Designers are Using Norse Interiors to Upgrade IKEA Furniture and Impress Clients
We met with Lotta Lundaas, Founder of Norse Interiors, who’s on a mission to make custom furniture pieces more accessible. Her Swedish roots, coupled with her entrepreneurial spirit, inspired her to upgrade IKEA furniture with Scandinavian-design components – genius, right? Using the strong bones of IKEA furniture, Norse allows you to make 1,000+ different cabinets using various colors and patterns. Lotta walks us through the Norse process and how she collaborates with designers.
Lead image by Norse Interiors
Lotta – how did you get where you are today?
Lotta Lundaas: I’m originally from the North of Sweden, and I came to the US in 2013 and fell in love with New York. I have furniture-making and entrepreneurship running through my veins; my grandfather was a carpenter, and my father is a serial-entrepreneur and very handy. I inherited their DIY ethos, and I have a passion for beautiful design.
Before Norse, I led business development and online marketing efforts in various companies and industries for 10+ years. I worked at a telecom startup when I came up with the idea of upgrading IKEA furniture; I was decorating the office and could only find cookie-cutter style furniture at a reasonable price. That’s when I realized there was an opportunity to work with American manufacturers and bring Scandinavian design to the custom furniture market.
What’s Norse about in 140 characters or less?
LL: We’re changing the furniture industry, making custom pieces accessible by upgrading IKEA furniture with Scandinavian-designed components.
How is Norse different from the other IKEA upgraders out there such as Semihandmade?
LL: IKEA is so modular, and it has good bones, which is what ‘IKEA upgraders’ have realized and hacking them has become increasingly sophisticated. What makes Norse unique is the versatility we offer in a simple online buying journey, combined with a high level of design and quality. With our components, in different colors and patterns, you can make 1000+ different cabinets and truly be the designer of a one-of-a-kind piece.
Walk us through the Norse process…
LL: You’ll start with an IKEA cabinet frame from their ‘Besta’ line, which comes in multiple sizes. Since you can buy their cabinets without fronts, it’s a zero-waste upgrade to add Norse components. You can choose between seven different door designs, which you attach the same way you would attach a door from IKEA, and seven rich colors. By adding top and side panels, you create a second skin for the cabinet, and it can either match the door or create an interesting contrast. Finally, you have a variety of knobs, pulls, and legs to finish the look. If you want even more customization, we have a DIY Finish, which means that it’s prepped and primed to be painted in any color.
What kind of furniture does Norse upgrade?
LL: We currently focus on storage units, TV stands, and sideboards, all using IKEA’s ‘Besta’ as the base, but we’re launching a second product line before the end of the year. Our goal is to be able to offer a Norse product for every room in a home, so we’re adding more products continuously and communicate new launches via our Instagram @norseinteriors.
What are some of your best-selling upgrades, styles, colors, etc.?
LL: When it comes to patterns, the fishtail-inspired pattern ‘Eleanor’ is so far the most favored one, followed by ‘Eva,’ which is our most glamorous pattern in my opinion. Lately, I’ve been quite surprised about what colors customers have been choosing; instead of the classic neutrals, our absolute best-seller is our Tanned Leather, followed by Pale Mocha, which is the perfect dusty blush color. When it comes to hardware, the ‘Elisabeth’ knobs, in chrome and brass, are very popular at just $9.
How do you typically work with interior designers?
LL: A big part of our customer base is interior designers, and we love to work with designers, who naturally are very creative and often comes up with solutions we haven’t considered. Our recently launched DIY Finish option is, in fact, a result from an interior designer. We’re currently also working with a designer, who is looking to have a custom pattern that is exclusive to them. That’s something we definitely will consider if the project is large enough. Finally, as an Ivy user, you also get an exclusive discount when entering “Ivy” at check-out.
Can you offer designers some tips of best practices for making the most out of Norse?
LL: Custom furniture usually takes months to produce, and it’s pricey. With Norse, designers can choose the components they like from our website, and get them delivered to their doorstep or directly to the project site in just a couple weeks. And as I mentioned, we do consider exclusive designs and finishes for larger projects. They can get creative not only when it comes to the patterns and colors, but also by how they present the cabinet. From mounting the cabinet to the wall, to placing it on the floor, or giving it extra height with legs, there are so many final touches that make it a one-of-a-kind piece.
In your opinion, why is it important for designers to embrace business management software such as Ivy to streamline their daily workflow with clients and vendors?
LL: Like most people, I feel like the hours of the day are never enough and that’s why I try automating as much as possible, while also streamlining processes and admin tasks. Using software like Ivy makes work so much more efficient, which means that more time can be spent on the creative (fun) part of the job.
What’s next for Norse?
LL: We’ll be launching a new product line, geared towards the bedroom, before the end of the year. We’ve gotten a lot of requests for this particular system, and it’s really fun to let product development happen organically like that. Within just a few weeks, we’ll also be adding a premium version of an existing product, through a partnership with a woodshop specializing in local wood and craftsmanship. It’s something we’ve been working on for a long time, and we’re so excited to launch it finally!
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