Room for more around the table

Our first 2 summers in our vacation home in Mölle, Sweden have been fabulous, the weather has really been showing off. Grateful for that – since it allows us to have most meals outside on the porch.

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As you might remember, we brought most of our furniture with us from the previous summer house. The old church bench for example, may not be the most comfortable seating but it works, and the best part, it fits 10 people. I had an old rug, that I decided to turn into one super long pillow case for the bench. Stuffed it with old cushions, and voila, turned out great and now softer to sit on!

When we have our bigger dinners, we just add another one of our old tables along with some of the more rattan/rotting chairs we got spread out around the house. I like it when its easy to just add on and make room for that wonderful larger crowd.

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However, this is how we stage it when its ‘just us’.  I love this spot, love how simple it is yet cozy. We’ve also got a few discrete heaters up on the porch ceiling, which ad warmth and make it possible to sit out longer at night and also makes the season longer.

However, now with fall, its time to move inside and have the meals inside la casa, so I thought I would share one of the updates we made this summer.

We have been wanting to find a new dining table or top. Current table is just too small, or narrow I should say. We are not really able to set the table, barely fit one plate and a wine glass before you get in to the space of the person sitting opposite you. It fine, after all its just a summer place, but not ideal in the long run since we often got friends and family over for dinner when we are there.

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I peaked at different auctions sites – hoping to find that unique table, but no luck. I  started contemplating maybe getting a more modern table to break it up a little. Long story short, I drove passed this old place that make wooden boats and saw they had a ton of planks piled up and laying around.  I asked if I could buy any… “sure”, they said, -walk around and let us know if you see anything you like, and off I went!

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It did not take long, 3 planks stood out, but of course they were towards the bottom of the pile so they were not able to help me get them out that day. Instead asked me to come back to get them the following week. So, I never actually saw the planks entirely, but I had a ´huntch´they would be good.

We then stored them in our garage for several months –  let them dry out before taking them to the carpenter (http://benjaminholm.se/) who was going to help up make the table top.

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The carpenter, who by the way is just the nicest guy and super talented, was not very excited with the choice of wood. Not ideal for dining table, also not ideal after I showed him my inspiration pictures from Pinterest of what I had in mind. Its poplar wood by the way (poppel in Swedish), which is a little soft and does not have that much texture going on, happening and he was concerned of not being able to create that rough look I was sort of going for. After a few discussions back & forth, we decided to give it a go and hope for the best! Go Poplar!

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The carpenter spent quite a lot of time staining it, but after a few weeks he called us and said its ready for pick up. Yay!

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At first, I will admit I was not totally blown away, and of course I compare it to the old one, from early 1900′ super worn out, with cracks, marks and wine stains, just the perfect look. This is obviously a new table top, where we’ve had to ‘work on it’ to try to make and create similar worn, rough look and feel, so not fare to compare. But its growing on me, for sure. My husband loves it! The size turned out perfect. Not sure if the pictures really show the difference, but its longer and much wider. We can easily sit 12 around this new table and still have plenty of room for extra serving plates and table décor and what not…

I chose to continue with the black steel table legs, prefer the contrast in look and material. Also, since the table it pretty big, I thought it would be nicer to tone it down, keep it light and airy if that makes sense. Plus it ads an industrial touch, which I like.

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Yes, so there it is! Now its time to have all those dinners, get the party started!! Make marks, spill some wine :).

That’s all for today my friends. Be well and thank you for stopping by the blog today!

Hugs P

When down sizing feels like a great idea

I came across this gorgeous 2 – bedroom apartment in the fashionable “Östermalm” in the very center of Stockholm a few days ago – that I just have to share with you all. Its one of the most popular places to live. Its not big but its got all that one would need, the key ingredients and a top notch’ finish on top of it all, that makes this apartment exquisite if you ask me! Take a look.

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This kitchen is stunning, clean but adding that wine cellar makes it very welcoming, and a perfect kitchen to entertain. Love the ‘limestone’ floor – my all time favorite!

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Obviously, having this open floor plan and the living room right there – really makes this a perfect space and apartment to entertain,  -even a bigger crowd. Don’t you think?

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Now, this bedroom is really my kinda bedroom. The neutral tone-on-tone –  makes it very relaxing (which is how I prefer it) and I don’t know about you, but it has that luxury hotel feel over it.

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Love the built in cabinets and that sitting nook – I am saving this image for future references –  thinking I’d copy this idea in our summer place in some way.

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I like how they decided to make the hallway – entrance and bathrooms darker – creating  a cool contrast and makes the first impression as you walk in very cool – like that idea!

And the best part dear readers, this apartment is for sale now. So, if you were planning to move to Stockholm, well maybe this might just be for you.  For more images go, here.

That is all for today my friends, hope you liked it – and you had a nice Valentines’ day!

Hugs P

 

Images from Alexander White

 

A Crush on Hermès

I grew up with parents who had a good eye to fashion and in particular the fancy kinda fashion, so I probably knew the big fashion brands by name before I knew my “A, B, Cs”. However I will admit, never felt I had the wallet necessarily for it :)).

Today I thought I’d share the one I have a little extra crush on – Hermès.

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For those of you unfamiliar with Hermès, it is over 180 years old French fashion Empire – actually started in Paris handcrafting horse harnesses for caliches and carriages in 1832.  I believe it was only in early 1920´ish when they introduced their first handbags, maybe you remember the iconic “Kelly Bag”? I would not mind a camel colored Kelly bag! The company then began to produce scarves, silk ties – perfumes and later include fashion as well as furniture and all that other good stuff.  To me Hermes, is a classic brand and style dedicated to perfection with a big ‘P’.

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By the way, in case you happen to pass through Paris and like Hermes – I recommend the Hermès flagship store – its stunning, not necessarily the store I would shop in – I would choose one of their smaller and intimate boutiques – this is like a museum…

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Now, my love story with Hermes started way back with this blanket – with a big ‘H’- a classic that will never ever go out of style. Trust me. Instead of buying all those ‘wear & tear’ blankets all those years – this one my friends, – will stay with you for ever! Its that one proof when quality wins in the end. I know, I realize, its just a blanket!!! There are far more important things to care and long for in this world, but I am just saying I like this blanket ALOT ALOT and have for YEARS and YEARS!

The blanket of course comes in multiple colors, but these 3 have always been my favorites. If I had to pick, the gray is the most neutral (Sooo Swedish!) and one that goes with most mood & seasonal changes. However, I am thinking the black adds more contrast – creates a bigger statement – most likely the one for me & our home.  “Amazon Alexa” -: did you get that?…

I probably saw this blanket for the first time, some +15 years ago, and I realize I am ‘damaged’ but every time I see it – it catches my attention – still after ALL these years. I think its a sign, its time to finally open up the wallet, even though its gonna hurt like crazy 🙂

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Now, if the blankets weren’t enough, -blankets that can take over an entire room – there’s those classic unique orange boxes of theirs we all want to get our hands on – and use as decor. They’ve really turned in to collectives. Ultimately successful branding? I’m first to admit – I save my boxes as well!

What’s probably obvious by now, the color orange, a distinctive sign of Hermès. It’s a unique color, captivating and just so Hermès. It is a warm and joyful color – Love it.

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Hermes is also famous for their scarves, and most of them are just so beautiful. It is almost a shame crumbling them up around your neck. I’d rather expose them – as an art piece and either frame them or turn it into a pillow! Very unique and cool, if you ask me. My recommendation – go online and look for vintage Hermes scarves or really use any favorite scarf you have and frame it or make a pillow out of it!

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Before moving on, I wanted to point out that Hermes actually do have a furniture line as well – and above a few picks of their slim & sophisticated design.

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Ok, now from Furniture to this little detail – I love love the idea of just creating a cool twist & wrist kinda thing with the mini scarf. Simple but yet adds that extra little fun touch. Big crush and something you’ll see me wearing more of this spring/summer. You guys with me?


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Now – ‘Time’ to get serious… Besides that gorgeous blanket I crave for – right up there, is the Hermes iPhone Watch with the camel leather wristband. I saw a colleague of mine wear the watch last week and it got me all excited. I already have a nice watch, or two actually, -can one have too many? Mais non, mais non – What a silly thing to ask? Everyone who knows me, know I don’t use jewelry as much, also when I do, I tend to prefer the sophisticated ‘low key’, but high quality pieces – that only few recognize…. Anyways, I am telling you, this watch is actually growing on me, who would have thought?

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Ok my friends, I got to end it sometime – I could go on & on about Hermes and all their good yummie stuff. I have a ton more inspirational images and products to share from them but realize its time to log off & head to bed – work tomorrow.

Can’t believe I did not even get to all their fantastic bracelets. My dear hubby has been too kind over the years, -he knows I got a soft spot for Hermes. Visit their website for more, here.

Sweet Hermes dreams & thank you for checking in today.

Hugs P

 

Serenbe next?

We moved from Sweden all the way to Seattle in 2007, and what a great decision that turned out to be!

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Classic view of the Seattle skyline with the Space needle and Mount Rainier

Seattle is a unique place, in so many ways. It’s such a healthy beautiful outdoorsy’ place to be in and raise our 3 daughters in. The air is always crispy clean – fantastic scenery of magical mountains, forest, ocean as well as a beautiful archipelago!

This is the longest we have lived in one place actually – so naturally I am starting to get curious about new locations here in the US.  I would not mind a change of scenery, and given we both have flexible Jobs – that makes moving a little easier…(however, we still have a few kids at home – so nothing happening just yet..)

As a fun exercise, I wanted to explore, learn more about certain places- (obviously there is more to it than gorgeous homes … haha) but its just so much fun. Here is what I’m a little extra curious about;

  • Naples, Florida
  • Charleston, S.Carolina
  • Savannah, Georgia
  • New Orleans
  • Serenbe, Georgia -which I thought I would spend some time on today!

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Let me start by sharing some ‘street views’ to put you in the right mindset & mood… New York Times called this area: “Serenbe is a utopian experiment in New Urbanism being molded out of Georgia red clay.

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Serenbe was founded by a couple with a Swedish last name, “Nygren” – must be a sign, right?  The couple discovered the property now known as Serenbe on a weekend trip back in 1991. Three years later they sold their home and relocated full-time to Serenbe.

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The vision for the community was born in an effort to protect the beautiful land just outside of Atlanta, Chattahoochee Hill Country. The first house was built in 2004 and today the community has over +650 residents, similar size as our Swedish summer town of 700 residents…

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Serenbe values nature, creativity and community. A place where connections between people and nature are nourished. This image above reminds me soo much of Sweden…

Let me show you a couple of homes & give you an idea, a visual of this fab’ place…

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Not sure about you, but I just LOOVE ALL homes, many of them are being marketed as “Scandinavian” ..
– I recommend you visit their community website, Serenbe.
– Also, make sure to check out their video – it really captures Serenbe, link here.
– Plans on paying a visit, here is where you stay, Serenbe Inn

As I was looking for available homes, I came across this cool townhouse that I really like, – Take a look.kitchenkitchen 2alltallt2vrumsov2garderobsov1

I feel this townhouse has my name on it, what do you think?

Thanks for checking in my friends. I’ve said it before, but I’m honored that you keep coming back. I know I have not been checking in that often, but life/work has just been crazy. Hope to check in more often…

Have a fantastic rest of the week!

Hugs P

All pics ‘borrowed’ from their site – still have to go their myself and take my own pictures. Cannot wait!!!!

Let me take you on a walk outside

We bought our Swedish jungle, a little over a year & half  ago. At the time, it was impossible to imagine what was behind and under it all. In a way we could say we had no idea what we were buying…

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Luckily, it turned out to be a great call and today I thought I would show you the “transformation”.  Some landscape architects have helped us with a plan, a plan that will surely take us a few years to create but at least something to work from.  I promise to share the plans but today a first before & after pics!

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Here is what it looked like after the first big – take down’ – luckily all flat, no surprises.

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This year, we focused on getting the basics, a foundation in place. Rolling out a ton of grass just to keep the old jungle from growing back, a fence, hedge and then of course our gorgeous catwalk (as we call it…)

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Building a fence at the end felt like a priority –  make it feel more enclosed and adding privacy. One thing from the sketch/plan we decided to do, was to build our so called “catwalk” – it may look at bit odd – but trust me, its part of a bigger plan :)….

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The way to the beach…

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This so called catwalk of ours is all connected, it connects all the way to the front entrance on the other side. Turned out super cool! Don’t really have great pictures that captures it all…

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We planted 175 bushes – that eventually we hope will turn in to a very tight hedge..

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A view of our catwalk from one angle – love love it!

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Here is a view from the street. Our house is right on the path people take to walk down for a swim – in their bathrobes and traditional Swedish clogs.. We felt the need to add a hedge – again, for a bit more privacy….

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Not sure how much you know about the weather in Europe this summer, but its been the warmest summer ever – believe last time it was this hot in Sweden was 220 years ago. So, rolling out new grass, planting a hedge etc was not optimal, a challenge to say the least. It required a ton of watering but ooh, we did it! These are the latest pics my dear mom sent me – its looking super green and fabulous!

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Below a hint of what it looks like in front of the house. Again, a first important foundation this summer – a lot of gravel to avoid the jungle from trying to grow back. Hopefully by spring we can do a phase#2….

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Both images here, give a hint of how the catwalk is connected. Best part, its so nice and comfortable to walk on. Easy to move around all bare-footed… no problemas…

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That was all for today.  I hope you enjoyed a first peak on the outside. More to come…

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Thank you for checking in this weekend, appreciate all your emails and questions about our experience of building a house. Keep them coming, love to read, answer and share our experience.

Enjoy your Sunday! Take care.

Hugs P

Concrete floor – what a great call!

Just back from a fabulous summer in paradise Mölle -(for those wondering where that is, – well, -its a small little fishing village in the south of Sweden). No place like it. I promise. I do not know where to begin to describe how fantastic it has been to spend the summer in this new summer place of ours. Both my hubby and I are fortunate to have roles that allow us to sit and work from anywhere, (don’t think it would work otherwise).

Combining work and vacation in Mölle this summer has worked out just fine! Here a few pics of this little place before I get to today’s topic…

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I should probably do an entire blog post on all the good stuff and beautiful things this place has to offer. I have a ton of pics and “must see” places to share, -promise to devote an entire post on just Mölle.

ANYHOW, -we’ve had the keys to our summer place for only 8 months, and during this time I have only been there 3 times. Not enough (if you ask me) but with every time, I get to know it more and discover all the wonderful things & details. One thing I can say for sure, the moment I put the key in that door and walk in – it feels like home! Its that “pinch-me, love our summer place & I want to be here for ever kind of feel.

One of the many details I love in this house, is our choice to put in concrete floor downstairs. Heated concrete floors I should I add.  It turned out to be a great call and better than expected as well (even our builder said it was the best floor he has done so far ;)).

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I was really set on concrete floors from the beginning but did receive a bit of resistant from different vendors …. (and that due to it most often did not turn out as expected so owners where usually never happy with the final result). Its just not the same as going in to a store and picking/pointing to a specific floor you want- with concrete floor its not the same precision, and there is always a chance it will not turn out JUST as you imagined… so I will admit, I got a bit discouraged and started to look for wood floor.

A few weeks later, I had a conversation with our fantastic builder, Sätofta Gruppen and Lennart who runs it encouraged/convinced me that of course – lets do it! I did my homework, we talked through the process – and Voila, again what a great decision. It turned out better than expected. Its WOW, and everyone comments on it now…

A couple of key items; when we did the actual house concrete foundation, we used a different, slightly finer concrete and many more rebars (armeringsjärn). Once you poor the concrete foundation/floor, it is important that you make sure you push/work and walk on the concrete foundation/ add pressure to try to burst as many “bubbles as possible to avoid cracks. After just one day, we could spot/tell how great it was going to look! Cracks will appear within the first 24h already…

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The benefits are many, – lower cost, more practical and durable! I really don’t have to worry about the kids gang running in & out with shoes or dirty summer feet :). This floor can take it and best of all – the natural light gray color looks so darn beautiful. Love, love, love it!

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I wanted to share some close ups for you to be able to see the final product better. We did not add any color to it, its all “au naturelle”. We polished it 2-3 times and just added a coating that was neutral (no shine) but obviously there is options out there depending on your desired final product and look. One minor crack appeared, but given the large area thats totally fine by me- its expected and nothing no one even notices besides me… :).

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One minor concern I originally had, was that it would appear hard to walk on, stand on – but I have to say that has not even occurred to me. No problemas.

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Just another close up to try to show the details of the floor ….

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Its very durable, easy to maintain and clean. ..And this summer, we really tested it = had a huge welcome party with some 60 people running in & out, spilled a few wine glasses and some other goodies but no remaining stains.  No marks the next day.

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I am sure I have a ton more pictures of our concrete floor, but I hope this was a little inspiring,  motivating for those of you considering, thinking about adding a concrete floor. If you run into discouragement – I say, go for it – just make sure to go over it in details with your builder, explain what you want to achieve, go through pictures of what you like and don’t like. The more homework you do, the better of course…

I am not a concrete expert, but I have done quite a lot of homework around this so happy to answer any questions or concerns that you might have.

Thank you for checking in this fabulous weekend – so honored and happy for all my followers! Will check in with you soon again.

Hugs P

American Porch – 4th of July

We are here. We have unpacked and over the moon happy to be in our little fishing village, Mölle. Best part, Sweden is delivering fantastic weather (which is not always the case)- and looks like the warm weather is here to stay.

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First off, I have to share some pictures from our porch, a porch that we just looove and are happy we chose. We live out here. One concern I had initially was that the porch would make it dark on the inside main floor (but o-boy, I could not have been more wrong).

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We decided to make our American porch as wide and deep as we possibly could given the county restrictions (limited area to build). We have our eating space on one end, and the more lounge part on the other end. It fits both and still feels spacious.

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We had a ton of furniture from our old summer place, and luckily it fits here as well. In the back you spot the church bench along with a table that I just love and found some years back, (would have loved a little longer table – oh well, c’ est la vie). To that we got the classic rattan Ikea chairs that most Swedes’ have in their homes.. they look nicer with time as they turn silver gray.

I am so happy that we decided on the American black barn lights – best of all, super easy and fast process to order from Texas and have shipped to Mölle, Sweden.

Above a more close-up of the church bench, that easily sits 5-7 people…

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I just love how it all turned out on the porch. Our plants are liking their new spots. Glad to be out in the sun after months in my brothers garage a few streets down.

Over in our lounge area, I have my old rattan sets’ that I have “won” on auctions. For those of you that follow me, know I love rattan and in particular in summer homes. Its ain’t a summer place without it…in my world…

Of course today, 4th of July and all – our American flag comes up! Happy 4th everyone! Love having both countries in my life – feels a little like, best of both worlds.

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Enjoy the day a little extra today my friends, and thank you for checking in today. I now need to prep for our little 4th celebration but promise to check back in soon soon.

Hugs P