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Hej Stockholm!

by habituallychic

10 . 02 . 07

All I really want to do is take a vacation where I sit on the beach and do nothing for a week but for some reason, I keep getting talked into cold weather vacations. I can’t really complain, I’d rather go someplace cold than no place at all, so when a Swedish friend in New York asked a few of us if we wanted to spend New Year’s in Stockholm a few years back, we jumped at the chance. I will have to dedicate a real post to the trip but most of it involves snow and it’s just too soon for me to think about that right now!

While in Stockholm, we stayed at a fabulous boutique hotel, The Rival, owned by a former member of ABBA. It’s a really great place to stay and I will get to that in another post but while we were there, we made it a point to stop by The Grand Hotel for lunch one day. At that point, the Grand Hotel was nice but a bit dodgy and a little musty. A place your grandmother would enjoy but not anymore. The Grand Hotel has undergone a huge renovation and so have the restaurants. Mathias Dahlgren has opened two restaurants in the famed hotel and they are getting rave reviews not only for the food but for the decor, designed by the renowned British interior designer Ilse Crawford.

The gilded screen in the photos above was created by Studio Job and depicts culinary tools, Swedish icons and Viking ships and marks the entrance to the restaurant Mathias Dahlgren with a great flourish. It reminds me of all the wonderful cut wood crafts that you can find in the Scandinavian countries.

There are actually two restaurants, the first is Matsalen (“The Dining Room”), seen above. It is more formal yet also very simple and elegant. Just what you would expect for a Swedish interior, even if it was designed by a Brit.

In the more formal restaurant, Ilse Crawford chose finer finishes and products, including a Carlo Scarpa chandelier. Crawford says she “was drawn to the idea of a new Swedish kitchen that would be global and local without being, you know, fushion. I’m not a historicist. But I like the idea of DNA, and what was interesting was to find the Swedish roots, things that are incredibly evocative of the context, and take them forward.”

Matsalen also has reupholstered Grand Hotel chairs and a table designed by Carl Malmsten, one of the most famous furniture makers in Sweden. An interesting note is that the designer was apparently brought up in the house that is now the restaurant and made the table for his family in 1926 which means the table has never left the building!

The floors are a grey oak herringbone and the other tables created by Crawford have curvaceous iron bases and there are velvet covered Chesterfield sofas as banquettes.

In the more casual restaurant, Matbaren (“The Food Bar”), the cooking is more basic and classic and the decor is robust. “We used solid public spaces – feeling materials – zinc, oak paneling that gives you the feeling of a Stockholm bar, a tile floor adapted from the stairwell floors in the building (actually an adjacent 1878 residence annexed by the hotel),” says Crawford.

There is also a mix of Swedish and global she says citing the juxtaposition of rough 18th-century tables and with Jorn Utzon’s Tivoli pendant lights and red can-bottomed chairs by Vico Magistretti. Chef and owner Mathias Dahlgren claims the design is reminiscent of a typical Swedish farmhouse kitchen.

All I know is that after seeing this amazingly beautiful restaurant, I have to plan a summer trip to Stockholm. One when the sun is shining for almost the entire day and there is no snow on the ground!

Photos courtesy of The Grand Hotel

Comments Closed

  1. Brilliant Asylum October 3, 2007 | 3:33 pm

    Very interesting post. My only reference to Sweeden thus far was an episode of “No Reservations” which focused more on odd food choices. Anyway, this is a beautifully designed hotel.

  2. decorno.blogspot.com October 3, 2007 | 5:23 pm

    You always have the best photos and the best content of any decor blog. Love it.

  3. Things That Inspire October 3, 2007 | 5:30 pm

    Great post…I love the soft, serene colors in the kitchen and dining area. How do you have the time for all of these wonderful posts?

  4. Habitually Chic October 3, 2007 | 5:32 pm

    BA, I love No Reservations and there are some odd food choices but also a lot of great restaurants and design shops. I think it’s because they spend so much time inside all winter!

  5. Habitually Chic October 3, 2007 | 5:43 pm

    Decorno, You are so sweet! I am an amateur photographer so good photos are very important to me. So glad you notice and like them!

  6. Habitually Chic October 3, 2007 | 5:45 pm

    Things that Inspire, thank you! I scan a bunch of stuff in on the weekends and upload the photos so it doesn’t take as long to write during the week! And I multi-task. I like to be busy!

  7. Mrs. Blandings October 3, 2007 | 6:10 pm

    Chic – your posts are just beautiful – it’s always a treat to drop by.

  8. Anonymous October 3, 2007 | 6:55 pm

    Ilse Crawford may indeed be a Brit, with one with a naturally Scandinavian sensibility … her mother is Danish … perhaps you should read a profile about her life and influence … http://shopping.guardian.co.uk/household/story/0,1587,1520040,00.html

  9. Habitually Chic October 3, 2007 | 7:02 pm

    Thanks Mrs. Blandings! I appreciate your thoughtful comment!

  10. shelley October 3, 2007 | 7:23 pm


    I am new to your blog but I wanted to say ooh lala!! You have exquisite taste. Your profile said you live and work in nyc. I am visiting my daughter in nyc in a few weeks and I was wondering if you had any chic but reasonbly priced hotel suggestions as one you travels extensively and probably has clients coming into NY all the time. Any suggestions would be most gracious. I understand from one of Decorno’s post not to bother with the Hudson! 😉 Thanks so much.

  11. Style Court October 3, 2007 | 7:55 pm


    Your travel posts are always among the best. Love the Hallard one too 🙂

  12. Habitually Chic October 3, 2007 | 8:42 pm

    Shelley, Email me and I’ll try to help you.

  13. Habitually Chic October 3, 2007 | 8:43 pm

    Thanks Courtney! That means a lot coming from you!

  14. shelley October 4, 2007 | 2:24 am

    Thanks, I will e-mail you on Thurs. Most appreciated!

  15. katiedid October 4, 2007 | 2:46 am

    Beautiful! I love that last image. I have kitchens on the brain right now.

  16. Suzy October 4, 2007 | 5:30 am

    I’ve seen some images of the main restaurant, but some were new to me. Its a very chic looking place. Stockholm is one of my favorite places in Europe – incredibly stylish and full of great people – dont’ think I’d want to visit during winter either!

  17. Alice Olive October 4, 2007 | 1:16 pm

    I love the different approaches to each dining area – each so beautiful. (Those chesterfield banquettes in the mushroom pink are divine…. I’ll take one of those!) Also seems that mustard yellow appears to be popping up in a few places lately – looks very elegant here.

  18. The Peak of Chic October 4, 2007 | 1:44 pm

    Sounds like a wonderful trip! Makes me want to visit Sweden soon!

  19. designdna October 4, 2007 | 3:32 pm

    this is so beautiful, as is your blog, if i have not said so previously. my favorite is the screen by studio job with the light fixtures a close second. oh how i wish studio job had a portfolio on their website. they do such varied and beautiful work.

  20. Habitually Chic October 4, 2007 | 3:59 pm

    Katie, the last image is one of my favorites too! So simple and elegant!

  21. Habitually Chic October 4, 2007 | 4:00 pm

    Suzy, there was a snowstorm in Stockholm the day we arrived too! Talk about snow! I definitely hope I can visit in the summer one day!

  22. Habitually Chic October 4, 2007 | 4:05 pm

    Alice, I love that the colors are muted but not at all bland. That yellow is wonderful too!

  23. Habitually Chic October 4, 2007 | 4:06 pm

    Design DNA, I was disappointed that Studio Job didn’t have a better website too! And thanks for the compliment!

  24. Jordan Cappella October 4, 2007 | 4:38 pm

    Wow so simple and chic. I would love to stay there.

  25. Maryam in Marrakesh October 4, 2007 | 7:18 pm

    Oh those glass light fixtures and chandeliers………! Stunning