Monochrome Home

Extract from Monochrome Home by Hilary Robertson.

This 1950s farmhouse may be a temporary abode for Annaleena (Leino Karlsson), her husband and their five children, but the interiors stylist and blogger would not consider even the briefest period of compromise or entertain another palette. A superficial makeover was required to smarten up the rental property. 

The whiteout is complete: it engulfs every wall, door, floor and even the staircase, which demonstrates how simple architecture can be greatly improved by a paint job.

The upper floor of Annaleena’s home combines her work station, office and storage for her metalwork designs with an open-plan sitting area next to a balcony with views over the fields.

Two simple white leather Ikea sofas make a surprisingly practical and stylish wipe-clean seating arrangement in the living room. The round black coffee table heaped with a collection of black objects anchors the room.

According to Annaleena, glossy painted white floors require no more maintenance than any other kind of finish. The wraparound white makes the ideal blank canvas for her brand of monochrome minimalism, which she achieves by mixing simple Ikea staples with her own designs.

Annaleena’s budget-friendly scheme involved laying plywood over the floors and applying lashings of white paint, disguising grotty tiles in the kitchen with panels of ‘gold’ sheet metal and updating the fitted cabinets with pale dove grey paint.

The grey master bedroom is pared down to the basics and is a lesson in how affordable minimalism can be. Crisp white bedlinen, an oversized paper globe shade and a white chest of drawers are combined with Annaleena’s own black hanging rail design for her tightly edited wardrobe of monochrome clothes. Instead of art, she hangs two round gold mirrored hooks for necklaces and scarves.


Monochrome Home by Hilary Robertson, photography by Pia Ulin, published by Ryland Peters & Small (RRP £25).