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March 27, 2020 —

Home tour: Kristina Almer Rasmussen

We talk to stylist and wardrobe coach Kristina Almer Rasmussen about her serene family home in East London, her love of DIY and her dedication to minimalist living.
Jo McCarthy
Creative business mentor,
Firain
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The world has been shaken in an unprecedented way in the past few weeks. Staying at home isn’t a choice at the moment, and many of us need our living spaces to be calm and tranquil to combat the uncertainty. Stylist and minimalist Kristina can relate to this: “In a world that is often busy, noisy, and at times crazy, the home is our safe haven where we recharge and connect. Being at home should always feel like a big warm hug.”

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“My creative mind has always been drawn to creating beauty and calm. For me and my family, wearing and decorating with calm colours and creating a relaxing space is an absolute must. I am Danish and I’ve worked as a personal and interior stylist for one of Scandinavia’s largest luxury department stores, so the ‘Scandi’ lifestyle runs through my veins. It’s my passion both in my professional and private life.”

Kristina explains that living in this way is about making really intentional choices. With her husband, she bought a small family home which they renovated themselves on a tiny budget. The before and after photos they have shared on Instagram are astonishing! The gradual renovations took patience and ingenuity. “I truly believe that your home should support and help you live the life you want. We want an uncluttered home because it gives us more times for the important things: date nights, sleepovers, play dates for the children and less cleaning! Now, during this pandemic, I am home-schooling, so I have had to become more flexible with my time. I start my day earlier than normal to ensure everything flows well. I try to focus on what I can control and just take one day at a time…with all this change going on, I definitely appreciate having less cleaning to do!”

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Kristina’s dad helped her to make a plywood bed for her daughter Sia. The idea sprung from the need to shelter Sia from the noise of the road outside, as well as from the light that beams into the bedroom. “Before I style any room and start on DIY projects, I always go over the functions of the space and then I work on the idea. I thought this bed would both solve the problem of noise, and also be fun and cosy. We also made a swing and wooden step boxes which Sia loves to play with”. (Kristina has shared the process in a highlight on Instagram for those who would like to know more).

In her online work as a wardrobe and interior stylist, Kristina guides client’s to declutter and simplify their wardrobes and homes. “It is interesting that during this pandemic, some of my clients have said that they look forward to their sessions even more. They can remove all the physical and mental clutter which gives them the much-needed peace that we all truly need now. Perhaps we realise in times of crisis what truly matters to us, what is truly important. My clients are ready to commit and make a lifestyle change for the better.”

She encourages her client to take small steps: “We complete one drawer or section of a room at a time, which gives a feeling of victory and momentum. Starting can be the hardest step – I often see people procrastinate or ask the wrong questions. They worry that they’ve spent a lot of money on something, or they are convinced that they will use or wear an item again someday. Instead, it is more helpful to ask, ‘would I buy this again? Does it add value to me and my family?’ You know you have reached your goal as a family when you feel light, in control and more energetic. My clients are often surprised that they experience so many unexpected benefits from simplifying. They usually regret that they hadn’t done it sooner.”

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Convincing the whole family to adopt a minimalist lifestyle can be an insurmountable block for many of us. Kristina explains how visualising the lifestyle they want has helped her family: “I have always liked ‘simple living’, but when we had our daughter, our life changed so much. I didn’t want to buy into the stereotype of ‘motherhood is so hard’. I actually wanted to make life easier for my family. My husband and I made a visual drawing together – this was super helpful because it helped us to remain on the same page. We asked questions like: What would we like more of? What would we like less of? What does a good day look like for us? We can easily feel so busy that we forget to ask these questions and then just live life by chance, and not in an intentional way. For example, since we both love travelling, we regularly sell our unnecessary stuff and the money we earn is put towards a holiday. Having a family goal like this keeps us motivated and we work together on it. If your family are resistant, then just start with yourself first – we know that actions speak louder than words! Your family will see the benefits for themselves. Although we are not always so disciplined, deep down we understand that we buy things with two things: our time and money. This fact helps us to only have the amount of stuff that feels right for us.”

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Many who work in creative industries find that their work and life overlap, but for Kristina, this feels like an advantage: “My work is my passion. My mind never stops gathering inspiration! However, I have become much better at having daily routines that help me to take care of my family, my health and other important priorities. I think the Danish mentality has helped me, as having a good work/life balance is very important to us. I believe that this is one of the reasons Denmark is among the happiest countries in the world, as we normally work fewer hours and have more holidays than many other counties. The focus on wellbeing for everybody is so important. Danes seem to understand that just earning more money or buying more stuff will never make us truly happy.”

The light, bright images of her home on Instagram are all taken by Kristina. I asked her for some photography tips: “I think that natural lighting makes all the difference. Know what you want to capture and what the story you’d like to share. I love to use photography to show that a minimal lifestyle is not about deprivation, but about creating space for more of what you truly love and need, in beautiful ways.”

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