Bonnie & Russell’s Scandi-Style Victorian

published Oct 17, 2014
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(Image credit: Cathy Pyle)

Name: Bonnie Rasmussen and Russell Patmore
Location: Guildford, Surrey, United Kingdom
Size: 1,500 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years rented, 7 years owned

When Bonnie first moved to the UK from her native Denmark, she was accustomed to light, warm and cosy open-plan Scandinavian homes with good insulation and double glazed windows. The house that she and Russell found to rent when they arrived to live in Guildford — chosen for its attractive location on a quiet street five minutes’ walk from the town centre — had none of that: it was dark and draughty with a downstairs floor plan that didn’t work for a family with very young kids.

(Image credit: Cathy Pyle)

Fortunately the charm of the Victorian house’s original features such as fireplaces, sash windows and the stained-glass front door quickly grew on Bonnie, and the true character and potential of the house – so much more than the dark, cramped place it first seemed! – soon revealed itself. So when it came up for sale, she and Russell immediately put in an offer to buy the house. And once it was theirs, the heavy curtains were removed, carpets stripped, a few bricks knocked down and everything else painted white, and suddenly they had a space that felt light, spacious and comfortable.

Staying true to the history of the house, little by little Bonnie and Russell continue to adapt the space and make improvements, allowing their home to develop in line with the needs and interests of its four family members. Their house today is a beautiful blend of Scandinavian-inspired simplicity, and softer touches of color and details which make the home feel so warm and welcoming; and Bonnie’s warmth and creativity is expressed throughout the house in her hand-sewn cushions and storage baskets, knitted blankets and hand-painted furniture. Not to mention the delicious scents of baking that often welcome visitors to this lovely home!

And the house also works brilliantly as a workplace for Bonnie: working from home as a life coach, she really appreciates being able to invite clients into a calm, light, welcoming space that reflects her personality and values.

Bonnie and Russell feel fortunate to have several extension options if they ever run out of space, but for now are very content with their trusty Victorian (and still slightly drafty), light and simple home.

(Image credit: Cathy Pyle)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Scandi-inspired, simple and white with gentle use of muted colors. In the day time striving to invite as much natural light as possible. At night time candles – always candles.

Inspiration: I am lucky to have some very talented and very creative friends who inspire me and provide helpful advice. Blogs, Pinterest, travelling and the seaside are other sources of inspiration.

Favorite Element: Taking down most of the wall between the kitchen and dining room created such a transformation in the flow of our daily life. We can now all be engaged in various activities such as cooking, doing homework, playing, and hang out with friends and still have a chat and a sense of spending time together.

Biggest Challenge: To strike a sensible balance between a plain white, functional space and a cozy, comfortable home.

What Friends Say: “Your home feels so calm,” is what both clients and friends tend to say first. Often that gets followed by a comment about the lack of clutter.

Biggest Embarrassment: The day we discovered our fireplace was fully functioning, was a day of huge excitement. However, we had been living in the house for more than 5 years by then!!

Proudest DIY: Turning an old unloved coffee table into a much loved desk.

Biggest Indulgence: I love baking bread and the old gas oven that came with the house was just not up to the job. However, it turned out to fit a new oven and meet current regulation, we needed to remove a part of a chimney breast. One thing led to another and we ended up with a new open plan kitchen/dining room.

Best Advice: Let light flow in where possible and encourage it to bounce around. Opt for high ceilings.

Dream Sources: Danish furniture and lifestyle stores (sadly very hard to come by in the UK), local crafters, and charity shops.

(Image credit: Cathy Pyle)

Resources of Note:


  • Farrow and Ball: All White, Dimpse, Manor House Grey, Pavilion Grey and Skylight
  • Fired Earth: Platinum Pale and Gardeners Bothy


  • Mirror, coat rack and dresser all from charity shops and painted


  • Desk (formerly coffee table) from Ilva
  • Bestlite table lamp from Panik Design
  • Wall calendar by Vikki Chu from Anthropologie
  • Vase – washable paper from Uashamama
  • Concertina folder by dandeliontree
  • Sofa from Furniture Village
  • White chair from Ikea with cushion from Steamer Trading Company
  • Sofa cushions and throws are homemade
  • Coffee table from charity shop
  • Basket from Lombok
  • Vase by Line Utzon
  • Striped cups from Tine K
  • Clock: inherited from grandparents
  • Cotton ball sting light by Cable & Cotton


  • Table and chairs from Skovby
  • Other chairs from Ikea and charity shop
  • Bestlite wall lamps from Panik Design
  • Plate (with figs) from Anthropologie
  • Small turquoise bowl from House Doctor
  • Vase from Habitat
  • Glass bottles from a local Vintage Fair
  • Magazine holder from TK Maxx
  • White stool from charity shop, painted white and stripy
  • Wooden/glass cupboard: from my parent’s house – source unknown.
  • Artwork: Garden of a Moon Gazer by Anna Emilia Laitinen
  • Photo art by Lemon yellow photography
  • Artwork: Constellations by Noemie Cedille
  • Artwork: paper design by dandeliontree


  • Flowerpot by Uashmama (washable paper)
  • Kubus 4 candle holder
  • Speaker by Sonos
  • Kitchen units all from Ikea
  • Appliances from Bosch
  • Bestlite lamps from Panik Design
  • Spice rack from Ikea
  • Mixer by KitchenAid


  • Bed from Furniture Village
  • Bedside table from Habitat
  • Bedding from H&M
  • Loft lamp from Ikea
  • Mirror from charity shop
  • Frames from Ikea, Heal’s and Habitat
  • Towels from The White Company
  • Old wooden box from my parent’s home – source unknown.


  • Wardrobes from Ikea
  • Towels and bathmat from Ikea
  • PJ bags homemade by Bonnie


  • Book case from Ikea
  • Bean bags by Fatboy
  • Punch bag from Argos.
  • Graham and Brown Frames Wallpaper


  • Secretary desk from charity shop
  • Coat rack from Packhouse
  • Bin from Ikea
  • Bed from Ilva
  • Bedding from H&M
  • Bird on a branch from Applejuice
  • Bird poster is wrapping paper from a local bookshop.
  • Cotton ball sting light by Cable & Cotton
  • Poster “Für Neil” moon with moustache
(Image credit: Cathy Pyle)

Thanks, Bonnie and Russell!

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