There’s always something happening around Marie Olsson Nylander. From TV shows to podcasts and collaborations, this bundle of energy is constantly challenging herself, breaking boundaries and bringing unconventional ideas and contrasts into her irresistibly quirky style.

Interior designer, stylist and antiques-dealer Marie Olsson Nylander divides her time between Höganäs and Sicily, decorating two family homes, partnering with brands and growing her own portfolio of clients, making TV series, podcasts and writing books, as well as spending time with her husband Bill and their four children Vidar, Otto, Ingrid and Solveig. “My life is a crazy mix of everything, but that’s how I like it,” she laughs, whilst searching for the remote control that youngest daughter Solveig has misplaced and is urging her mum to find in the background.

Marie Olsson Nylander: the interior designer stirring up a storm

Left: The bedroom in Höganäs, with Marie’s fluffy carpet in. Right Youngest daughter Solveig in the entrance to Palazzo Cirillo, 2023. Photo: Marie Olsson Nylander

Marie has worked with interior design since 2005, but it was only recently that she reached a mass audience in the Swedish TV series Husdrömmar Sicilien (House Dreams Sicily). For three seasons, we have followed the renovation of Palazzo Cirillo, a beautiful pink house dating back to the 18th century. Many have fallen in love with the Sicilian house, which had been empty for 40 years before being carefully brought back to life by Marie and Bill, but we have also been transfixed by the narrow streets of Termini Imerese, its antique markets and small coffee shops, the neighbours watching curiously as the renovation progressed, and the architects, builders and gardeners who helped the family’s dream come true.

Since her TV success, Marie has become a household name and has been featured in numerous interior magazines. In 2020, she was named Interior Designer of the Year by Residence Magazine and, with nearly 140,000 followers on Instagram, the talented designer has also launched celebrated brand collaborations including carpets and textiles with Ellos, wallpaper with Rebel Walls and furniture with HKliving. There’s more in the pipeline, but it’s all hush-hush at the moment.

Marie Olsson Nylander: the interior designer stirring up a storm

A designer who doesn’t like to be labelled

The self-taught designer describes her style as ‘clean messy’, ‘modern bombastic minimalism’, and ‘rococo goes boho-wild’. She finds inspiration in abandoned houses and by travelling off the beaten track. “I’m not keen on sightseeing,” she admits. “I prefer to blend in with the locals and to explore odd places on backstreets that nobody has heard of. It inspires me to design rooms and create atmospheres where you feel a real buzz as you enter. That’s what I find exciting.”

Marie steers away from design rules. She doesn’t like to categorise people or to be pigeonholed herself. Instead, creativity should come from a sense of freedom and happiness. “Designing is a bit like cooking. You need numerous different ingredients, and then you mix flavours and textures to create a delicious dish. It’s the same with interior design, if you combine styles, materials and fabrics you get a much more interesting result,” she explains. “If you can cook, you can design!”

Marie Olsson Nylander: the interior designer stirring up a storm

The quirky kitchen in Höganäs, designed and renovated by Marie and husband Bill. Photo: Marie Olsson Nylander

Despite her aversion to rules, there are some themes in Marie’s ‘style of cooking’. She moves effortlessly between grandiose and simple, juxtaposing design pieces, bargains from flea markets and home-made objects. The self-proclaimed vintage-lover adores massive lamps that take centre stage in a room, big fluffy carpets that contrast with smooth and shiny surfaces, and textiles in nuanced earthy tones that seem to melt together. “My tip would be to use things, wear them out, soil them. It’s better to buy something that you really love, and then use it again and again. Use your best glassware and your best plates, every day,” she says.

Marie Olsson Nylander: the interior designer stirring up a storm

Left: The first sofa bought for Palazzo Photo: Marie Olsson Nylander Cirillo, before the renovation, 2019. Photo: Marie Olsson Nylander. Middle: One of the rooms in Palazzo Cirillo, with Marie’s unique interior design. Photo: Mike Lundgren Karlsson. Right: Photo: Marie Olsson Nylander

From a life crisis to achieving the dream in Sicily

Last summer, Marie’s first book Det Rosa Huset (The Pink House) was published. This is not your typical coffee-table book with glossy photos of over-styled rooms. Rather, it goes deeper and shows both strength and vulnerability. Of course, the main theme is the pink house in Sicily, as the title suggests, but intertwined are Marie’s thoughts on life, on a childhood without a mother, and on her two biggest personal challenges of the past few years: being diagnosed with cancer and divorcing Bill, who she has since remarried.

“I was undergoing breast cancer treatment and at the same time I went through a divorce. It was a really tough time,” she recalls, her voice softening. The couple eventually reunited and had their fourth child, Solveig. Soon after, they bought Palazzo Cirillo. “Our struggles made us stronger. I think that’s why we had the courage to buy a house in Sicily and approach a TV producer with the idea of filming the renovation. You can’t just sit around and wait for things to happen – you have to take charge and live now.”

Marie Olsson Nylander: the interior designer stirring up a storm

Marie is a free spirit and a rebel at heart. In fact, she has always refused to conform to a certain style or way of life. “As a child, I was more like Pippi Longstocking than a girly-girl in cute dresses. I was a curious tomboy with jeans and clogs, playing with my dad’s toolbox,” she reminisces. People might call her brave, both back then and now, but she claims that she is just drawn to the different.

There’s always something new happening in Marie’s life. The latest is her podcast Syrran och Jag (Sis and Me), where she talks openly with her sister Susanne about everyday life and hardships, growing up with a hard-working single father, funny work-related situations and more. “It’s terrifying to do a podcast! We don’t prepare anything but rather go with the flow and see what happens,” she says with a wink. “Even though it’s scary, you have to try new things. Step outside the comfort zone, push yourself, have fun and see how you can develop as a person.”

Marie Olsson Nylander: the interior designer stirring up a storm

10 quick fire questions with Marie Olsson Nylander:

How would you describe yourself in 5 words?

Driven, emotional, bubbly, honest, creative.

Who is your hero?

My grandmother, who unfortunately is no longer alive.

What inspires you?

Interesting people with a story to tell. People who are passionate about what they’re doing. Exciting places and quirky shops.

What motivates you to work so hard?

I want to achieve my goals. I love to see my ideas become reality. It’s like I have this painting in my head, and I’m as curious as everyone else is to see the end result.

Why should you dare to try new things?

Without courage, there’s nothing left! We live now and that old saying “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is very true.

What is your biggest fear?

That something bad will happen to the people I love.

What makes you laugh?

My sense of humour is a bit odd. I think it’s really funny when Bill stumbles into something and swears, especially when he’s already grumpy. Everybody laughs at him then, even the kids. Actually, my kids make me laugh all the time. I love to laugh!

How do you imagine the future?

Everything is better than it was 300 years ago, but humans have a tendency to forget and to always want more and to never be satisfied. Perhaps we need the ongoing crises in order to slow down our ego. We’re not immortal or invincible, we only have one Earth that we need to take care of.

How do you spend a day in Höganäs?

If I have a day off, I love to be at home. I might also go to Salthallarna to buy fresh bread and have dinner with family and friends at Barbara.

Your favourite place to travel?


Follow Marie on Instagram: @marieolssonnylander

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