Tag Archives: Swedish design

The Beauty of Real Craftmanship in Handmade Furniture

The Unmatched Beauty of Bespoke and Handmade Furniture: A Guest Blogpost 

Here is another guest article from my friend, Jo Lee of Swedish Interior Design, in our “View From Europe” series. Handmade furniture from craftsmen who are applying timeless, painstaking techniques to make beautiful, lovingly crafted pieces, are being edged out it seems in this economy of fast, soulless, cheaper MDF-type case goods. Here Joe looks at the benefits to be gained by ordering a custom made piece of furniture.

The world of interior design is increasingly cluttered by poorly made reproduction furniture in a wide range of styles coming from China and the Far East. This is all to satisfy our unshakeable desire for something new, different or exciting in this world of transient tastes and ever changing fashions. We forget, as we spend to maintain our ‘habit’, about the attendant environmental costs of mass manufacture, carbon intensive shipping and cheap Third World labour. These become ever more important as resources become scarce and the quality of human life lessens – just remember the recent factory collapses and death tolls in India as a direct result of our need for new things. (more…)

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3 Comments | Posted in interior design, View from Europe

A Guest Blogpost: Painting and Antiquing an Old Swedish Mora Clock from Jo Lee of Swedish Interior Design

From time to time on the blog I will be highlighting some artisans around the globe whose work I love and admire. Today I am featuring Jo Lee from Swedish Interior Design in the UK, who will be showing us how he revamped, painted and antiqued a beautiful, old Swedish Mora clock (one of my favorite pieces of furniture).

Jo Lee from Swedish Interior Design

Jo Lee and his wife, Madeleine, who is the Creative Director


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11 Comments | Posted in Decorative Finishes, interior design, Makeovers, Paint, Tutorials, View from Europe

A Hand Painted Miniature Swedish Mora Clock

repainted and antique Mora clock

Last summer, a friend of mine – Anthony {who is related by marriage} suggested to me that my reproduction Mora clock in the entry would look great if it was painted red.  I would have never considered that color in a million years – I have zero red accents in my house.  I love the color – but it never happened in my decor.  Now, Anthony is not just a casual observer who puts in his two cents…he is an artist and a designer and I have great respect for his talent and ideas.  Red would be such a radical change!  But – I did have this small reproduction Mora clock that I bought when I was first starting to stage homes for sale.  Maybe that could be my test case!

 reproduction Mora clock before

So, I had some Annie Sloan Chalk Paint left over from another project…so I dove in.  I paiinted the body in Emperor’s Silk and the moldings in Versailles. Then I did some distressing.

Chalk painted Mora clock

Then I started to do a little bit of research on various motifs that would be seen on authentic Mora clocks.  Several years ago I bought a fantastic book “Handbook of Decorative Motifs,” by Birthe Koustrup – a Danish artist.  This book is a great resource for any painter or designer.  The book has so many great motifs in it – so I highly recommend it.  But, there were two pages on Swedish design that interested me for this project.  There were bouquets and garlands from paintings in the Zorn Museum of Mora (in Dalecarlie).  I wanted something authentic for the center panel.  I also look up some other designs online and a few that could be placed elsewhere on the clock.  

Decorative Motifs bookPic of the bouquet…pic of the book

 I first did the center design the same size as it was in the book – big mistake.  It looked jumbled and crowded and I spent the better part of Saturday afternoon doing this.  Waste. Of. Time.  But – lesson learned.  So I painted over it, enlarged the pattern and deleted some of it so it would fit – and traced the S-shaped vine and made circles where the flowers would go and repainted again.  I just added two more flowers – one on the top and the other on the bottom to fill out the design. Much better.

motif on Mora clock too small

better sized motif on Mora clock

I wasn’t happy with a few of the flowers, so I changed the orange ones to Yellow Ochre and did my own design within it.  Nice thing about Folk Art – and Swedish Folk Painting in particular – is that their florals are fanciful and not true to life – very representative.  It’s really a lot of fun painting flowers like these!

repainted and antique Mora clock

I had to add a date to the piece, of course.  I remembered seeing one Mora clock with “1896,” so I put that date in the small center molding panel on the front.  I used the font Blackadder and sized it up to 72 pts. This font seemed the most naïve to me, so it worked.

Mora clock miniature on left side of mantle

Trying to figure out where it goes!

Mora clock from the side

I added some other scrolls etc to the sides – and I used some Dark Brown Faux Crème Color with a little bit of water to age some of the corners and motifs.  I haven’t waxed it yet – but I will probably use some Annie Sloan Clear Wax and then if it needs a bit more age – I’ll add some Dark Wax to it.

Mora clocks

Mama and baby Mora clocks!

close up of Mora clocks

I hope you like it – it was fun to do.  I am especially thrilled to be able to do some close up work now.  As some of you know, I had some eye surgery last week to correct an exo-tropism that had been plaguing me for the past year.  Better known as a lazy eye, this malady of mine should have been picked up when I was a kid but the doctors seem to think I just had great muscle control for many, many years.  It started to really affect my vision in the last year or so – my depth perception kept getting worse and worse.  As an artist, when your eyes begin to go – it’s very depressing. My eyesight is still a but blurry because the surgery was so recent – but every day I am seeing better and better.  The surgery even improved my general eyesight.  Unbelievable!  Now – if only they could do something about the pain right after the operation…

To read about how I antiqued the Mora clock in my entry, click here

 Sharing this with…Miss Mustardseed; Between Naps on the Porch; Savvy Southern Style; Power of Paint; Katherine’s Corner; My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia; Under the Table and Dreaming; Liz Marie Blog; House of Hepworths; The Shabby Creek Cottage; The 36th Avenue; Ivy and Elephants; Redoux; Romantic Home; French Country Cottage; Be Colorful, One Project Closer

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26 Comments | Posted in Annie Sloan's chalk paint, interior design, Paint, Tutorials