided to pick two frames every time I went to IKEA, in any shape or size. This display started off in a straight line, but by the third picture I couldn’t do that anymore. It just stopped working for me. I don’t think you should restrict yourself to straight lines. I embrace imperfection! As long as the whole wall balances in the end – it should be symmetrical in its asymmetry.”

Free up space

”Hanging bedside lights make things look less cluttered. Stacking old suitcases instead of using side tables creates extra storage and makes space for all the things I like near me when I sleep – candles, my books and water.”

Use open shelves

”I like a mixture of open shelving and cupboards in the kitchen because I love to display things, and it also makes my guests self-sufficient as it’s easy for them to help themselves. I prefer mix-and-match white crockery, so if something breaks it’s not a problem.”

Use soft fabrics

”I have drapes around the shower, because at the time, we couldn’t afford glass. But I really like the soft colours of the curtains, which are a nice contrast to the concrete walls. It creates a restful atmosphere.”

Light with candles

”I’m a minimalist with everything, apart from candles. I guess that is my Scandinavian blood! In the evenings I light all the candles in the garden and on the patio to create a warm and inviting atmosphere.”