Norwegian Homes: Synne Skjulstad, Oslo

I remember vividly the first time I saw this home, on the cover of Norwegian Elle Decoration, August/September 2012. The use of colour is exquisite, and I have to be honest, I’ve never seen anything like it before or after.

Photo courtesy of ELLE DECO ES Photographer: Elisabeth Aarhus

The colour scheme was set by Snøhetta architects Andreas Joyce Nygaard and Heidi Pettersvold Nygaard, both incredibly bold in their use of colours, but only in interiors. The Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta is well known for their achromatic buildings. To me, the living room is the most striking room of the apartment, much because of the harmonious colour scheme, which is a twisted approach to using complementary colours (red+green). Red and green is kind of a christmasy look for me, but when you change or «twist» one of the complimentary colours (pink is a nuance of red), you get colour schemes like this, where it just feels stunningly beautiful without the harsh contrast between red+green and completely avoiding the Christmas look. The artwork is the icing on the cake, and completely makes the room. It ties everything together.

When walls, moldings and ceiling is painted in the same colour, it gives the room a more spacious feel

Courtesy: Photo: Yvonne Wilhelmsen

The hallway was the «beginning» or the core of the colour scheme. All other colours needed to harmonise with the plum coloured walls and fiery red book cases. Both purple and red is in the same colour family as the pink in the living room, and makes perfect sense. In a hallway you can go as bold and bright as you’d like, since it’s not a room you spend long hours in, you simply pass through. The plum definitely has a relaxing effect, and also sparks your creativity. The red is pure energy, and can give you the boost you need before you leave home, or that feeling of being a little bit sensual (seriously). It can also leave you feeling aggravated, but I doubt it will have that effect considering what colours it’s paired with. If the walls were white, the red would feel different and more dominant.

Courtesy: Photographer: Nina Hansen
Courtesy: Photographer: Nina Hansen
Courtesy: Photographer: Nina Hansen

From the living room, you can look into the kitchen, which has a combo of a neutral grey (which I don’t like), and bright, cheery yellow. Grey is neutral at best, but can easily be a super negative colour to live with. Adding the yellow here, is a stroke of genius, and gives the grey the positive boost it so desperately needs.This is what I would call a happy kitchen.

Courtesy: Photo: Yvonne Wilhelmsen

The grey is also less dominant because of the open doors to the other rooms, and the artwork on the walls. If they grey would have been the only colour in the room, the owners would most likely have felt that the room was draining and stole energy after a short time (usually about a year). Adding warmth and positive colours avoids that.

The red adds to the positive atmosphere, and both red and yellow serves as positive contrasting colours towards the grey.

Fun fact: red and yellow together makes you eat more and faster than what you usually do

Courtesy: Photo: Yvonne Wilhelmsen

This particular shade of yellow is pretty difficult to make with modern paint (at least in Norway), but speciality shops can definitely get it done for you.

Courtesy: Photo: Yvonne Wilhelmsen

The bedrooms are painted in different shades of blue, which are perfect for good sleep. It’s a colour that keeps you calm and relaxed.

Courtesy: Photo: Yvonne Wilhelmsen
Courtesy: Photo: Yvonne Wilhelmsen

The bold red is quite a controversial bedroom colour, as it’s the most energetic and strong colour of the colour wheel – in other words, it will not make you sleepy and tired. More fit for fight and ready to roll ;)

All in all, I would have to say that the colour scheme of Synne’s home is exquisite, very inspiring. I’ve read several interviews with her, and she keeps repeating how all the colours have a calming and relaxing effect on her, and that they make her happy. Which makes all the sense in the world. Dare to take chances with colours, get help if you’re unsure of how to do it.

Read more about Synne’s home here:
Elle Deco ES
Elisabeth Aarhus