A Back-to-Basic Swedish Lakeside Cottage with a Wild Bathroom

While the snow falls here in Malmö, I am aware that those of you in the Southern hemisphere are basking in warm sunshine. So, today I'm pressing the pause button on my wintery posts and taking you on a journey to a little Swedish cottage by a lake in summertime. 

The little red and white cottage near Västerås, Sweden, truly embraces a back-to-basics lifestyle - and the great outdoors is as much a part of the living space as the indoors. Life here is all about switching off and enjoying a simple summer by the lake - just you, the trees, the occasional curious moose and a book by the water. 

Ready to dream? 

The main cottage measures a mere 20 m2 (215 ft2) and comprises a charming kitchen and sitting room area.

Remarkably simple, the cottage doesn't have any running water (you need to bring it with you - which is not unusual, I have a few friends that transport their own water to their cottages, some even located miles away on an island in the archipelago). It does however, have electricity! 

The charming kitchen has open shelving to display prettier items, which a chequered curtain covers the plumbing and pots and pans. An IKEA unit provides extra storage under the window. 

A placard behind the sink bears the words: 'For those who have good friends, the simple cottage becomes a castle'. Truer words were never spoken, do you agree? 

The cottage also has a fireplace for colder days (hey, this is Sweden - you never quite know what temperatures you're going to get come summer!). 

Notice how a curtain has also been used in lieu of a cupboard door - adding to the relaxed look of the space. 

A sunroom has been added to the front of the cottage, providing a perfect spot to entertain friends while looking out over the lake. An oil lamp overhead emits a warm glow at night. 

Blue and white is a classic theme for Swedish waterside summer cottages. Here a chair, runner and bowls draw the lake indoors.  

A stone's throw from the main cottage is a smaller one-room dwelling where you'll find the bedroom. A simple chair serves as a bedside table. 

The wild 'bathroom' comes in the form of a table, mirror nailed to a tree and the lake. There is also a compost loo nearby. 

To me, this picture embodies everything I love about the Swedish approach to summer, where even the most simple daily ritual becomes an event and brings you closer to nature. The perfect antidote to daily life in the city!

A lounge chair offers a place to relax and njuta* after a 'morgondopp' (morning dip) with a coffee.

Is this your kind of summer getaway? 

If so, perhaps this cottage is for you! Check out the listing here

Would you like to see a few other back-to-basic dwellings today? Feel inspired by:  

Happy Lillördag (little saturday)!


Photography courtesy of SvensktFastighetsförmedling, with thanks
*advert for my own work

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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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