Modern chic abode, relaxing and calming
For Michaela Olofsson and her family, Shanghai is “a city of destiny.”
The Swedish woman and her husband married in Shanghai in 2004, despite the fact they had never visited the sprawling metropolis before.
“We were living in Almhult (Sweden) back then but I always heard good things about Shanghai from a friend living here. So we decided to plan something special for our wedding and invited 20 friends and family to witness my big day.”
The wedding took place inside St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church on 16 Gaolan Road. The couple organized their special ceremony, accompanied by some traditional Swedish love songs.
“I had my wedding dress tailor-made in Shanghai and spent three lovely weeks in the city,” said the mom of two boys.
Back then Olofsson didn’t dream she would end up back in Shanghai but, in 2015, a job opportunity became available to her husband Thomas and they grabbed it with both hands.
The family of four’s Shanghai life started in a rented flat inside Ambassy Court on Huaihai Road M. before they moved into their current apartment on Anfu Road in 2017.
“Having a balcony and an unobstructed city view was a particular draw for us. We crave light and the feeling of openness,” Olofsson said.
“In Sweden, we have a strong tradition of spending time outdoors. It’s normal for us to stay outside in the garden or balcony with a blanket — even if it’s cold. Here, the weather is much milder than in our country so we use the balcony often to have a glass of wine or simply chill in the fresh air.”
A feeling of openness flows right through you the moment you walk through the door. A spacious living room is connected to the dining room, which leads to the kitchen and storage space. The living room is saturated with light thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows.
“The open-plan living room and dining space is a must for us. We can compromise on the size of the bedrooms for a bigger living space as we love to spend quality time as a family here or invite friends over,” she said. “Furthermore, we saw the opportunity to install lots of storage space and wardrobes. I love an uncluttered feel throughout the flat, so lots of storage space is key.”
The 47-year-old housewife decided to go with dark-color schemes for most of her furniture and decorative items. Dark colors like black and grey set the mood for an intimate living spot and the overall feeling is modern chic, which is also relaxing and calming.
“I’m an energetic person and love to engage in different activities on a daily basis; but when I return home, it needs to have an instant calming effect on me,” she said. “The hues of black, grey and off-white create a warm and calming feeling. I added colors of nature, such as the dark green pillows and plants, to breathe some life into the space.”
Olofsson said it’s important to create a feeling of homeliness over a style.
“You can’t design an interior without understanding the atmosphere, because that’s what you’re ultimately creating,” she said.
A romantic, moody evening atmosphere is particularly the focus. Floor lamps, table lights, ceiling lights and dimmers are incorporated in the living area to illuminate different spots.
“It took me some time to fix the ambient lighting at home since it is a key element in creating a comfortable atmosphere,” Olofsson said. “I also love to light up candles and turn on lounge or classical music to complete a chilled feeling.”
Olofsson loves to mix different materials at home — contrasting a marble top table surface with a light, wooden chair or the leather sofa with a carpet and fabric blanket to add more texture.
The interior style has a minimal approach. With a thoughtful use of lighting and carefully curated furniture, the apartment is transformed into a cozy modern home. Olofsson selected all the furniture pieces in Shanghai with a preference for a contemporary design.
The living and dining room feature leather couches from French furnishing brand Roche Bobois, a pair of modern classic Barcelona chairs, clean-lined black cabinets to store the tableware and a long marble-top dining table. The CH24 Wishbone dining chairs and cushions from Hay strike a distinctive Scandinavian note in the space.
Olofsson wanted the same style and color scheme in each room to create a good flow. The master bedroom features a black-and-white color scheme with a throw blanket and pillows of different colors and fabrics for extra warmth and comfort, as well as a more robust look.
Above the headboard a collage of portraits grace the wall, adding depth and character to the space.
“The pictures are taken from the book ‘Looking East: Portraits by Steve McCurry. The powerful, expressive portraits from South and Southeast Asia give a cultural aspect to the vibe,” she said.
Ask The Owner
Q: What’s the best thing about living in Shanghai?
A: Meeting interesting people from different cultures and countries.
Q: Describe your home in three words?
A: Calm, chic, homey.
Q: How do you unwind?
A: I take a coffee, sit down on my sofa and watch some documentary series.
Q: Where do you spend most of your time at home?
A: The living room.
Q: What’s the view outside your window?
A: A city view.
Q: What’s your favorite home object?
A: The leather sofa from French furnishing brand Roche Bobois.
Q: Where do you source furniture?
A: Designer furniture shops.