Wednesday, February 9, 2022



The term "laget om" (which translates to "around the team") dates back to the era of Vikings. It’s said a bowl of mead would be passed around in a circle and it was important that everyone only sipped their fair share so there was enough to go around. This evolved into the Swedish word "lagom," a lifestyle and design concept meaning just the right amount of anything.

“Minimalism” may be the new design buzzword, but I call our apartment “minimal-ish.” Not austere, but not richly layered, either. More like, everything we need, and nothing we don't. Just like the boat does, the apartment offers us a place to sleep, a place to socialize, a place to cook, and a place to sit and think. These places are filled with useful tools and a few beautiful objects, just the right amount of each. I continue to be delighted at how easy it is to put everything in its place, how everything has room to breathe, and how comfortable that feels to me.  Turns out, that sweet spot, that Goldilocks zone, has a name, and its name is “lagom.” A Swedish design concept of “just enough.” Well-styled, neat, calm, balanced, in equilibrium. Handled with restraint, and very individual. 

When I first started working at Rocky Mountain Arsenal, I went to the office supply cabinet and got what I needed, providing for myself with a few pens and binder clips, pads and file folders, and my favorite coffee mug. One day I was out at a meeting and my colleague Jeff had to find a document from my desk. “You have the exactly right amount of everything,” he said admiringly. “Your desk is so easy to find things!”  

“Well, of course,” I thought to myself. “I haven't been working here very long, I haven't had time for the mess to accumulate. I have the advantage of having started from the supply cabinet to fill a blank slate. Just give it time, and I'll have a chaotic messy desk, just like I left from my last job.” 

I had accidentally discovered lagom at that job, but doubted I'd be able to maintain it. Our apartment was “lagom” also, and again accidentally. I'd again achieved it by starting with a blank slate. What was sobering to me was that except for the furniture itself, almost everything in the apartment came from the boat. If that amount of possessions was “just right” for the apartment, no wonder it had felt choking to have that same amount of stuff in the far smaller confines of the boat! The challenge will be to see if we can take this newfound insight and put “just enough” back aboard when we move back to the boat in the spring. Meanwhile, here's a mini-tour of the apartment. 

Almost all the books on these bookshelves, and the items in the baskets (though not the baskets themselves) lived on the boat! Only the swirly lamp in the corner, and the blue glass canister, are new.

Feels odd to fit in a land-based kitchen again!

Desk area is a bit different than the nav station on Cinderella! I've still got my beloved beaded bird. The blue glass vase on the lower left is probably close to 100 years old and belonged to my grandmother;  I'm fascinated by the way its shape echoes the base of the desk lamp we bought at Target last autumn.

Rattan and glass dining table, and amber rope lights around the window in lieu of a chandelier.

The massive stone fireplace is a dominant feature in the living room. 

Moving day! Trying to guess which piece of furniture was which, when everything is hidden in bulky moving blankets. Wondering if we'd still like the choices we made when we packed this stuff away 20 years ago.

The sculptural black "spiral chairs" were an indulgence we could barely afford back in the 1990s when we fell in love with them. Happy to report we like them just as much now. A feng shui consultant had us rearrange the room and put them in front of the windows instead of by the fireplace, and swap places with the sectional sofa, as you perhaps noticed in another pic. 

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