Nadia Olive Schnack was just 18 years old when she spotted her dream home while on a bike ride through Copenhagen’s leafy Frederiksberg district. ‘From the outside, you can see this big atelier window. It’s quite unique,’ she explains. ‘I just thought, “Well, that’s mine!”’
Despite this early conviction, she was surprised when, four and a half years ago, her husband Adam, an estate agent, discovered that the house he’d been asked to sell was, in fact, ‘her’ house. He didn’t have to look far for a buyer.
Once she had the keys, Nadia threw herself into creating her own hyper-colourful vision of family living. As an interior designer – as well as a colour consultant with an interest in the history of shades and how they can affect our moods – she had the knowledge and confidence to decorate fearlessly.
Her style has been described in the past as rule-breaking, existing as it does in stark contrast to the traditionally polite whites and greys of Scandinavian interiors. However, with a Russian mother and British father, Nadia’s childhood – ‘passionate poetry, ballets and stiff upper lips’, as she describes it – was very far removed from the aesthetic she has been charged with rejecting.
To her, it’s not about breaking rules or being provocative. ‘This is my way of finding a place,’ she explains. ‘It’s not a protest, it’s just what makes me happy and full as a human being.’
From the sunny warmth of the yellow wallpaper in the living room to deep aubergine in the bedroom, there’s no shortage of bold decorating decisions in this home, but perhaps the most striking is in the kitchen, where not just the walls, but also the island and cabinets, are painted an unapologetic lilac.
It’s an idea Nadia came across when flipping through Farrow & Ball’s archive colours. Stumbling across ‘Sugared Almond’, she knew she had to use it somewhere. It was, she says, ‘meant to be’.
The only room in this house with white walls is Nadia’s workspace. Here, the excitement happens underfoot. She commissioned Turkish/Danish artist Evren Tekinoktay to create a mural on the floor. Hand-painted, it took one whole week to complete and, in a nice moment of synergy, its swirling pastels bring to mind the work of a former owner of this home: the Danish artist Harald Moltke, whose famous paintings of the Northern Lights showcase nature’s most playful palette.
When it comes to combating the lockdown blues, Nadia admits she would be lying to say that the colours in her home have always had the power to lift her mood.
But, she says, ‘somewhere, underneath everything, colour does affect you. It helps you get out of bed’.
As her two children, David and Maggie, record dance moves for TikTok in the background while we chat, it’s hard to imagine a home more conducive to fun and freedom of expression. nadiaoliveschnack.dk
This article first appeared in ELLE Decoration April 2021
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