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Home visit: a globe-trotting family’s cool and quirky home

How do you turn an apartment in a city far from all you know, into a home? In this apartment, a rich mix of art, inviting furniture, nature and collected pieces that tell the family’s story, have made this space a home. Step inside and take a look.

A living room with open French balcony doors, a mix of soft seating, palette coffee table a colourful rug and houseplants.
A living room with open French balcony doors, a mix of soft seating, palette coffee table a colourful rug and houseplants.
A woman with a brunette pixie cut and tattooed arms, wearing a sleeveless blue T-shirt stands against a white wall.

The feeling of home

“Wherever I’ve lived, I’ve tried to make my home feel like ‘a home’. For me, it’s about how it feels inside. It’s capturing memories – the photos of friends on our fridge, the furniture that’s travelled with us. They are part of our life. We bring those memories and put them in the heart of the flat,” says Kelly, who moved into her new home with husband Julius and daughter Edith 18 months ago.

Our living room really shows our style – a mish-mash of mid-century, vintage, a bit of quirk and IKEA! I love the doors out to the balcony. In summer, it’s nice to have them open – the breeze coming in is beautiful.

Kelly

Doing it for ourselves

“We’ve had a few firsts in this apartment. Our VIMLE sofa is the first sofa we’ve ever bought – we’ve always lived in flats that came with a sofa so we’re chuffed we got to buy our own! And the coffee table is our first DIY project together. We took an old pallet and stained it. I searched for coloured wheels, I was hoping for yellow but settled for red! We built it all. I do love that piece.”

Colouring books

“I like how our bookshelves are colour co-ordinated. I know some people get annoyed by that – why not do it by author or genre?! But by colour looks good, right? It’s been hard knowing what art to display in this apartment. In the end, each piece we’ve hung has a meaning. It was much easier with our books. One day we’ll have a wall full of books – it’s so nice to look at them and touch them.”

I love, love, love our kitchen. It’s spacious, full of light and has a lovely green wall. It’s our family gathering spot and the place friends are drawn to when they come round.

Kelly

Our kitchen hub

“A kitchen this size is a game changer! Our old kitchen had no counter space. Now we have room to cook, eat and sit together. It’s Julius’s domain. He’s an exceptional cook and wants a practical space. It’s also where we spend the most time so we want character. We painted the wall green – colour is nice in the morning – and hung shelves to display things we like without cluttering the counter.”

Pull up a chair and be welcome

“We love to entertain. For me and Julius it’s important that friends and family feel they can come and go as they please. In every one of our homes, the door has always been open – the more people we have in our house, the happier we are. In this apartment, the kitchen is at the heart of every gathering. When we have parties, it isn’t the living room people go to – everyone hangs out here.”

Clean and green

“Edith is our little environmentalist! We started to get rid of plastic when we lived in London – we have reusable water bottles and coffee cups and take cloth bags shopping. For dishwashing liquid, hand soap and detergent, I buy big bottles that I store in the laundry room and use to refill smaller glass jars. You do have to be organised – something I’m always working on! But small steps add up.”

Edith wants to be an inventor. Her room is a representation of her. It had to be a room where she could move around and be very expressive. And have space for her to be imaginative – to cut and glue and create things.

Kelly

Sleep easy

“Before we did any room, we did Edith’s. We had uprooted her from her whole life, it was important to give her a room where she was comfortable so she wouldn’t feel nervous about being in this flat. When she arrived, we had stuffed toys and familiar things from London on her bed. A year and a half on, Edith’s slowly asking me to take away the things she feels she’s outgrown. So it’s evolving…”

Play well

“When I was planning Edith’s room, the first thing on my list was storage – shelves she can reach and lots of boxes where she can just throw her things in and everything is easy for her to get on her own. I follow my mother’s mantra that if you put things back in their place, you’ll save time looking for them later. I’m trying to pass that onto Edith but she’s seven, so it’s an ongoing battle!”

Our bedroom is very simplified. I’ve seen a lot of great inspirational pictures on Pinterest and the IKEA website but one thing I knew was that I didn’t want a lot of stuff. We need to sleep in here so we don’t want too much stimulation before bed.

Kelly

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.

Follow Kelly @kellyekardt