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

South of Sweden anyone?

Obviously, my antennas are all set for summers in Sweden. The South of Sweden has a special place in my heart and its the place to be (at least for me –  hope I am not stepping on any toes…:)). Today I am showing you a home that could be yours. Its out for sale now and if I wasn’t building a summer house already – I would certainly think it be worth paying a visit to this magical place. Take a look.

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When I saw this seating area above – I realised the home has been in a magazine before because I already have this image/space saved on my computer from before. There was something very inviting with the sofa and chairs to that dining table. I will admit that many times I decorate with furniture that I like, looks nice, is practical but I forget how important it is to choose something that is really comfortable as well. After all, the idea is create a home I love and want to spend every minute in and that certainly goes for my dining spot given we have sit down dinners every night. Also, imagine your guests never wanting to leave either… I just think this space looks super comfortable and inviting.

I can sense all the wonderful dinners & interesting conversations this place has had. Wish I could have been a fly on the wall (so to speak..haha.).

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I mentioned my passion for sisal rugs a few days ago, so seeing how they used it for the upstairs as their carpet – well, let me just say, love it. Again, another detail that ads warmth to the house.

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This is also a gorgeous eating area, love the mix and styles but I dont think I would sit as long on these chairs as the other dining chairs by the kitchen but I will admit the room looks nice.

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The images come from the realtor; Mäklare Ekström & Co. For more pictures, info or perhaps placing an offer 🙂 –  just go over to the realtors site.

Hugs
P

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer rides

Yes, I realize it is totally crazy –  but besides planning for this dreamy summer house of ours I cant help but fantasize about our future summer car. Obviously my dear husband and I have different opinion and he feels since I decided on most stuff for the house – he gets to choose summer car. I hear him, but I still feel I have a saying (even it is a small one, right??).

Here is what I am thinking;  sure safety is important, it would be nice if it would fit us all (5) and great if we could drive it all year ( dark snowy cold Swedish winter)…bla bla bla… but what if we forget about all the practical stuff… just for today 🙂 ?

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Before I start, let me say, I dont know much about cars and am really not that interested but that doesnt mean I cant enjoy or have fun pretending like I do! One thing I do know, is that the Ford Bronco here has a special place in my heart. I just think they are the coolest coolest! I would love to bring one over from the US, slip it into a container with destination – Mölle! (Remember, I am looking for a fun unique summer car, different from the traditional one I drive every other regular Monday of the week in Seattle).

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Now, huge contrast from the big Americano…to a very different style I found online. A more feminine one for sure. With rattan seating, really??? This little cutie Italian (looks a lot like a golf car) is a Fiat 600 Jolly. So, here is Jolly Jolly.

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From Jolly, we are moving on to a similar size car but a way cooler one. A car you mostly see in the tropical spots of the world. A car that was built in the 50s after Brittish Army asked Brittish Motor Association to build a light parachute-droppable military car. Voilá, thats how MOKE came about!

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As you can see the MOKE comes in many fun colors. Think my favorite is yellow or light blue…. (what do you think, a good car for the winter….??` :))

Here is a car all of  you already know, the Volkswagen Beetle cab´. Perhaps the one I feel the least excited in comparison tho the rest today but it still made my list. After all, the cab is still a sweet little beachy classic for summer days.

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Only 2 more cars to look at… WHO would have thought I would be blogging about cars!!!

Another car that has a special place in my heart is the classic Porsche. Always has and will. A bit more pricey for sure but today I am pretending they are all free or I can pay with monopoly money. Love the old Porsche Speedster (prefer it in silver or this cream color). Not sure if it fits us all 5 …hmmm ;))

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Before I let you go, I want to show you a slightly bigger option. A car that would actually take all 5 of us. Not so sure about the safety part, offering seat belts and head rest..but again details, details… Before I met my Ford Bronco this Jeep Grand Voyager was a top pick of mine.

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This image above just gives me the best summer vibes, the dad reading a magazine while driving, kids and dog leaning out the window, no seat belts what so ever, the car overloaded with stuff & blown up beach balls! The kids actually look excited rather than just looking down on their phones …

That is it my friends (promise, no more cars). I will present my list to hubby!

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!
Hugs P

Summer rugs

I love decorating with rugs and always have. I am even a fan for placing rug on top of rug. Too bad most of the rugs I fall in love with cost too much ;). However for our summer place, I am not looking for anything fancy. Not at all, I try to go for the natural, affordable, practical but still good looking rugs. Since all our stuff is in storage, I cant show them but I can at least show the 2 styles I have and like more…

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Yes, one being the good old favorite sisal. A natural rug and style that fits well into our beachy summer home. I also think it will be a nice contrast to our raw concrete floor.

The Sisal rugs can take a lot of wear n tear and I actually prefer them more after a few years. As some might know, the custom in Sweden is to take your shoes of when entering a home (Here in the US I notice they want to keep them on more). However, during summer we tend to let our guard down a bit and the running in & out with shoes becomes a bad habit.

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Image of and by pellahedeby/stilinspiration

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Another rug I have tons of is the traditional Swedish rag rug, an old technique and really a part of Swedish cultural heritage. Woven from any material you had available in your house, which most often came from old clothes, bed sheets as well as old furniture fabric. I dare to say that every household has at least one. My best friend E and I had an obsession over them a while back. We went to all close-by summer flea markets. Now, I will admit I have way more than I need, in all kinds of tones. Believe together, we could probably start a shop ;)!

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Below an image from our old summer house, where you can spot 3 of mine.

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Last summer I also started to make pillow covers of some old rugs. Great way to reuse it all even one more time…

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While on the subject, I need to tell you about a couple of creative and talented Swedish girls that actually started to reproduce new rag rugs. I am totally in love with them,  especially the ones they have made in dove earthy and pastelle tones. Here are some images I found on their website. Of course they can customize for you according to your specific wishes! Check out their website, here

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Aren’t the Swedish rag ones just lovely. What if! What if I could trade in all my old flea markets rag rugs for just ONE like above 🙂 …Ha, I wish. Sticking with my oldies for the time being.

By the way, where did this week go? I really need to start packing for my trip!

Hugs P

Pics borrowed from Swedishrags, pinterest, elledecor, pellahedeby, stilinspiration, elleinterior.se, skonahem.se

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Before & After our Nordic makeover

A few of you have emailed about our house here in Seattle. Yesterday, I found old images from when we bought the house 2012. I thought it would be fun to show a couple of before & after pictures. The house type is common in the area, the builder is known. The style and floor plan felt already back then not very current or modern but we liked the location and thought it would be fun living in a more American style home (in comparison to more modern small houses in Sweden).  We decided to give the house a`light Nordic` touch up, as I call it. A lot of it is color (white!! ;)) and some of it is style and furniture of course but just fun to look back.

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The kitchen was in solid wood so we decided to keep and paint it in a light gray color. I try to save and re-use things as much as I can and there was no point in throwing out a good kitchen.  I changed the backslash to classic white subway tiles, change all the appliances, put it some pendants and replaced one cabinet with open shelves. Wanted a light and more fresh and modern look to it and I think we managed to get that without having to spend a ton of money.

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The counter tops were in black granite, not what I would pick but I also did not think it would be worth changing, unnecessary cost.

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Our kitchen is connected and open to our family/TV room. This is a space our family uses the most. I really like the flow and openness and all the windows in here.

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We painted the bookshelves in a slightly darker gray than the kitchen cabinets, and we also changed the carpets throughout the house from a white to light gray. I added white linen roman blinds to wrap it in more..

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I am in the look out for a coffee table and have been for quite some time. I have a few in mind, just haven’t gotten to it. I found this one on the street many years ago and I made it work by letting hubby fix the top and paint it black. Our summer house is taking all time and energy when it comes to interior design and furniture…

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When we moved in the walls were all in the new builders beige color. It probably took me 2 months to go through the entire house, walls & trims (trims were creamy) and I prefer crispy white so all trims, doors, windows etc had to be repainted. Those who know me – know I find painting therapeutic so a brush in my hand is common. I added a little drama with the black trims on the stairs.

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This is our other living room, the perhaps more formal one but still a room we try to use and hang in as much as possible. I do not like having rooms or furniture that are too formal or fancy. I really want to use and live in the house. We upgraded the fire place so during fall & winter we certainly enjoy our evenings here. I am not a big fan of the columns but I have learned to accept/ignore them and just appreciate our home. Strong believer in focusing on all the positives instead!

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Hope you enjoyed my Before & After pictures!

Have a wonderful week.
Hugs P