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Get inspired by Unique Homes – Jenny Nordberg

Striking Contrasts & Eclectic Design at Home with Jenny Nordberg

Photo Petra Bindel Text Emma Persson Lagerberg

The contrast is striking when you roll up to industrial designer Jenny Nordberg's house in the small village of Röstånga in northern Skåne. From the turn of the century, a classic red-painted wooden house has received an ascetic and modern addition completely covered in black tar paper, which evokes thoughts of some modernist Yakisugi facade. The result feels unexpected, interesting, and sharp. Just like Jenny and her work.

Jenny Nordberg won Designer of the Year twice in 2022, has received numerous awards over the years, and is represented in design galleries in Stockholm and New York. Her investigative and experimental work moves in the borderland between design and art and is always based on much thought and solid research. Yet, chance often plays an important role in the final result.

The original house in Röstånga contains a warm and cosy home, and the modern addition houses Jenny's studio and guest room. Both parts are packed to the brim with her extensive collection of contemporary design, bought and exchanged with friends and colleagues. In the overgrown garden at the back, there is a slightly more rural atmosphere with cultivation beds, ongoing projects here and there, and a large fireplace in the middle of the lawn. Contrasts, once again.

Bid on Jennys curated selection

Can you tell us a little bit about the house?
– It is said that the old house is from 1912, but I think it might be a little older. The addition is only three years old, from 2020. The old house was modernized in the 60s, but I have tried to bring it back in time so that the facade would look like it did when it was built. This was to create as big a contrast as possible with the new building. I think it's fun to have a home that has a modern part and a slightly more old-fashioned part. It allows for different styles. I like both traditional and super contemporary design, and it feels like both styles can fit in this house.

Are you adapting the interior design to the different architectural styles in the house?
– Yes, certain things only work in one part or another of the house, while others work in both. For example, traditional Swedish carpentry details ("Snickarglädje") don't work as well in the new part, but I'm incorporating some of it in the old part. There, I want it to feel cosy and homey, cluttered with lots of stuff, while in the new part, it can be more austere and stripped down, with a bit of a monastery feels. And some semi-old furniture doesn't work in the new part. It feels like it clashes, but the old house is more forgiving.

1. The fake open fireplace in the hallway has been built and decorated by Jenny herself. The mirror is Jenny's design and the vase is from Dum Keramik. 2. The striped chair is from Lab La Bla. On the custom-built shelf in the corner, parts of Jenny's contemporary design collection are displayed. The lamp in birch is by Axel Wannberg, the small painting is made by Johan Furåker, and the textile with a Visa motif is by Anna Nordström. 3. The concrete vase is by Pettersen & Hein, and the glass sculpture is by Hanna Hansdotter.


What were your thoughts about the expansion?
– It was my former partner Andreas, who is an artist, and I who ordered it. Many people think that an artist and a designer should be able to draw a house themselves, and we probably could have. But, firstly, I have great respect for other artistic professions, and secondly, we chose to avoid falling out in the process so that we together would be a client. We wanted a detached studio building on the property, but in order to get the loan, the bank demanded that the expansion should be attached to the house. The brief to Förstberg Ling, the architects who designed the expansion, was a text we had written and a photo of the fishing huts out at Bärnstensmuseet in Höllviken. Small buildings that are entirely covered in roofing felt and tarred many times over time. They have almost lost the contours of a house, and they are like small black lumps of tar. We described some functions and the aesthetic we liked, but otherwise, we gave them quite a free rein.

And regarding the renovation in general?
– In the old house, I had some idea about building conservation, even though it wasn't followed slavishly. I think there should be many different eras present in a house. We may not have taken the house back to 1912, but we tried to use better and more sustainable materials when we rebuilt it. It was a fairly spontaneous process, and it should be visible that additions and changes have been made over the years. There is a charm in not letting everything be perfect."

The modern extension designed by the architecture firm Förstberg Ling is built with lightweight concrete blocks and a roof made of laminated timber beams, and houses, among other things, a guest room. The blue and white chair is designed by Anton Alvares, and the wall shelf is by Kajsa Willner. The wide chair, lamp, and small table in front are designed by Jenny. The cabinet is made of leftover pieces by Finn Ahlgren. The textile artwork on the bed is by Anna Nordström.

1. Bow Down painting by Ditte Eljerskov. The wall sculpture above is made by Maria E Harrysson, and the lamp below it is by Fredrik Paulsen. Jenny designs the cabinet to the right. 2. The large round dining table is designed by Jenny, and she also made the red chip artwork on the wall. The painting on the wall is made by Mats Kläpp, and the candlesticks on the table are made by Andréasson & Leibel.*


You have a very personal home, but you say that you have an unromantic attitude towards it. Can you explain?
– I think I've always had that. I believe a home can be in so many different places. It's what you fill it with that count, the people and the parties or whatever it may be. That's what makes a home. Strangely, I, who work with interiors and colour, think it's pretty unimportant. For me, some of the happiest moments have been when you just moved somewhere, the first night in a new place when you have a stool and some wine glasses and eat pizza on the floor. When it's Spartan and not finished, it's almost the cosiest thing.

How did you build your extensive collection of contemporary design?
– For a very long time, I have bought, found at auctions, and traded a lot of design. It's a great thing about working in this field, and you have many colleagues you can exchange things with. It is often an object that I couldn't afford. I never buy objects as investments but always go with my gut feeling. I only buy things that I am deeply moved by at that moment.

Your best find?
– Oh, that's difficult. I'm pleased with my new candlestick by David Taylor. And I like the lamp by Sara Sjöbeck. But they are quite recent trades, so maybe it's natural that I'm especially fond of them right now.
The kitchen is one of the latest renovation projects, and the old decor was complemented with modern black cabinets and a plywood kitchen island. The different elements give a lively and warm feeling to the room. The knobs on the drawers are Jenny's design. The painting on the wall was made by Jakob Grönbech Jensen, and the neon lamp by Josefin Eklund.

1. The two-armed aluminium candlestick was made by David Taylor and is one of the latest additions to the collection. 2–3 Details from the studio with various prototypes made by Jenny.*


What does your own design process look like?
– It usually starts with me becoming interested or occupied with a certain topic or question and beginning to research, think and write about it. And since I am a designer, I would like it to develop into one or more objects with some sort of function. It can also start with a material or a place that I find exciting. It's a free and permissive process that takes a new direction all the time, and much of the process happens in my head. I hardly sketch anything on paper, instead, I directly build physical models or sketch in 3D.

Do you use your home in the process?
– No, not directly. It may be that I need something in my home and manufacture it. Or that the kitchen works as a laboratory or that I work in the living room because it's ten o'clock at night and I need to be a present parent. But work and home are closely connected. I'm always working on something at home, and it's never finished. I paint a wall or replace things or rearrange the furniture. It's a constantly ongoing process. For outsiders, it may seem annoying and stressful, but it's something lovely for me.

Bid on objects curated by Jenny