Behind the scenes

Moms We Love: Meet Martina



When we arrived at Martina Afrwidson's gorgeous, light-filled home last year, it was love at first sight. We were there to photograph our new Love, Hanna spring collection and had been drawn to the location because of its Swedish sensibilities, kid-friendly design and of course, beautiful use of light and welcoming atmosphere.

The first thing we spied were Martina's two children, running wild in their hannas (so cute!). As the daughter of the famous Swedish color guru Gun Nowak, Martina lives and breathes color. As co-owner of FACE STOCKHOLM, a Scandinavian makeup brand that was launched by her mother in 1982, Martina and Gun still mix their vibrant, hard-to-find shades by hand in what they've dubbed 'the brand barn,' an old dwelling on Gun's property just down the road from her own. Martina's home life, on the other hand, is intentionally devoid of that same color-rich intensity that FACE STOCKHOLM is know for. In fact, her lovingly restored country home is all about cozy white spaces punctuated with treasured Swedish antiques and large spaces for her kids to play and ponder.

We chatted with Martina about the differences between Swedish and American style, family life and what inspires her daily. Just like her home, Martina is a breath of fresh air, and we wished we could stay forever. See pics from our photo shoot below, plus our interview with Martina and more insider looks at her Swedish-inspired house. 


If you could describe your life in a 6-word memoir, what would it be?

"Jag kan sitta när jag ar död!" {translation: I can sit when I am dead!}

What does a typical day look like for you and your family?

"I wake up by 6am to have a quiet moment before the day really starts. I have some tea, I try to breathe, I check my emails, and I organize my kids. Once they are awake, it is a whirlwind until school starts. Work, more emails, and more work because of the NY/Stockholm time difference. Then I am off to Hudson or NYC. Thank God for Laptop computers! And if the stars are aligned, I get to run or exercise after work. In the evenings, my husband cooks all of our meals and we eat together. Then it is nothing but kids until the sun comes up again."

And what does your dream day look like?

"A dream day would be on the beach or somewhere sunny and warm, but the day’s activities would still be much the same, keeping busy, running around with the kids."

Tell us what you love most about your home and why:

"When my husband built our home, our goal was to create a dream house… a dream destination. Because light is so important to me, I’ve always fantasized about living in a greenhouse. This house is the closest to it!"

Your work is all about color, but in your home, color is much more absent. Is that a conscious way of separating the two?

"It is not a choice; it is a need to have a blank palate at home. I love white; it takes me back to my Scandinavian roots. For me, white bleeds peace and clarity throughout the day."


How does your Swedish-heritage influence your style, both in home décor and fashion-wise?

"In everything that I do, my aesthetic is Swedish. In home décor, spaces are uncluttered, well designed, and functional. Fashion wise, Swedes generally prefer a few high quality pieces. One could say it is quality over quantity."

Your home is so beautiful and yet feels very ‘kid-friendly’ at the same time. How do you achieve that balance?


"My secret was creating white canvas slipcovers to place over all of my upholstered furniture. I can easily throw these in the wash and start with a clean slate the next day when the kids are ready to build forts again. I’ve also been collecting wonderful, antique Swedish furniture and these pieces add unique elements of contrast and proportion to various areas throughout the house."

What do you feel like the biggest differences are culture/style-wise between the US & Sweden?

"Like I mentioned earlier, it is all about quality over quantity. In Sweden, people invest in timeless products that make a statement. Swedes spend a lot of time in their homes due to the climate. You’ll find tulips and plants in almost every house in Sweden. In one word, I think tradition is the best way to describe a Swedish home.

The U.S. takes interior design to a new level by re-doing homes every few years to invoke certain themes, trends or feelings, which really differs from the traditional style of Swedish living."

Who and/or what inspires you creatively?


"I am a super visual person. When I am not rushed, I see beauty and find inspiration in everything around me – nature, friends, art etc.  Everywhere I go I soak up aspects of the people, places and things I encounter."  

What are your favorite things to do as family?

Fun activities, like skiing and boogie boarding, are always a favorite. But eating food and having dinner together is a daily treat."

Do you have any current obsessions to share?

"Zumba is a fun and funny hobby. Other than this activity, my constant obsession is getting rid of everything I own! Well at least the things I feel I don’t need, I am obsessed with getting rid of useless, unwanted items, uncluttering my life." 

What about your kids, what are they loving most at this moment?

"We are very involved in Odyssey of the Mind, which is a creative, thinking out of the box program at school."

Have your style or tastes changed after becoming a mom? If so in what ways?

"Yes, everything has to be simpler. Everything has to function better; there needs to be an element of practicality."

Where is your favorite place in the world to go to?

"I have to choose three.  My favorite place without traveling:  home. The perfect, quick getaway: Cabereta/Dominican Republic. And my favorite far away destination: Bali."

And finally, what is on the horizon in 2015 for you? What are you most excited about?

"I am extremely excited about the future of my company, FACE Stockholm, and the upcoming collaborations we are working on. Work is all about incorporating fun, interesting projects and maintaining balance. Looking ahead, I hope to achieve that balance in all aspects of my life by being in the now and making healthy choices."