Nilsson House

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Hans Nilsson, a Swedish engineering consultant and his Swiss social scientist wife Ruth came across a rather run down apartment occupying the upper three floors of an Edwardian townhouse in a leafy garden square in the north London suburb of Primrose Hill. It had been used as a studio for filming and photography, therefore not lived in for years - many scenes from the film Sliding Doors with Gwyneth Paltrow were shot here. It was in dire need of a total refurbishment before it could be lived in again, so Hans and Ruth brought in the dynamic interior designer Mia Karlsson – also Swedish – to apply her idiosyncratic Scandinavian panache and joyful décor to the shabby and tired apartment, thereby turning it into a sleek, colourful and thoroughly modern home. Walls were torn down, floors ripped up, and the entire space reorganised. The living and dining area on the lower floor has become a bright room with flowing vistas – beside the compact open plan kitchen with Fornasetti wallpaper a long table was commissioned to dine on but also to be used for Hans’ meetings with clients, a piano with extensive wall mounted bookshelves occupies the middle and at finally there is the conversation and relax area around a fireplace (which was used as a prop in the latest James Bond movie), with Asian artefacts and shuttered windows, and a gracefully arching lamp. A colourful painting by Ruth adorns the wall behind the dining table. Upstairs, Hans and Ruth each have a room to use as their personal work spaces – Each with a wall adorned with custom made wallpaper, as well as personal objects – Hans’s study has his sleek Italian racing bike, a lamp made from a ski pole, and an illuminated front grill of a 1950s racing car. The upper floor houses the wonderfully spacious and bright master bedroom suite – with an outdoor terrace overlooking the treetops outside and flooded by daylight from the expansive windows and skylights. A sheepskin covered oak rocking chair, with accompanying woodblock table are Scandinavian flourishes typical of Mia’s gregarious style, reflecting also Hans’ heritage... Writer Adam Butler -

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