Photos Courtesy of Lindsay Dianne & Jonas Karlsson
Lindsay Dianne was only in college when she found herself abroad in England, during which she met a girl in Finland who would change her life for the better. That girl happened to have gone to school with Jonas Karlsson, but neither Jonas nor Lindsay ever thought they would find themselves in the charming life they now share together– let alone ever cross paths.
When you see them together on their blog and YouTube channel, It’s a Charming Life, you instantly feel the flames of their love for not just each other, but which they pour into this beautiful life they’ve made together in the countryside of New York state, not that far from Sleepy Hollow in a cottage on the site of a historical graveyard, on the outskirts of towns that inspired Bedford Falls in the Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life. Everything is elegant, mystical, and most of all, pure joy to see. The comforts of bygone eras and classic notions of romanticism are only part of the recipe to making one’s life significant among the ordinary lives that many may lead in the modern world. With the life that Lindsay and Jonas paint in their world, it is all a memory to share with the world, gone and lost in the moment but captured on film in a type of fantasy that lives on forever. “It’s the brief moments that are gone in a heartbeat but leave a soft kiss mark that never fade,” Lindsay best summarizes. “It’s about finding the unexpected adventures that are hidden in our own everyday life. It’s seeing small things in a big way and cherishing wholesome moments.”
And the moments that brought these two together are not a few and in between, for charming is not without being earned and appreciated. Lindsay and Jonas would not meet for another year, but that tale in itself is a another twist of fate and serendipity. The crossed paths that came about before the two would finally meet up in Sweden led them both to firmly believe in the powers that be when it comes to fate. “That is why we believe that life is the most beautiful fairy tale,” Lindsay says. “True love is magic, and dreams come true; it’s even what we have inscribed on our wedding bands.’
But as it would be for their own fairytale, marriage, followed by 3 years in Sweden, was not the Happy Ever After. It only shifted it into motion after returning to Lindsay’s native California where California dreaming was anything but. With no credit to their names and an impossible housing market to invest into, jobs were scarce for Lindsay and Jonas, and the future was undoubtedly uncertain. Then came Workaway, a great opportunity in the shape of a volunteer & cultural exchange program. To Georgia’s Blueridge mountains they were off, where they worked and lived on a farm turned bed & breakfast assisting with maintaining the land and several special events held on the property. Although a fulfilling experience and time well spent, the young couple found themselves in the middle of nowhere and far from familiar faces, save for each other’s. “It changed our view of how we see what a home is, we learned how to see even a temporary living situation as a home.”
I don’t think we could have come up
with the charming life any other way
if we hadn’t experienced
everything else we did first.
Even for the temporary home they shared together in Georgia, in a 1940’s cottage on the farm, they learned to love whatever home that may have been, even when the cottage was long gone and work called them away from state to state and up the East Coast to a seasonal pumpkin carving job. Moving into an old house with a room of their own on the 3rd floor, they would too find comforts of waking up to the patter of squirrels on the rooftop, a unique home in itself, but like others before, a temporary situation. Right before they were set to leave New York behind, Lindsay came across a new Craiglist listing for a cottage for rent. “When speaking with the landlord about the area, he mentioned hesitantly, ‘There’s a historic graveyard next door, hope that doesn’t spook you away.’ And all I could do was grin ear to ear, as the history and Halloween lovers that we are!”
5 years after first exchanging their wedding vows, Lindsay and Jonas can finally live happy ever after, and Charming Life shows exactly what that ought to entail. “I don’t think we could have come up with the charming life any other way if we hadn’t experienced everything else we did first. We wouldn’t have been able to appreciate the little charming moments of the day like the tiny chipmunks that we can see from our kitchen window or the starlight overhead at night. When you live somewhere you both have no connections to, it makes you want to explore and see all the quaint things around you with different eyes.” From breakfasts in bed during cold winters and small buds start opening in the surrounding trees and flora in the spring, to even the fireflies of summer and the pumpkins lined up on the streets in the fall, these are only a few of the charmers that make the couple know that everything is how it should be. Even with their home.
If their life’s story is sweet on the ears, then their graveside cottage is a vision of masterpiece, perhaps what you might consider an ekphrasis of the former. Their home is a magical place to find one’s self, a blend of vintage and fairy whimsy and the right dash of spooky. A bit of every era from the Victorian to the 1940’s leaves their mark in the house, spiced up with a hint of woodland magic. Dining in the kitchen gives you a glimpse of old-fashioned travel postcards, and just over in the woodland parlor (the Hobbit Hole) you’ll be amused by a mix of snow white furnishings and framed vintage music. At night, you’ll fall asleep among fairies as you close your eyes to the shape of paper moons, stars, owls, and for good measure, little jack-o-lanterns.
It would be surprising if the cottage didn’t capture a sense of each of its dwellers, either, for there is so much of Lindsay and Jonas within the walls. It’s when the seasons come and go that you really see a piece of their heritages– traditional Swedish decor during Christmas, and star spangled bunting on the front porch in the summer. In fact, every room is just perfect for a guest or even Lindsay and Jonas to just sit down for a bit of “Fika” time: a Swedish cultural concept for one to take things slow to enjoy a good cup of tea or coffee with some sweets and a peace of mind throughout an overwhelming day. With those comforts in mind, it makes complete sense for the couple to decorate each nook and cranny of the cottage to their liking.
“We love how each room of the cottage perfect reflects all the things we love,” they say. “It adds a touch of whimsy to our days.”
There couldn’t have been a more fitting two kindred spirits like Lindsay and Jonas to live here, to breathe life back into a quiet little place tucked away so conveniently from the rest of the fast-paced world of 2018. From the seasons, to the traditions and countless memories made day by day, we can only be so grateful to see what a wonderful world they live in. As Lindsay knows that everything, down to their smallest antique furniture or her well-kept vintage garments, have a story to tell, it just so happens that she and Jonas are able to capture it all in the moment. Whether it’s an amusing short YouTube clip dancing to Yankee Doodle-esque tunes with their 4th of July bunting to photo shoots frolicking down what seems like White Way of Delight straight from Anne of Green Gables, the only true joy that Lindsay and Jonas gain from their life is seeing how it inspires their followers. Life is too short, the world is so big, and you’re here, watching it go on behind the screens of a phone or even in this magazine. If that is all you do, then don’t– for It’s a Charming Life is very much about your own life as it is Linsday and Jonas’.
It’s the brief moments
that are gone in a heartbeat
but leave a soft kiss mark that
So forget not these moments shared so intimately by them, and remember to find the charm that surely surrounds you. They’re easy to miss, fragile little passings that when caught, are never forgotten. From your local town visiting the farm with the wooden hand-painted sign that says “Fruit Picking,” to starting a good book or even a beautiful little craft project, it’s these simple, analog-like pleasures of the past that demand so little and give back to your mind and soul so much more. Lindsay and Jonas continuously remind us to stop and look for the charm as they continue on in their own way, hoping that with each update on their social channels, their followers feel like they’re receiving an old-fashioned letter from a far away friend.
And to us, it’s a letter we’ve tucked away in our jewelry box or pinned over the fireplace, from a couple whose Happy Ever After is the way charming should be, and what we should always remember to embrace.
Follow It’s a Charming Life at
YouTube @ It’s a Charming Life