Jean & Tennessee’s Nest Above the Lake in Switzerland

updated Jul 10, 2019

Jean & Tennessee’s Nest Above the Lake in Switzerland

updated Jul 10, 2019
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Name: Jean and Tennessee Macdougall
Location: Lausanne, Switzerland
Size: 80 square meters (861 square feet)
Years lived in: 16 years; Rented

Jean is a single mom living with her daughter Tennessee in an amazing apartment overlooking the beautiful Lake Léman in Lausanne, Switzerland. Upon entering their home, you are immediately struck by the different collections and interesting finds they have accumulated over the years. There are books everywhere and eclectic objects grouped together, and everything is unified by the lovely grey bleached wood furnishings.

Jean, of Scottish descent, was born in Pakistan where her father was a tea-planter, lived all around the globe, attended five years of art school in the UK, and has been settled in Switzerland for the last 30 years. She has collaborated with various businesses that have used her talents as a stylist and visual merchandiser, bringing her originality and conception to each of the projects.

Being a single mum on a tight budget hasn’t stopped her from trying to create a fun and inspiring environment for each of Tennessee’s different stages of growing up. The house has — and always will be — open to friends, parties, and sleepovers. The ever-changing décor has stimulated Tennessee, now 17, to pursue her own personal artistic projects.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Pared-down, grey bleached wood, eclectic, thrift store and market finds.

Inspiration: The idea when I moved in was to feel like living in a liner, because the apartment is so long and narrow and the view out onto the lake and sky is breathtaking.

Favorite Element: Being on the top floor, the light throughout the day, the high ceilings. In summer the balcony turns into our extra room where we have coffee in the morning and sometimes even sleep on at night. The chance to be able to grow plants on every window.

Biggest Challenge: Playing with the constant change of furniture and functions of the rooms throughout the stages of Tennessee’s life.

What Friends Say: They love the view, the calm atmosphere of the house, and that we are so near to one of the nicest parks in town.

Biggest Embarrassment: Painting the kitchen floor without any primer so the paint has worn badly!

Proudest DIY: The flat hadn’t been decorated in 20 years and every wall was different old-fashioned wallpaper so I had to start from scratch.

Biggest Indulgence: Spending money every week at the flea markets on items for my various collections of King Kongs, Snow Whites, vintage children toys, and so on! Buying books, tons of books, because when I like a writer I must buy all the books he wrote.

Best Advice: Buy things that touch you, you love, and that you can pass on later to your family and children.

Dream Sources: Apartment Therapy, magazines like Milk (French), Vtvonen (Netherlands), and Living Etc (UK), flea markets, thrift stores, demolition and construction sites. Living in Switzerland is amazing but I need to leave at least twice a year to get inspiration from elsewhere — and feeling that anything is possible, just try it.



  • Bookshelves: Interio
  • Ladder: found in the street
  • Tiles: original 100-year-old floor, re-waxed


  • Day beds: IKEA
  • Day bed covers: BODIE and FOU linen drapes
  • Coffee table: from an Interio window display
  • Industrial table: found on a construction site, originally used for moving plaster
  • Globes: vintage
  • Skateboards: vintage


  • Chairs and stools: original Swiss watchmakers’
  • Wood wall hangings: old railway beams, bleached


  • Table: plank found at a construction site
  • Sink: original
  • Cutting boards: collected from different markets
  • Jean’s wooden spoons: collected over time


  • Suitcases: vintage, used as storage for important papers and photos
  • Madonnas and shells: collected on seaside holidays


  • Leather chair: vintage
  • Leather suitcase: vintage, holds her beauty products
  • Artwork: collection of collage by her father, the artist Flynn Maria Bergmann


  • Wooden objects: picked up on holiday trips
  • Mercury mirrors: collected over time


Stones and driftwood: brought back from the beach by Tennessee when she was very young


  • Old wine crates for seating, a white parasol with bells that chime in the breeze, olive trees, and plants!

Thanks, Jean & Tennessee !

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