Americans fell in love with the Nordic look decades ago. All thanks to a small Swedish shop called IKEA. In our twenty's we fell in love with the simplicity of their furniture, the consideration the dimensions had on our tiny apartments and the low prices had on our even smaller wallets.
Now years later we are taking a new look at the Nordic style and why it works so well for our kids rooms. Could it be that the less-is-more aesthetic means less clutter too? Maybe the monochromatic palette makes it easy to design a neutral nursery with pops of color? Or is it that we can't help but swoon over the tongue and cheeky characters, strong graphic prints and whimsical sayings that adorn decor items?
"Nom, Nom, Nom", I fell for the cheeky wording...on a plate. I came across this little dish on one of my new favorite sites, Design Life Kids. DLK is now my go to when sourcing Nordic minimalism for children's rooms. It stays true to itself with a focus on modern, monochromatic offerings. This kind of niché shop is a blessing for customers designing their own spaces, because staying focused and true to your room design is one of the hardest things to do.
Q & A : With founder Kim Wardell
Minimalism that is big on style at DLK
Q : Where were you and what were you doing when you decided to evolve your blog into a retail website?
A : My husband and best friend went into cardiac arrest very unexpectedly and passed away 2 months before DLK was born. It was a vague idea he and I had. It was a dream to share the beauty of design in many forms that a family could appreciate together. I couldn’t’ bring myself to go back to blogging when I wasn’t able to write about the joy of our lives at the time, but I wanted to do something for me, for my girls, for all of us. So DLK began. I was unable to sleep more than 2-3 hours a night for months so I decided to make use of that time feeling lost and focus it on something I could love and enjoy. I spent one month really focused, researching and launched DLK in October of 2014. Life is too short, crazy and beautiful to not at least attempt to live out a dream.
Q : Have you always been a less is more, minimalist kinda gal?
A : Minimalist can be defined in so many ways… my life is far from minimal! It’s crazy and always busy, but my design aesthetic has always been, less is more. Clutter makes me crazy, although believe me there is plenty of it here at times. I love being able to look at a space where others might think is empty and sterile, but I instead look at as refreshing, open and clear minded. Sometimes the simplest design is the most complicated and I love that.
Q : You have such stellar and focused eye for selecting modern products. Where do you look for up coming trends, Europe or US ?
A : Thank you! Europe and Australia are years ahead of us, but that’s because I think the US is generally know for a “more is more” lifestyle and while I agree with that in many ways, design wise I always look overseas and love being able to bring that feel to DLK.
Q : The DLK site is slammin' with so much cool stuff. What are your daughters’ hot pics for 2016?
A : Thanks! Senna is all about the clothing. She loves it all and is obsessed with the Adele Dress right now. It has this neat mix of traditional with the Peter Pan collar and then a modern touch with the tapered cut and print. She also is loving this Fluffy Face Bag, she’d fill her closets with everything clothing and accessories if her “allowance” allowed for it. Maya loves bedding and art supplies, it’s really neat. She loves our Dream Pillowcase and has started a collection of them! She also has her eye on our Design Letters Coloring Pencils. Kid after my own heart, love the look and smell of a fresh set of pencils!
Q : You curated the most stylish, monochromatic lifestyle pieces for your site. Is there a non neutral color favorite of yours? If so how does it pop up in your life? ( pinky lipstick, yellow tulips, blue hand soap.)
A : I have baby blue carpet in my bedroom, does that count? My bedroom is the last space I ever pay attention to, when really it should be the first as it’s where we go to begin and end our days. I love mint green, it’s my favorite color so we always have fresh flowers or greens in the house. My go to are white tulips. I love their soft curves and then the complicated surprise that you see inside when they open during the day. I do love color, but I let it show within my girls fashion instead.
Q : Share a day in the life of you...(please share specific details about your morning, day and night)
A : I still don’t sleep that much, about 5-6 hours at max. I wake up by 7, after my girls who thankfully are so helpful by making their own breakfast and just recently their own lunches! Once they’re off to school, my first focus is packing up orders. I feel strongly about getting orders out within the same day if possible so that’s a good amount of work for the morning. Then I work through emails and spend most of the day on the computer uploading product, editing, etc… Once the girls are home from school we’re onto homework and after school activities 3-4 days a week. We cook dinner and spend time together until they get to bed around 8/9pm. Then I’m back to work! I’m a single parent, business of one right now so my job is constant. I try to end the night by 1am which is my usual shower time, then I zone out for an hour or so catching up on some mindless T.V. to let my brain rest. Ha! That’s why reality T.V. exists. It’s a long day, but some days I’m off running to meetings both personally and professionally. I work most Saturday mornings, but other than that I keep my weekends as work free as possible so that the girls and I can have time together and go on some sort of adventure!
Q : With all the simplicity of a neutral modern style how do you suggest going about achieving a space that is fresh and inviting, not sterile and void of life?
A : Blankets, accessories, plants and flowers. They all add texture and show signs of realism. Candles and books are always a nice and realistic choice as they are both used and touched. A messy, but beautiful printed blanket is always on our couch. It adds a touch of pattern and it doesn’t go a day without being curled up in to watch tv by the girls or myself. Our house is lived in for sure, it’s where we work and play and it should be both relaxing and inspiring!
Q : Who's your social media crush?
A : I’m a big fan of Jennifer Hagler of @amerrymishap. She and I have been collaborating recently and she’s really such a great person. Her photographs are gorgeous, simple yet there’s a story hidden in there allowing her followers to interpret it themselves. I also love the photographs of Elsa Kawai @elsakawai. She finds texture and beauty in everything and shares it so well. Her photos make me want to follow her around the world!
Q : As a mom who runs her own retail and lifestyle brand - how do you find peace with the quality time you spend on each work and life? Or are they one in the same?
I find that they go hand in hand right now. The really amazing thing is that I love my job. It’s hard and challenging and while I have been so very unlucky in parts of my life, I feel incredibly lucky to be doing what I am doing right now. I like working and I like adventures, so when I can mix the two to benefit us both personally and professionally … it’s amazing. Weekends are for family though, no matter how much work I have, if I don’t focus on the girls and I during that time everything else will suffer.
Q : What's next for DLK?
I’m testing out my first assistant right now! That’s quite exciting and means I’ll be able to focus more on the growth of the business while other parts get organized and still taken care of. I’m heading on an amazing Yoga and Surf Retreat in Costa Rica this May as a speaker, hosted by Tropic of Candycorn. I am completely honored to have been asked to attend and to meet some customers who will be joining us too. And well, a few other things happening this year that I can’t wait to share!
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A self starter in pursuit of all things smart, savvy and stylish.