How to add personality to a new-build

On one of the few rainy days one summer, we visited Ida and her family, in their newly-built house just outside Borås in Sweden. She had just finished decorating and wallpapering one of the children’s rooms with the Eden wallpaper, and the bedroom is finished in the Skog pattern.


Ida, who normally works as a creator and freelance designer, was at home on parental leave with Sigge on the day of my visit.

Sigge Miniwilla

Sigge, just like his mother, is immensely social and extrovert. He was more than happy to be in every picture. Wherever I went, he made sure that he slipped into the photograph, a really charming little lens louse.

Ida Sigge Miniwilla

When did you build the house? 

Everything went really quickly. We were living in a terraced house in town, but we felt that we really wanted out. Nature and the living, green world were calling to us. Even though they were almost on our doorstep. But what we missed most was the sense of community and the simple life with a school, a football pitch and the feeling of neighbourliness. Just was when we ourselves were growing up, in the countryside. But now, it would be enough to be 10 minutes outside town.

In August 2016, we signed the contract for the house/plot. The house was delivered on a cold and sunny day in the first week of November. Our furniture arrived on 18 December. At that point, only the ground floor was fully completed, with the upper floor still unfinished. The carpenters took that in hand between Christmas and New Year, and we were ready to move upstairs by the end of January. What’s left now is the interior of our large bathroom, which we are using as a storage room at the moment. This is really good even as a workshop, hobby room and painting studio for a creative person. The plan is to complete the bathroom in 2020/2021, but in the meantime, we are focusing on the garden. But there are times when I really long for a proper bath, says Ida.

Kitchen Miniwilla Ida

How did you go about choosing a house supplier?

We didn’t choose the house supplier ourselves. We decided to buy a standard house. But the house did not actually physically exist. To a certain extent this felt rather good, since we avoided so many steps in the process.

Hall Miniwilla Ida

Can you tell us a little about your house?

A black box on the outside. A large balcony and pergola, which we really like. Our second living room!
We have an open plan interior, an L-shaped kitchen with dining area and a living room. When we are inside, we spend far and away most of our time here. On the lower floor, we also have a guest room/office/sewing room/storage room. Bathroom and utility room. A green-painted staircase leads to the upper floor. We commissioned the banister and handrail from a local welder. These are simple in flat bar and expanded metal, which we had powder coated in white.

Trappräcke Ida

We go straight into the family room, which will eventually become the boys’ room. The walls are emblazoned with photo posters. Art from friends and family, and their own photographs. A beautiful green velvet sofa from IKEA’s Stockholm range.

Soffa Ida

There is also an office area with excellent light. I hope to be able to sit here in future, when I have to take work home. We also have our three bedrooms up here. The boys’ rooms have plenty of space for them to grow, and our bedroom is also large. We plan to build-in wardrobes along one of the walls. Green walls and the Skog wallpaper behind the bed. I tried 8 different shades of green here to find the right one for the room, to match the wallpaper. To give the bedroom room a real feeling of calmness and harmony, I decided to paint the mouldings, frames and doors. I love to take the time to roll out my yoga mat and let my body flow.

Skog Sandberg Wallpaper Ida

The bedroom with the Skog pattern from Sandberg Wallpaper.

Skog 3 Ida

What is the best thing about living here?

The location. I enjoy looking over the lake every day. Closeness to the school. The fact that we can cycle without being scared of crazily-driven buses. All the space. We used the balcony throughout this fantastic summary. Yes, it’s a very long list.

Skog 4 Sandberg Wallpaper Ida

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of building a house?

Don’t be afraid to demand the best. You are the ones who are making the investment of your lives, and it is you who will be living in the house. Have the courage to make changes even if it is a new house.

Magar Ida

Skog 5 Sandberg Wallpaper Ida

What were your thoughts when it came to children’s rooms?

Children’s rooms are always a real challenge. Should you think short-term or long-term? The kids seem to grow bigger very fast, and their needs change. When we set up Wilhelm’s room, we decided to make it suitable for a big boy right away.

Willes rum Ida

We let him choose the colour scheme himself, and he decided on red. The rest of the room is in grey and white.

Willesrum Mål Ida

Little Sigge’s room is the one we have just finished, so we decided on a wallpaper which gives calmness and harmony, but it had lots in it for a curious child’s eye to enjoy. But at the same time, we could move into this room at a later date.

Eden Sigge Sandberg Wallpaper Ida

I based the colour scheme in this room entirely on the Eden wallpaper. The painted wall, mouldings and door are in a wonderful warm grey shade, which I took up from the foundation colour in the wallpaper.

Eden Miniwilla Sandberg Wallpaper Ida

For me, the important thing is to create a room that is calm. Excellent safety, obviously! You can never have too much safety. Quite simply, there are too many toys! Lots of space for books. We read a lot to our children, so, naturally, we have to have a good bookcase near the bed. And, of course, it is essential that the child’s personality influences the furnishing of the room and the colourway in future.

Eden Sandberg Wallpaper Svenskt tenn Ida

Here you can see the Eden pattern from Sandberg Wallpaper.

Eden 3 Sandberg Wallpaper Ida

Indeed, the more we come to see of Sigge’s personality, and his own wishes, the room will change. His big brother, Wilhelm’s, room has lots of photos on the walls of the family and people who are important in his life. This was his own choice.

Love ida

How do you prefer to spend a day off?

If I am at home, I have at least one project on the go. Perhaps two or three, depending on whether it is indoor or outdoor weather. The kids sleep or play. I take as much time as I can for my own creativity.

If I decide to go out, I like to drive to Gothenburg, have a stroll around and drink a nice cup of coffee. And look at the people.
A couple of times a year, we take some “us” time, with a concert. And perhaps a meal in a restaurant and a night in a hotel.

Vardagsrum Ida

What makes you happy? 

A smile, always!

Kitchen 2 Miniwilla Ida

What inspires you?

Music. Meeting people. Travel.

Eden Sandberg Wallpaper Miniwilla Ida

How would you describe your decorating style?

Scandinavian with an industrial touch. The interior is a mix of heirlooms, my own design solutions, and design classics old and new. Warm, soft materials contrasting with hard and cold. I love the combination. At our house, we have pine, concrete, glass, grey and GREEN! Green throughout the walls, wallpaper, stairs, interior details here and there, furniture and lots of plants.

Eden 2 Ida

Favourite things?

Difficult! But the wooden bench in the hall, which is a family heirloom, is a good candidate. Other than that, I would have to say our Moccamaster. Coffee is vital! And, of course, I absolutely love my beautiful mugs from @enstromblom. Yes, these come close to being my favourite things! #Mugg20!

What would you absolutely not have at home?

No plastic flowers. Nothing shiny and chrome. White furniture, that’s really impossible with our kids.

What is your favourite wallpaper?

I really love my younger son’s wallpaper, Eden. I think we will eventually move in there and make his room our bedroom.

3 favourite Instagram accounts.

My friend is a constant source of inspiration in so many ways.
At this moment, I am also very much inspired by the creative Danish couple, @carolinenehring and @anthonybogdan, and by their house renovation dream @_our_new_home_
A beautiful office, with a beautiful home, beautiful thoughts and beautiful art – the artist @annagrundberg. She gives so much.

Is there anything you’d like to recommend?

Check out local craftspeople for your furniture ideas. The price is usually the same as if you bought something from a furniture store. And it is much more personal, reflecting your own designs and ideas.

Name Ida Wilhelmsson
Age: 33
Family: Mike 43, Wilhelm 6 and Sigge 18 months.
Job: Creator and freelance designer in fashion & interior design, with her own company, Idwi Studio. She has also just begun a course in digital business development.

Thank you for showing us around Ida!

I hope that you will be as inspired by her home as I was.

Click below for other inspiring homes.