A Magical Rural Escape by a Norwegian Fjord

I am constantly astounded by just how magical some Scandinavian summer residences are. Not because they are luxurious - far from it. You see, Scandinavian summer houses tend to be pretty pared back affairs. The focus is on kicking back and allowing the nature to help you unwind. Slipping away for the weekend or for an entire summer, there are no flights to catch and no schedule to keep. It's a simple life which dances lazily to the tune of eat, sleep, swim repeat. This enchanting summer house on the banks of a fjord in Northwest Norway belonging to Monica (AKA @tante__monica) is a fine example of how the Scandinavians have got it exactly right! 

"The summerhouse has no electricity or water and no road. Usually we arrive by boat," Monica tells me about her family summer house. "But at this time of year we have to walk through the forest since the boat is on land due to winter storms."

So where do they get their water? 

"We retrieve water for washing from a well, and we either get our drinking water from a nearby waterfall or we bring it with us on the boat." 

And the electricity? 

""For cooking we use propane, for light we use old oil lamps and candles and for heating we use the wood burning stoves," Monica explains. "We listen to music on our phones. We love to be there and not have to think about what's on TV. Instead we sit on the veranda and watch the sun go down as the birds fly or swim by and the fish jump from the fjord."


"It's quite romantic, but of course a lot of work," Monica says. "We have no animals, so we have to cut the grass ourselves. We do this once a year in order to allow for the wild flowers and plants to grow and attract a variety of insects. Every year we look forward to seeing if any new species appear." 

"Norwegian flower meadows are now in huge decline and our goal is to make our meadows rich in species again." 

The house is beautiful with a fascinating, if not tragic history. 

"My father grew up in the house. It was built during the war in 1942-43. Sadly the older house which stood there before burnt down. It was a huge tragedy for the family. My father was only nine and had to jump out of the kitchen window and my great grandmother was helped out through the window of her bedroom."

Today, the property, which was built after the fire, has been decorated in a serene, understated way. Vintage and antique pieces pop against a white and grey backdrop, and touches of blue and green mirror the surroundings. 

"I like to use items that have always been here. If we are in need of something new, we tend to buy old furniture and accessories. They are more charming and go a lot better with the house," Monica explains. 

Plates and other items were stored in a wall mounted cabinet with a subtle blue / brown theme and a simple rag rug can be seen on the floor. 

This lovely picture - captured for a feature in Lev Landligs - a Norwegian country life magazine - shows a pair of vintage beds, which had already been painted green when Monica found them. 


What a truly magical place to spend your summers. 

I can almost feel the warmth on my skin and I'd never ever tire of the view, how about you? 

See more of Monica's beautiful summer residence over at @Tante_Monica. Monica is also a keen knitter and sells handmade Christmas stockings through her shop Tante Monica (@christmasknitting) and Norwegian jumpers together with her friend Katrine via @mokkastrikk

Keen to take a peek inside a few other Norwegian summer residences today? I love: 


Niki

Photography: Monica Almskår Heggset & Lev Landig 

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A Cosy Swedish Cottage In The Snow

If we'd seen an alfresco winter table setting two years ago, we'd have thought the idea was crazy - but in today's world, it not only seems like a perfectly normal scene, but also at times the only way to gather with friends and family right now! So, friends, don your best snow boots, wrap up warm and pull up a sheep-skin lined seat - it's time to take you on a tour of a snowy Swedish cottage, and temperatures here are well below minus right now! 
Located around 45 minutes outside of Stockholm, the charming cottage consists of a main house and barn - both of which provide bunks for overnight guests and can also be used for cosy gatherings! 
In wintertime a table is set up outside, in the shelter of the barn. I have to say, the idea reminds me a little of Christmas at my Swedish Father-in-law's house. We often gather outside for glögg and pepperkaka before heading indoors to thaw out over a Julbord (Christmas buffet). 
A pathway has been carved out with a shovel and lit by large outdoor tea lights. Do you have these in your country? In Scandinavia they're often placed either side of a front door when you're entertaining and provide a warm welcome! 
The fire pit has also come into its own in the past 18 months (see '7 winter warmer essentials for outdoor gatherings). 
Meanwhile, indoors, the charming cottage is full of pretty details including beams, angled ceilings and fireplaces - making it a cosy place to while away winter weekends! 

Isn't it lovely?

I read yesterday that there's a group of people stuck in a pub in England for the third day running due to treacherous weather. My question is - would you rather be snowed in here or an English pub? I guess it depends a little on the supplies and who you are with, but I'd definitely vote for this cottage! 

Would you like to see other snowy Scandinavian homes today? 


Stay warm friends! 

Niki

Photography Melinda Rönnberg, styling Stories by Chaundy courtesy of Bosthlm

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Helen's Cosy Swedish Summer Cottage Living Room


Kindly sponsored by Nordal, thank you for supporting the brands which make features like this possible*

A few weeks ago, I headed off to My Scandinavian Home interior designer Helen Sturesson's 19th century summer cottage in Blekinge on Sweden's east coast. We had such a lovely time! Last week I shared some information about the cottage's fascinating past and some snapshots of the cosy kitchen, including her Mum's incredible apple pie - take a peek here if you missed it! Today, I'm looking forward to showing you a tour of the main living room area and bedroom (the entire cottage is made up of three rooms: a kitchen, sitting room and bedroom. The loo is at the end of the garden and the bathroom is... in the Baltic Sea! A special thanks to Nordal - the Danish brand who made this trip possible - you'll spot many of their lovely pieces throughout the rooms! Ready to take a look?

The cottage is L-shaped, and the sitting room connects the kitchen (to the right) with the bedroom, when the family of four are here, they all share a room. Two windows flood the space with a warm southerly Autumn light. 

The room is made up of many different items collected over time - including a vintage sofa, a big glass cabinet which helps to keep books and games dust free as well as an incredible mirrored coffee table!


When Helen moved in, she peeled back the plaster on the wall to discover beautiful wood panelling. The planks are all numbers which could indicate the house has have been moved here - although this isn't confirmed (I have come across 'house moving' before in Sweden, does this ever happen in your country? 

CEMA pots in medium, large and extra-large, Club lounge chair in teak and paper rope.

Large 'kakelugn' (tiled ovens) stand in the corner of the main living room and bedroom and are amazingly effective at heating up the house.


In this picture you can catch a glimpse of the wood floor which squeaks as you move across it. A traditional Swedish 'trasmatta' (rug woven with rags / scraps of cloth which I wrote about in my Lagom book as they are a big part of the Swedish heritage) helps to keep drafts at bay and if you look very closely you'll notice the walls are wonky, adding to the charm! 

In the bedroom, floral wallpaper and natural wood help to bring the outside in and a candle brightens up the dark autumn day while adding a sense of calm.


I hope you enjoyed this snapshot into Helen's cottage.

If you have any questions about anything, give me a shout in the comment section below and I'll ask Helen for the low down. 

Incidentally, it's not possible to buy the Nordal items directly from their website (they sell wholesale only), however, there are many webshops throughout Europe which stock their things. Find your nearest stockist here

Next week, I'm looking forward to sharing the final post of three: Helen's cottage ready for Christmas - weeeee, so excited about this one! 

Meanwhile, I'm busy packing for a two-day trip to Oslo, Norway (very excited!) where I'll be writing a guide for Simply Scandi magazine UK (my guide to Helsingborg appears in the latest edition and there's also a Christmas edition on sale right now which features a piece I wrote about our Swedish Christmas). The mag is available here in case you're curious! 

Do you think it could be interesting to share a guide to Oslo here on My Scandinavian Home too? 

Wishing you all a REALLY wonderful, relaxing weekend - and look forward to seeing you here again on Monday! 

Niki

*Thank you to Nordal for this paid partnership and helping to make My Scandinavian Home possible. All words and photos in this post are my own and I only ever work with brands I love and think you will too. 

Helen's Cosy Swedish Country Cottage Kitchen


Kindly sponsored by Nordal, thank you for supporting the brands which make features like this possible*:

Last week I spent a lovely few days at Swedish interior designer Helen Sturessons's cottage in the Blekinge archipelago on Sweden's east coast. I'd heard so much about it and was really intrigued to see it in person. The opportunity came thanks to a series of photoshoots which required a cosy backdrop - and her country cottage is just the ticket! A short walk from the Baltic Sea, the traditional red and white cottage was every bit as charming as I had imagined! 

The little 19th century cottage is made up of three small rooms (her family of four share a bedroom when they're here at weekends and in the holidays) and the wooden floors creak under foot as you move from room to room. Masonry tiled ovens and a woodturning stove (in addition to a thermostat) kept us feeling toasty throughout our stay as did some woolly socks and chunky woollen jumpers! Best of all - Helen's Mother turned up with a divine smelling apple and cinnamon pie. 

Here are a few snapshots from a cosy afternoon in Helen's kitchen - which she's kitted out with some seriously beautiful items from Danish brand Nordal - as well as other treasured items. 

When Helen and her family first bought the cottage it had no heating, and they would use the woodburning stove in the kitchen to heat up the room. Once-upon-a-time a father cooked meals for his seven children on this very stove (tragically the mother died when the children were young). These days, Helen has electric heating and the stove is used to keep coffee and tea warm.  

A wooden worktop is used for extra storage and keeping a few useful items at hand. 



Open shelves add to the relaxed feel of the kitchen. I especially love the traditional Swedish 'kryddhylla' (spice rack). Each of the glass pockets are used to store herbs and spices as well as sugar, flour and even small items like elastic bands and string. These days 'kryddhylla' are made of glass (as seen in Helen's kitchen), but you might also see them in a 60s/70s plastic variety or, if made prior to the 1920s, in porcelain. 

Do you have something similar in your country? 


The shelves are laden with glasses and crockery as well as other small items like egg cups and measuring jugs. 


The cottage surroundings portray an ever-changing scene. At the far end of the plot is a woodshed - and beyond that the outdoor loo (the only one at the cottage!). Throughout my stay, a fiery array of leaves swirled to the ground before settling on the rain drenched grass. Helen tells me that the family sometimes see deer and elk wander past, though sadly we didn't see any this time. Even so, we were able to find a load of pretty plants and late autumn flowers in the garden, including this foraged branch. 

Finally fika (a Swedish word meaning taking a break and enjoying a hot drink and a small treat). 

In Sweden you generally eat apple pie with 'cold vanilla sauce' and most would choose coffee - whereas in England we'd go for cream, vanilla ice cream or best of all hot custard with a cup of tea! How do you enjoy yours? 



The pie tasted every bit as divine as you can imagine! I wonder if I can get hold of the recepe - it would be nice to nee able to share it with you. Watch this space!  


And the final touch: candlelight! So mysigt!

I have to say, I can almost taste Helen's Mother's apple pie just looking through these pictures! 

Thank you for a wonderful afternoon 'fika' and for having me to stay Helen! 

I can't wait to share more pictures from Helen's cottage soon. 

If you like the look of the Nordal Danish kitchenware, you can find it in various webshops around Europe here. Please feel free to ask about any other item you see, I'm sure Helen would be happy to share the info! 

Have a 'hyggeligt' day friends! 

Niki

*Thank you to Nordal for this paid partnership and helping to make My Scandinavian Home possible. All words and photos in this post are my own and I only ever work with brands I love and think you will too. 

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