Get Your Scandi On – Insights of Interior Design

We ponder with Netherlands native and Geelong’s newest addition to the style scene- Maartje Hartveldt.

Scandinavian influence on design, and its persistent popularity make it more than a cultural trend we infuse, copy and paste – but rather an enduring aesthetic that appears to really resonate with those seeking simplicity, elements of nature, light and refuge. Rising to popularity in the 1940’s and 1950’s Nordic clean line interiors have a philosophy behind the style. We caught up with Maarjte Hardveldt from MH Interior Decorating to ponder the intrigue of Scandi design and renovation decisions. 


Why do you think the Scandi Style has grown so popular in Australia?

I feel that the Scandi look really reflects the Coastal Lifestyle here in Australia. You see many Scandi styled homes with BOHO influences, a beautiful mix with a true Coastal Vibe.


What are your favourite aspects of the style?

Besides light and airy, the Scandi Style is also characterized by simplicity, minimalism, and functionality, bringing this overall feeling of serenity and relaxation to the space. I love the neutral colour scheme, the whites, the use of lots of natural fibres, the clutter-free aesthetic and clean lines.  


In your field of expertise, how important are ambience and aesthetic when creating space?

These two words are equally important when designing a space. Ambience determines how you will feel in a space, so think about lighting, for instance. I am a big lover of dimmable lights, so you can play with the mood and create the right atmosphere for every occasion. The aesthetics of a space is really the heart whilst designing as that’s the overall style in which you consider balance, shape, colour, pattern, scale and use of material.   


When undertaking renovations, particularly new structures within the house, kitchens, bathrooms etc.- what do you look for in a tradesperson?

That’s a very good question and from my experience in all those years renovating in The Netherlands and Australia, I think tradespeople should be very good at their job. People sometimes don’t consider an essential skillset- Listening! Is your tradesperson a good listener, and do they have an open mind? Being willing to go beyond what they know and visualizing with an open mind focussed on quality will get the best result. 


How can people create simplicity and get that minimalist vibe in cohesion with making a space that reflects your personality?

First of all, I would recommend to see the space as a white canvas and draw up a floorplan in which you choose statement pieces of furniture rather than having too many pieces that will take away the minimalist feel of the space. 

Make use of the natural light, choose muted colours, wood accents, natural fabrics, textures and fibres, greenery and always consider the less is more approach. 

By adding photos of people you care about or moments captured in a photo, grouping your treasures in a cabinet, add your favourite flowers, put some of your best books on display and use a scent diffuser with your favourite smell, you can reflect your personality without ‘destroying’ your new beautiful, cohesive minimalistic space. 


What is the most common mistake people make when doing a room upgrade or changing the space?

I guess not looking at the space as a whole but bringing in details they like without considering all elements together.  


What is the first thing people can do to make the process of changing a space less daunting?

My biggest advice would be to start with a mood-board, so you have an idea of what style you like and consider how you want to make the room to feel. 

Key questions you should ask yourself are:

 How will the space be used? 

What are the practical needs? 

Who uses the space, when is the space used and what activities will happen here? 

Set a budget and identify where the most significant impact can be made, so where is it important to spend money and work out to save money. 

Consider what already exists within the space that can be upcycled, repurposed, and decluttered throughout this process. 

Research product prices, check out the portfolios of those you are considering, ask for quotes, make a renovating/decorating plan, and start the exciting adventure.   

My biggest advice would be to really consider The Story that you want your home to tell about you, your family, and life; stay true to your own personal treasures. Sometimes you see these amazingly styled homes, but they lack personality. 


“An interior is the natural projection of the soul – so I believe that your home should be a reflection of yourself” – Coco Chanel.


What is your background in design and what lead you to design now? 

My background is basically working for a High-End Dutch Fashion Designer in Amsterdam for over a decade, in which I have been infused with design in general. Every season, creating a new Catwalk Collection always with a meticulous balance between materials, texture, colour, pattern, and shape. Besides this career in the Fashion Industry, I was renovating and styling houses. Creating a collection or creating a space feels very similar as it’s all about completing the puzzle, metaphorically speaking.


To find out more about Maartje and her renovation journey, head to the MH Interior Decorating website or follow MH Interior Decorationg on Instagram

If you are looking for excellent Cabinetmakers who are open-minded, innovative and quality- go no further than ICM- Independent Cabinet Makers Geelong. 

As appeared in Ponderings Magazine, March 2021.


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