There is an obvious Scandinavian influence in Camilla Westergaard’s Sheffield home and it didn’t come from the pages of a magazine or from Pinterest. The white walls, the Louis Poulsen lamp and the vivacious Herbarium wallpaper by Stig Lindberg are all big clues.
Her mother and her late father are both from Denmark and there were regular family trips from Yorkshire to their homeland, where Camilla absorbed the guiding principles that make Danish interiors so compelling.
“Almost every house over there has white walls with colour and pattern coming from furniture and accessories. They all have key pieces like the Louis Poulsen lamp, which are quite expensive. The idea is that you don’t have a home full of stuff but you save up for these amazing heritage designs,” says Camilla.
Her own home was decorated on a tight budget, though it looks a million dollars thanks to her creative talents.
A former illustrator, whose brand was Butterscotch and Beesting, she has upcycled, painted, stitched and crafted to give every room a new look. The property is full of original artwork, including her own, along with lampshades, cushions and throws she has made herself. “I’m obsessed with making. Sewing, cooking and gardening are my way of relaxing.”
Other pictures and decorative pieces are by friends, family and fellow makers. “I often did swaps at maker fairs and what’s really nice about a lot of my items is that I know the person who made them. I also have quite a few ceramics by my mum, Hanne, who is a potter, which is lovely.”
There are also some original finds from Folksy. Based in Sheffield but covering the UK and beyond, it is a hugely popular online store devoted to modern British craft. It features gifts, fashion and homeware and allows people to set up their own mini shop with each listing costing 15p, along with a six per cent commission on sales. There’s also advice and the chance to be part of the Folksy craft community, which now numbers almost 5,000 designers and makers.
Camilla is Folksy’s lead content creator and so temptation is ever present. “It’s hard to resist buying as I see so many amazing things so I have to ration myself,” she says.
One of the reasons for setting a low budget for her home makeover is that the house is rented. She and husband Brendon, who have a son Kasper, 15, and two daughters, 11-year-old Anouk and Pia Rose, seven, moved up eight years ago from Hackney in London and now live close to Camilla’s mother, near Sheffield city centre.
“This used to be a student let and the landlord very kindly redecorated throughout before we moved in but it was all magnolia and green carpets, which weren’t really to our taste. He has been great and has allowed us to put our own stamp on the house,” adds Camilla.
She and Brendon started by painting the walls. They are mostly white apart from the main bedroom, which now has a nocturnal shade of grey/black that was chosen to create a “cocooning” feel.
In their daughters’ room, there are bunk beds and a row of peg hooks hung with pretty dresses and costumes, all designed and made by Camilla. The room is also home to Herb, Anouk’s pet pygmy hedgehog, who lives in a purpose-built wooden house and has his own Instagram account.
“Anouk desperately wanted one. They originate from Africa but we managed to find Herb in Barnsley. He has a fantastic personality but he is nocturnal so we let him out at night. He runs five miles each day and he can move surprisingly fast,” says Camilla.
The bathroom came with its free-standing bath, which was a stylish bonus though the couple have added Moroccan-style vinyl floor tiles from Zazous, which were just £19,99 per square metre. Brendon, who is adept at DIY, has also fitted out a shower room upstairs.
Carpet has been banished from the hall and stairs and the floorboards painted. The steps are two-tone white and black and are numbered in Danish “to help the children learn the language”.
As both Camila and Brendon are keen cooks, the kitchen is a key space and now looks fresh and modern thanks to more Zazous tiles. The dining room next door features the Herbarium wallpaper, bought from Cloudberry Living, on the chimney breast. The dining table was a vintage find, along with the school cabinet. The piano, which they have painted, was a gift from a neighbour.
“I thought twice about the wallpaper because it was £59 a roll but I only needed one and it has a big impact,” says Camilla.
A frugal approach was also taken in the sitting room. The Ercol-style sofa was found in a skip and revamped with paint and foam seat cushions. The Poulsen lamp was an investment buy and the vintage posters, designed by Bjorn Wiinblad for the Tivoli fair, were a gift from her mother.
“Not having a lot of money to spend makes you more inventive and more creative,” says Camilla. “I like to think that this is a handmade home put together with love.”
* Folksy, store featuring work by British designer makers, folksy.com
Zazous.co.uk, vinyl floor tiles.
Danish Homestore, Nottingham, vintage Danish furniture, Danish-homestore.com
Anthropologie, Victoria Gate, Leeds, anthropologie.com
Cloudberry Living, Scandinavian gifts and homeware, cloudberryliving.co.uk
Green Lili, Sheffield, prints and handmade rugs, greenlili.com