Welcome back to Marie's beautiful @Anno1790 home. When I started this blog I had so many ideas on how I would like to present the Scandinavian homes of my friends, and I'm still not sure, but for this post, I would like to show you the rest of her home from her perspective too. I gave her a list of questions before I took these photos and I would like to share those answers with you as well. So here goes, come on into the heart of the house, the tea is on, and we have no hurry today.
Perhaps I should start with the first question I asked Marie:
What is the story behind buying the house?
At the time we were living in a rental in Stockholm and had decided it was time to buy something of our own. On a whim, I started looking at houses in Karlskrona to compare prices and found the listing for this house.
It sounded a bit too good to be true such a large home at a low price in the middle of the island, and since we just happened to be visiting my parents for the Easter holidays, we decided to go and look at it just for fun.
It was freezing that day, and so was the house. It had been abandoned for several years at this point. I remember there were huge holes in the exterior walls which is not surprising since the last renovation was done in 1850. The local cats had even moved in and had been using the house as their toilet. Suddenly the "too good to be true" price made sense.
It didn´t take my husband and me long to realize that this would be a project way beyond our comfort zone. It seems we weren’t the first to feel this way. The estate agent didn’t even bother to join us at the showing. He was so used to people wanting to look at the house and turning it down.
The day after the viewing my brother asked me whether it would be okay if he and his family bought the house. I tried to imagine visiting them in what could have been "MY" home, and that made me cry inside. So we quickly reached an agreement to buy the house together with him. It already consisted of two apartments, so it seemed like a logical thing to do. However, the seller was a bit hesitant about our plan and selling the house to us. He thought we were too inexperienced and wouldn't be up for the challenge of the project.
What did you envision at the viewing?
I remember the view stepping into the living room. That was when I first envisioned what it could be like to live here, and that image haunted me after we had decided not to buy the house.
What was the first Reno project?
It was tough to know where to start since everything needed to be done, but the first thing we did was remove all of the floorboards since they were placed directly on top of the dirt floors underneath. We spent weeks digging out the dirt and gravel. By doing this, we were able to raise the ceiling about 10 centimeters.
Was there one Reno project that was almost a “deal breaker”?
I can´t even count how many times I have cried along the way. It took us almost ten years to finish the renovation since we did almost everything ourselves. When we first moved in, we had just had our second child. Renovating while raising kids is not for the weak of heart. We had finished the kitchen, bathroom and two other rooms by then but it took us several years to complete the rest of our apartment and my husband, and I slept on a couch for nearly two years before we had our bedroom.
What do you know about the history of the house?
We have gathered bits and pieces of the history of the house from different directions. The local museum had done some research that they handed over to us when we bought the house. When we first started renovating, the seniors in the neighborhood loved stopping by to tell us their memories of the home. About ten years ago a lady who was signing my paycheck happened to see my address, and it turned out that her husband was related to a man who lived here for several decades. She sent us pictures and a movie of what the house looked like and how it was furnished back then. That incident felt like winning the lottery! Some of the things we have found out about the house are that there used to be a store in our living room, that the sheds in the yard housed all kinds of animals, that our bathroom used to be a woodshop and that there was probably at some time a brothel ...
How have you used the house over the years, where do you spend most of your time?
Like I already mentioned the house has two apartments. It is only in the last year that we are living in the whole house. First, my brother lived upstairs, and then my parents lived there for a while which meant we had builtin-babysitters which were great. After that, we rented it by the week and then we had a couple of students living upstairs. It is excellent to let part of one’s house – it pays the utility bills, but now that our kids are teenagers though we plan to keep the whole house for ourselves for a few years.
We spend most of our time in the dining room next to the kitchen.
Is there a favorite spot/ pocket of your home and why? My kitchen is my favorite place in the house. I spent so much time sketching and planning on how to best make use of the space. I still love the colors and the design of the cupboards.
While we were in the kitchen, Marie told me some stories behind some of the vintage eye-candy. The black rod iron handcrafted candle holder at the back of the hearth is from our local church charity shop on the island, and it was less than the price of a cup of coffee. This candleholder was one of many great vintage-safe-keeper finds in her home. Just wait there are many more I'm going to show you before the tour is over. The wooden boxes are from her childhood home and if I am correct before that her father's childhood home. I want to mention quickly, the white pie dish on the stove is not there for styling, it was actually about to be used because her sister was on her way over for Swedish fika, which is a whole other blog post for those of you that don't know what it is.
This is a small shelf beside the hearth in her kitchen, and I too love the color of the shiplap and cupboards under the traditional Scandinavian antique wallpaper. On top of the Swedish red shelf is a hodgepodge of goodies that draw me in. The tufted wool bear holding the heart was the perfect addition to this eclectic kitchen shelf.
Everyone who knows me, knows I love a good shelfie. So it goes without saying that the Swedish red repeating shelves along the shiplap chair rail are hands-down one of my favorite design features. I think a well-placed shelf lets you have fun with the minimum amount of effort. Today Marie placed some flowers from her small garden in vintage bottles and it made the room sing. So much beauty in the simplicity of it all.
Because the house is from the 1700s there is authentic, cozy darkness in corners of different rooms. I was happy to capture the different lighting that streams into the rooms from the handblown window panes. This is the built-in cabinet in the corner of her kitchen. There is a vintage authenticity in the photo that is hard to replicate in a modern space because you don't get the cozy shadows that exist in these small spaces like you to do in older homes and cottages. I'm so happy with this photo because of it. I feel like I could be my childhood idol "Anne of Green Gables" mistakenly grabbing the cordial wine to serve to my friend for tea. I know I'm rambling now so let's move on.
Thank you to everyone that took the time to read this blog post. Tune in next week to see the rest of the house and Marie's favorite vintage finds.