A Home For Simplicity

A Home For Simplicity
Words and photography by Johanneke Procee & Fanny Olsthoorn, Aore Studios
for NL3 magazine

As friends and creative partners, we often talk about spaces that inspire us. We reflect on the way they are created; their composition, the use of colors and materials, the objects that define the space. Recently we started chatting about our homes – the space we shape and, in return, the space that shapes us.

FO – The first thing I would like to bring up – and I know we’ve got this in common – is how much I value open space in my house. Space has always been important to me in the places I lived in. It has not so much to do with the actual space in terms of square meters, more important is the open character of a space; a kind of clear structure, no hidden details. It creates space to breath, to reflect and to create. We have been lucky with a fairly spacious apartment in the center of Amsterdam facing the water. The high ceilings, the large living space with very few walls and a wide view, make this a very open house. When cuddled up on the couch, my gaze wanders into the ever-changing sky; this gives a liberating feeling of space. Having an open space also means there are very few borders – everything is flexible. I change the position of objects and furniture pieces regularly. Just like we, as human beings, change over time, our home should adapt similarly. A home provides a place to express ourselves.

JP – I know what you mean, talking about space and how we shape it into a home. When we moved into our house in Haarlem, an old parsonage, we felt there was beauty hiding behind the dilapidated surfaces. We stripped many layers of smoke-stained wallpaper, opened up a wall between kitchen and living room, and placed large patio doors to our garden to create space to breathe and to let in as much daylight as possible. We played a lot with the space, while keeping the home’s original character alive. I love the high ceilings with windows reaching high; even more when they’re open, bringing fresh air and sunlight insight. It completely changes the way the room looks and feels, it gives that sense of space and freedom. Sipping my fresh-ground coffee in the morning sun at our kitchen table gives me that ultimate feeling of home. The simplicity of the moment makes it special; it offers me the opportunity to be wholeheartedly present in that particular moment.

FO – We both mentioned light. Let us talk a bit more about that. Light plays an intrinsic role in the spaces we inhabit. It makes me think of the paintings of the Dutch masters that are famous for this particular Northern light, ‘Hollands Licht’. For example, Johannes Vermeer painted scenes of everyday life, often with a flood of light coming from the window. It gives me a very intimate feeling of home. Often our house is like a canvas of the elements from outside; the light, the wind, the clouds, the shadows of leaves, the reflections of water. From morning to night and from one season to another. I think of a long Sunday morning, when the light reflects in such a lovely manner on the blank walls, the play of reflections of water and the linen curtains blowing in the wind. I love that calming, uplifting and comforting atmosphere.

JP – As two busy adults with active careers and young children, balancing life’s demands can be stressful and time-consuming. It often feels like there is not enough time to really connect with loved ones and the space we live in. The way you mention the ever-changing atmosphere in our homes and to actually see what’s happening, is of great importance in order to connect. It can radically change our experiences; just like smell – we strongly associate it with particular feelings and memories we can’t always express verbally. Music also has this profound experience. It helps us to be more present and aware of whatever is happening around us. I very much cherish the evenings with my husband when picking the right soundtrack to shape our shared mood; whether we’re going for the liveliness of Bossa Nova or the casualness of soul. Usually he grabs his guitar too and we end up singing along. Allowing entertainment in our day-to-day lives makes me happy and more rooted to the place and people around me.

FO – You know, achieving simplicity in a home might be another way to balance our sometimes eclectic, fast and crowded city lives. Keeping our house free of non-essentials makes room for what matters most. Both our houses are characterized by simplicity. Since I was a young child, I have loved my room to be simple and straightforward. No fuss, no unnecessary distractions, nothing that is hidden or absorbs energy. I strive for a certain structure or harmony, as I believe that harmony and balance give clarity, provide space and calmness. It gives room to our senses. For me this harmony is found in composition, clean forms, muted colors and pure materials. In this way our home becomes the place to unwind, relax, to develop and think. Of course, going back to the basics does not exclude decorative objects and personal objects that tell stories.

JP – It reminds me of the lovely words by Leonard Koren: “Pare down to the essence, but don’t remove the poetry.” To be essential doesn’t mean that an object strictly needs to be useful or practical. Instead, the purpose of an object also evokes a feeling of serenity or a certain memory. I guess we both strongly celebrate the minimalistic purity in our homes. Perhaps this sense of calmness is inspired by the flat, wide landscape of The Netherlands, with the green polders and sandy coastline — in which both of us love to spend our spare time. These landscapes arouse a sense of serenity, muted tones and airy openness. To me it’s important that the place I live in echoes the same values. It’s the subtle balance of harmony, lightness and imperfections I appreciate. Introducing nature into our home always creates room to unwind and recharge.

FO – I think we could talk for hours about this subject, as it touches many areas and interests. What makes it that we feel at home? What evokes this feeling of home? I think it strongly relates to the senses. You mentioned smell already. How much can we enjoy the smell of a fresh bread, the smell of freshly ground coffee or a home-made pizza? It takes us back to the afternoons that we came home after school,
and our mum had baked her signature cake. Touch is fundamental too. The fresh crispy linen of our bed, the comfortable feeling of our home wear, the touch of a solid oak piece of furniture. Home is the place where our senses can both rest and come alive.

JP – I agree, we could never get bored of this topic. Experiencing the zest for life in our homes is about observing everything more closely, appreciating things that mostly go unnoticed and investing in activities we enjoy and cherish. Despite our appreciation for beauty, I strongly believe our shared view on living isn’t rooted in aestheticism, but rather in a more traditional search for simplicity, inspiration and humility.

A Place Deep in the Fjords

NL3 Magazine: Photos by Gunn Kristin Monsen & Words by Lisa Reid Mjaavatten

The cabin is my haven to retreat to, and being safe in your home brings an intense feeling of happiness. I am at my happiest when I have things with meaning close to me.
The cabin is small with two tiny bedrooms, built in the 70’s with wild strawberries and blueberry bushes on a big property with pine and birch trees. Magnificent views of the surrounding mountains frame the fjords on the west coast of Norway. When we first found this place, the cabin had no electricity, no running water and could only get to by walking a few hundred meters in the woods on a narrow path from the road. It sounds a bit primitive, but I never felt it to be a problem even though we had 3 small kids.
The experience of being out in the countryside amongst the fjords and mountains, so close to nature, is beautifully peaceful and healing. I feel I am a sensitive and lost soul, and this is just the ticket I needed to get close to my own roots and reflect over my own self as a human being. I needed to find a home for my own values and my own truths. However hard that would be…
I needed this place deep in the fjords.

Many people complain about the long winters here in the north, but I love the cold and grey months. Feeling the hard rain bite against your cheeks just gives me a little reminder that we are not in charge here, its mother nature that is in control. We are here to enjoy what she brings to us and not take it for granted. Even though there can be a little bit of complaining, with a giggle or two about going outside to the long drop in minus 15 degrees. Or scraping ice off the inside of the windows in the mornings because we cannot see out. Or cutting through thick ice in the property’s well with an axe to get water to make the morning coffee.
This is adventure and we are making memories.

In recent years, we got electricity installed and there was built a road closer to the cabin so there was both less effort and more comfort staying in the little home. There was a feeling of total luxury to be able to turn a light on. The original pine paneled walls and kitchen are still intact. I work with interior for private residences daily so this to me by not changing the interior was keeping the very spirit and essence alive in the cabin. In many ways for me living a basic life and close to nature, simply brings a sense of well-being. I do not need a lot of material things, not having material ownership is incredibly liberating, but the few things I do own have a special meaning. I want to keep it simple and uncomplicated.

The old pine and birch woodland around the cabin offer protection from the harsh weather and winds. The swaying of the branches from the hallowing winds up the fjord sing songs when I am alone. Several of the huge mountains peaks that look upon us with their steep sides drop dramatically down into the sea. The sea is as deep and inky blue as the mountains. In between two of the mountains just down the road, is a beautiful waterfall that in summer I love to shower under. There have been findings of caves that date back to the stone age, so the region is extremely old. The sheer dramatic scenery from the mountains give me a sense of comfort and content. They are like old friends keeping an eye on us.

Christmas is a magical time, but I find it very overwhelming, so I do like to spend a lot of time at the cabin at this time of year. I feel it easier to stay grounded from all the stress. Slow weekend mornings with coffee and walk in the woods sets the mood for a creative afternoon. Making gifts like pine wreaths, homemade jams or making candles from beeswax make for something thoughtful and personal. We do not need much. A little love made by hand for me, is the ultimate gift. In every little thing given is a meaning of love.

Over the years this place has given me a sense of belonging. After travelling and working for many years round the world and now settling down in Norway has combated my restlessness. I am here now. In my head I may be still feel a little lost, but I have learned and accepted to be kind to myself. You have only you in this world. I have freed from myself from expectations and live true to the fact that I am a self-confessed introvert. I enjoy solitude, and I love and live for the energy that nature has to offer. Nature can be so inspiring that it has given me purpose and direction with the way I work. Both the cabin and the nature around is my own sanctuary.

A calm & peaceful Christmas time for our readers!

The Imperfectly Perfect Things that Make a Home

Photography & Words by Jane Day in NL3 Magazine:

Home isn’t just a building or place. Home is where your loved ones are or where your treasured things reside that bring comfort and safety; where everything is simple and calm. Once you open the door and step inside you could be anywhere, be it large or small, in the city or countryside.

The fast-paced world that we all now inhabit can be quite draining. Constant connection through our phones and laptops that intrude on our down time at home if we let it. It’s taking the time to stop and think: do I really need to answer that email, text, Instagram message, what would happen if I didn’t? Our homes should be our sanctuary where we recharge, relax, have fun, be content. It’s finding that all important balance between our working lives and that of our down time. Making conscious choices to create ways of living that suit our individual needs.

Having balance at home contributes to our sense of overall wellbeing. Achieving such balance within our daily lives takes work, you must set routines and goals. Of course, sometimes these will slip when life throws up one of its never-ending conundrums, but if your routine is in place with a little flexibility these little upsets will be redressed quickly and the normal balance will resume. To achieve a healthy balance within the home one simple thing to apply is to set boundaries, have a time when all devices are put away or on silent and certainly don’t keep technology in the bedroom especially when it’s time to sleep.

Starting at the beginning of the day when you rise, making time for mindful moments such as preparing your first cup of coffee or tea for the day, taking the time to notice your surroundings, taking your cup and enjoying every sip; be it by your window where the light is the best or even on the doorstep to your garden listening to the birds.  Eating meals at the table, food prepared with love and enjoyed with good conversation, or if on your own with an engrossing book. Having an evening routine where self-care and relaxation are key, take an early bath, light candles add restorative bath salts to the water and simply breathe letting your body relax.  Reading before bed also aids restful sleep, having a certain time to go to sleep is essential too. Having a room to sleep in that is restful with no clutter where objects are placed in a mindful way that creates a calming space.

We can enrich our lives by focusing on what makes us happy, our homes evolve through thoughtful choices we make along the way, creating a home that meets our needs and that expresses who we are as individuals and to focus on what we value the most. Creating a home that you love and feel at peace with takes time, finding and realising the things that make you happy and bring joy. It’s very easy to be seduced by the latest trends, paint colours, furnishings- but do you really need them to make your home truly yours? Do you have to have a style? I don’t think you do, gathering and finding the right pieces for the right place is a slow but very rewarding process. Who cares if you mix a high street flat pack chain item with a vintage Eames chair? Balance and flow, texture and comfort, adding natural materials, wood, linens, wool, ceramics. All these things are home to me. When you walk into a room in your home and smile, knowing you can’t be without that favourite handmade mug, or the beautifully crafted knife you use every day when cooking.

To truly embrace those small acts, to fill your home with a sense of calm and wellbeing, to enjoy the simplicity of the flickering glow of a beeswax candle. The sheer softness and comfort of a freshly made bed and the warmth of a deep hot bath, the process of wrapping yourself in woolen blankets, unfolding the pages of your favourite book. Grounding yourself to the slow pace of nature when connecting hand to earth.  All these things, moments, rituals of the every day are precious if looked at in the right way and not disregarded as trivial tasks.

Finding those imperfectly perfect things that make a home, bring stillness and tranquility to your day, knowing the provenance behind each piece and often the story or maker behind it is so worthwhile. Making the choices to embrace a slower life to reduce our footprint on this planet is such a wonderful step to make, know where our food is grown, shop as locally as possible from independent stores that become friends. Try and grow your own if you have the space to do so, there is nothing more rewarding than planting a tiny seed and watching it grow through nurture and love.

Being mindful of the resources we consume within our homes, trying to be energy conscious by simply switching your light bulbs and turning things off when not in use, reducing waste and plastic consumption.  Just by starting to take these small simple steps leads to bigger steps encouraging you to think about each and every action, its truly amazing how it leads to the next achievement in resourcefulness. Taking all these things into account home should be our own personal sanctuary, once we have taken into consideration how we want to live our lives, reconnecting with what matters the most. To nurture our space, bringing with it harmony and peace surrounded by the things we cherish.


Shelter & Sanctuary of Home

Picture: Lina Östling

In NL3 Magazine:

Words by Kristofer e Söderlund:

I was constantly looking for a new place, an expensive place that had elegant architecture; I told myself I would live in a high-class mansion with iron cast fencing that lined the edge of a bedroom balcony, overlooking the ocean. Every morning I would meander out of bed and let that vast horizon line tempt me into adventures to exotic and far off lands. This would be the place I would call home. My parents always encouraged me to dream big, but to never forget my homegrown roots. But sure enough, once I left my childhood home behind and began embarking on my own journey, duffle bags in hand, the person I had known started slipping away. Despite the happiness that surrounded my new life, there was a saddened yearning wrenching inside me. Finally I needed to return home, not by the definition that I had come to know, but the one that I had forgotten.

Picture:Lina Östling

At first, I was unsure about how to feel as my car raced down the winding roads, lined with overhanding trees and streets populated with familiar buildings and friendly smiles. This place had always beamed an aura of positivity and good heartedness. Every turn brought memories of my youth flooding back like a tidal wave crashing onto sun-kissed shores. My heart beating faster as I got closer to the last house on the street. And then, there it was, like nothing had changed. The same color paneling, roofing, and shudder. However, the trees were a bit taller, but that one long crack in the driveway remained. How I missed this place. I walked in the front door, paused, and heard nothing. Just as it had always been. Serene. I began to feel all of the broken parts of me starting to heal.

Picture: MirjanRooze

While most of us since last year have been bunkered down at home the world has changed – there is no denying it. Some of it good; some of it bad. But with this shift comes an opportunity for all of us to change a little too, even if only a shift in perspective. While we’ve been unable to move in the outside world, our inner sanctuaries have been teaching us new things, reminding us of what we had forgotten, and subtly (or not so subtly) shifting our outlook. Whether big or small, these changes have most likely occurred in the shelter, comfort and sanctuary of home. A place that has never been more significant than now, and a place I have never felt more privileged to have. Let your home be the place to keep you safe, fill you up and comfort you through all the uncertainty – let your home teach you, and even change you a little.

Words Elise Boreham



The Fragrance of the Pine Trees

NL3 Magazine

Words: Annie von der Heide & Photography: Birgitta Wolfgang Bjoernvad

The little wooden house in the wild, unrefined, beauty of nature by the sea. Surrounded by the intoxicating fragrance of pine trees and dog roses blending with the scent of the ocean and the seaweed. The wildness of nature mirrors and brings me back to my wild soul. The joyful dance of the mayfly, rejoicing in the warmth of the sun, breathing  the scent of the exuberant wildflower fence; the roses, the elderflowers not to mention the strong, exhilarating scent of curled mint make my heart smile.

My little house of wood, it is lived in, loved and alive in every corner.  It is homey, personal, healing, inviting,  uncluttered  and intimate. Nothing that can’t be touched or used. Rather it invites to touching, relating, being and relaxing. It breathes. The floors crack and in springtime the doors have gained weight, due to lack of exercise during winter, expanded a bit and are difficult to open. Sometimes it is filled with laughter and joyful play by the grandchildren and their cats; sometimes deep talks with my husband, my daughter or friends.  Smaller gatherings where we can rejoice in the value of quality time. An autumn evening full of melancholy, where the fire feels like a warm, soothing  embrace, a shelter from the storm. My little house has seen it all and welcomes every mood with equal hospitality and gentleness.

In the evening hours when the sun casts long shadows before withdrawing, leaving the sky in all imaginable shades of pink, the wooden bench beckons me once more to come and be part of all this beauty. Sipping my jasmine tea mindfully I feel a deep connection to nature. The ceremonial tea drinking and the enchanting scent of Jasmine feels like poetry and fills me with serenity and gratitude.

My little house is a sanctuary where I dwell in solitude, immersed in the quality of being alone which is so incredibly valuable and precious to me – reading, writing or simply being. I am transported back to my childhood’s joy and safety of being in my own secret place, my  special hideaway in my grandparents garden house hidden in the veggie garden behind the fruit-bushes under shadowy trees. This time sharpened my lenses to the beauty in everyday moments too often unnoticed and overlooked.

My  love of nature makes me prefer raw, natural materials. Used wood, wicker and old linens, bleached by age,  exude an easygoing aesthetic. I have a passion for vintage, where  the gift of time is inherent, always curious what stories they have to tell. Photographs that bring back memories and plant a soft smile  in my heart. Collages of beauty and inspiration, children’s drawings and letters, stones and shells found and brought home with pride from the beach, lots of underlined and dog-eared books, muted, neutral color schemes, plants, a wooden branch gathered in moss hanging from the ceiling filled with lavender and dried herbs over the old wooden dining table, a weathered shutter in just the right faded olive leaf color from a french flea market – all are  part of this natural soulful simplicity as are the old french mirrors that capture  the rays from the  daylight and make the rooms feel more open and spacious.

Keeping the delicate balance of delighting and enjoying things and freedom of mind. More often than not it is what we strip away – not what we add – that makes the difference. Leaving room for imagination and a sense of wonder. Cleanliness and cosy order imply respect and are important so thoughts and reflections unimpeded can circulate and take flight. When simplifying our surroundings, we automatically slow down our pace and gain a quieter approach to life, gradually  influencing the choices we make – how we wish to spend our time, what we eat, how much clothing, how many gadgets we need and also who we want to spend time with. We establish tranquility, gain insight and strengthen our mental resources and presence in everything we do; this in turn allows us to tune into a new rhythm of life. Simplicity entails a great wave of freedom, serenity and peace. We realize how little we actually need and when the unnecessary has been shed we can go on the discovery journey of what lies within.

As I walk outside barefoot in the high, dewy grass to sit on my little bench for morning meditation I am taken back to beautiful memories. My maternal grandfather was a painter. Together we would venture into the wild equipped with an abundance of paint, brushes, canvas, easel and two small stools. His words uncovering the very act of seeing are still stored in me, the contemplative experience of immersing myself in nature was a key to another world that I have carried with me ever since. These lovely, evocative moments with my grandfather swaddled me up in a blanket of pure joy. I see everything through my inner child’s eyes. Grains of sand between my toes. Splashing through a puddle. Observing the lace patterns of a fern leaf.  Marvelling at the color of the moss between the old stones. Listening to the yellowhammer at the top of the pine tree. Experiencing the world through the feeling heart. Collecting moments of beauty assisting me to stay young while growing older. Soulful Simplicity.

I breathe slowly delighting in the smell from the sea breeze, connecting to nature and grounding myself- the rhythmic breathing of the sea fills me with strength on the in-breath, letting me release unnecessary mental  luggage on the out-breath. In these early mornings a pristine origin seems to be present, the silence is virtually ethereal. You can feel the Universe breathing and the vibrational energy of the leaves, herbs, flowers, the grass  and the trees are communicating their message, conscious awareness and the essence of authentic beauty- inviting us to open our hearts and be fully present. The pollen from the pine tree, that I gently touch, falls like a fine mist over me. I gather some for my smoothie later – grateful for nature’s gift of energy and longevity. In this moment everything is perfect. As I sit in the midst of the wildness, I sink into a forgotten place inside me and awake to the memory of who I am and why I am here.

For many of us, what was originally simple and straightforward, has become complicated and alienated. Doubt has taken hold of our quiet, inner voice – it is drowning in the loud chatter from without. And in all our itching restlessness and busyness running towards some future materialistic goal- we are also running away from ourselves and who we truly are. We no longer trust the pure and unclouded signals, we receive from within: intuition, naturalness, authenticity, they are tempered by social conditioning, the source is disturbed and needs to be re-connected. A profound feeling that something essential is missing. Consciousness and awareness are the keys to open to our authentic self, our inner guidance, our inherent Soul Force. Let go of the outside voices. Let go of what you think is expected and required of you. Release it with love and replace it with your own version of meaning. My unsuccessful experiments trying to fit into a materialistic society have finally come to an end.

We all feel the intense urge to seek refuge – to find a haven liberated from the demands and restraints of the outside world. A small dwelling place in nature. I have found my haven- my soul refuge that embraces my inner longing and welcomes me home, something I have always known, always felt, but somehow lost. I trust and welcome the silence needed to harmonize, to reflect  from a deeper place within. Every breath brings me home – I breathe deeply. The rustle of the  leaves from the trees echoes : Stay.  Stay. The deep inner calling from soul.

Home is Listening to your Soul

NL3 Magazine

Words & Photography MirjanRooze

I am a morning person and after checking the weather I would skip breakfast and go outside. Fleur, the Jack Russel, would trot along. There’s always a dog on a farm. Fleur was a special dog, she knew when a cow was in labour, she would wake up our father barking loudly. We also knew when a thunderstorm was approaching because she sensed it, dogs usually look for a safe spot where they’re nice and cosy. After my father was done milking the cows we had breakfast together. We ate bread, milk and drank tea. I loved to make weird combinations such as cheese and ‘hagelslag’, small pieces of chocolate. Or I combined cheese with strawberry jam. I combined everything with cheese, basically. And if we wanted pancakes our father would get some milk from the cows. In the evenings we would gather around the garden table chatting while the sun was setting, it is such a joyful sight to watch cows and horses grazing calmly at their own pace. Sometimes you’d see a deer or a bird of prey observing the landscape.

When you live close to nature you notice that everything is in balance. Farmers knows exactly how to keep that balance, it’s in their nature, their soul, passed on from one generation to another, people tend to disturb the peace by creating rules of what and whatnot. I look back at how my father knew every single cow by name. He farmed with so much love that whenever something was amiss you could sense the worries he and my mother carried on their shoulders. Listening to our farmers is key. Supporting local farmers by buying their local products is key. It is of much importance to educate pupils where and how our food is harvested. When you grow up in nature you are in awe with nature and above all, you respect nature, and thus harmony and balance are restored.

The garden was a magical place. My mother, she knew how to create a beautiful serene space. She knew every single flower and plant by heart and created pathways and a little fishpond. I remember one time that she organized an open garden to anyone who would like to take a stroll. She was proud of her garden and fairly so! Years later my mother became a naturopath. She was well aware that we had to go back to our roots to find and solve our health issues. Over the years I have learned so many things from her and our bond is special. She knew a lot about plants and human nature and spirituality has played an important role in our lives.

The earliness of the day is beyond magic. Everything is so quiet till birds greet you with their morning celebration. The scent of mowed grass, flowers of various kinds sway calmingly, hearing the rustling of the leaves, there you are right in the heart of it. Those precious moments are the ones I call home. Your soul is completely and utterly at peace, full of bliss and kindness. Kindness towards nature but also kindness towards yourself.

Our soul recognizes people, places, languages, scents, music, cultures, historical events and so on. I love that. It connects the dots, the missing pieces. Instead of feeling homesickness towards any former property, country or any kind of subject, I think once you’ve connected the missing pieces you can learn a lot about yourself. Creating a home starts with making peace with oneself. Growing up I had difficulties in understanding society. It felt as if I couldn’t find my true self within it. The farm, our home, was the only place to connect all the dots. Because in nature you find answers and it’s true, you learn to be patient. You learn to face difficulties and obstacles in life. We are all connected, when something of an impact happens in a society or family, it might have influence for years, as its painful energy can flow through generations. That is why communication is key. When you are able to learn about the layers that caused any disruption along the way, slowly, you find peace. From that you can create your own home you love, you’ll become kind and gentle towards yourself.

Home is listening to your soul and finding your purpose in what you do. Collect the things that inspire you. We all have our different paths to follow but if there is one thing that connects us all, it is harmony. Create your own little Avalon and before you start to share it with others, take time to enjoy it yourself first, create your own home and path, be present and feel inspired.

In silence magic happens.










The Sound of the Lake

Nothing clears my head as simplicity, beautiful flowers and the sound of the lake.

Words & Photography Gunn Kristin Monsen in NL2 Magazine

I have always been drawn to the lake. Growing up spending all my summers at my grandparents place where I could run to the lake and have a swim any time, has made it so natural. The feeling of heather scraping up my bare legs as I ran the few meters to our hidden place. The joy of the fresh water as I entered the lake to swim in the tiny bay with my friend and the feeling of just existing in the moment.  Luxury  given by nature so generously and consumed and enjoyed totally as a child.

Living in Norway means for many Norwegians having nature’s scenery as a backdrop of daily life. The mountains, fjord woods, lakes and long coastlines are our natural elements. We are so used to it and may forget sometimes the impact it has on our way of living and thinking. For me a hectic life with no stopping points to catch my breath and the growing feeling of losing the ability to be in the moment, led me to search again for the feeling of my childhood. The beautiful feeling of time just passing as the mind takes a break. My surroundings were the same as in my childhood, after settling down with my family in the house where I had my summer paradise.

Still the nature had lost it effects on me. Being so consumed in the fast pace of my daily life I had no tools to recognize what was so close. My turning point was my first yoga class and starting to practice simple breathing techniques in my life. I discovered myself lying in bed, breathing and suddenly hearing the sounds from nature right outside my open bedroom window. The singing birds, the leaves rustling in the wind and the gentle sound of the lake so close to our house. My husband and I had just moved from the city to my childhood paradise. The winter was so cold, but we still kept the window in the bedroom slightly open for fresh air. My Baby girl was in our bed getting breastfed and then I heard it, the sound of the frozen lake, like a humming sound, deep and wavy. So calming and relaxing. The most beautiful soundtrack to a precious moment. How could I have had stoppend listening to that? Now summer is here and we have our window wide open as often as we can. Letting the sound of nature surround us, and be the best soundtrack to our life. The water sounds different now with its merry sounds hitting the stones around the lake.

We swim and take a trip in our old rowboat hunting for waterlilies, the most beautiful white flowers to be picked at just the right moment before it closes its crown in the evening.

The stillness of the lake and the feeling of running your hand through the water as the boat slowly moves along. The seagulls watching us closely to protect their newly hatched babies. All so peaceful. At the house, we move outside to live. We eat in the garden, and forget to check our watches in the light of long summer nights. This summer we have been blessed with endless warm sunny days, we feel these days in our bodies when the days of pouring rain arrive.

We are strange people here in the north, spending so many days of the year inside, waiting for these sometimes few, but precious summer days. I must admit, I still have a long way to go in letting myself benefit from the amazing tool nature around me is as a calming source. I love my job and could do it all my awaken hours, but to do it well I need time to reflect, getting inspired and letting stress go. I need time to be creative and to let myself get lost in the process. When the mind is filled with distracting thoughts this is really hard. So, I slowly give myself more space and room to breathe, getting closer to nature again and letting the sound of the lake inspire me to a life with more presence in the moment. It’s not easy, but I’m blessed with the most beautiful surrounding to help me on my way.

My dream now is to build a studio in my garden. I have this image of the beautiful light from the lake streaming through this big windows in my studio, soft with a touch of blue tones from the water. Even closer to nature and its magic clearing my head time and again.


A sneak peek of NL3 magazine

Photos: Andre Reuter/ Styling: Miriam Hannemann


Photo: Kristoffer Vaikla

Photo: Gunn Kristin Monsen


Photos: Gunn Kristin Monsen

Photo: Gemma Lewis

Photos: Lina Östling

Photo: MirjanRooze

Photo: Norbert von Niman

Photos: Kristoffer Vaikla

Photos: MirjanRooze

Photos: Valerie Schöneich


Photo: Valerie Schöneich

Photo:  Johanneke Procee & Fanny Olsthoorn, Aore Studios

Photos:  Johanneke Procee & Fanny Olsthoorn, Aore Studios

Photo: Norbert von Niman

Photo: Birgitta Wolfgang Bjoernvad


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Armgartstrasse 20
22087 Hamburg

Publisher & Creative Direction: Melanie Kettner
Creative Director: Thomas Kettner
Publication Design: Rowan Collins
Cover Photography: Norbert von Niman
Back Title Photography:Norbert von Niman
Tree Hotel Front & Back Cover: www.treehotel.se/en/

Printed by Druckhaus Waiblingen
Remstal-Bote GmbH

Distributor: MMS Ltd. London

It always starts with the light

NL3 Magazine

Photography & Words by Lina Östling

It always starts with the light. Always present in my awareness and follows me all the time; when i walk over a crossing, when I order coffee, when I look at my kids while they explain something to me. And, right now at 23.38 pm when I see shadows from the streetlight dancing, standing still, dancing again over a shelfs locker here at home. It does not stop just because it hit my eye, the light is more than that, it’s an observation of how to technically capture reality in a certain amount of pixels. It happens all the time, it has become who I am. And right now I am thinking what the shutter would need to be and where the best place to put up a camera without giving disturbing shadows on my shelf locker could be.


And I love sounds. There is no social media for captured sounds (well I don’t mean produced sounds) yet. When I hear wind in the trees or wild water that hits a rock I stop and hive it with a notice that this is just for now, it’s nothing you chase to get credit for on internet.This is right now without leaving a memory of it to the world after. What a liberating thought! And an opposite to what I am filling my days with while working.

I love using my home as a scene where I can build and create without showing consideration to anyone else. That was also a goal when we left Stockholm and 64 sqm for a big house outside the capital with a big garden and 200 sqm for me and the kids to play in. This house was going to fill two purposes, a new life and a place that I could use for work.

It turned out there was a lot of work to do in the house and we decided that this renovation would have to take time and we were ready to give it fifteen years. Our inspiration has always been the house itself, we always try to find traces of how it had looked like hundred years ago. As my job takes me to wonderful places I bring a lot of inspiration with me to our home. I think it made me more brave when it comes to make choices at home, I mean, mixing two colors on one wall is a gift I got from someone I met at work. And hopefully someone brings a gift with her when leaving our house.


Now nine years have walked by since we moved in, we raised two kids and have spent every spare hour off fixing with the house. A few jobs has been produced at home and in a way it has ended up as I dreamed of. But everything has taken far more time that I ever could imagine.

We have seen shadows come and shadows go, unwittingly of what is to come.

It is nothing unique with the light itself, but you can applicate it and make it yours if you combine it with what is personal to you. A new painted wall could be ”just a wall” or something thrilling if you look at it at the right time, the right moment. So let it take the time it needs to create a great picture. Let everything take time. Light is your friend and will not let you down. Play along and live life as if the last shadow is the one you see right now.