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! 

Niki

Photography: Johanna / @vartlillagrona

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Before and After: A Victorian House Becomes a Warm and Cosy Home


Autumn always makes me feel really nostalgic. I think it's the crispness in the air which reminds me of going back to school after the summer holidays, collecting conkers in the wood behind our house and kicking leaves on the way home. It also reminds me of running onto a frosty hockey pitch in my PE kit (shorts and and a very airy t-shirt - i.e. not designed for the weather). 

It was this mostly romantic train of thought which led me to today's home - Harnham House in Salisbury, Wiltshire UK. Dating back to 1880, Hannah and her partner Ollie moved into the Victorian property in spring 2018. Previously a rental, the house was in fairly good condition but still required a lot of work. Hannah and Ollie set about renovating the space, taking four years to transform it into a warm and cosy home. Ready to see the before and after pictures? 

Kitchen before 

The kitchen needed to be completely gutted.

Kitchen after

Hannah and Ollie installed a kitchen from DIY kitchens. Open shelving on the back wall helps to create a relaxed feel, while a rail from DeVOL makes space for utensils. 

The walls have been painted in Pure Brilliant White from Dulux. 


Dining area before

The Victorian features such as a brick fireplace had been covered up under layers of plaster. Hannah and Ollie peeled back the layers before painting the chimney breast white. 

Dining area after

The original wood floor was given a new lease of life, and an efficient woodburning stove was added to the fireplace.  The recessed walls on either side of the fire have made a great place for storing firewood and table linen as well as other pieces. 

The walls in the recess have been painted a subtle 'blanc de blanc' by Valspar paint.

Stairs and hall before

The hall floor and staircase were peeled back to the bare bones. 

Stairs and hall after

Beautiful wood panelling with a built-in shelf (painted in Lick green 01) was added to the hallway. Beneath, a bench and shelving make space for shoes, accessories and other items. 

The stairs were given a white lick of paint, leaving a central strip of exposed wood for the tread. Meanwhile, a snoozing dog guards the foot of the stairs, while Hannah and Ollie sleep. 

Meanwhile, the family cat has bagged the guest room (in true feline style!). I don't blame her, it does look like a lovely, calm place for some shut eye! The walls have been painted in Dulux 2510G90Y, which makes a great backdrop for vintage and antique furniture. 

What a beautiful transformation! 

Everything looks so warm and cosy. I can imagine it really comes into its own in Autumn time! 

Did you spot the cat? 

I'd love to hear your thoughts - do share below. And also, do you feel extra nostalgic in autumn? If so, what kind of memories does this season conjure up for you? 

See more Hannah's home over at @hanhamhouse (they still have some rooms left to renovate). 

Would you like to see a fee more British homes today? 


This cabin isn't in England, but it popped up in my feed earlier and it's so worth re-visiting: 


On an entirely different note, and in view of 'candle season' being upon us, Per was at a seminar held by the Swedish fire brigade yesterday.  based on all they have witnessed and various studies, they advised having a smoke detector in every room in the house including all the bedrooms. In addition, they said a fire extinguisher in the kitchen is essential - do you have this in your home? Apparently, IKEA have inexpensive, yet good smoke detectors). I also have my eye on a nexa or solskiden fire extinguisher (hey, who said an extinguisher can't be beautiful?). Stay safe friends. 

I'll be back on Friday to share an autumn update in my sitting room - I hope you're going to like it!  

Niki

Photography: @hanhamhouse shared with kind permission. 

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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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