Before & After: A Swedish Fire Station becomes a Family Summer Home

I've shown many awe-inspiring homes on My Scandinavian Home over the past decade (yes - it'll be ten years since I started this blog in November!), but I've never featured a converted fire station! When Swedish pair Petra and Anders Jönsson turned 50 they felt like doing something a little crazy. The answer came in the form of a dilapidated fire station in Stora Köpinge, Skåne - which they spotted for sale online for a cool 750,000 SEK (€75,000 / 89,000 USD). The pair had the vision of transforming the four-storey property into a summer holiday home for themselves and their five children - a perfect weekend and holiday retreat from everyday life in Stockholm. The project quickly drew the attention of popular Swedish TV program Husdrömmar, who followed the entire renovation. Ready to find take a look?

Exterior Before

The fire station was built in the 1930s for the purpose of serving Stora Köping, a village in the beautiful region of Österlen in South Sweden. The couple had grand plans for the property, including changing the colour of the exterior, but planning permission restrictions meant the existing facade should remain relatively untouched. Instead, they freshened up the exterior and replaced the double doors (previously used for the fire engine) into glass doors. 

Exterior after

The pair also added an extension onto the rear to make space for a dining room and also replaced the back of the tower with glass windows - weighing 800 kg each! 

Interior before

When the couple acquired the property, the interior was basic to say the least! The ground floor hadn't been touched since its days as a fire station, while the tower was a corrugated iron shell with a ladder.  

The floorplan

The property is four storeys high, which the couple planned on converting into a living area, sleeping quarters, a bathroom and lounge area. 

Interior after

Underfloor heating was installed and the ceiling was knocked through to create a beautiful, light-filled living space.  The pair decided to keep the decor simple and pared-down and used neutral tones throughout. 

Stairs were added to the left of the property (rather than centrally placed) in order to make space for a kitchen. A trap door which gives access to extra storage. 

The family enjoy uninterrupted views of the Österlen countryside to the rear of the property. 

Wooden stairs add warmth and a contemporary touch to the tower - and are a major improvement on the rickety ladders! 

Although small, the bedrooms feel spacious thanks to large windows. 

The top floor has been converted into a 3 metre x 3 metre lounge area in which to chill! 

How fantastic!! 

There's no denying that this was an incredibly brave move and required a copious amount of work (and money) - but the results are worth it. After all, not many people can say they live in a converted fire station! 

Could you imagine taking on a project like this? 

Live in Sweden? You can view the entire project on SVT here. Otherwise, see more pics over at @brandstaionenstorakopinge

Did I mention that Petra and Ander's home in Stockholm is in a converted water? Perhaps that's a tour for another day! 

Up for a little more inspiration today? Take a look back at these fabulous property conversions: 

There are plenty more incredible before and after projects in this archive too! 

Wishing you a wonderful day - I hope the sun is shining for you. 


Photography: all photos courtesy of Petra and Anders (@brandstaionenstorakopinge) with the addition of two photographs taken by Lina Östling and Mari Strenghielm. The floorplan is courtesy of SVT / Husdrömmar

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20 Instagrammable Places to Stay In Sweden

Are you planning to visit Sweden this summer? If so you're in for an amazing time, there's just so much to see and do! But where to stay? I get countless e-mails asking about beautiful holiday homes, bed & breakfasts and hotels - and I finally put pen to paper (well, er... keyboard to blog). So here it is, a comprehensive list of twenty places to stay in Sweden this summer for budgets big and small. Välkommen till Sverige! 

(I snapped the above picture in Fiskebäckskil - I dare you to try pronounce that - a few weeks ago. If you're visiting Sweden's West Coast this pretty village is a must!). 

Sweden's capital city is a perfect place to start your visit. Not only will you find all the flagship Swedish design stores (we like!), museums, galleries and beautiful architecture - the city is built across a series of islands so you're never far from water.

Ola Ericcson
Ett Hem. 
Hidden away on a quiet, leafy stree, the 12-room hotel was designed by owner Jeanette Mix and interior designer Ilse Crawford with a vision to create a home from home: hence the name 'ett hem' (a home'. In the winter, guests can enjoy plenty of sheepskins, a roaring fire and a soak in a tub. In the summer, the hotel is light and fresh (with a blend of mid-century and contemporary design). The perfect base from which to explore Sweden's capital city. Mind you, you might not want to leave!

Ash James
The Modern Apartment (sleeps 3)
Looking to live like a local? This modern apartment sleeps up to 3 guests and is on the residential island of Kungsholmen with great access to restaurants and bars (hey, I know what's important!) - as well as good transport links to the whole of Stockholm. And will you take a look at that kitchen?!

The Architects Apartment (sleeps 2)
This charming 1920's studio in Norrmälarstrand has been renovated by an architect (hence the fabulous decor!) and is nine minutes by Subway to the central station. It's also a short walk from beautiful parks and boardwalks. Loving this one!!


Any visit to Stockholm in the summer time warrants a boat ride out to the stunning archipelago. Think incredible nature, dips in the sea and relaxing on your very own island.

Henry Trygg
The Island Retreat (sleeps 4)
Calling all nature lovers  - this is your bag! Take over this modern retreat for a few days and your friends will do a double take when you get home (you'll look that relaxed!). Enjoy saunas, dips in the sea and day trips with your very own boat. Word of warning: The Grand Hotel it's not. It has a dry loo and an outdoor shower only - but hey, the seas on your doorstep and cod is on the menu for lunch!

Sweden's second largest city and the gateway to the magnificent west coast archipelagos, this city is not be missed. Design lovers: don't forget to visit Artilleriet and Grandpa (conveniently placed across from one another!).

Per Pixel Petersson
Airbnb Apartment (sleeps 4)
This lovely apartment in the rooftops of Delsjö is a short walk to the centre of town as well as supermarkets, restaurants and boutiques on your doorstep. Oh and there's a family friendly bathing spot and kayaking just nearby, so bring your sea legs and togs! 

If someone asked me for the best kept secret in Europe, I'd say the Gothenburg Archipelago. When the sun shines it's my favourite place on earth and represents everything that's wonderful about Sweden in the summertime. Made up of hundreds of islands and skerries, the waterways are laced with clusters of small fishing huts and pretty villages with restaurants selling fresh fish. Go anytime between midsummer and mid august when it's at it's peak and enjoy the atmosphere. Or pack a picnic and make your way out to your own little island for the day.

The pretty old village of Gullholmen snapped from our boat.

Gullmarsstrand Hotel, Fiskebackskil
Treat yourself to a stay at Gullmarsstrand and koppla av (unwind) with nature on your doorstep. Relax in the spa, take a dip in the sea (there's a family friendly beach a stone's throw away), play tennis, take a cliff walk or enjoy the village. The hotel also has Carpe Diem Beds so you're sleep like you're on a cloud! This little village is truly romantic (although I'm a little biased, as it played a major role in my husband and my holiday romance, back when it all started!).

Strandflickornas Havshotell ('The Beach Girl's Hotel)
If you're looking for something a little more cosy and traditional I can totally recommend this lovely hotel in Lysekil. Every room is different in a truly quirky way and the staff couldn't be friendlier. Oh and did I mention there's a sauna and hot tub on the water's edge too?!

A House with a View (sleeps 5)
Be king of the hill for a week (or three) in this modern house and enjoy vistas across Instön island and the sparkling waters beneath. I love that it's 200 metres from a secluded swimming bay and a short hop to the sailing capital of Marstrand (well worth a visit too - although prepare to glam up a little!).

Looking to wile away the summer and experience genuine island life? Located on Sweden's East coast - this lovely Baltic island is a perfect size to explore by bike. Visit wonderful galleries, enjoy local cuisine and wile away a day or two on the beach (word of warning, the Baltic is a little colder than the West coast!). Here are some beautiful Gotland home tours to wet your appetite!

Rodrigo Rivas
Fabriken Furillen, Boutique Hotel Cast your eye to the northeastern corner of Gotland and you'll discover this industrial-chic boutique hotel on the peninsula of Furillen. Formerly a gravel factory, this remote hotel offers two 'hermit cabins' for those who truly wish to get away from it all and enjoy the wild landscape, deserted beaches and wildlife.

The Farmhouse (sleeps 4)
A beautiful newly built farmhouse that's perfect for a family of four, it has a cute garden for dining alfresco and is an easy walk to the medieval centre of Visby - and personally, I think it looks super boho and cosy!

Funkis House in Visby (sleeps 6)
A charming house built in the 1930's a mere five minutes walk from the main square in the island's capital of Visby. Think mid-century meets contemporary design (I spy a SINNERLIG daybed and bench designed by Ilse Crawford!).

A Little Cottage to Call home (sleeps 3)
This idyllic cottage is located a few hundred meters from the small fishing village of Herrvik, and the beautiful nature reserve of Grogarnsberget. Take in the great beaches, seafood smokehouses and local restaurants, but not before you've enjoyed a slow breakfast at the pretty kitchen table!

If you're looking for somewhere pretty to stop between Gothenburg and Malmö, Torekov's a great idea. I might be a little biased since my husband's family have a summer cottage there, but it really is a beautiful part of the world (and is said to get more hours of sunshine than anywhere else in Sweden - now you're sold?!). The pretty fishing village is buzzing with waterside restaurants (in the peak season you're bound to hear a live band or two), a wonderful beach and bathing platforms, golf, the beautiful old spa in the harbour Torekovs Warmbadhus (make sure you enjoy a seaweed bath in a classic lion claw tub!) and seal safaris on the island of Hallands Väderö (pictured above).

Photograph: Niki Brantmark / My Scandinavian Home

Torekov Hotell and Spa
I've never stayed at this spa hotel but know many friends who have, and they came away well fed, rested and glowing! Plus if the sea is a little frigid for your liking, this joint has a pool!

Airbnb Guest House (sleeps 4)
Enjoy your own house set among farmland between Torekov and Båstard and make the most of what both towns have to offer (as well as all the nature in between!). 

My adopted home town of Malmö is Sweden's third largest city and totally worth a visit! From the cobbled Stortorget and Lilla Torg (big and little squares), museums, galleries and parks to the bathing platforms at Västra Hamnen and beach at ribbersborg - you'll never get bored. Plus Copenhagen is a quick train ride over the Öresund bridge (yes that's THE BRIDGE!). For more ideas you can check out my city guide here.

Duxiana hotel Malmö
'Bright lights, big city, great sleep' reads their slogan - looking at this bedroom and knowing the location in the heart of the city I can well believe it! Also, there's nothing like a hotel breakfast, right?!

The Malmö Apartment (sleeps 2)
Sometimes the best things come in small packages and this little studio between Triangeln and Möllevången (AKA the funky, boho side of town) is the perfect pad from which to explore. 

A house by the Sea (sleeps 5)
If you love beautiful interiors, architect and being by the sea, this is your pad! Once featured in Elle Decoration, this lovely space is a short cycle through the park to the centre of town and has the sparkling Öresund sea on it's doorstep!

 Intrigued? Take a little look behind the facade of more of Malmö's most beautiful homes here


If you're looking for a holiday that combines a city break with nature - Malmö and Österlen are a great combination! Situated in the Southeastern corner of Scania, Österlen is famous for its rolling hills, stunning coastline, small villages, apple orchards and farmland. It's also home to many artists who are inspired by the magnificent light.

Mellby Klockagård Bed & Breakfast, Kivik
This charming B&B is located in Kivik, one of my favourite villages along the Österlen coastline. Enjoy your charming bedroom (no two rooms are alike), relax in the beautiful garden, enjoy seasonal food or wonder down to the waters edge. You can't go wrong with this gem of a place! 

In case you're wondering about those artist's home - you can step inside some of Österlens most charming homes here - I have to confess, I dream of owning an old house in this area, with a pottery wheel and plenty of space for all my family to visit one day! A girl can dream, right?!

In a few weeks time I'll be checking out this hotel first hand and I can't wait!  Located in North Skåne and surrounded by a majestic beech forest, Wanås hotel and restaurant is nestled on a historic estate complete with a magnificent sculpture park Did I mention that the interior combines vintage furniture and contemporary art with natural materials; limestone floors and wooden details and there's a restaurant offering Nordic farm to table cuisine? Yep, my kind of place too! 

I've no doubt missed hundreds of incredible places to stay (not to mention great Swathes of Sweden crying out for a visit!), but I hope this guide helps as an initial first step! Please do let me know if you have any personal recommendations in the comment section below, we'd love to hear them (and of course, visit one day!). There'll no doubt be a follow up guide once the winter season begins. In the meantime, I'll continue to explore - and perhaps our paths will cross in the process?!

Have a wonderful stay!

(with lots of great help from Ana!)

PS Why not go the whole way and pick up a copy of Lagom, The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy life to read while you're there and The Scandinavian Home once you're back?! Yes, I know they're both my books, but still - I'm proud of them and think you'll find them inspiring! 

PPS Other useful Resources (where to stay, what to do and where to eat):

1.  Visit Sweden
2.  Stockholm
3. Stockholm Archipelago
4. Gothenburg
5. Gotland
6. Gotenburg Archipelago
7. Skåne County

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