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Day 7 - Betsy in Stockholm - Ett Hem Hotel

This post will focus on the hotel. This hotel is so spectacular books have been written on it so a few blog posts certainly are warranted.

The hotel was a private home and in 2012 renovated into a hotel by Ilsa Crawford. The 12 room mansion house really acts still like a private home. The public spaces are casual, there is service constantly but more like butler style in a home than like being in a public space.  This is all about experiencing the comfort of being in a private space even though you are in a public space.

This happens in so many ways. The staff know about you from the questions asked prior to your visit. The hotel can only be accessed by guests, the public cant come in. The food and drink programs are renowned so most guests take at least two meals here while they stay because it’s a privilege of staying here. There is no menu you just talk about what they can prepare and they will make it. Much like being an overnight guest a friends house who is making dinner for you. They can manage this because there are only 12 rooms so the volume of food isn’t an issue and they know much about your preferences before you arrive.  This isn’t even possible in the states because people work to the smallest variable and cant deal with the ambiguity of this type of service for this type of customer (high priced, very particuluar guest).  At the Ett Hem an exchange happens between the guest and the staff. The guest gives up control but gets a level of comfort and service not possible in a traditional hotel/restaurant model.

Ett Hem  - Exterior Spaces

It is January so the garden is not used but they are still prompting you to come out and sit.

They sheep skin throws cover the seats and protect you from the snow and cold metal seats. The lighting and plants are all out and that is admirable. In Minneapolis when the winter comes we go dormant. We chain all the tables and chairs together or remove them all together. We pretend outside doesn’t exist. Here they embrace it and beg you to come out even though it still cold. I saw this in Copenhagen too – but to be fair it was mid 40s in temp and people did sit outside and did use heaters.
The garden in the front door to the hotel so it makes sense to care for it but the extra intention and curation is so meaningful to a cold climate. We talk about embracing the North but in public spaces in MN we don’t do that. Today in the main shopping are in central Stockholm a department store had  a  NanaWall system what was wide open the whole day. In 20 degree weather, they didn’t have a circular door to mix the cold air with hot air, they embraced it and blew open the façade and said come in.

Lessons in how to live from our Swedish cousins.

Ett Hem Public Spaces

The hotels has four main spaces for guests to lounge, eat and drink in at any time. These spaces are in the green house, kitchen, dining room, living room and lounge. The pictures show each of these spaces. In Stockholm its light from 930-3pm only. So most spaces are dark and feel dark. That is intentional because each of these spaces fold into each other and the layered lighting creates the intimacy and privacy that is needed among these spaces.

Each room is filled with books, blankets, art, pillows, candles (real and lit), notebooks, decorative objects, treats and candies, and anything else your heart desires. These layers of real objects to be really used and that have been used are what makes these spaces come alive. You can tell many people have sat on this sofa and have read this book, that is the charm of it. Nothing is precious but everything is beautiful. Comfort made possible through all senses, touch, sight, smell and sound. There is lovely music playing all the time. It’s in English which is nice.

There is no thinking about – what if it breaks, what if people spill, what if it catches on fire, what if we have to bleach clean it (so many clients talk like that)  I think here in Sweden- they just deal with it. Maybe we can learn to deal with a little hassle for the exchange of a much better spaces to enjoy.

Ett Hem Details

The depth of detail in this hotel is like none I have seen. It’s all in the extras. We in our practice have to beg for accessories and art budgets. We work hard to bring this to each project but clients don’t every account for it nor do they see the value until you show them a with or without condition. Well without the layers of life in this space you have an old house with wood floors and great trim.

The main circulation is a great oak staircase that has these wonderful windows that tuck back in the wall and are far away from you. Creating a comfort of being inside while looking out. The landings and hallways have benches, chairs, books, art, decorative lighting, and other details that create a lovely character to each place in the hotel.

Each room has different furniture, books, art, accessories, rugs and lighting. This creates a desirability to be in one place over another. This creates a character and flavor in these spaces that would be difficult achieve in such a small footprint if it wasn’t for this level of design.

The simple things like heated marble floors in all bathrooms and fresh flowers that are changed through out the day in your room. The water and coffee carafes that come and go with real crystal that make this feel like its better than your real life – because it is!

The rooms are painted completely in the soft gray green color- the hinges and all hardware is painted that color on the doors and windows too.

The level of details is maintained in the public and private spaces of the hotel. That is hard to do and gives it so much richness.

Betsy V