The Swedish home with a polished take on the rural aesthetic

This barn’s rustic structure is heightened by contemporary styling

Swedish barn with a modern aesthetic
Jonas Ingerstedt/House of Pictures

With a carpenter brother and an architect as his best friend, it was only a matter of time before entrepreneur Martin Nygren made the decision to roll up his sleeves and build a home from scratch. Clad in stained black wood, the contemporary barn he conceived blends seamlessly into its rural setting in Skåne, southern Sweden, while inside, a blend of organic finishes and design classics lend a coolly polished note.

‘I love natural materials because they withstand time with dignity,’ says Martin, who built the property in 2016. Fittingly, his new home features a contrasting combination of old oak eaves, polished concrete flooring and lime plaster walls. ‘I selected pieces that will age beautifully,’ he continues. ‘Over the years, they will all develop a lovely patina.’

Swedish barn with a modern look
Jonas Ingerstedt/House of Pictures

Located on a plot originally owned by Martin’s brother Henrik, close to where the siblings grew up, the barn is surrounded by nature, but still within striking distance of the beach and the town of Kristiansand. From its generous windows, the only visible landmarks are an old windmill and the faint outline of Henrik’s house in the distance – and that’s just the way Martin likes it. ‘I travel a lot and always have projects on the go, so my home is my hideaway,’ he says.

‘I travel a lot and always have projects on the go, so my home is my hideaway’

Its layout is simple, comprising a large, open-plan living room, dining area and kitchen, with a bedroom and ‘chill-out’ space tucked beneath the eaves above. Despite that lack of complexity, there’s a deceptive deftness of touch here. From the architectural staircase and the concrete-clad Scandinavian stove to the laundry room, which is thoughtfully concealed within the entrance hall, details are important in this home. ‘I was determined to surround myself only with pieces I love, as well as with adequate storage,’ says Martin. ‘A walk-in closet and a well-organised utility area can accommodate most necessities, leaving plenty of breathing space.’

Swedish barn with a modern look
Jonas Ingerstedt/House of Pictures

With order attained, a harmonious colour palette pulls everything together neatly. Composite stone finishes are complemented by the aged leather furnishings; polished concrete by the soft mint tones of the kitchen cabinetry and warm oak cladding by tactile washed neutral linens and soft grey rugs. The dining area is set in an atrium that, in warm weather, can be completely opened out onto the fields. ‘I think that symbolises this home’s success,’ reflects Martin. ‘It’s both at one with its surroundings and uniquely “other”.
It will withstand the test of time and that is very satisfying.’

For the full house tour see ELLE Decoration September 2019

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