This Scandinavian Home’s Headliner: A Gallery Wall That Doubles as TV Camouflage
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Published Jan 25, 2021 12:10 AM
“Obsessed with TV” is the first thing Michelle Nielsen wants you to know about her. So much so that the Aarhus, Denmark–based blogger behind Stone Muse put it in her Instagram bio, listed alongside her other two passions: Asian food and staying in. Curling up in bed and watching American Horror Story or Lost in Translation with her longtime boyfriend, Andreas, has become routine lately, but shows and movies have always been a source of comfort for Nielsen, especially in the early days of the couple’s home renovation. Two years ago, when the pair embarked on painting their kitchen cabinets, she went on a 30 Rock binge. “I got hooked on it,” she says.
The ironic part is the cinephile prefers to keep the screens hidden from view. The TV in their bedroom is located behind the doors of an IKEA Platsa wardrobe. In the living room, it’s camouflaged by an ever-changing gallery wall. “I let the space dictate what ‘fits’ it,” explains Nielsen (and “ugly” black boxes don’t usually make the cut).
When the couple first purchased the small apartment in 2018, most of their family members couldn’t understand why they wanted the place. “But I knew there was just something here,” says Nielsen. It was nothing a little wall paint, floor stain, and shelving couldn’t fix.
The Quick Cabinet Update
While Nielsen couldn’t do anything about the tiny kitchen’s footprint (it was as open as it was going to get), she could, at the very least, change the color. One wall got an olive-tinged update, IKEA floating shelves and all. As for the cupboard doors, she took those off their hinges one Saturday, filled the holes left from the old hardware, sanded them, and then painted the fronts a warm gray (all while 30 Rock played in the background, of course). “I thought I would be finished in a few hours, but it took the whole weekend,” she recalls. The four layers of paint were worth it: Three years later, and the doors look as good as new.
In an effort to make up for the lack of upper cabinets, the blogger mounted a metal cupboard from Hay to hold everything from small serving bowls to everyday plates and mugs. A nearby magnetic rack also helps keep the countertop free of clutter. Nielsen saved several thousand kroner by painting directly over the kitchen backsplash tiles—a trick she applied to the bathroom walls as well.
The Easy Artful Touch
When the couple bought the place, there was a wall separating the living and dining rooms. Opening it up was a no-brainer. That’s how the space was designed when it was built in the 1930s. Nielsen even discovered the original French doors (hardware still intact) down in the basement and put them back where they belonged.
The floor-to-ceiling shelving was another major improvement to the doorway. The wide variety of cubby sizes makes it possible to store everything from small decorative bowls to houseplants there. “It’s a bit controversial, but some of the books we love have crazy covers, so we turn them around,” she says. “It just makes the shelf a bit more calming for me, and that way you only see the colors that you actually like.”
The gallery wall began with one picture in the top-right corner and evolved from there. Some of the frames are custom, but plenty of them are standard sizes, meaning Nielsen can change the feel and look of the wall without altering the placement of the pictures. All she has to do is slip in a new print. The real key to the seamless design is consistent spacing. “It looks effortless and not too organized—even though it is,” says Nielsen.
The decision to go with IKEA’s Platsa system over the popular Pax was an easy one: The wardrobes aren’t very deep, so they wouldn’t block the sunlight coming into the bedroom from the balcony. The two closets, now complete with handles the blogger found at a flea market in Berlin, are topped with smaller cabinets for even more storage (although Nielsen’s wardrobe spills out onto hanging racks).
Of note inside: Organizational cubbies from Aykasa keep smaller accessories in their rightful zones and, of course, hide a small TV. The pair drilled a small hole in the back of the cupboard to feed the wire through. When the door is shut, screen time is over.
My go-to vintage shops: Some my favorites are HabenGood, Særligt Samlet, and Millefiori Interior.
My favorite local home stores: I love following really curated accounts and shops, and since we’ve been in lockdown it has been a lot of online shopping through Kiosk48th, Sakura Copenhagen, and the General Store.
The most affordable thing in my home: My lamp from H&M Home over our dining room table. So affordable but so cute!
The object that gets the most use: I do love the little TV that we have hidden in our bedroom closets. It definitely gets used (especially these days), and it’s always a fun surprise for guests.
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