Few homes we’ve peeked inside in our Unboxed Home of the Month series have quite the disciplined decor that Fiona Burrage, Creative Director of Nor-Folk, has created in her family’s Norwich penthouse. The converted factory space she shares with husband Bobby and toddler Stanley, has a distinctly Scandinavian feel, is remarkably clutter free and features a soothing palette of grey shades. Read on for her tips on how she keeps it zen and clutter free, how to incorporate the Danish trend hygge into your home.
"Before Bobby and I moved in together our styles were opposite ends of the spectrum. I was more classical minimal and Bobby was more gloss black and masculine. Neither of us felt like we wanted to keep each other’s furniture, so when we got our first apartment we naturally gravitated towards the Scandinavian aesthetic."
"Our first holiday together was Oslo and we were sold on everything Scandinavian when we came home. The more I read and understood the Danish principles of cherishing good pieces that last well, the more I thought this resonates really loudly with me. In particular I really enjoyed reading The Year of Living Danishly – that had a real impact on my outlook."
"I’d definitely describe myself as an anti-hoarder by nature. For me, if something doesn’t have a place or purpose I just can’t see the benefit of keeping it. I take great satisfaction in going through the post and filing what we need but chucking out what we don’t. I suppose I find it quite therapeutic!"
"When we first moved in, we thought we should just go to a shop and ‘buy stuff’ to fill the space, so it didn’t feel empty. But we decided against that as the things wouldn’t mean anything to us. They’d simply be generic pieces with no connection. We’re firm believers that ‘stuff’ doesn’t make you happy. Filling it over time with pieces that you love or were bought for a particular reason does, and we’ve been in no rush or pressure to decorate it."
"I would recommend you don’t just build without a plan, as exciting as that might be. Having to-scale drawings allows you to see whether what you’re designing will fit/work. Our whole home is drawn to scale on our Mac, and when we consider any furniture we check to see whether it would fit scale wise first."
"To keep your space serene with kids, I have two pieces of advice: Consider the space and how it can be used to accommodate good storage solutions. I would also recommend a neutral colour palette (pastels perhaps) to create as much as a sense of calm as possible (amongst those brightly coloured toys children love to acquire!)."
"My home and clothes are shades of grey. I try to mix different fabrics and textures to add depth and interest. I also like accents of pink and mint too."
"I genuinely love everything we’ve bought equally for our apartment but the artificial grass we got fitted this summer has transformed what we originally referred to as a roof terrace to now a roof garden."
"When Stanley was around a year old, I ‘found’ Instagram and started to share our photos and life. Over the next year I began to be sent pieces for him to wear (but most importantly the brands wanted me to photograph him wearing the clothes and share on Instagram to my followers). My eyes were opened to the potential and power of social media and working with ‘influencers’ to build a brand. I wanted to design pieces that were clean, minimal and functional all with a Nordic reference. Initially I simply set the business up for me to work a couple of days a week. Fast forward to today, I work five days a week, most evenings, have 70+ stockists with Japan and Europe being our largest markets. We also have a dedicated warehouse, a wholesale website we’re refining and are in talks with an investor. It’s been an awesome ride and I really do love what I do. We haven’t nailed the work life/balance yet and we work in the evenings from our desk or sofa! But during the day we have a studio in the city. I work full time for Nor–Folk."
"We live in a converted factory. Our apartment was originally the drawing rooms for an engineering firm, Laurence Scott. They designed the propeller for the Titanic and the drill for the channel tunnel so it’s inspiring to live somewhere that has a design legacy. There are only a few industrial places in Norwich so when we saw The Factory conversions with the high ceilings we fell in love instantly. We actually lived on the middle floor for three years and had the vision we’d move to a more conventional home when Stanley was older. But when our current apartment went on the market, which we’d coveted for some years, we went straight to the owners and said we’d take it. It’s one of seven penthouse apartments, only two have double aspect windows and ours is the only one with views of Norwich’s Cathedral and Castle."
"With a three year old who is an incredibly light sleeper we don’t entertain as much as we’d like to, although our apartment used to be referred to as the 'party pad' before we bought it! It’s taken on a new life with us, as a young family. We love to have friends over for dinner, Bobby is a great cook and we’re about to buy a record player so we can listen to vinyls to unwind of an evening."
Article written by: Nell Card
Imagery by: Ingrid Rasmussen