By all accounts, Lotta Lundaas is a newcomer to New York — she moved to the U.S. five years ago from Sweden to lead marketing teams in the publishing and telecom sectors. Lately though, she’s applied her business acumen to a rediscovery of the DIY ethos and minimalist sensibility of her youth. Norse Interiors, the brainchild of her entrepreneurial savvy and Scandinavian style, is proof that Lundaas has arrived on the scene at just the right time.
“In short, we make components to upgrade IKEA furniture,” Lundaas says of her online furniture boutique, which she launched earlier this year. “The customer chooses color, design and accessories to create a one-of-a-kind piece of furniture without having to pay the markup for a customized piece.” Norse-upcycled pieces are easy to integrate into any room, perfect for the creative city-dweller with an eye for “clean lines with a twist.”
Lotta comes from a family of do-it-yourself hackers. Her grandfather, Hilding Karlsson, built her childhood home with help from her father. Everyone in her family knew their way around the wood shop — she herself built planters and birdhouses as a child. Norse Interiors is a fitting and inspiring continuation of her family’s legacy.
At present, Norse Interiors makes parts exclusively for IKEA’s BESTÅ series, but Lundaas hopes to expand her offerings to other IKEA lines soon. BESTÅ is a time-tested storage cabinet/TV stand system that runs about $50-$100 without doors. A light-touch Norse refit involves the purchase of doors from Norse instead of IKEA, but the sides, tops, pulls and knobs, and legs are available for more comprehensive upgrades. “What you get is a customized design in a sustainable material.”
“Upcycling”— reflective of Lundaas’s personal preference for reuse of materials over tossing them — is at the core of Norse Interior’s commitment to sustainability. But Lundaas has taken it even further — the lumber used in Norse pieces is all locally sourced and certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.
Norse Interiors’ goal is to empower its customers to own and express their personal styles when it comes to the furniture in their lives. Lundaas features custom-designed pieces — which shoppers assemble at home — as well as inspirational DIY and how-to videos on the shop’s Instagram profile to center customers’ experiences and narratives as primary.
To other emerging entrepreneurs in the DIY/hacking space, Lundaas advises, “You need to be convinced about your own product before taking the plunge and leaving your full-time, steady job to go into some crazy venture like this. You need to know that there is demand. You need to be more than convinced that you have something good before you can embark on that kind of journey.”
Take a look at Norse Interiors’ collection at norseinteriors.com, and be sure to follow @norseinteriors on Instagram. Share your own custom creations with Lotta’s emerging community of do-it-yourselfers.