Emma Fexeus: Scandinavia's Original Design Authority
It's great to see that something you like has the appeal of so many people with different tastes.
When you're looking for someone who knows Scandinavian design, the expert you want is Emma Fexeus. She started her site, Emma's Design Blogg, in 2005 when she was working as a styling assistant for an interiors magazine and needed a place to collect details on her favorite new designers, trends and products that came her way. What started as one of the only design sites on the Web is now the largest and best place to find Scandinavian design. Emma focuses on interior styling and photography, rather than products. It's her way of encouraging a more sustainable lifestyle, rather than just a means to consume more. The result? An amazingly well-curated site where you can get lost for hours.
Emma is also one of the top voices in our shelter and living channel in the SAY 100. We caught up with her from her new home in Sweden to find out what posts put her blog on the map, how the design blog landscape has changed in 7 years – and what design blogs she loves to visit.
What do you see as the rigors and rewards of Scandinavian design? One of the words that first comes to mind when I think of Scandi design is simplicity, and that is both a strength and a disadvantage at times. Most of the time, simple is great, as it opens up for versatility and is very restful for the eyes, but sometimes it can become a bit cold and clinical and even boring.
You first started blogging in 2005 – what were your breakout posts that really put you on the map? At that time there weren't actually that many design blogs around, so just having an interior design blog, no matter the style and quality of your posts, meant that people were interested and that other blogs would write about you and link to your posts. I had the great luck of getting linked by giants like Decor8 and Apartment Therapy, so I quickly got a big international readership. But one of my most read posts was written in the autumn of 2007, showing photos of an amazing loft apartment in central Stockholm. I still see those photos floating around on blogs and Pinterest quite often.
Give us a sample of some more recent reader favorites on your site – are there any all-time most popular posts? In the last few months I have posted some homes that have been huge hits in the bloggosphere, getting reposted everywhere. It's great to see that something you like has the appeal of so many people with different tastes! One was this converted stable in the South of Sweden, shot by Jenny Brandt.
Another is the home of photographer and art director Jakob Nylund, where everything is so "Swedish style 2012" that it's almost too right, if you know what I mean. It manages to keep on the right side of the fence though, and looks really inviting and relaxed.
How have you seen the design blogosphere change since you started writing? There weren't a lot of design blogs around when I started. At that time no one had really found their style, so it was all a mix where we all posted anything from shabby chic to colorful kitsch, and all blogs looked pretty much the same, stylewise. Nowadays there are millions of blogs, and many of them have a very clear style. There are even blogs that only show completely white interiors, or only hardwood floors! It is also much easier to find good pictures for your blog now, when all brands, magazines, photographers and stylists have a great online presence.
What are your current favorite Scandinavian designers? I have many favorites, but a few of them are Norm Cph, Front, Emma Olbers and Lisa Hilland. As for brands, Danish Hay is at the top of my list. They just do everything right!
What Scandinavian-designed products are currently on your personal most-wanted list? I would love a Brev (=letter) box in natural leather by Emma Olbers, and anything from the Tati collection by Broberg Ridderstråle for Asplund.
What other design or lifestyle blogs do you consider must-reads? I have around 150 design blogs in my RSS reader, so picking just a few is very hard. But Weekday Carnival, A Merry Mishap, Annaleenas Hem, Anna Gillar and Riazzoli are all very inspiring.
What's something your readers would be surprised to learn about you? I very rarely buy new furniture. I believe the only new pieces of furniture in my house that I have bought in the last five years is a sofa table and four dining chairs. The rest of my furniture is either old, second hand or home made. I do buy smaller things though, like lamps, cushions and other accessories!