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Before & After: An Old Swedish Croft Becomes a Charming Summer Cottage

It's so easy to become 'home blind', don't you think? I find it's only when I come back from holiday or a time away that I see the changes that need to the made to our house (cue - flying about rearranging furniture and adjusting things before we've even unpacked!). That's why I marvelled at the transformation of this Swedish croft. 

Built in the 1900 as a place to house the elderly members of the family and farm workers, the property on Torsö island, lake Vänern has now fallen into the hands of wedding photographer Johanna Carlsson and her husband Vicktor and their dogs Nalle and Doris. Despite growing up with the croft, Johanna had a keen idea of how she wanted the interior to look - and the pair have been renovating it little by little to transform it into a beautiful cottage in which while away the summer. Here are a few pictures (including some before and after):  

The outside has been given a refresh, while keeping the quintessentially Swedish red and white facade intact. 

A porch area doubles up as a sunroom in which to enjoy 'fika' and meals bathed in natural light. 

Kitchen before

Kitchen after

Simple updates such as a new handmade worktop and longer linen curtains have helped to bring this kitchen up to date while maintaining the relaxed traditional feel. 

Sitting room before

Mix and match furniture has its charm, but it's not always the most practical or comfortable. 

Sitting room after

Johanna and Viktor updated the room using wallpaper from Boråstapeter and then furnished it with a comfy sofa (as modelled by Doris) and a handmade table with rustic charm. 

Bedroom before

The pair sleep in what was formerly a children's bedroom with bunkbeds.

I spy stickers - can I get a show of hands for anyone who has spent hours trying to get rid of the residue from doors, beds and other furniture in a children's room? I was scrubbing away on Allie's door just the other week. Mind you, stickers are at least better than slime, there's an outright ban on that stuff in our home! 


Bedroom after

It's hard to imagine that this delightful space is the same room! 

Tulippa wallpaper Boråstapeter adds character to the bedroom while a bedskirt gives the space a traditional touch. 

Outhouse before

Outhouse after

An outhouse on the grounds, previously used for storage, was cleared out and repainted - creating a perfect place for midsummer gatherings.

A simple outdoor shower means the couple can wash under the open-sky and make the most of the long summer days! 

Such a charming summer cottage, don't you think? 

If you'd to keep up to date with Johanna's latest renovation projects, follow along over at @torptokig

As you know by the sheer number of pretty red and white Swedish summer cottages I've been featuring lately, I'm not quite ready to let go of summer just yet. But as we near mid-September the autumn feeling is in the air and I'm going to have to concede that summer is over! I'm looking forward to sharing some Scandinavian city apartments with you next week! Stay tuned! 

Before I head off for the weekend, I also wanted to share with you, that as a London girl (who's been living in Sweden for over 18 years), it was with a heavy heart that I heard the news about Queen Elizabeth II yesterday. Her Majesty was a truly remarkable person who has always been there throughout our lives. I particularly admired her professionalism and commitment to duty but also how warm and personable she was, with a wonderful sense of humour. In the words of Paddington Bear: Thank you Ma'am, for everything. 

Wishing you all a lovely weekend, 

Stor kram

Niki

Photography courtesy of Johanna Carlsson, shared with kind permission. 

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Small Spaces: A Charming Swedish Summer Cottage In The Heart of the City

As you know, I'm a big fan of little kolonistuga - allotment cottages. They don't exist in the UK, I know because I spent copious amounts of time at my parents allotment in London as a child and could have used a space to hang out and play games rather than weeding (the rickety shed full of spiders didn't quite cut it!).  

Here in Malmö there are quite a few allotment communities dotted around the city. In the summer they spring to life with people toiling the soil, relaxing with friends over a fika, or simply taking it easy and enjoying the summer sun. 

As with all Swedish summer cottages, simplicity is the order of the day, and this charming kolonistuga in Gothenburg (which is currently for sale!) strikes the perfect balance. It's pared back, yet cosy, simple, yet warm. There's a lot at play to make this happen, let's take a closer look! 

The emphasis is on relaxation and warmth - and that starts with the glowing string lights and a an inviting ochre front door. 

Inside, the walls and ceilings have been clad in wood panelling - giving the entire space depth and interest. I love my panelling up at the cabin (from Norrlands Trä) - the only problem is, it's so beautiful that I can't bear the thought of nailing up any pictures! 

The kitchen cabinets are simple with a nostalgic traditional touch - both in terms of the design and the handles. 

Vintage touches help to create a relaxed feel. 

How cool is this makeshift wine cellar under the floor? So smart! It's an ideal space for extra storage too. 

The ceiling has been knocked through to reveal the A-frame bones, helping the 26 m2 / 279 f2 open-plan living space to feel way more spacious. 


Mix and match furniture is key to creating a relaxed, lived-in feel. 

A daybed doubles up as a sofa and somewhere to kip! There's also a loft providing just enough space for a cosy double bed. Speaking from experience with our own loft bed up at the cabin, it can really quickly get hot higher up so it's important to have good air flow, a fan or even AC depending on the climate you live in. 

The entrance doubles up as a cosy sun room and living room area. I love how the green floral wallpaper brings nature indoors, so you can get the sense you're outside even on a rainy day! 

In small spaces each piece needs to work harder. I haven't seen a coffee table / basket like this before - have you? So clever! 

Swedes are so clever at creating different zones in the garden. I can see three different places to relax including the deck, a hammock and a dappled dining area under the boughs of a tree. Roll on summer days!

What a perfect urban oasis in which to escape! Even better, you can just hop on your bike when it's time to leave: no planes, trains or buses to catch! 

Tempted to snap this place up as your very own summer oasis? You can find all the details here

I'll be back on Monday with a Danish home that features so many of the Danish design trends I spotted at Formland design fair yesterday. Can't wait to tell you more! In the meantime, here are a few other  kolonistugas to enjoy over the weekend:


Trevlig helg! 

Niki

Photography: Krister Engström
For sale via Kvarteret Mäkleri
Found via Nordroom with thanks 

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A White Summer Cottage in Finland that Oozes the Simple Life

This morning I'm prepping for my panel discussion about 'maximalism' at Formland design fair in Denmark tomorrow. So, I thought - why not go all out with a minimalist tour on the blog today (I can't help it, it's the rebellious streak in me!). Tarja, her husband and two boys spend their summers at this lovely summer cottage in Finland - and everything about it oozes the simple life. The wood panel walls, ceilings, beams and floor are a sea of white while furniture has been kept to a fairly spartan selection of vintage pieces - all of which emit warmth and nostalgia, giving it the space a cosy touch. 

I can just imagine the family leaving the hectic city behind and heading here to switch off for the weekend / holidays. No distractions, no schedule to keep, no mess - just an easy life flitting between the calm interior and the great outdoors! 

See more of Tarja's city house and country home over at @villavalkea

What type of vibe did you get from this cottage? I'm curious to hear! 

It's been while since I featured a Finnish home, why not stay a while and take a look at a few more: 


Stor kram! 

Niki

PS I'll share a post on the 2022 trend: 'Newstalgia' or new maximalism soon! It's an exciting development I the world of interiors, with something for everyone. 

Photography: @villavalkea

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10 Idyllic Scandinavian Summer Cottages

There is nowhere I'd rather be in summertime than Scandinavia, it's a magical time which everyone embraces it with every fibre of their being. Being up at the cabin, I love to cycle around the village and take in the atmosphere. There's a certain joy in the air when everyone is leading a simple, yet joyful life with the same rhythm of sleep, swim, eat repeat (with a cool glass of rosé thrown in the evenings!). In honour of this, here is a round-up of some of my favourite Scandinavian summer cottages, I hope they will also have you dreaming of summers in Scandinavian and that you'll visit some day! 











10. Glimpses of my very own little cabin - which I'm hoping to share more of soon! 

I hope you enjoyed this tours - and  this post might have inspired you to spend a summer in Scandinavia - it's a beautiful place to be. Just make sure you're prepared for every weather! 

Was there a particular cottage that really resonated with you? I'd love to hear which one and why! 

By the way - the top image is 

Nik

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