Handmade Living: A Fresh Take on Scandinavian Style by Lotta Jansdotter

Book Review

TITLE: Handmade Living: A Fresh Take on Scandinavian Style
AUTHOR: Lotta Jansdotter
PUBLISHER: Chronicle Books

While Lotta Jansdotter now calls Brooklyn home, she hasn't lost sight of the small island in Sweden where she's from. In her book, Handmade Living: A Fresh Take on Scandinavian Style, Lotta takes a departure from her usual project-type book to pay tribute to how growing up in Sweden shaped her as a person as well as influenced her home-life and work as a designer.Handmade Living, is Lotta Jansdotter's latest book. Lotta, a designer first and author second, is no stranger to the art of writing — she already has a slew of books under her belt from sewing how-to's to printing projects. But unlike most of her previous books, this book is less of an instructional DIY book and focuses more on how she has built a home that reflects her personal style. (Note: Lotta has a few books out that are only available in Japan, probably due to her huge following there. One of these books, Lotta's Life Style, might be more similar in style to this latest book, but I have yet to see it and unfortunately, it's out of print).

Lotta's appreciation of Scandinavian style — a style that encompasses simplicity, functionality, and unpretentious classic forms — is evident in her designs, but you can also see how it translates into the books she writes. The layout is simple, straightforward and divided into three sections; at Home, Entertaining, and at Work. In each section, Lotta guides you through with stunning photography and tips on things from decorating, how to find inspiration, and simple ways to organize a home office. You'll even find a list of resources that will help you track down everything from craft supplies to linens; as well as her favorite inspiring go-to blogs, magazines, and even music!

Visually, the photographs are delicious eye candy into Lotta's world. Photographed by Scandinavian photographer Jenny Hallengren, the images range from simple close-ups featuring many of, but not solely, Lotta's own designs around her home, to images of Lotta herself entertaining or crafting. There are yummy photos showcasing Lotta's entertaining style; whipping up classic Swedish fare from cinnamon buns to a savory sandwich torte. And while you won't find step-by-step instructions to go along with the gorgeous photos, you will find many recipes for the foods featured in a tear-out section in the back.

Bottom Line: If you are a fan of Lotta, as I am, and would like a peek into how she lives — you definitely won't be disappointed. If you would like inspiration for a stylish life that requires more creativity than money, it will be a great addition to your bookshelf. While there are a couple simple projects and recipes speckled throughout, if you're mainly looking for a craft project book filled with step-by-step instructions, this probably isn't the book for you.

Images: Kimberly Watson

5 Comments