The Story of Ett Hem


Ett Hem Hotel [meaning At Home in Swedish] is a 100 year old townhouse in Stockholm, converted into a hotel by the infinitely inspiring design studio of Ilsa Crawford. Standing tall and invitingly on top of a hill in the affluent Ostermalm district, the hotel looks like something cosy and full of promise sprung to life from a fairytale.

The house was originally built for a Swedish official and his wife who had a love for the aesthetics of Swedish tastemaker Karin Larsson – [the wife of painter Carl Larsson]. The lady of the house collected beautiful objects, textiles and furniture from all over Sweden – essentially she was a wealthy home-maker who had a good taste in ‘things’ (well why not?)! The artistic couple had a rich and colourful home life and the hotel now resonates with their story.

Designed by Studioilse to reflect the comfort of a private residence, the hotel contains twelve different bedrooms with an elegant domestic aesthetic created in the Studio’s poetic style; using tactile materials, wood, marble, glittering brass details and an atmospheric colour palette. Each room comes with a mixture of vintage and modern furniture pieces, as well as a fully stocked brass cocktail cabinet! The rest of the hotel includes a series of communal reading rooms, an expansive kitchen, cosy lounges, a bar, a well-stocked library, spa, sauna, gym and light-filled conservatory.

As a fan of Ilse’s work I know that one of the thing’s she speaks often about is that the key to determining the success of an interior is listening to the story of a space. It can sound like a conceptual way of looking at things, but if you explore why some interiors work better than others, you will find truth in her words. This renovation speaks for itself.

Prices start from £500 per night, per double room.


The Ongoing Story of Ett Hem
[courtesy of Ett Hem]

Built in the first years of the twentieth century, this building was home to a government official and his wife, a lady with a love for the aesthetics of Karin Larsson, who collected objects, textiles and furniture from all over Sweden. This was a time when the home became the focus of art and life, and design was integrated into the everyday. The influence of the Arts & Crafts, the romantic notion of national character and the delight in the design of useful things, combined with an impulse to embed a family in a place through architecture. All together this created a very special moment for domestic architecture in Sweden.


Ett Hem is not the usual hotel. If Ett Hem is an idea of home, of comfort and security, of familiarity, the other is an institution, a series of services. Ett Hem is something very different. It is active, where the guests can subtly shift the conditions, the atmospheres, the conviviality. A hotel is passive, a place that exists with or without you.



While it has all the facilities expected today, Ett Hem is a place that allows the guest to become part of it. Guests are treated as friends of the family. They can turn on the television in the sitting room, borrow our car or take the dog for a walk. They can make themselves at home, help themselves from the fridge. The food changes with the seasons, the rooms warm up with stoves and cool down with a fresh breeze from an open window. Ett Hem is connected to the street and the sky, to the city, it is not a machine cut off from life outside. Ett Hem is as glamorous as it is casual, but while it is a luxury, it is not a luxury hotel.


The value of Ett Hem comes through the pleasure of proximity to beautiful things, of being in spaces that tell a story, and through an ethic of generosity and care. And to a degree, of being left alone to live in a very special house.

This from the moment you step through the college door, enter the courtyard into the garden and go up the steps to the front door. In the entrance hall a fire is lit when it’s cold outside, and fresh cut flowers from the garden are arranged on the table.

Check in and wait for friends by the fire. Ett Hem will feel familiar. It is a place to use as you please. Downstairs in the sitting room there are sofas to sink into and games to play. The library, a room to disappear into, is stacked high with books you actually want to read. And the leafy glass house, where you can take breakfast during the day, or where you can enjoy a twinkling feast at night.

Upstairs the bedrooms have a warm domestic feel with a sophisticated edit of vintage and new pieces in tactile materials such as cane, wood, leather and velvet. Each room has its own cocktail cabinet in gleaming brass. And throughout the house is the owners’ personal collection of art and photography. At the heart of it all is the kitchen. Furnished with a big table, comfy chairs and settles. It is a place to really feel at home. On open shelves everything is at hand. A generous fridge is full to the brim with tasty treats, healthy food, champagne and fine wine, yours to help yourself.



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Ett Hem


Images courtesy of  AD EspanaFelix OdellEtt Hem

Author: Rohini Wahi

Rohini is a London based freelance journalist and trend forecaster for the design industries. She has worked for Elle Decoration, Living Etc, Houzz and Design Sponge amongst others.

She loves a period drama and keeps a tidy home. Launched in 2007 The Beat That My Heart Skipped focuses on home inspirations, design trends, lifestyle and food – coupled with an insight into Rohini’s work and home life – from key picks at trade shows to styled weekend soirees. To contact Rohini for queries, work for hire or just to say hi drop her a line at

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