The importance of good foundation

Good foundation goes for everything or at least most things in life but especially when you are building a new house. Getting it right from the start, from the ground creates less trouble along the way and as you go up!

Yesterday I got to watch our builder Sätoftagruppen prepare the foundation and this morning pore the fine concrete. I realise (again) it might not be the most exciting blogpost but it needs to happen before the fun really starts to happen. I am hoping you will follow our journey even days when it might not be tooo inspirational…. through thick n thin, right? Haha …

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One reflection, which I remember having made last time we built as well was that it looks very small. I had the same feeling yesterday when I saw the little rectangle “box” they made. I just cannot picture how the floor plan is going to fit. Will I really be able to fit a kitchen, eating and living room here…

We have made our house as big as we can and are allowed so bigger is not an option anyways. Also we needed to place the house within a certain area, which limited us a bit in choosing house model.

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Our builder told me they would start with the concrete around 7.30 a.m. and sure thing, when I finally was done with my beauty sleep and got there by 9 they had already come a long way. It was super windy, I am extra glad the concrete landed inside the rectangular box today ;).

Another reflection. Building a house obviously takes time. During that time, there are phases. A lot of activities in the beginning, then followed by a quiet period while waiting for building permit and before you really feel it starts, starts for real! At times its frustrating and you want to push things and time forward but then as you all know – life has a funny way of moving fast anyway ….and WHOOPS… now I am more thinking “will we finish in time”. I realize its all going to happen very fast from now and Christmas.

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Next step, we look forward to the big Fiskarhedenvillan truck to deliver all material to start building the frame and house. Can´t wait!

Enjoy your week my friends!
Hugs P

Big kick-off – prepping the grounds

I started this blog so others could follow as we are building our dream summer house in Mölle, Sweden and to hopefully get inspired. A lot of it is sharing my ideas, pictures and inspiration for the house but as you can imagine there are lot of stuff and decisions that are not sexy or inspiring blog material 😉 – but the actual preparation and construction process are important details so bare with me with blogposts like today…

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The protocol in Sweden is a meeting with the local City Council, in our case Höganäs county/building above, to go over the project one last time before getting that final OK & GO! I attended the meeting along with our builder Fiskarhedenvillan as well as the Quality/Control Mgr we hired to oversee the project during the entire building process. A good meeting that resulted in a YES – GO – Ok to start attacking that lot of ours for real!

A reminder what our lot looked like before the excavator marched in!

Later that afternoon the county came and put out the yellow poles showing were we can place the houses and at what height/level. The yellow top marks the actual level of our house, as you can see our lot is below street level and we need to fill it up, make it higher.

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A few words on lot preparation.  Our lot has been growing wildly for over 50 years so unfortunately a nasty nightmare weed (not sure what its called in English but Kirskål in Swedish ;)) has taken over. We thought it would best to turn the entire lot upside down since they were coming in with their heavy machinery and excavators anyways – and try to get rid of that once and for all.

Preparing the lot usually ends up with additional costs (at least our experience), so for those in the process make sure you ad that to your budget just in case.  This time we were lucky,  our lot turned out to be flat with no surprises (wonderful!). Last time we built in Stockholm (some 10+ years ago) we ended up having to blast/blow a small “mountain” that resulted in 80 trucks driving off with rocks and some (60.000$ // 500.000SEK later – which you can imagine I would have preferred to have spent on interior details and upgrades instead  of “awful/high costs you dont see”… So EXTRA happy this lot turned out flat and with no surprises!

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As most of you know we are building a house from Fiskarhedenvillan (you can read earlier post in December why I chose them), they have then allocated Sätoftagruppen to be the ones actually building the house for us. So during my visit to Sweden I wanted to meet them since our house is really in their hands and we are building from a distance. Trust and communication will be key for success (and of course the fact they have long experience of building Fiskarhedenvillan houses and are a stable company) are other key factors. Said & done – we met and we are off to a great start.

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Last week I also met with some great landscape architects to get help and ideas with this corner lot of ours.  Obviously, we wont be able to do the entire landscaping at once but I at least wanted to share the “big overall” ideas with the builder so they can help prepare and we can avoid having to bring in heavy machinery back later…

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The grey gravel part in the middle of the picture above shows where they are preparing for house and garage to be.  Below you see a big brown pile (which I gather is all the evil nightmare weed he dug up from the front and now working his way to the end of the lot – to then transport that as far far away from our lot as possible! Bye Bye Kirskål!

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Despite being a flat lot, we still have additional lot prep costs – for things like; taking down and driving away all the trees, turning the entire lot upside down and drive away with all the “Kirskål weed”, apply gravel on certain areas to avoid having a big lot of just brown soil. Also but not least asked them to dig and plan pipes for outdoor water and electrical throughout the lot… So, even “just” these small things ad up as well..but rest for sure, it could have been a lot worse :).

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To the more FUN part, here is our first landscape sketch. Given we are building a summer house in a fishing village and we are located close to the ocean – we want to create a beach feel around the house. Our goal is to have different “rooms” to create interesting spaces and not just an open lot. Play with grass, high grass, sand, wood deck/pathways in different levels. Include outdoor kitchen, area for growing veggies and herbs, petanque/boule court, a greenhouse/extra house etc etc.. I am super excited about this plan. Its still in working progress and we hope to get into more details these coming weeks. Stay tuned for more landscaping, promise!

Hope you are enjoying your week! Will check back in with you shortly, have some other ideas I need to share with you..

Hugs P

….Pics taken by my dear mother who was just too curious to see how everything was coming along….

 

Deciding on countertop

We are in the midst of finalizing our plans for our kitchen and I will admit it is super exciting but challenging at the same time.  After all, the kitchen is the center piece so I really want to get it right! One of my (many ;)) problems, is that I like a number of different kitchens and styles…

Promise to tell you all about my kitchen ideas but today I wanted to share thoughts on counter tops.  At the moment Silestone is my favorite but its pricey so I might need to mix it with another material. Here is what I have found,

  1. LAMINATE is probably the most affordable material. You can get it in all kinds of colors as well as marble look-alike for ex’ . Resistant against stains and super easy to maintain & clean. The one downside, it doesn’t feel like the real thing…but then again easy to upgrade one day.

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2. WOOD – a nice option that helps ad warmth to the kitchen. Its affordable but needs maintenance after some time, especially around the sink/water, where you will quickly notice stains. Being Scandinavian´n all – I prefer the lighter white-washed wood if I where to pick wood.

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3. STAINLESS has been around for ever and never really goes out of style (its usually colors and wood that do…). Its durable, easy to maintain and well priced. I would perhaps mix the stainless top with another material to avoid it feel to sterile.

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Below a kitchen where they have mixed it …
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Pic Vardagsglädje – above a close up where they mixed silestone + stainless.

4. CONCRETE – a material I really like and am convinced would ad a cool look and contrast to our other wise traditional summer house and style. I love the grey concrete color and since I am debating having it on the main floor I am not sure if its too much adding it as counter tops as well. Regardless, a strong candidate.

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5. NATURAL STONES

MARBLE CARRARA – a classic and popular counter top. High quality, a little more expensive but still better priced than the quartz. However it cannot withstand stains as well and this time around I prefer a counter top where I dont need to worry as much. I know there are ways to treat it to make it more resistant, so its still on the list ;). I would then prefer a thin top to give it a more modern touch …

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NATURAL STONE – limestone, a beautiful material that I have had in the past and just love love but it does require work given its sensitive towards stains from wine and all kinds of citrus fruits. I remember being on my toes every day, worried as someone was preparing fresh orange juice, making the salads with all kinds of citrus fruits or as hubby was making the afternoon gin tonic. Conclusion, its over the top beautiful but probably just not the pick for our family right now… OR?

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SILESTONE/QUARTZ – a strong contender but for sure very expensive. You can choose to make the top as thin as you like ( with concrete it’s harder, easier to break). It comes in various colors and styles. This is my top pick – but will there be money left for that :))

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CORIAN/DEKTON – amazing products that can resist almost anything. They are both in the very very high price range, where DEKTON is the latest and even more expensive but with improved durance. Its not an option for us in this summer house but wanted to mention it to you … in case someone else is thinking about it.

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So, to summarize – my first pick is Silestone  (in a very light color) and if it gets to pricey I might try to mix it with concrete, perhaps have concrete on the island ….but I promise to show you all/more details soon soon.

A side from that, if you are in the stage of building and deciding what counter top to choose – make sure you check prices with someone other than your assigned kitchen supplier. The kitchen stores need their little profit share so it makes sense checking somewhere else as well. “Shop around” before deciding.

Hope you are enjoying your weekend!
Hugs P

Pics borrowed fr; Ballingslöv.se, Vardagsglädje.se, Pinterest.com, Insta;Whitelivingetc, Åraslövkök, Skönahem.se, Husligheter.se, Elle.dk

 

 

 

 

Breaking ground..

Realize this will not be the most exciting post (for y´all), but a big step for us as we are building our summer house. Finally breaking ground. We bought the lot/jungle in December and this week they took it all down. We have not been able to comprehend and appreciate it before since it was impossible to walk in or around on the lot. Our jungle turned out to be a very nice jungle 🙂 and spot. I had to fly over the mountains and Atlantic ocean to reach Sweden and see it for myself!

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On my way from Copenhagen Airport. The yellow canola fields along the way are just breathtaking! After an hours drive from the airport, I finally arrive in MÖLLE.

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Our little harbor, and not far from there is our little corner lot. Below a sneak peak of what our lot used to look like…

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Now this is what it looks like TODAY, taa daaa!

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Wow, it turned out better than expected. It feels and looks bigger. I even climbed up the containers to peak at the view. Of course a completely gorgeous sunny day made the experience better!

There was not much to save unfortunately. Former owners had it for 50 years so it was just too wild and overgrown. We only kept a few trees in one corner. Time to start over.

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We feel happy and lucky to not have any houses behind us. On the other side of the hedge is a soccer field and a new outdoor gym (how did they know I needed that ….)))

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So this is our corner lot. Here you can see the placement for our house and garage. Now time to plan the rest, the area marked in yellow. We contacted some super talented landscape architects to help us with this. I promise to share and show the plans and sketches later this week. Its looking very promising!

Now, I have to turn off my laptop and enjoy a sunny Seattle!

Hugs P

American Porch

My husband and I decided to ad an American porch to our Swedish summer house. After 10 years here in the US and becoming American citizens we figured we have to bring in something American to the new house? I was kinda hoping for that nice southern wrap around porch but since this lot limits us a bit as to how much we can build, we compromised to get a nice size house along with our porch. I really picture us using this porch a ton, ton tons! Just look at the porch below, its got my name ALL over it!

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We are going for a wood deck and a white porch in general. We plan to extend the deck further passed the poles and where the roof ends – to make it more spacious and make sure the guests sitting on the further end don´t fall backwards… )). Our goal is to make the deck as leveled to the inside floor (want to avoid that step).

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I am totally in love with the vibe on this porch above. This long plank table along with those industrial chairs is such a cool mix.  We love having dinners and friends over so the chairs will probably not be my pick from a comfy point but I admit, they look good ;). I prefer investing in more comfortable chairs so my guests stay longer and come back!

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We will have our porch double doors in the middle/centered (similar to image below but our porch will be bigger and deeper). I am dividing the porch into 2 spaces. 1, eating area on the right side as you step out and 2, a more lounge sofa area on the corner left side.

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The lighting is important and I have been leaning on having spotlights in the ceiling but after looking at hundred of pics on Pinterest, I like the idea of having lamps on the house facade and maybe even a centered lamp hanging over the dining table. So not sure about the spotlight anymore…

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I am bringing along some furniture from our old summer place. This is not a great picture but the one I could find today. In the back you can spot part of my old long church bench in light green and an old farmers table that I think will look perfect on the porch. I also have 6 of those Ikea rattan chairs, which I will most likely use to start with…(am thinking there won´t be that much money left once we´ve built this house ;)).

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I came across this image and remembered I have one of those lamps in storage. Maybe it would look good hanging over our table as well.

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On the so called, lounge side of the porch I will have my rattan sofas and chairs that I usually fill with tons of cushions. To that I got our cool concrete table that my hubby and friend made. For some reason I could not find a picture of it, so you will just have to wait to see it until we´ve moved everything in..

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On a different note or I should say in connection with the porch – I need to design what comes after the porch…. So, we contacted a landscape architect to help us with the overall plans and design for our lot. I have no problem listing things that I would love to include but as I was making an attempt to do the sketch myself  – I realized I need help. In this early stage we first just need a rough plan so we can prepare the lot and ground best way possible. Then closer to summer we can then focus more on the details and final layout and design. Promise to share that once we get it.

Before I go, one dream would be to ad a pool. Now I realize, it doesn´t make sense (crazy!!”#) since we wont be there as much and we live close to the water but it would just be so nice. I dont need a big one…but hey even so, its not something we would build this year anyways but I would not mind making a plan B sketch with a small pool in it (just in case)! Just look at the images I found on Pinterest….and tell me I am (not) crazy….

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Wouldn´t that be nice…oh boy, think I need to end this blogpost before I get too carried away and want a pool right away! Lets just start with a nice big porch for now! Easy to get carried away …

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Hope you are enjoying your week!

I am planning on a trip to Sweden. Going over to make all the final house and detail decisions. We are finally getting started. Our builder and sales representative has been super nice to coordinate and set up all the necessary meetings for me.  It will be a busy week, will tell you more about my coming trip next time.

Hugs P

Images borrowed from: Pinterest, Atlanta homes, World Market, Elle Decor, Traditional Home, Southern Hospitality, Fiskarhedenvillan, Trivselhus,

Time to open windows.

Finally May. Glad April is over. Let me just say, the weather here in Seattle has really lived up to its reputation of rain, rain & more rain.  Now looking forward to all the wonderful things May will bring! Usually it means sunshine and being able to open the windows, to catch the sunlight, the fresh air and warmer temperature.  In my house, May is also a yearly wake up call that I need to clean my windows. Having cleaned windows make all the difference!

Which brings me to today’s topic, Windows! I always pay attention to windows, they just play such an important part of any home or building regardless of style. They not only bring the light in and warmth but a window can really be a piece of art just by itself. I usually prefer to keep the windows clean from blinds and curtains as much as possible.

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Let me start off with this awesome kitchen window. Love how it opens all the way and connects the indoor with the outdoor. I can picture myself sitting on a bar stool, keeping an eye on the chef (hubby) while sipping on my Sauvignon Blanc.

Below some favorite picks showing amazing windows – amazing views. Windows and views that in my mind look like a postcard, a photograph or an art piece that you can sit and admire for hours, hours and hours (…you get it…).

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I can´t wait to see what we will be able to see from our windows. Our lot or jungle as we call it, will be taken down shortly and finally we will get a better view of it all.  Hoping to fly there to witness the take down…

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I have shown you this amazing summer hide-away in Denmark before, but the view from their windows is breathtaking. Just blends in with mother nature perfectly.

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Love this narrow window, so interesting and a cool way of letting light in. This would be the first thing I would walk up to – super curious to look out.

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Cool patio window/door. Not sure how practical, I would imagine having to clean the window from fingerprints all day long, or!?

I am extra exciting to see how the black windows that we have chosen will look like. I am really hoping it will be that cool detail to an otherwise pretty classic summer house look & feel. Can´t wait until they are up this summer. Here are some pics that got me inspired.

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A dear “insta” friend was so kind to forward this picture to me. Totally in love with this kitchen and space. Love all of it (I would probably just change the rug). The dining table & chairs, cabinet colors and THOSE windows/door – oh my! For a second I am wishing I could change our house model and ad a ton of similar windows….

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I am not a huge fan of the gold details here but seriously, WHO CARES when you have a window and a view like this?!!!?? No need for books or magazine. I would be a rude guest and spend a lot of time in here ..

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Ok friends, time to book that window cleaning service now. Gotta go. Thanks for checking in and coming back to my blog. I´m honored and happy! It keeps me going.

See you soon!
Hugs/P

 

Images, Pinterest, Hemnet, Architectural Digest, Esny, Bobedre.

Bathroom ideas

I am moving on to the more difficult room, the bathroom. There are so many different styles, details and decisions to make so I feel it is time to wrap my head around it all.

We will have one smaller bathroom downstairs, and a bigger bathroom upstairs. I imagine both bathrooms to harmonize but with a few different touches. I think I can ad more “twist” to the downstairs/guest bath. Today I am sharing my ideas for the upstairs one. I still haven´t finalized it but here are some thoughts.

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This is the image that I want to start with, and use as my foundation and build our bathroom from. I love the calm color tones, the stone ads a sophisticated and luxury feel.

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Regardless of some trends going towards darker bathrooms, I am looking for a light and neutral colored bathroom. We are building a summer house so I prefer to keep things light n fresh. I imagine it to be classic with some modern touches. I dont want to go too summer cottage like, nor too modern, I want to find the middle ground (very typical Swedes :)).

I have had my fair share of white subway tile bathrooms over the years. I still love the style but am also loving the idea of bigger tiles and not having tiles on all walls. Let me share what I have in mind so far.

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I like the feel of this bathroom. The big carrara marble tiles, the shower placement, the big window and the furniture details that ad warmth to the room – it makes it a room. Bathrooms can easily feel a bit “cold”, so I love the idea of decorating them as rooms, adding personal touches, art and warm details such as textile, wood and baskets. Its a balance because I still like bathrooms to be cluttered-free and practical. Given we are 4 girls in this house hold and a lot of “fancy products” – smart storage is a must.

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Below is the layout of the bathroom, as you can see we have added a Bastu/a sauna. The space is not super big but I believe it will just be enough and good for us and our needs.

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Besides the basic details such as shower, sink and toilet I need a big cabinet to store everyone’s toilet products and towels. I like the idea of all my family members getting a basket each to put their stuff in and take in & out of cabinet when needed. I know how easy it is to get the bathroom to look “messy”. I prefer to hide most things and keep it as clean as possible. I intend to put the cabinet in-front of the shower, and have storage under the zink. We will have a clear glass corner shower but I am still trying to find space to hang and dry towels. One solution could be a wall out from the sauna, closing the shower a bit and placing hooks on that wall, another idea is just having hooks inside the sauna and letting the towels dry in there.

For the bathroom flooring, I am leaning towards bigger limestone tiles in a light gray or gray/beige color. I am thinking of adding/placing it on the front wall as you walk in and around the shower as well. The other sides will just be painted/special paint approved for bathrooms. Our windows throughout the house will be black, so that will hopefully be a nice detail. I am trying to find a separate/unique bigger cabinet and I cant seem to find it among the bathroom furniture stores/suppliers (yet). At the moment I have 2 in mind, this black/metal and glass (not necessarily meant for bathroom) but I think it could be cool or a more closed white “standard” bathroom cabinet (below).

I would normally suggest black lamps to ad contrast but for some reason I really want to create a neutral, calm and light bathroom. I recently “won” these old wood benches, that might be nice to ad in the bathroom.

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Choosing the right lighting is important in the bathroom. We will probably need a few spots in the ceiling but I would love to ad nice wall lamps on each side of the mirror. Also the mirror is one of those things that can really make an impact to the room. I am contemplating having a big one flushed to the wall over the zink or order a big round one. Luckily nothing I need to decide today, but I imagine soon…

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I just wanted to finish of with this beautiful image that I found from an apartment project being sold in Stockholm. Perhaps not what I will have in our summer place but I just loved the image and since we were on the bathroom topic, I wanted to share it with you. It looks super glamours!

That is all from me today, have to run out and do some errands but promise to check in with you soon again.

Hugs/P

Image source:
HansVerstuyft Architect, Badrumsdrömmar, Pinterest, SkonaHem, AlexanderWhite, Ballingslöv, Artilleriet, Östersjösten.