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Article: Relax at this Swedish home, renovated with love


Relax at this Swedish home, renovated with love

When it came to finding a ‘forever’ home, Cathrine and Björn had almost given up – until a charming 1930s house, near Skåne, Sweden, caught their eye… and what a lucky find it turned out to be!

Sometimes things don’t turn out the way you planned – they turn out even better. That’s certainly true for Cathrine and Björn Nordstedt. They thought they had struck gold when they fell in love with a 19th-century house with a rose garden. It wasn’t meant to be, though, as the couple found out that apart from the four exterior walls, everything else needed replacing. “We couldn’t bear to look for another house after such heartbreak,” says Cathrine, “and so we promised each other we wouldn’t even look for a while.”

However, that “while” lasted one day, as Cathrine told herself she’d just have one last look online. “When I saw the photographs of this house, I just knew it was meant for us,” she remembers. “Björn was stubborn at first, but I persuaded him to at least look at the place; he was sold on the spot.” The house had a pool in the garden and plenty of period charm.

Cathrine and Björn are only the third couple to own the house. It was built by the original owners in 1938, then renovated by family number two, who installed a new bathroom and kitchen, as well as an extension and a wooden deck with a pool.


Cathrine and Björn decided to live in the house for a while before making any major changes. “When we moved in six years ago, we gathered our friends and family and gave each a tin of paint and told them to paint the walls white,” says Cathrine. “We didn’t start experimenting with colour for several years.

The house is light and airy, something that struck Cathrine when she first viewed it. “I wanted to keep this feeling so when we did add colour, we kept things muted, with soft shades of blue, green and grey,” she explains. The kitchen, which was super modern in comparison to the feel of the house did jar, but the couple didn’t want to rip it out. “We didn’t want to add to this ‘throwaway culture’, so we removed some wall units, re-tiled the walls and had the existing doors resprayed and fitted new handles.”


The herringbone oak parquet, however, did have to go. Cathrine’s love of old wooden floors dates back to when she was a little girl. “I always wanted to live in a house with wooden boards that creaked and squeaked a lot,” she confesses. Under the parquet lay the original boards, but they were covered in layers of varnish, which took an entire Easter to remove. The couple then took out every single nail from the parquet, before it went to a new home in Stockholm. “It felt good to pass it on to someone who appreciated it,” says Cathrine.


Next to the kitchen is a second, smaller living room where you’ll find the couple’s favourite piece of furniture, the old sofa Björn had when he first left home. The table was bought at a flea market – Björn cut the legs down in size.


Cathrine has been working in the world of interiors for a few years and believes that good design is about much more than just creating something beautiful. “It’s about needs, not fancy cushions and the right furniture,” she explains. “Pieces can be mixed and homes shouldn’t be so formulaic. I like things to be a little quirky.”


This philosophy is evident in her own home. There are very few new items, apart from the living room sofa, which sits in the extension the couple added. “Mostly we shop at auctions, antiques shops and flea markets,” she shares, “and if I can’t find something, I draw it and Björn builds it – like our dining table, which is a wooden top on a steel base.”


Soft green walls and shades of blush decorate Cathrine and Björn’s bedroom, which was the only room with exposed floorboards when the couple bought the house. The wardrobe, chair and mirror are flea market finds.


In fact, the house has become such a world in itself that the family don’t feel the need to escape, even during the holidays. “It would feel strange to leave the house and garden in the summer, almost foolish,” says Cathrine. “Just living here makes me happy.”

Words: Pia Mattsson/House of Pictures. Photography: Helene Toresdotter/House of Pictures.