We asked the Norwegian wood nymph to tell us about her elven home and garden and share some tips on how to make your home more Tolkienesque, and she threw the elven tea party seen here in our honor. She tells us how to do that too.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JANNE AND RUBEN EIKEBLAD
I bought a hundred-year-old log house four years ago with a completely overgrown garden that nobody had been living in since the 1990s. But I saw potential: It was located directly by a beautiful Norwegian fjord, the garden was huge, and just outside the door was wilderness, the mountains, and fields. There was a massive job to be done, and the house was uninsulated and freezing cold. During these past years my boyfriend Ruben and I have restored the house and done quite a lot in the garden. We now have a couple of kitchen gardens, many fruit trees and berry bushes, and we’ve established a little mushroom-farm business on our land. We enjoy living here together with our two white cats and four ducks.
I’ve been a huge lover of fantasy since I started to read, and the author that has been my greatest inspiration in life is J.R.R. Tolkien. The world of Tolkien and Middle-earth greatly influenced my path and was how I found my life partner and most of my friends, style, artwork, and outlook on life. Tolkien helped deepen my love for nature, which in turn made me want to dedicate my life to it. Many people are not aware just how much Tolkien loved nature, trees, and everything that grows, and how he, ahead of his time, deeply incorporated environmental concerns and inspired in his readers a love for beauty and nature. Many of his works are submerged in mystique and wonder and the feeling that there is something more to life—especially in regard to the elves, his biggest passion.
It seems I had this subconscious urge early on to find a unique path in life. I used to feel utterly alone in regard to my elven and fairy-inspired style for a long time, although in recent years that has changed, all thanks to the internet. But living in a remote part of Norway far away from friends and family is not always easy. Still, it is important to be yourself and not care too much about what other people think. I hope to inspire others to follow their own path as well.
In my early teens I just really wanted a home that felt like living inside an enchanted forest, and so I created one. The attic where I lived was mossy green and filled with trees, ivy, treasures, flowers, antique paintings, lanterns, and draped fabrics. Instead of a stream I had a fountain with running water. As the years have passed, my style has become slightly more practical and allergy-friendly, but it is still based on the same principles.
I am aiming for an everyday kind of magic. I don’t want to wait for special occasions and events or that one day when I have more time or money to live out my dreams. I try to merge the elven and the fantastical elements into daily life, and you can too. On the next page I share some ideas for making your own home (and world) more Tolkienesque.
First, here are the dwellings and locations in Middle-earth that have most inspired me:
- Rivendell, where the outdoors and interiors merge together in a state of perpetual autumn and the colors are warm and the designs are based on Art Nouveau, Gothic arches, and the elegant shapes of nature.
- Hobbiton, this joyful and green place, with organic shapes, medieval furniture, and a cozy country style.
- Rohan, with beautiful wooden structures, knotwork, and Viking style, and a color palette of green, gold, brown, and white.
- Lothlórien, a myriad of magical lights, ethereal gardens, and homes merged with nature, slightly Eastern-inspired and with massive trees.
- The revitalizing ent home of Treebeard, which is totally like a house made of trees, with a moss floor, magical lights, rippling water, bottles, and a forest bed.
- Beorn’s house, an abundant homestead garden filled with homegrown produce, bees, and flowers. Rustic, but with intricate details. And what about Radagast’s super-whimsical home and Thranduil’s halls?