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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


Photography courtesy of Johanna Carlsson, shared with kind permission. 

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Hannah's Swedish City Apartment and Country Summer Cottage

Despite the sunshine, there's a distinct crispness to the air and the start of Autumn is ever-present - are you noticing that too? Many Swedish summer cottages have been boarded up for the winter, but for some, the hideaway is just close enough to enjoy the last of the summer sun with relaxed weekends away. I've been doing this with ours, and it's like two different worlds - one urban, with routines and schedules to keep, the other wild and free! 

I've always marvelled at the difference in the decor between city apartments and summer cottages in Sweden. To emphasise this, I thought we could step into the lovely world of Hannah Persson today. Hannah and her family divide their time between an apartment in the centre of Gothenburg and a summer cottage two-hours way close to beautiful lake Vänern just outside Lidköping.

Let's start with her city abode! 

The city apartment

Hannah and her family's city apartment is blessed with turn-of the-century features including high ceilings, large windows and double doors. It has a wonderful calm vibe, making it the perfect oasis to return to after a hectic day of work, nursery and other family activities. 

The living space is full of mid-century furniture, art, and cosy patterned rugs against a backdrop of calm, earthy tones. 

Rug found at Myrorna (the Swedish version of Salvation Army). Round paper rice lamps from Hay are hugely popular in Swedish homes right now. 

The wool wall hanging is by Swedish artist Ingegerd Silow, below is a curated display which includes a Transparent radio, mirror, plant and paper lamp. 

Blanket by Arket

Bedside lamp Svenskt Tenn, baby bed Garbo & Friends

The summer cottage 

From the traditional red and white facade to the charming small rooms with original touches from times gone by, Hannah and her family's country getaway is everything you would imagine a traditional Swedish cottage to be and more. 

Hannah has furnished the living space with a mix of items picked up at flea markets and second hand stores, giving the home a lovely relaxed vibe. 

Items such as wall hung sunhats help to add a summery touch to the space. 

I was asked in the comment section about these wonderful fireplaces. The Swedish Kakelugn is a tiled oven which started to appear in Swedish homes as early the 1700s. The unit is designed to radiate heat at a constant temperature over many hours, making it a highly efficient way to keep a house warm. Many are still in working condition today, although more often than not they're used for the 'mys' factor (cosiness) rather than for actual heating! 

Despite being inefficient compared to modern triple or quadruple glazed windows you find in year-round homes, original windows like these are highly coveted in Swedish summer cottages. The glass has a slight waviness / imperfection to it which adds to the character of the house. 

The folk-art basket is a wonderful nod to the history of the cottage. 

Flowers from the garden reflect the season, and floral bedding also helps to draw nature indoors, while simple hooks reflect the relaxed grab and go lifestyle so enjoyed at the cottage. 

Displays tend to be less curated and more a thrown together selection of pieces - in the bedroom an impromptu dressing area includes a small vintage mirror with hooks and a jug used as a vase. 

Carefree days are spent picking wildflowers, swimming in the nearby lake - or perhaps simply doing nothing at all. 

I know where I'd rather be - how about you? 

Still, both properties are beautiful in their own way - and it's fascinating to see how the homes have been decorated in a slightly different style, don't you? 

You can see more snapshots from Hannah's apartment and cottage over at @hannahperssons

On another note, I'm receiving lots of emails about the My Scandinavian Home subscription - I've had to change it so if you are no longer receiving mails to your inbox each time I post, please re-sign up below! Sorry for any inconvenience and thank you so much for following along, I love this community. 

Happy Wednesday friends. See you Friday!



Photographs courtesy of Hannah Persson, shared with kind permission

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A Wabi-Sabi Inspired Getaway in the Bay of Fires, Tasmania

I love living in Scandinavia. Having been here for 18 years, I consider it my home. But sometimes - especially on a Monday morning - it's great to dream about faraway places! As you know, I've had my eye on Tasmania for many years (and now my sister Charlie - also has her heart set on on Tas thanks to some of the places here on MSH! I tell you, it's catching!). 

Maybe you'll also be tempted once you've seen the pictures of the beautiful SABI cabin in the Bay of Fires, designed by Fred and Jessica Eggleston. Described as a 'refuge of calm, free from distraction' the handcrafted stone cabin is serene, simple, raw and refined. Intentionally sparse yet rich in texture, romantic, spacious yet intimate - the cabin is located a short distance from the bay with its many hidden coves and cliff walks. The only thing you need to decide is whether to enjoy a book by the fire, soak in the Japanese-inspired tub or head out for a walk by the sea. I vote for all three. 

The kitchen has been kitted out with custom ceramic dinnerware and cast-iron cookware as well as everything you need to brew yourself the perfect cup of coffee (this could well be the tipping point for convincing Per - he does love his morning coffee!). 

The bathroom is inspired by a Moroccan hideout complete with floor to ceiling micro cement for a spa-like feel. My eye is on the rain shower.

Could you imagine getting away from everything here for a few days? 

Even if Tasmania is a little bit of stretch for many of us being so far, a girl can dream! Plus, there's lots of inspiration to take away from this striking interior.

I particularly love the wooden tub and can well imagine a soak in it. It's been made from a repurposed barrel and features a liner handcrafted from salvaged copper.  So clever! 

Is there anything that stands out to you? 

See more of SABI cabin at @sabi.stays and book your stay on Airbnb

Oh, and here are a a few other dreamy Tasmania hideaways: 

Have a great start to the week!


Photography: Marnie Hawson 

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