A Nordic Touch in Blackrock
Nordic design has long been something I have obsessed over. So when the chance came to visit the home of Nordic Elements Founder, Helle Moyna I was thrilled. Helle's home is a lesson in pared back, elegant design. It has a clever sense of continuity throughout the numerous light-flooded rooms, which all showcase Helle's talent for sourcing unique, quality pieces.
The feel of the space is calm and serene yet visually it is quite exciting. And Helle's design wisdom is something I could easily lose hours talking to her about. Take a look around her beautiful home and enjoy her thoughtful insights on design and lessons from Nordic living...
What was it about this beautiful pink house that made it the perfect fit for you?
We weren't looking for a period house but a house which would work for our family and lateral space. Our old house in London was terraced Victorian house living over 4 floors does prove a few challenges with 2 children. St Mary's ticked all the boxes - all living spaces on one floor and a big garden and of course brilliant location.
What were the most challenging aspects of renovating this house?
The house is a conservation property so we had to work within the conservation regulations which are very strict. We were not looking to redesign the house, more renovate and update it with new electrics, plumbing and central heating.
We also needed to restore the twenty-two large sash windows which all had to be taken out for restoration and the frames restored as well. Unfortunately we were not allowed to fit double glazing but at least the windows are draft proofed and can be opened and closely easily again.
And what was the most rewarding or exciting aspect of the design?
Creating a family home which suits all of us - myself and my husband, plus our 2 lively boys. I love each individual space, there are still things that need to be done, but all in good time when the budget allows. As there are no standard solutions or straight walls, so everything is bespoke.
You grew up in Denmark, a place synonymous with great architecture and a love of interiors. What aspects of your upbringing and home life in Denmark did you incorporate into this home?
Daylight is very important, so the fact that the house had large windows and lots of them was a good start. I have tried to keep things fairly neutral and classic with a contemporary edge. I have collected most of my furniture over the last 25 years, including many midcentury pieces. Good design and quality is key rather than brand name. There are many small design brands over the years who have produced beautiful pieces which are unique and exclusive, as they are not mass produced.
What do you think it is about Nordic culture that seems to make design and a flare for design so paramount amongst Scandinavian people?
The appreciation of good design and quality is passed from generation to generation, it is quite normal to save up and invest in key pieces such as a chair or dining table, even for young people starting out. Investing in good design is part of our culture and we like things to be nice, as Scandinavians entertain a lot at home and are very house proud.
When did you set up Nordic Elements and what was it that led you to pursue an interiors business?
I started out in January 2008 just a few months after my youngest was born. I was on maternity leave and as the financial market crashed and with two young children I did not want to go back to my city job so I volunteered for redundancy at the end of 2008 as I had the business plan ready to go and I haven't looked back since.
How would you describe your own style and what would your advice to homeowners be when creating a distinct style in their own home?
My style is a mix of lots of different periods, I have always waited until I found the right piece. I had waited seven years to find a mantle mirror and found one at a mid-century fair in London by chance which was perfect.
My advice would be to not be afraid of mixing things up, find a 'thread' that runs through the whole home, such as discreet brass details on lighting or small accessories. or a colour such as a touch of blue connecting rooms, only a small touch though like a rug or a cushion, be careful not to make everything too perfectly matched as it can create a bland space.
Another area which is often left to last is lighting, for me this is a key element to include right from the beginning and deciding on where and how the lighting is needed, as the wiring will have to be done before any decorating.
You may have a particular light in mind which needs specific fitting or wiring, my kitchen was designed around the island light fitting which I had sourced a couple of years earlier! I then found another Midcentury light at an auction in Sweden for our front room, another from a UK company that works with reclaimed industrial lights – all of the lights have brass details and the colours are opal glass, black and amber mouth blown glass shades which gives a calming continuity throughout the house without creating too many statements.
What is the best piece of advice, interiors or otherwise, that you've been given?
Keep it simple as its easier to add than to change.
What lies ahead for Nordic Elements in 2017?
I am expanding the furniture, lighting and accessories sections with a carefully selected range of brands which all fit into the Nordic Elements style of living. The majority of the brands are smaller design companies which are not readily available in Ireland. My aim is generally not to carry brands that are already here although sometimes there is an overlap which is unavoidable as the interiors sector is really growing here.
Our website is currently being redesigned and there will be many new features such as an appointment diary, a wider range of furniture, lighting and accessories, NE collection (specifically selected products for Nordic Elements), create the look - a special feature for various design styles.
The new site will go live in March all going to plan.
For more Nordic inspiration visit www.nordicelements.com