Sigfrid Billgren, the founder of Studio Udiso, is not just a passionate designer and artist but also an avid collector of vintage treasures. Sigfrid and his partner Anna’s home in Stockholm’s historic Gamla Stan is adorned with vintage finds that exude strong personality and timeless charm.
Sigfrid Billgren resides with his partner Anna in a 1500s–1600s building in Stockholm’s old town, Gamla Stan. The apartment consists of three rooms and a kitchen, totaling 80 square meters.
IN SIGFRID AND ANNA’S HOME, old plank floors and historic walls house sleek furniture and colorful details from various decades. Lush greenery, beautiful collages, woolen rugs, and hides bring life to each room, creating a captivating view wherever you go. The varied shades of wood and wicker add a gentle coziness to the old apartment. In addition to vintage treasures, a few of Sigfrid’s own works find their place in this unique abode.
For Sigfrid, a nightmare home would be one easily replicated with off-the-shelf solutions. The magic, you see, lies in second-hand finds, making the living space truly special. Vintage items have a distinct role in the home, infusing it with charming traces of time and showcasing the residents’ personalities. It doesn’t matter if the acquisitions span different decades – old and new are free to mingle.
Sigfrid cherishes and collects vintage design primarily because trends come and go, but timeless design endures.
Hello Sigfrid! What initially sparked your interest in design and vintage?
“I’ve inherited the genes of designers. Both my parents are artists, always charting their own course and creating what they need. This ethos has been a driving force for me, in both design and my pursuit of second-hand treasures.
My mother was a vintage lover, and she instilled that passion in me and my two siblings. It took years before I learned to make wise second-hand finds, but now I’m already giving tips on the subject on Instagram.”
“It took years before I learned to make wise second-hand finds.”
Could you tell us a bit about Studio Udiso?
“My sister and I have a joint design studio located within the premises of the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm. Our inspiration comes from nature and its unique forms. I sketch by hand, ensuring that everything we create is unique, with the hand-drawn line evident in our products. It’s essential for us that all our products are made in Stockholm.
Our latest product, a table for Dusty Deco, was recently launched at Nordic Gallery, and our first glass artwork will soon be ready.”
What are your top tips for creating a cozy interior?
“Finding your own style doesn’t happen overnight. I’d say the best tip for a homely atmosphere is to give it time. That’s when you realize what you truly need. Creating a cozy feeling can’t be rushed; it requires time and thoughtful purchases. Often, a combination of styles feels the coziest and most intriguing.
Browsing through old magazines, books, and the internet can help clarify your style, and you can compile your collage of ideas. Discovering your own style often takes effort, but the process is enjoyable, and it ultimately pays off, especially in terms of comfort. The most important thing in your home is that it makes you feel comfortable.”
What styles resonate with you the most?
“A lively and interesting home is one that combines old and new. I enjoy mixing different eras and I’m particularly fascinated by the 1930s, 1970s, and 1990s. I also like to blend design pieces with more affordable finds to create contrast. I have a special interest in vintage design because it stands the test of time. Vintage often means high quality and top-notch materials.”
Could you tell us about your vintage finds?
“A great vintage find is something that instantly fits our style. It has everything: the right color, shape, and price. It doesn’t necessarily need a pre-planned spot in the home because it will find its place over time. Almost all the furniture in our home has been purchased second-hand or at auctions. Of course, we also have a few items from our own studio.
On weekends, I usually rise early to go on a thrift store hunt. It’s fun to go through our weekend finds with Anna and marvel at what we’ve acquired. All this, over a good cup of coffee, naturally.”
What tips can you give for making great vintage discoveries?
“The best tip is to go thrifting as often as possible. That way, you’ll learn the styles and design languages of different designers. In the beginning, it’s crucial to touch, examine, and ask about the backgrounds. So, engage actively with the sellers.
“In the beginning, it’s crucial to touch, examine, and ask about the backgrounds.”
You can start by acquiring smaller items, and as you improve your vintage shopping skills, you can gradually move on to larger purchases. If and when you make mistakes, you can always put the items back into circulation. A recycled piece of furniture is also a better choice for the environment, and vintage finds can save you money – and sometimes, even make you some.”
What’s your best vintage find so far?
“Once, I stumbled upon a fantastic Hans Bergström lamp at a very reasonable price. It’s made of brass and leather, and I believe its value has multiplied several times since the day I bought it. Last autumn, I also acquired a beautiful yellow glass dish by Helena Tynell for a small sum.
It’s not always about the monetary value of an item; it’s also about how well it fits into our daily life or if it has a place in our home. For example, we daily use cutlery and dishes that I’ve bought second-hand. I collect 1950s dinnerware; it’s especially pleasing to my eye.”
Do you have any dreams related to your future home?
“Our biggest dream is to find a place in the countryside where we can make use of what’s already there and plan our home from scratch. It sounds like fun, and it probably will be. Right now, I'm collecting 50–60s retro porcelain to fill our lovely cottage – I'm really looking forward to it!”
Text: Riikka Siusluoto Edit: Nora Uotila Images: Patric Johansson