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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Eyes on concrete floor

I have always loved concrete floors, it looks cool, interesting and on top of that is practical. Heard that if you choose concrete, you need to be aware and ok that it could turn out a bit different than what you perhaps have expected once finished. Have also heard there are ways to come close to your expected finished product by doing the right prep work…

I have been debating and comparing wood, big ceramic tiles and plain concrete floor for the main level. Pretty sure all 3 would look amazing but after some encouragement from the guy building our house + a new Instagram friend, concrete is now on top of my list.

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Like all materials there are pros & cons. Lets start with the pros and why I love it:

  • super durable, eco-friendly and is easy to maintain, don´t have to worry
    about marks (from fancy high heels) or tear and wear from kids…
  • a nice industrial look, great mix and contrast to all the wood and white. Also perhaps a bit unexpected for a summer house…which I like.
  • if I ever wanted to change, I could easily just put a new floor on top of it.
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A few cons would be:

  • its a hard surface, if you drop anything a glas for ex it will most likely break.
    if you fall on it, it would hurt…so don´t fall and keep your glass in your hand!
  • always a chance you can get some cracks but there are ways of preventing that.
  • hard to walk on, obviously rugs help with that and I suppose you get used to it or we recommend crawling instead :)…

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You can get the floor in various colors and textures. I am leaning towards a matte light gray color (similar to light natural above) with a smooth polished texture where the `small stones´ show as little as possible. I was inspired by my Instagram friend who apparently did 4 layers of polish. In terms of maintenance, all you have to do is seal or wax it every 3-6 months to protect it and make sure it looks nice and lasts for ever. Below a picture from my Insta friends floor (@funkiset) which I think looks super nice!

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She also sent me these 4 images that show different looks from here floor. Its the same floor but some of it has to do with the lighting but in the 3rd pic from left, it shows a little area where they missed to get the stones down as much as in other areas. The pictures just confirm that it will vary a little but that is also what makes it so unique in my eyes.

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Also love this color and look above…

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We will have heated floors so hope it should help and make it feel warmer and cozy…

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A huge fan of how they continued and took the concrete floor outdoors as well. Big wow!

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The more I think about concrete floor and look at pictures, the more I am imagining it in our summer place. I am waiting for a quote from my builder but guessing it should be a cost save in comparison to a nice wood floor, at least thats what I have been told. Keeping my fingers crossed, cause sure know I need to save somewhere!!

So, tell me – do you like it as much as I do? If you have any tips or recommendations – always appreciate your input! Love reading your emails and comments.

Hugs P

Images from Pinterest, Skonahem. Special thanks to Instagram @funkiset for letting me use her pictures and sharing her experience with the concrete floor!

Out of the ordinary

I have been following an account/home on Instagram for some time. They show pics from their wonderful house (old stable) in the South of Sweden, not too far from where we are building our summer place. I love the home but extra impressed by their backyard or I should say court yard. I have gotten so many ideas from this place.

Yesterday I found out they are now selling their gorgeous house. Can´t believe you would want to leave a place like this. Need to show you. Take a look!

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I love how they incorporated round shapes, like here around the apple tree.

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Imagine having a SPA right in your own backyard. Could see myself hanging out here…

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On outdoor shower is not a bad idea….love this cool copper design.

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In love with the facade, windows and of course all the white!

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Serious olive tree! I probably have 5 trees but they dont look anything like this (yet!!).

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If you live or plan on moving to the south of Sweden & Landskrona. This house is certainly worth a visit. More pictures here & Insta: @robinberkhuizen.

Hugs P

 

Images borrowed from Fastighetsbyrån.

Summer villa heaven

Today I came across this out of this world villa in Sydney, Australia. I am blown away how beautiful this weekend retreat is. I Believe I have been starring at the images for a good hour now, just admiring every detail. I promised myself I would go out running this morning, but I got stuck here looking at this waterfront property!  Designed by Alexander & Co and found via Est Living.

I am sure this is one of those homes that will see pop up in all blogs, its that stunning! Extra fun coming across a home like this…on a regular Monday :). What a great way to start the week. I will let the pictures, taken by Felix Forest speak for themselves. If I were planning on building/renovating in the Sydney area – this is a company I would start with…for sure!

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This kitchen is stunning. Love how wonderful it connects with the outside. Wow!

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Just look at that floor and ceiling!!

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Nothing wrong with the location either!?! I am so glad I came across this home today. I just could not  – not share it, before my run!

Have a wonderful week.
Hugs P