A Hot tub for all Seasons – Autumn

November 12, 2018


||This post was made in collaboration with Skargards

If you follow me on Instagram stories you will have caught glimpses of a new addition at the cabin, something that I think everyone would think possibly goes hand by hand with a cabin in the fjords, a hot tub, or as Norwegians call it, a badestamp. Traditionally a badestamp is barrel wood fired hot tub, mostly made of cedar wood. Rustic looking (exactly like a big barrel with wooden seating inside) , they are typically found in mountain cabins where after skiing scandinavian people will enjoy a warm bath in the chilled weather outside with steaming water. Nowadays hot tubs can be found in various sizes and made of various materials, with many different heating configurations such as electric, gas, or propane. When we decided it was time to also add a hot tub at the cabin we all agreed it should be wood burning. It makes more sense since we dont use the cabin all year long so it is more economical to burn some wood whenever we need it, but also, I think it gives out more authentic notes. I did not want a completely traditional barrel hot tub, cleaning is not ideal plus it is not that comfortable, but I did not want to completely abandon the look, this is a hot tub for a cabin after all! The Regal Hot Tub from Skargards ended up to be the perfect solution for us.

The Regal model , it looks like a traditional hot tub but it is very contemporary, manufactured in fiberglass-reinforced hard plastic according to the same technology as boat hulls, so it is light yet very sturdy. From my experience as I have used it a couple of months now,cleaning is minimal (just rinse the walls after draining) which makes it maintenance free, very important in my book. I could go on about the specifications of the tub itself, but you can find all the details at Skargards website, however, something also important for me, the tub itself is very efficient. When firing the stamp, a natural underpressure is created in the oven that causes the bath water to circulate by itself. The oven in Skargard’s Regal is cleverly integrated into the hot tub and with the inherent circulation a uniform water temperature is obtained throughout the hot tub. Specifications aside this means more room inside and more flexibility, regardless of how many people are in.

Typically when we think hot tub we think winter time with lots of snow and steaming water. Also we think of party right? We have certainly had parties since we got the tub but as the title suggests, I find the tub to be relevant all year long, for private baths but also for friends coming over. It has been a beautiful fall and we have greatly enjoyed spending time in the tub relaxing, listening to music and reading books that have been on our list for a while, watching the sun set across the fjords. We have also found that morning baths are splendid as well, half of the photos here are taken in the early misty morning, with a coffee on our hand tossing wood into the oven. Even better when we have used the tub the previous day because the water is still warm the next day for that early bath. Coming home after a long skiing day and enjoying the steaming tub relaxing your muscles is great, but it is another sort of luxury altogether to wake up in the morning and set off for a morning bath while the sun rises.

That said I cannot wait for winter to come for those steamy baths, then spring for the stunning fjord views when the earth wakes up. As for the summer? I cannot wait to use the tub to cool down after sunbathing on the platform. All in all, it is truly a hot tub for all seasons.

Accessories : Must haves 

  1. The Skargards tubs come with quite a few accessories,  I chose a bubble system for massage though we also ended up using it to naturally drop the temperature of the water when we feel is overheated for our taste. I dont know if its a must have but it is very enjoyable plus the added trick of lowering the temp without getting out of the tub is welcomed.
  2. I also added an underwater light something I highly recommend as during the night the illuminated water feels like swimming in an underground hidden lagoon. Turn it off if you prefer counting the stars, leave it on for magical light. Also it is convenient if there is no other light around so you know where you are stepping into (it gets completely black here at night).
  3. I originally ordered one shelf (as seen in the photos) but I put an order shortly for a second one that we installed on the opposite side of the first. If you have the tub freestanding like we do and dont integrate it halfway into your veranda for example, you need the space for convenience sake. We usually leave there glasses, bottles, our phones, books, bluetooth speaker etc
  4. The stairs are also very important unless you are above 1.80m in height. At a mere 1.65m myself it is hard to get in and out and the original stairs are by far the most elegant looking solution ( unless you can find an alternative).
  5. I did not get the extra smoke pipe, it reduces the heating time but with the insulated lid (see below), we decided to wait on it and judge afterwards. We are happy without it but of course if you need the most efficient heating you can add it.
  6. One of the most important must haves in my opinion is the insulated lid (as seen in some of the photos).  The insulation is reinforced with steel frame, and the entire lid is dressed in boat vinyl. Very durable and easy to handle since it breaks in half, its importance is multi faceted. The lid at its primary function protects the tub from objects but dirt as well ,it is completely insulated so the water and the tub both stay clean. Equally importantly ,it can lay over the hot tub during firing, which significantly reduces the heating time while it also traps heat afterwards. If we use the tub in the afternoon until before sleeping, upon waking up the water is still warm enough to get in for a morning relaxing bath. An absolute must have for outdoors tubs.
  7. I did not order a rain hat to begin with, but I do feel bad for the pipe when it rains so I ended up ordering one afterwards. Not a must have, but good to have certainly.
  8. I did not get a smoke pipe protection either, but the pipe does burn a lot and we have all now been careless enough to burn ourselves one way or the other ,so I think I am getting one soon. Just for my peace of mind. Absolutely must have if you have children.
  9. Last but not least, is dependent on the quality of water you fill the tub in and the temperature of where you live. The tub can be fitted with a water cleaning system , something we need since we use water either from our well or the fjord. With the cleaning system we never have to change water, and with the help of the lid we can leave the same water in for a good amount of months even. Filling in the tub can take a few hours so why not avoid this and also keep the water clean? A water heater can also additionally be hooked on the cleaning system keeping the temperature of the water up to 45 degrees. It can greatly decrease heating time but for us most importantly it means that the water will never freeze during winter. A must have. Important detail : You can have the cleaning system without the water heater but you cannot have the water heater without the cleaning system.

// Photography and Styling by Katerina Dima

 

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Styling Sessions for AXOR Montreux Campaign – A bathroom mixer with Authentic aesthetic

November 7, 2018


Advertisement // Campaign in collaboration with AXOR

Today I am happy to present you the campaign I have been working in collaboration with AXOR . Every mixer and shower from AXOR features their own unique design, designed in collaboration with world-renowned designers, such as Philippe Starck, Antonio Citterio and Jean-Marie Massaud.

AXOR embodies luxury in the bathroom and kitchen. Avantgarde, one-of-a-kind products and collections are created to the highest aesthetic and technological standards. They all live up to the aspiration “Form Follows Perfection”.

I was free to choose whichever mixer I wanted and create an interpretation of how I imagine it in a bathroom. I chose the AXOR Montreux that combines authentic aesthetics ,with the evolution of industrial design at the wash basin. The design partner for AXOR Montreux: Phoenix Design is an independent design studio which has won more than 700 design awards. Focusing on product design in the tradition of the Bauhaus style and supreme ease of use of the products. True to the original style: the bridge mixer with high spout and cross handles with authentic porcelain inlays. Unmistakably classic.

But how can a classic fit a contemporary bathroom? I took the challenge by imagining the mixer in a lifestyle moodboard, a great visual in order to express what I had in mind. Texture and color are most important, for this reason I chose the Montreux to be made in Brushed Black Chrome FinishPlus surface finish. I find that this specific finish, chosen from the 15  AXOR Finish Plus colors, can be perfectly tailored to the interior design of almost any contemporary bathroom as well as any classic bathroom. It will fit just as well in a marble bathroom, or a bathroom with cement finishes, or even a bathroom with Moroccan hydraulic tiles. I decided to use classic details to show how even colors that one might not imagine will look great in fact complement the mixer ,brown packaging with wooden details along with soft natural colors.

Below you can also see the mixer in detail, and its beautiful brushed chrome finish. Scroll for photos of my interpretation of how a lifestyle moodboard can easily be transformed into a real bathroom.

Using the same materials and surface suggestions, it is not hard to go from having a mixer to creating a DIY bathroom. The AXOR Montreux can fit into a perfectly designed bathroom, something that AXOR has been a pioneer at .

Luxurious bathroom design is not dependant on the size of the room. The floor plan is not a benchmark for the high quality of the interior furnishings. It’s a question of having high standards with regard to shapes and materials. Granite, marble, wood and elegant fabrics.

While any AXOR mixer can be used in an architectural designed bathroom, here in Norway I know so many of you love to work on building on your own. From kitchens to bathrooms, Norwegians love to employ designers for a luxurious result, but they also love to create something on their own, and it important that it feels equally luxurious. With the AXOR Montreux that couldn’t be easier. The mixer comes ready to be mounted, with a minimal knowledge of having done this once before or watching a short video, installation shouldn’t be a problem at all. Here I present to you which materials you can start with that are easy to find an assemble. Wooden surfaces, water resistant paint for the walls, a ceramic basin. I imagined going all the way back to the classics for this composition. Feel free to change colors, add stone or cement, fabrics and details, the Montreux will bring everything together at the end and it will be the centerpiece of the washing area.

// Photography and Styling by Katerina Dima

 

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How to style a bedroom 4 ways

October 21, 2018


Advertisement // Sponsored post in collaboration with Høie

A couple of weeks ago it was your vote that decided the winner for Norways best bedroom, a competition by Høie of Scandinavia and KK.no. For those that have been following these series , I know you are very much looking forward to this! I posted about the 4 semi finalists here and today I will be showing you the first styling (and a sneak peek of the second) for the winning bedroom, I m sure you recognize it! You can find more photos and the rest of stylings on KK.no !

In this styling we took advantage of the colour profile the room already had, there are dominant white and blue walls that we decided would combine great with colour blocking when it came to the linens. Cool hues were chosen accordingly for the first styling, that would not only fit the room but also the owners character. In this His and His bedroom, crisp greys combined with cool blues and brilliant whites for linens bring upon a sophisticated and young feeling, for a couple that is hip and modern. The details chosen amplify this effect, modern furniture with minimal influences, black and silver details, leather and steel. The result hints towards a contemporary view of the materials, and introduces a fresh look towards satin linens. The grey details ( vases, linens, blanket) creates a balance between the crisp difference of white and blue, it bridges the space between them without weighing it down. In this way the colour details of the room that already existed are used as a base for the new styling while also being elevated to a new height. If you want to bring about colours, this is a smart way of emphasising them.

Used in this styling from Høie online catalog :

Satin grey bed sheetsVelvet Blue pillowcases | Satin white pillowcases | Dark grey wool blanket | Dark Blue wool blanket

For the next styling we focused on the softness of the materials of the room, the warm nordic oak floors and closet, the natural tones the room provided already. White this time is being used as the neutral agent that unifies the end result, which focuses now on a friendly and inviting environment. The feeling we are trying to achieve is soft cosiness, we wanted to bring living in the bedroom. The activity of reading, or listening to music while relaxing on the bed, or even on the warm floor. The colours and materials used for the linens (sheets , beddings, blankets), accentuate exactly this feeling of soft cosiness , beige tones were used in combination with muted greens , a combination that succeeds in inviting you in to spend a quiet afternoon or a prolonged morning. The colours themselves are not supposed to be heavy, the opposite, they are chosen for their calming effect, while the light patterned fabrics create an interesting layer that the eye and eventually the body can rest. Details of the styling also help with this, this time around soft colours where chosen for any furniture that matched the warm nordic feel, pale nude leathers, linen beige pouches help with storage of anything that can be hidden in plain view, transparent vases and surfaces that let light fly in without obscuring the colours or patterns we were trying to use to promote an inviting environment. A comfortable setting was created next to the window, where an alternative way is presented on spending an hour on the floor with a blanket reading a book. The stage is set for a comfortable few hours. See more at KK.no.

Used in this styling from Høie online catalog :

Krepp Olive Bed Sheets | Cecilie Olive pillowcases | Krepp Olive striped pillowcases | Wool knitted Olive Blanket

// Photography and Styling by Katerina Dima

 

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Pillivuyt 200 Years Celebration Jubilee

September 30, 2018


Advertisement // Sponsored post in collaboration with PillivuytA few months ago, I was lucky to visit the place where the Pillivuyt Porcelain is being produced today , in the beautiful town Mehun-sur-Yèvre near Bourges. The team treated us ( we were a full group of Scandinavian bloggers) to a very special weekend due to the occasion of Pillivuyts 200 years Jubilee. We toured Mehun-sur-Yèvre, walked through the streets of Bourges nearby, learned the history of Pillivuyt, visited the factory and talked to the people that work there creating every beautiful piece, before we headed back to Paris for an amazing night. Today I will take you with me in that tour, and I hope at the end, you will not only fall in love with Pillivuyt, but also with its people and their passion for this porcelain that has been in thousands of peoples houses for 200 hundred years now.

But first, let me introduce you to Pillivuyt. In 1818, a young Swiss man, Jean Louis Richard Pillivuyt, bought an old brick factory in the heart of France in a village near the Sancerre wine area.Together with his son Charles Pillivuyt, they created history. Jean Louis Richard had great plans when he took over the old brick factory in the village of Foëcy. Instead of producing brick, he wished to produce porcelain for the French kitchen and the better bourgeoisie.

Porcelain preparation was an advanced process, but the factory’s unique location provided the best prerequisites for producing porcelain of a very special quality. The tree for heating the furnaces found them in the forests of the Sologne region, which were close by. The many rivers and canals in Sancerre gave water to production and were important transport routes. Bergarten kaolin was also easy to get hold of and this is the main ingredient in porcelain. Jean Louis encountered some tough start years and already in 1823 Pillivuyt won his first design award in New York. In 1830, when his eldest son Charles became 20 years old, he became a co-owner of the porcelain factory. In 1854 Charles Pillivuyt started a new factory in Mehun-sur-Yèvre, a village 5 km from Foëcy, next to the Canal de Berry. Here is the Pillivuyt factory today.

Mehun-sur-Yèvre a village close to Bourges share much in common. One of the first things that pop is the architecture , the inviting atmosphere and the welcoming people. The city has a long tradition of art and history. Apart from the cathedral, other sites of importance include the 15th-century Palace of Jacques Cœur and a sixty-five-hectare district of half-timbered houses and fine town-houses. You can walk around easily in the center and never get bored of the sights, the houses, the feeling of walking in a mid century french town. I highly recommend it.

After a day of enjoying Bourges, Pillivuyt wanted us to not only have a good time, but appreciate what gives Pillivuyt its unique profile. What makes it so special that it has lasted for 200 years and as it stands, easily 100 more? Pillivuyt has character and not just because it looks beautiful and undeniable quality. There is deeply rooted within its concept the French attitude, from good food to great presentation, to everything that involves setting a spectacular dinner that you enjoy with wine even in an everyday basis. The inspiration comes from Frances old castles, the luxury and uniqueness of its cuisine, the vast knowledge of fine wine and dinning. What better place to find that out but the phenomenal Hôtel de Panette, where we were treated with wine tasting and local delicacies while we enjoyed a relaxing afternoon. Just by looking at the photos of Hôtel de Panette (photo above and below), you can see what I mean, if that is not the embodiment of French luxury, I am not sure what else will best describe it. It is also now I think quite clear where Pillivuyt is coming from, and where it gets not only its inspiration but also its history.

The next day , we finally headed for Mehun-sur-Yèvre, where Pillivuyt is being produced today in its entirety. From the very beginning, it has always been Pillivuyts philosophy to create beautiful and durable porcelain.A craft that meets the high quality standards that both professional cooks and private food lovers have in the kitchen and around the dining table.

It has made Pillivuyt the porcelain of a very special casting. Porcelain created in collaboration with the best and most passionate cooks in their subjects. Porcelain that meets the highest standards of functionality, durability and design. Porcelain sets are made of field patches with a high content of feldspar and quartz. It’s the factory’s unique porcelain pulp which, together with an extremely hard glaze, makes the porcelain extra resistant to impact and impact. All the porcelain from Pillivuyt has its own stamp at the bottom, this is the factory’s quality assurance and your guarantee that porcelain meets the quality requirements that Pillivuyt has set for generations.

While taking the tour of the factory, we were lucky to not only learn about the process and the history (both photos above from their archived designs,molds on the shelfs as well as originals that are not produced or never have been produced, or where only produced once for a special occasion) but also see it step by step. Every piece of porcelain you own from Pillivuyt you should know is made by hand, almost 100%. From the cast, to treatment, the only process that is automated is transport, some washing stages and of course burning. However even the smallest piece, from a cup to a handle, everything is handmade, hand colored, and treated with care and the outmost respect. An important detail to know that I think makes the whole process even more special. The molds are not permanent, as they will suffer from use. If I am not mistaken no more than 50 pieces can be made from a single mold before even the mold needs to be made anew. The mold is also handmade!

Before the porcelain from Pillivuyt lands in your kitchen and is set on the table, it has been through a long process. It has been treated, designed and burned with a dedication, precision and love to give you the strongest and best porcelain.Pillivuyts porcelain pulp contains, among other things, raw materials such as kaolin, clay, silicon soil, feldspar, alumina and quartz, which are made on secret recipes.The production is based on the fact that the porcelain mass is processed and filtered in heavy machinery, where impurities are sown and most of the water. 

First burning lasts approx. 16 hours and takes place at 1000 oC. Other shipment lasts between 19 and 27 hours at up to 1,400 oC. The high heat makes it possible to achieve white, glossy and impure products of perfect quality. The burning at the high temperatures is essential for porcelain strength and the furnaces are together with the porcelain mixture, a vital part of the production. The latest and most modern furnaces were built and installed in 2003, but several of the furnaces have been active since the beginning.At the factory in Mehun-sur-Yèvre, 22,500 pieces of porcelain are burned daily.

One of my favorite processes, the soft clay and kaolin that is molded then the scraps or any misshapen pieces are gathered so they can be reduced, recycled and reused!

After the porcelain is cast and molded, there is the stage where the pieces are still soft, not having been burned neither glazed yet, they gather on shelves ready to be taken in the furnaces and finishing touches. The raw materials show, the rough surfaces even though cannot be used for service, they seem like work of art waiting to be displayed to a gallery.

One of the examples of this in between stage that I love so much,  can be seen above, handled with care by the expert worker. Pillivuyt has very strict guidelines when it comes to size and imperfections. Even though every single piece is hand made, it is very important to them that they look as identical as possible. Even a millimeter of misshape will lead to the piece to be discarded in the recycle bin, while smaller mistakes will make it to their outlet. Only the pieces that make it through strict quality control are sold in the stores, an impressive achievement and a testimony to the passion and integrity Pillivuyt has always displayed for 200 years. It was one of those recycle bins I almost dived in to find some pieces that I wanted to bring home (after politely asking since this is still material that will be reused therefore equally valuable), and by chance I found the photos of its preparation. You can see one of the pieces that made it home with me below where I use it as a vase and storage. It is very soft, though it keeps its shape perfectly, but it feels almost like chalk, I also treat with with love and care and it is the perfect reminder of my visit to the Pillivuyt factory!

The outlet ( as seen in the photo above), can only be found in the factory premises, but if you happen to be in Paris, it is really worth a visit, it is barely 2 hours away by train and it can always be combined with a tour of Bourges as well!

What is my favorite design from Pillivuyt ?A few months ago I made a table styling for Pillivuyt , you can see it here, where clearly you can see that my favorite is the Plisse line.  However , when it comes to Pillivuyt, it is really hard to chose one as a favorite. Toulouse is a series that is great for baking and serving, and I always end up combining those two.

// Photography and Editing by Katerina Dima – Last photo courtesy of Pillivuyt

 

 

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