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Karen's Lovely Summer House in the South of Sweden

I started blogging 12 years ago - and one of the things that has surprised me the most, is how many wonderful people I have met! Interior designers, photographers, homeowners, bloggers, brands and most importantly you guys via your comments and mails (even if you're a 'silent' participant, I see you!). It's meant that I have never felt alone - despite tapping away at my laptop solo! Thank you! 

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting photographer Karen Hilmersson who reached out via Instagram. Karen is French and lives in Belgium with her Swedish husband Pelle and their teenage children Lilly (15) and Eliott (soon 18).  The family frequently visit Malmö and recently bought a charming summer cottage in nearby Österlen. We discussed the project over a coffee recently and their holiday home is every bit as lovely as Karen described. Read on to discover more! 

Where is your summer cottage located? 
The house is situated near Sandhammaren in Österlen. We love the South and this part of Sweden as we always spend days here before going back to Brussels, and we have friends in Malmö and Lund which are very close. I also like the proximity to Copenhagen. I love Sweden and am so happy to finally have a place here we can call ours. 

Österlen is popular among Swedes especially in summer thanks to the beautiful nature, is this one of the reasons you picked this location? 
Absolutely. Our cottage is close to marshland... we have fields on the one side with the sunset in front of the terrace and woods on the other side. The beach is only a ten minute bike ride. 

I'm excited to see inside! First, let's take a look at the floorplan. 

Glossary: Vardagsrum (sitting room), Kök (kitchen), Sovrum (bedroom).

Can you describe the layout? 
It's a summer house that originally had three separate units from the 50s, and the previous owners turned into a whole house (keeping one unit separate - not featured here as we have yet to renovate it!). The former owners lived here year-round and the house was in good condition, which meant we could focus on more cosmetic updates. 

I love the kitchen! Did it look like this when you moved in?
We kept the kitchen that was already in place and painted the cabinets in French Gray from Farrow & Ball. The vintage dining table is from AB Småland in Malmö. 

What do your days look like when you are at your cottage? 
We enjoy this house in every season. In the summer, we love to make meals and invite friends over on one of our long tables inside or out and watch the sunset from the terrace. We also enjoy the fireplace and watching movies on the big sofa (from Meli Meli) in the autumn and winter. The surroundings are also very important to us, the beach at Sandhammaren and the hills of Kåseberga are amongst our favourite and Kivik is a short 40 minute drive. There are also some nice restaurants nearby and we love Orum117 bakery and pizzeria! 

Decorative bedspreads can really lift a room! I love the ones you have in your bedrooms, where are they from? 
We found them both in AB Småland in Malmö, I think they are from the Danish brand Masala

I like simplicity of this bedroom. Can you tell us about the details?
The overhead lamp is from Malmö Möbelfabrik and the Pool Lines art print is from Hotel Magique. The floor is from Norrlands Trä

The wall lamp is from French company Silly & Billy and the vintage chair is from AB Småland. The Mirror Mirror print* is by Sofia Lind. 

I understand the bathroom was one of the bigger renovation projects? 
Yes, it was a total renovation. The floor tiles are from Marrakesh Design and the subway oat milk wall tiles are from Dekora (although they looked verrrrrry different in the shop!). The sink is called SVEDBERGS MYRE from Bauhaus and the shower and taps are both from Tapwell

What a wonderful getaway you have created! Thank you so much for giving us a tour! 


You can see more snapshots from Karen's home as well as her beautiful portrait, lifestyle and travel photography at @karenhilmersson or on her website where she also sells a selection of her prints. 

I hope you enjoyed the tour of her home as much as I did! I am looking forward to meeting Karen next Friday along with the Australian lifestyle and travel photographer Lean Timms here in Malmö. So exciting! My job is to find the best coffee and cinnamon buns in town for our 'fika'! Tough but someone's got to do it! 

Would you like to see a few other beautiful Österlen homes today? Don't miss: 

Planning to visit Österlen? This house belonging to an architect is available to rent via Airbnb! 

Happy mid-week friends! 


Photography: Karen Hilmersson, shared with kind permission. 

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A Fairy-tale Summer House on the Swedish Baltic Island of Vaxholm

Are you ready for a little Swedish summer house dreaming today? This fairy-tale property is on the island of Vaxholm - a paradise for Stockholmers who flock here by boat in summertime. 

At first glance, I thought it was Hanna Östberg's home - as the pretty shades of green and turret have a similar feel (see also this cottage with a turret!). But alas, no, it's ANOTHER beautiful Swedish century-old property. Granted, the magnificent location with views out over the Baltic might mean the price-tag is a little (OK, a lot) out of reach for many of us mere mortals, there is still plenty of inspiration to be gleaned from the rooms. Here's what I discovered:

A fence with white tips? What a great detail! 

The Bumling light* (I can never truly get used to that name!) is a Swedish 1960s classic - and the perfect task lighting for over a table.. 

Since it's a summer house, it's fairly sparsely decorated (it could also have been cleared out for the sale), but the wall hangings more than make up for this - adding a decorative touch to the walls while also helping to reduce echo. I 'd love to know where this one is from; the tones are so warm and lovely! Any idea?

If you're looking for similar, Ferm Living sell some beautiful textiles that can double up as wall art, and my friend Helena recently bought this cactus one for her living room which looks awesome. To ensure your blanket / textile hangs properly, it's a good idea to get it professionally framed or sew on two wooden bars - on across the top and the other across the bottom before putting it up. 

Elfa shelving has been built up around the TV, creating space for an amplifier, a plant and other items. I can really imagine these shelves being laden with books - a perfect spot for my Njuta tome, just saying! 

Imagine waking up to views over the archipelago in all directions? Gaaah! I really like the classic blue tone on the wall combined with the warm hues in the bedspread. Decorative bedspreads are an ideal way to add an instant lift to a room. 

String lights on a balcony add a magical touch at dusk - and are a great way to lighten up the darkness when looking out come winter. 

Oh, how I love to dream on a Monday morning (this property is for sale!). 

I've actually never been to Vaxholm - one to add to my travel list! Have you seen my other Swedish travel guides? You might like the island hopping on Sweden's West coast, as well as the east coast islands. Inland, I'd recommend a trip to Malmö (of course) and Helsingborg up the road. There's so much to see and do in this beautiful country. 

After more home tours today? Take a look at hundreds of other Scandinavian summer cottages - from the very basic to blowout - all equally beautiful in their own way, in the archives. 

Have a great start to the week!


Photography courtesy of Sjönära Fastighetsmäklare, with thanks.

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A Fairytale Swedish Cottage in a Forest

If anyone asked me what I perceived as quintessentially Swedish, I'd show them this cottage! It's like something straight out of an Astrid Lindgren tale! 

Tucked away in a clearing in a forest 1 hour North of Stockholm, the two-hundred-year-old red, white and yellow cottage is in a romantic world of its own. Life is simple - yet all basics needs are met with a fully functioning kitchen, cosy sitting room and a bedroom tucked under the roof.  There's also a simple dry loo in the outhouse - along with a bedroom for guests. 

For those of you who like a few home comforts - fear not, there is also warm shower (I haven't shown it here, but I promise there is one!). This was probably a relatively new addition. My mother-in-law tells me that at our little Swedish cottage there never used to be a shower and her family used the sea to bathe - and I see there's a lake nearby to this property! 

Either way, this looks like the perfect place to njuta

Would you like to take a look around? Follow me! 

The same green-beige tone has been used throughout the cottage, giving it a coherent feel. 

The furniture is strictly vintage / antique, adding to the relaxed feeling and charm of the space. 

Pretty Swedish porcelain containers for sugar, flour and other ingredients are displayed on a shelf.  There are lots of beautiful one-off antique Swedish spice sets available on Etsy like this. 

An old chest doubles up as a coffee table and simple lace curtains add a decorative touch to the cottage windows. 

Dahlia have become hugely popular in Sweden. I understand they are a bit of a faff to produce, but anyone who took the effort to nurture their own are reaping the rewards this September. Such beautiful flowers! Do you grow dahlia? 

The bedroom is accessed via a ladder. 

The outhouse contains a second bedroom, shower and compost loo. 

Loving the shoes! 

Did I mention this cottage is for sale? Someone's Swedish dream is about to begin. Could it be you? 

Here is the floor plan so that you can get a better understanding of the layout: 

Main cottage: 
Kök: kitchen, Allrum: all purpose room, Rum - 'room' (here referrring to the sitting room). Altan: terrace.


Sovrum: bedroom. Dusch: shower. Förråd / Verkstad: storage / toolshed. Dass: toilet. 

I love this little property. I actually checked how far this is from our home to see if it might be feasible, but alas it's 7 hours' drive away. 

I hope one of you snaps it up so that I can invite myself round for a cup of tea in the autumn sunshine - it's the perfect place to 'njuta av livet' (see yesterday's post!). Keep me posted! 

Find out more about it over at Historiska Hem

Would you like to see other homes like this? I love: 

Did you see my exciting announcement yesterday? Hop over to this post to find out more. Thank you so much for all your lovely comments and words of encouragement, I feel so humbled. It's always nerve-racking to release a new book so your kind words of support really mean a lot. 

Glad Lillördag (little saturday!),


Photography: Lund

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