Jeanette and Husband Harald Mix own the famed Ett Hem Hotel (means at home) in Stockholm, Sweden. They also own a mansion just down the street from Ett Hem which was completed in 1916 and that the Mixes have been living in since 2002.
Ett Hem was designed by Iles Crawford.
“The process of doing the hotel made Jeanette realize that she had to circle back and look at her own place, but they only really used the kitchen and sometimes the library. Then everybody went up to the bedrooms, which were arranged like apartments. Is that fair?” says Crawford.“When spaces aren’t used, they die,” says Kirsten James, lead designer on the Mix commission.
“In the end we are, most of us, drawn to be together,” Crawford insists. Plus, she continues, “This period of Swedish architecture was the height of the Arts and Crafts movement, when the idea of domestic life was considered to be the pinnacle of culture.”
James and Crawford’s challenge: How could they retrain an imposing mansion to become an inviting home—all the while preserving the elements that made it special, such as the lacy plasterwork, noble mantels, and soigné paneling that Stockholm architect Isak Gustaf Clason conceived for the original owners, collectors Elin and Bengt Johansson, as well as his gala chandelier.
Psychotherapy helps. “We really interrogate clients,” Crawford explains. “What would she do in her study? Are the kids going to come in here? How are they going to sit? When are they going to use it? What if someone needs to step out and make a phone call?” That analytical deep dive captivated Jeanette, a trained sommelier and skilled cook. “It was an intellectual journey where I learned so much about myself,” she recalls. “Ilse knew all my values and all my morals: I had to trust her.”
That meant agreeing to Crawford’s radical suggestion to relocate the kitchen, from a distant corner of the main floor to the lovely but lonely drawing room.
What had been the kitchen is now a dayroom with a mix-master blend of furnishings—including antiques once owned by the Johanssons that Jeanette stealthily tracks down because “they belong in the house”—furry throws, and tall potted plants. The library is now darkly painted, so it beckons from the pale neighboring spaces and vice versa, and the original dining room has been transformed into Jeanette’s study. On the upper floors, the warren of bedrooms has been streamlined and equipped with marble baths. Also, Crawford cannily adds, none of the young Mixes’ bedrooms is “so palatial that they would only hang out there—and that’s intentional.”
Which, in the end, is all Jeanette Mix wanted: a house in which connections are encouraged and amplified. “Thank God our paths crossed ten years ago,” she says of Crawford. “It’s nice to be home.”
(Excerpts from Architectural Digest Article)