Grace and James Tindall, founders of Scandibørn, show us around their impeccable family home
Words Eve Herbert
Photography Maryanne Scott
What came first – decorating your own nursery or launching Scandibørn?
We launched Scandibørn in 2016 but with a year of preparation the year before. I was on maternity leave at the time which gave me some space to think about life plans and also think about how I wanted to decorate Harry’s nursery. It was at this time, I noticed a gap in the market for Scandi inspired homewares for children which wasn’t IKEA.
How would you describe your style?
I like a minimal, pared back look with simple but chic designs with a focus on the detail. For us it’s important for products to be beautiful, functional and built to last.
Why the name Scandibørn?
Neither of us are actually from Denmark (which is where Scandibørn began – it means Scandi kids in Danish). We have a few close friends that live in and around Copenhagen so it’s been our go-to summer destination for about six years now.
How did you launch the store?
We launched the business in autumn 2016. It was definitely a combination of factors that came together at the right time to give us the final push to just get on and do it. Maternity leave gave me some much-needed headspace to think about my career and the life we wanted to build post-kids and it also allowed me to formulate the business plan that I had thought so much about when I was pregnant. Simultaneously my husband, James, got made redundant and we decided (against the advice of pretty much everyone) to invest the very small pay out, take a leap of faith and go for it.
We love the whole ethos that surrounds Scandinavian living and interiors. It places value on buying products that will last years and fulfill different needs as our lives change. We’d spent a long time getting our home just perfect and having children seemed to open the door into a whole range of eyesores that I didn’t want lying round our living room (don’t get me wrong – Harry still has a whole lot of plastic toys; they are just stowed away in stylish storage bags). We felt there was a gap in the market for people like us who wanted to be able to create beautiful, playful and stylish spaces for their children that fitted with their contemporary homes.
What are your backgrounds?
Previously I was a management consultant for a big US-based IT firm. Obviously this is a totally unrelated industry so it took me a bit longer to work out the dos and don’ts of running an online retail store. In the same vein that’s given us advantages too – I had to go with my instinct and I used the skills I’d already gained – project management, contract management, delivery to tight timelines and, importantly, never accepting ‘no’ as a final answer. James’ previous experience is in PR and marketing, so our combined skill set has worked well when launching the business.
Talk us thorough your house. You have a slide in your living room. How did you live before you had your son?
We bought our house from Jessica Ennis-Hill, the Olympic athlete in 2013. It’s a 1930s semi-detached house, on a leafy street in Sheffield, a stone’s through from the Peak District, yet just three miles from the city centre – there couldn’t be a better location for us. Since moving in we’ve extended it with a large kitchen extension plus a loft conversion and restored lots of 1930s features (picture rails, fireplaces
The atmosphere and decoration are a combination of modern Scandinavian style teamed with features which stay true and sympathetic to the era of the house. We’ve kept neutral tones throughout but have gone with some bold colours like the LigneRoset orange sofa in our lounge.
We’ve taken a lot of inspiration from Danish design – flats are generally pretty small in Copenhagen yet everything has its place. Storage is plentiful and their decor really generates a sense of calm. We’ve tried to emulate that by building in enough storage in our key family spaces – some permanent, some portable (storage bags and baskets including those from Liewood, Fabelab, Olliella from our store).
Like lots of families, our kitchen is the hub of the home. We have a small snug off the kitchen which has turned into our son, Harry’s playroom. After Harry goes to bed we migrate into our front room, which at the moment is a child free zone most of the time. We love the bay window and we’ve installed a log burner – it’s my favourite place to be in winter.
I adore our Ercol furniture in our front room. And something to hide all of Harry’s plastic toys. I also love the Hubsch leather strap shelving, No Fred table and chair and the Oliver Furniture cot in Harry’s bedroom, which are all available in our store. Clean lines, minimal and Scandinavian style at its best.
You are very free of clutter. How do you maintain that?
It’s important to us to have as little clutter as possible – I feel so much better when our house is tidy. There are a few ways we maintain it…
2. Not putting things in cupboards that you ‘might’ use in the future when you know you won’t.
3. Making sure present buying occasions aren’t an excuse to buy lots of stuff no one really wants…Harry is getting a few specially selected toys (mostly wooden) for Christmas, although I’m sure one of the grandparents will buy something that’s far too big for our house.
What are your favourite products that you stock, and your best-sellers?
That’s a hard one. I do have particular soft spots for several of our Danish brands. Cam Cam Copenhagen was the first brand we signed up – their style is classic Scandinavian with a Japanese influence which makes them and their prints stand out from the crowd. Liewood Design is another favourite, they are a relatively new brand who are all about simplicity with a playful twist. Our bestseller at the moment has to be the bbhugme pregnancy pillow which can be used in pregnancy, nursing and beyond – it’s top of our list for expectant mums. Our contemporary ballpits are proving popular, as are the wooden and wicker prams.
How old is your son and what’s his favourite toy?
Harry is two and unsurprisingly, like many toddlers, cars feature very highly on his list of favourites – his Park and Go garage has been used for well over a year now. He also has been watching daddy doing home improvements so he is enjoying his new wooden toolbox, also in store.