© All pictures by John Lawrence
Starting out: building advice
It is vital to have a building surveyor or architect who will specify exactly what you need to do, especially if you are removing a load-bearing wall, as I was. Any work must comply with building regulations. My surveyor specified blocking the "spare" doorway with engineering bricks above a concrete foundation, building a pillar on the non-party wall side of the room and supporting the large RSJ on steel engineering plates. Building work, including redecorating, cost £2,400.
As the bookshelves which had lined the study side of the partition wall had to come down, I recycled them to continue the shelving up to the fireplace to unify the joint space. To give the room a fresh Nordic look without going snow blind, I repainted. I chose Farrow & Ball's Wimborne White emulsion, which is one shade off bright white, on the walls, and a slightly darker tone, Slipper Satin eggshell, for all the woodwork. Since most of the furniture is off-white, I chose Charleston Grey, a rich warm grey, for the ropey chipped floorboards. Cost of paint £400, labour £600, total £1,000.
Dressing the windows
Out went swishy curtains and poles, in came Purity White wooden Venetian blinds, from Hillary's, which let in light but keep prying eyes out. The cost of three blinds, each measuring approximately 120cm x 190cm, was £690.
Furniture to fit the space
I bought a modular sofa that is big enough to accommodate family and friends. The Söderhamn from Ikea does the job brilliantly and comes in multiple combinations and colours. Measure the room's dimensions and the furniture to make sure it fits. Cost £1,145, plus £35 delivery charge. I also bought two sleek white coffee tables from Habitat, one for each end of the room, the Novak (currently on sale at £125) and Kilo (£35). Total cost: £1,340.
I wanted one big statement light, but couldn't afford Castiglioni's classic Flos Arco floor lamp at £1,600. Dwell's giant curved floor light, with a metal shade and pressed marble base, was perfect and only £199.
I brought back two reindeer skins from Lapland to use as rugs. You can buy them online for about £95 each. Spray them with hairspray to stop them shedding hairs. Finally, I added some Kivi tea lights, from £10 each, in the colours of the Scandinavian sky: lavender and pinks, through to greys and blues. Cost £200.
* Wooden Venetian blinds: hillarys.co.uk
* Paint: farrow-ball.com
* Söderhamn sofa: ikea.co.uk
* Novak and Kilo coffee tables: habitat.co.uk
* Lighting: dwell.co.uk
* Kivi lights: skandium.com