For Project House Austin designer Christine Turnkett of Breathe Design Studio, her relationship with Scandinavian Modern started with Ikea and grew to become a major source of inspiration for her whole design philosophy.
Discovering Scandinavian Modern Design
Christine recalls her first encounter with Scandinavian Modern Design was in high school when she went with a friend to Ikea. “I’d never seen examples of Scandinavian design before,” Christine says. “It looked so finished and well-thought out as opposed to random styling.” Fast forward to 2017 when her love for it really solidified on a trip to Copenhagen. “I stayed next to the Danish Museum of Design, visited showrooms around town and got context for the design.”
A lover of history, Christine loved diving into the history of the design movement and philosophy. In learning about Mid Century Modern in the American context, she found a link between American Modernism and Scandinavian with Eero Saarinen, the Finnish architect and designer who emigrated to the US and was hugely influential in American Mid Century Modern.
What Christine loves about Scandinavian Modern is both aesthetic and philosophical. Aesthetically, she loves that it’s “simple not embellished, lines are more streamlined.” Philosophically, she resonates with the principles of “function and art as part of everyday life,” as well as its being “democratic in design” and using local materials.
Hygge as a Way of Life
For Christine, “Hygge isn’t just about hot tea and candles but is a way of life, a philosophy of contentment, comfort, well-being, togetherness. It’s about trying to achieve a feeling of contentment.” More than any one aesthetic aspect, this concept of hygge as a way of life is foundational to her work. “Buy-in isn’t how a space looks but how it feels,” Christine says.
When she sits down with clients, for instance, she asks them to name three things they want their space to feel like. “What kind of life do you want to live here?” she asks them. Her goal is to create “spaces that feel calm, clean, cozy but still comfortable in everyday life. How can we promote those experiences?”
“Design can help people be mindful of everyday life. Scandinavian design is a good foundation for that,” Christine explains.
Scandinavian Modern Inspiration in Project House Austin
When it comes to Christine’s approach to Project House Austin in particular, she aims to “make things feel harmonious, working to balance each other out.” For example, “MCM palettes are often highly saturated, but we showcased furnishings with more muted tones. In the kitchen, we used mint cabinets to bring in a sense of calm,” Christine says.
Looking for more MCM inspiration? Check out our Winter issue! Full of vibrant design and warm spaces, each home highlighted offers a different take on MCM. Get some retro holiday styling tips, as well as helpful hosting ideas from our columnist, Robert Maurer. Read up on some Scandinavian architects and get a glimpse of their work and influence on MCM design.