Before and After: A Rundown House Becomes a Dream Swedish Country Home

I first discovered Johanna's house, in the southern Sweden county of Smålland, via her instagram feed  Vårt Lilla Gröna (our little green), through which she shares pictures of her not so little, but definitely green and very beautiful country home. Although I didn't find a huge amount of 'before' pictures, the ones I did find go a long way to show the sheer amount of work Johanna and her family have put into transforming the house into a beautiful home. Not only that, but they also demonstrate what you can do with a little vision, DIY, up-cycling and a lot of wallpaper! 

Let's take a peek. 

Exterior before

In this glimpse of the exterior, you can see how run down the house was when they first acquired it.

Exterior after

Cladding and period details were added to the exterior, along with a practical terrace - all of which completely transformed the look and feel of the property.

Johanna and her husband are a real dab hand at DIY and carry out many of the projects themselves. The flower tubs above are just one of their many creations! 

A perfect spot in the sun! Just add tea and a book. 

Interior before 

The interior needed gutting and new walls and ceilings were put in - in other words, it needed a massive amount of work! 

The kitchen was stripped right back, and the old stove area was completely reconstructed to create a practical cooking area. 

Kitchen after

Today the family benefit from modern appliances with a traditional country style feel. 

A built-in window seat provides a place to gaze out of the window from the kitchen.  

Clever use of earthy paint colours and traditional wallpaper help to add interest in a time-honoured way to the many rooms. 

Above, the 'skafferi' (larder) door has been painted in two tones), giving it added impact. Incidentally, I have noticed that the traditional larder is coming back in a big way these days. I wish we had the space for one, they remind me so much of my grandparents' house - they use to store my grandads home brewing kit and lots of chocolate clubs! 

Do you have a larder? 

Fireplace before

Fireplaces and woodburning stoves are already coming into their own this autumn in a bid to avoid the escalating electric and gas prices! These masonry tiled ovens are incredibly efficient. 

Johanna was careful to protect this one while they undertook the renovations. 

I love this before and after comparison between white walls and wallpaper. There's something so homely with wallpaper, don't you think? 

Johanna is great at finding second-hand treasures which she then upcycles. This traditional Swedish bench was sanded down, slightly reconfigured and then painted - before becoming a lovely children's bed! 

At the far end of Johanna's daughter's bedroom is perhaps the most magical homemade dolls houses I've ever seen. Click here to see the tour on Instagram (and what the cabinet looked like before the transformation). 

And finally, I couldn't resist sharing this pretty Autumn touch - wreaths on the garden gates, such a lovely idea! 

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into Johanna's life in the countryside of Smålland.

Feel like you've seen it somewhere before? No, you're not imagining things, I once showed some snapshots of Johanna's lovely home all decked out for Christmas

See more pictures and feel inspired by her latest projects here

Do you have lots of wallpaper in your home too? I grew up with Laura Ashley wallpaper, but we don't have any in our house right now. 

Would you like to see a few other country homes today? Take a look at: 

This afternoon I'm heading up to our little cabin with a friend - it's such a lovely sunny, autumn day, I can't not make time for a long walk by the sea! Maybe it'll even be warm enough to sit outside? If per asks though, I'm working of course! 

Have a lovely day, I hope the sun is shining where you are too! 


Photography: Johanna / @vartlillagrona


  1. The sun is shinning on this beautiful fall day in Marblehead. I hope you also enjoy your day working at your charming cabin ;)

    1. Happy the sun is shining there too! :) Thank you / Niki

  2. I just ran across your blog last week and I must tell you how much I am enjoying it already! Thank you.

  3. I'm so happy you have found your way to this little corner of your web - welcome! :) /Niki

  4. You have a knack for finding the kind of spaces where I would love to live. I don't have the skillset or patience to do the work involved in renovating a home, but I appreciate the results. Everything about this home is wonderful. In answer to your question, I don't have wallpaper in my home--too much PTSD from taking down nasty wallpaper when we moved in here, haha. I think the soft greens of the wallpaper choices here are gorgeous but I don't think I will ever put up wallpaper.

    1. I'm so happy you enjoyed this tour Kris!

      I agree, wallpaper is a total nightmare to get rid of if you're looking for a change (or make a mistake!).

      / Niki

  5. What a rebuild...amazing.

    1. They had such amazing vision, and a tremendous amount of TLC that's gone into this house - and it's totally paid off! So inspiring! /Niki

  6. It's very sunny and lovely here today in NE Florida USA. What incredibly talented people!! Bravo! This is an amazing transformation. Niki- what exactly are "chocolate clubs" in your grandparents' larder (which I assume is what Americans would call a pantry)?

    1. Happy to hear you're also enjoying sunshine in Florida!

      Clubs are a chocolate bar with biscuit in the middle and chunky chocolate on the outside. You can get a few different flavours like mint, raisin etc. I'm not even sure they still sell them, but they remind me so much of my grandparents as we used to eat them whenever we went to visit.

      Another chocolate bar that makes me feel nostalgic is a 'Twix' - do you have that where you are too? My mum used to put one in our lunchboxes everyday (I can't believe we used to eat chocolate bars daily, my girls would be heaven if we did this today!).

      Do you have a specific chocolate bar that reminds you of your childhood?

      / Niki

  7. Pippi Långstrump and her villa Villekulla!

  8. Seems to me that the wallpapers are like if your house has clothes. I love how different patterns combines each other. But I don´t have any in my house. I'm afraid of getting tired of the look and It´s easier to paint the walls. Have a nice weekend!

  9. So true Maíra, I love this connection! / Niki

  10. I sure would love to know the name of the green wallpaper!!


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