East London style by Sweden’s Mälaren Lake

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Villa Minale is a striking, industrial home situated on the edge of the Mälaren Lake in Stockholm. Buster + Punch founder Massimo Minale and his wife, Jessica, bought and renovated this 40s suburban house together…and the results are beautiful. I had a chat with Massimo to hear more about the design choices they made when renovating their new home.  

Fun fact: Massimo and Jessica bought the house without even taking a look inside it. They were so taken by the setting, and so late for a flight, that they forgot to look inside.

Why did you choose to buy in Mälaren?

We actually stumbled across the area by mistake, after visiting a friend one afternoon. Having lived in London all our lives, Jessica missed the fresh-air and nature in Sweden and when we saw the views from the back garden, we were blown away. The Mälaren, Sweden’s third largest lake, sits at the bottom of the garden with calm water as far as the eye can see. It was the yin to our London yang.

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What look were you hoping to achieve in the house?

When we bought the house it had tiny windows and boxy rooms. We wanted to blow the whole thing out to give us an open plan house, full of light. From a design perspective we wanted something that felt like an East London warehouse – but with Swedish soul. This translated into an exposed Steel structure, large crittal windows, perforated steel staircases and rough-sawn oak flooring from an old mill in Bromley. The colour scheme was then very Scandinavian with every fixture custom made by Buster + Punch.  

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How close did you get to your vision? Is there anything that went exceptionally well, or anything that you had to compromise on?

We nailed it on the inside, however we wanted the exterior of the house to be finished in charred burnt oak cladding – which is a process that you do on site with a huge blow torch and literally set the house on fire. This was a little too progressive for Stockholm and the planners shot it down, the moment we mentioned ‘fire’.

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Any disagreements between the two of you over decor choices?

Not really, Jessica knows how passionate I am about design and normally concedes pretty quickly. However I do always leave the ‘colour’ up to her, as I see everything in black & white.

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Why did you choose this layout for the bedroom (i.e. the bath being only partially obscured behind a wall)?

I think when you have a family, you also unconditionally give up spending a lot of time in nice hotels and spas – so we wanted to bring that luxury boutique hotel vibe into the bedroom. The only thing we weren’t counting on is that it is usually our kids that terrorise the bath – which you don’t get in a luxury spa!

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