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Small-space living: An elegant Swedish 'Ettan'

An ettan (a one) is the word Swedes describe a one room apartment. But just to avoid confusion, this usually means one room plus a kitchen, just like a tvåan (a two) describes a two room flat plus a kitchen and a trean (a three) describes a three room plus kitchen. You get the gist! But what's important, isn't the size, it's the way it's organised, and how it caters for your every need. Plus of course, in true Scandi style, it needs to look beautiful too! 

I stumbled across this light and airy ettan (measuring 39 sq.m / 420 sq.ft) this morning and was immediately captivated by its elegance and charm. I also love how a simple, muted colour scheme can be given an instant lift with layers of texture and a few pretty, patterned cushions and flowers! Students decorating a dorm room - take note! Let's discover what else is at play. 

Rooms with angled walls aren't always easy to furnish. Here, a large round mirror helps to visually widen the narrower section of the room. 

Throws and blankets are essential items to create that all important mys (cosy) factor. Plus, if your bedroom is in the sitting room, a throw is a perfect way to disguise the bed in an instant! 

The chair in the corner serves as a perfect reading spot by the window, but it can also be pulled forward to create a social setting when guests arrive. 

Glass and other see-through items are ideal for small spaces as they have a 'barely there feel' and allow the light to flow through. 

A spot in the hallway doubles up as a home office.

The kitchen is lovely and spacious allowing for a table for up to six! I love the antique style. Dark wood has become hugely popular once again and I've heard rumours that the rich and famous of the USA are snapping up items from the 'Swedish Grace' era - i.e. extremely well-made furniture from the 1920's to the 1950s.  

If you look closely at the worktop immediately beside the oven you'll spot a horizontal wood strip. That's a chopping board which can be pulled out when cooking, and then pushed back in once cleaned and finished with. It's a great space saving hack! 

Notice how there are plants, a lamp and a candlestick on the windowsill - but no curtains or a blind. This is typically Swedish! By day, the plants give the illusion that nature is close by, even in the winter when the plants and trees lie dormant. By night, the lamp and candlestick emit a warm and welcoming feel from the outside - while from the inside they shield the darkness while ensuring you don't feel 'closed-in'. Don't forget that in the far North of Sweden it can be dark almost 24 hours a day in mid-winter - you don't really want your curtains closed for that length of time! 

Here is a floor plan for you so you can make sense of the space: 

Glossary: Entre - entryway, vardagsrum - sitting room, kök - kitchen, uteplats - outdoor space, inre hall, inner hallway. 

I hope you enjoyed the tour! Did anything stand out to you in particular? If so, please do comment below and join the discussion! 

I night add, this lovely apartment in Gothenburg is for sale! Could you be the next owner? 

Looking for more small space inspiration? Check out this archive - it's full of beautiful compact spaces that are big on charm! There's a chance this one. night pop up first, if so, just scroll on down to find the others. 

Have a wonderful weekend! 


Photography courtesy of Alvhem, with thanks. 

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A Small Swedish Apartment, Packed With Charm (And Sunlight)

Tjena! Hur är läget? We've woken up to a beautiful sunny day here in Sweden and our homes are pooled with golden light. This small 25 sq.m (269 ft.sq) apartment in Stockholm (in an area called Midsommarkransen meaning 'Midsummer crown' - how lovely is that?) is blessed with windows from two directions, capturing the beams as the sun moves through the sky and casting an ever changing array of shadows.

The owner has artfully worked with the one-room living space to incorporate a kitchenette, dining space, and a bed that doubles up as a sofa. High shelves help to make the most of the full height of the room - while plants, flowers and mid-century teak furniture add to the charm of the home. 

In the midst of a conundrum about how to arrange your small apartment - or trying to get your head around awkward angles? This lovely Swedish home is for you! 

Glossary: Rum - 'room', kök - kitchen, Badrum - bathroom. 

I poured over the pictures to suss out clothes storage. I think the best place for a wardrobe would be the hall (it looks like there are two rails as well as quite a few shelves there which could well be used for clothes). Under-bed storage is also optimal in small spaces. 

All-in-all a charming small space, with such a lovely feel. I'd be perfectly happy to come home to this apartment each day, how about you? 

More small space inspiration can be found in this archive.

On another note, something very exciting happened this week. I was at my daughters swimming gala (these things take up the entire weekend and the highs and lows are unbelievable - there were smiles, tears and everything in between from Liv! - Are there any other swimming parents out there?), and scrolling through instagram during the very long poolside hours, and lo and behold, I spotted Kelly Clarkson reading my book Relaxed Rustic. What a crazy moment! It certainly put a shine on my weekend, along with my daughters smiles! 

I hope you have a great start to the week! 


Photogrtaphy courtesy of Historiska Hem, with thanks. 

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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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Alva's Warm and Inviting Swedish Country Home and Farm Shop

Alva Herdevall is a Swedish author (Heirloom Skills: a complete guide to modern homesteading - which has been hugely popular in Swedish, is now available to pre-order in English) as well as a self-confessed plant lover, homesteader & permaculture designer". Once a city girl (Alva also lived in Malmö for many years), the writer moved to Krusenbergs farm in Uppsala where she and her partner Anders Rydell have created a country life with their small children and four legged friend. 

Days are spent 'odling' (toiling the soil and growing flowers, fruit and vegetables) - the results of which include a beautiful array of sunflowers, sweet peas, peonies, dahlia and other blooms as well as great gluts homegrown tomatoes, courgettes, beans and squash. Whatever the family have left over is preserved for the winter or sold through their honesty store and 'pick your own' farm. Fresh eggs and honey are also available to buy. 

Inside, evidence of the recent harvest can be seen overflowing in the kitchen and as a centre piece on the dining table and brightening up windowsills throughout the home. Here's a peek into Alva's beautiful world in the Swedish countryside. 

In September the forests and fields are ripe with edible delicacies. Swedes love to pickle and preserve whatever they have leftover and savour pickled cucumber, beetroot and other preserves on sandwiches or as a side dish throughout winter. Alva has a larder full of homemade jars - many of which she lists in her book. 

Do you preserve fruit and vegetables too? If so, I'd love to hear about some of your favourites!

Alva's home is a wonderful, warm, eclectic mix of vintage and antique finds, books, plants, pattern and prints. 

Yellow kitchen cabinets and a kilim rug in reds and blues bring warmth and cosiness to the kitchen. 

Anders built the outdoor kitchen and table, now laden with homegrown produce. Flowers and other produce are also sold through their farm shop (below). 

What a lovely life!

See more pictures from Alva's home and garden over at @krusenbergsodlarna and find out more about their store, wedding floristry and workshops here

Does it make anyone else want to move to the countryside? There's nothing quite like a little dreaming on a Monday!

Take a tour of other Scandinavian country homes in the country home archive

Stor kram! 


1, 6, 7, 8, 11, 14, 15 @krusenbergsodlarna
4, 5 by Roland Persson for book Modern Självhushållning published by Natur & Kultur Fakta.
2, 3, 9, 10, 12, 13 Idha Lindhag 
Shared with kind permission. 

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