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!!!!

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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

 

 

Dining inside in Mölle

I know I am way behind when it comes to blogging – a ton of new things I want to share with you and of course most of it taking place in our summer house. I promise to do my best to bring you up to speed.

Checking in today quickly – to share pictures and plans to our dining space in Mölle, Sweden. Its placed in the center of the house –  its the first thing you see as you walk in through the main door or back porch doors. Ideally I want to seat 10 people here and currently we can squeeze in 8, so we need to make space for 2 more…

As we were building, one important piece, was getting up our old General Electric industry lamps from Texas – which have been sitting in our old basement for some +7 years. It was time for them to shine and what better place than here! They are an eye-catcher for sure, glad we took the decision to put them up!

We bought them at KirkAlbert in Seattle and shipped them to Sweden many years ago.

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These lamps are heavy, and required extra ceiling support, but the beauty of building a new house – well, then that is an easy fix. I really love how they turned out,  -they add an American touch as well as that unique and “wow’ contrast to it all. As you can see below, I purposely have not cleaned them…

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To the lamps, I’m using an old table from our previous summar place. Its not perfect in size and format but hey, its a summer house and I believe in trying to use and make the best of what you have. However, want to make minor updates to the table + chairs…

For example the table is obviously super old, +100 years for sure and has started to crack a lot. But the biggest concern, the table top is not big/wide enough and ‘ people keep hitting their poor knees in to the bottom ALL the time – super annoying – so we need to fix more leg and chair space.

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First step, I repainted the bottom to a green/gray color. I felt the white made it feel too much of a farmers table for some reason.

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Here is a good pictures that really show how there is not enough space for your legs… The table top needs to come out further…

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Above you see the big crack that has started to show more and more. Again, I dont think the bottom is that great but I will most likely keep it for now and just change the top? Luckily, I found a wood-saw works business very close to our summer place who offers a ton of different wood to pick & chose from.

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I only needed a few minutes in there to find my new table top! Believe its called Poplar…and voila, I now have 4 big Poplar planks in our garage – waiting to be taken care of. More to come on that in a few weeks when I am there again…but believe we will be able to solve the space issue now!

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While I am at it, I decided to do a little make over on the chairs as well. The very light gray color (they almost look white) is not working for me in this space so painting them in a slightly darker gray than the kitchen,  -but still keeping them within the same color-code family (which includes some tiny drops of yellow).

When I was there a few weeks back, I got started on the chairs, but they still need another final coat of paint. Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures last time of how its progressing, but promise to show you next time.

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Let this be our “before” picture for now – and remind me later to show the “after’ pic as well -once I am done with my updates!

That is all for me this morning, will check in later today with some additional updates but now time to enjoy the day and day off with my darling kiddos.

Hugs P

 

William Rankin McLure IV

I will be the first to admit that I am not in any shape and form an ART expert or connoisseur – but I do enjoy Art. I have learned to appreciate it more.

Now, my love and appreciation for art is sort of the same as with music genre – I am all over the place, I love so much – different styles, high and low, modern as well as classic.

With that said, thanks to that thing called – Instagram, I came across one artist that I truly enjoy following – so I thought I’d share it with you today. You might already be familiar with his work but in case not – let me introduce you to William.

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William, his full name is actually, William Rankin McLure IV. Sounds almost a little royal, right? He is a young guy, that apparently started showing signs of talent already in kindergarden – when the rest of us where messing around and painting princesses, I am sure he was already on to the more advanced stuff and his talent has just grown from there. He is based out of Alabama, and a part from his art, he also works with interior design.

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I would NOT mind getting my hands on one of his larger pieces, like this one above. Absolutely love this one! Obviously – so many right things about this pic’, the concrete floor, the cool modern black lamp and the color tones are just my kinda thing! William has a few different collections and styles, some with more color -but I am showing my picks and they tend to be the larger pieces and the one’s that go in the more neutral tones. The more calmer one’s are my favorite, since I am not that bold – I often chicken out when it comes to color or patterns.

Here is another series, if I may call it that – it includes more black accents and they have more drama in them, but with the right interior – cool pieces to add.

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And the fact that we share the same love for Weimaraner dogs – well, that just makes me like William more. Best of all, his beautiful dog goes perfectly with the paintings – the colors and tones he uses. I can just see how well a Weimaraner would fit in to my interior as well.

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LOVE everything about the image below – so right up my alley’.

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Here he is in person. To find out more and see more of his work, check out his Instagram – @William_mclure or  website 

All images – are from his website.

Sorry for EXTREME long blog pause, but I am drowning in that thing called work. Hope to have more time from now on – so I can show you all the new stuff happening with our darling summer place. Stay tuned for that.

Enjoy your weekend my friends & thank you for checking in to read my blog. Love it.

Hugs P

 

 

 

 

McQueen moved in…

I am quickly checking in this morning to share my new Steve McQueen photo I hung up in our dining room. I have been wanting to move some pictures and art around, switch things up a bit in the house…easy fix to make rooms look new and updated.

I thought one of my latest S. McQueen additions would look good in here – all on its own (well, along with the million elephants around him of course…)

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My dear Elephants, I put up some +6 years ago – and even though the wallpaper steals a lot of attention – I still like it + its not something you see every day here in Seattle either. The fact that its elephants makes it a bit childish- it adds a sense of humor, and takes away the very formal’ dining room feel. You can find it here.

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Only a few minutes from our house, there used to be a Bambu farm garden place – and yesterday someone had trimmed down the trees along the street, as always I was quick to grab a couple of left over branches and place in vases around the house.  Adding greens’ is a must for me, it not only adds color but really makes any room come alive.

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In here, we also have my husbands home-made dining table he built some 8-9 years ago. He specifically made it to fit 4 of our wishbone chairs in a row. The table recently got painted in gray, so looking new again. Underneath is the good old’ Ikea rug.

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I will admit, we have been bad at using this room lately. Most of the times, we end up eating by our table in the kitchen. Its closer, more convenient and practical. I really do not like when a room is not being used properly. I want to get away from the formal dining thingy’, so I need to be better at setting the table in here.

A ton of nice natural light comes through the big window. We have an identical window on the opposite side (in our living room) as well which feels extra nice during the darker months of the year and when you are really craving for light! However, I feel in order to make the room more cozy and wanting to spend time in here, it needs something, it needs warmth in some way which could be fabric or for ex adding a warmer material in here somewhere…. I have thought about adding long thin curtains in here to soften it up more. However, I forget to remind myself to look in to that, -does that make sense?

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I believe I have already revealed my love for our Carl Hansen’s “Wishbone chairs” – as they are called. We’ve had them for years and they are still in great shape. The kind of classic chairs that age beautifully.  The cool, slim ceiling lighting I found in Canada as I was reading an interior magazine – Lambert et Fils.

I will show you the other McQueen photo I bought next time.

Have a great rest of the week.
Hugs P