A Swedish country house, dating from 1929, has been given a bright new look
Arun-down four-storey country house that dates from the Twenties might not have been the obvious property to grab the attention of interior designer Susanne Nyléns when she began searching for her family’s next home. But consider that it is surrounded by apple orchards and is located on the shores of Stockholm’s Lake Mälaren and the decision to buy makes more sense.
‘This area is known as Höglandet, which means “high land”,’ explains Susanne, ‘so the views of the surrounding landscape are quite spectacular. From the start, I loved the huge garden and the serenity of the setting, and I could see that the inside would be a great opportunity to put some of my interior design ideas into practice.’
With its basement, attic and two floors of living accommodation, as well as a tired panelled exterior façade that is typical of the Ornäsvilla style of Swedish rustic architecture, the house was a substantial renovation project.
Susanne firstly focused her attention on getting the interior ready for her business consultant husband Fredrik, as well as daughter Ebba, 14, son Filip, 10, and Vera the family dog, to move in.
She lost no time in ripping out the old carpet, which covered every floor, and setting to work with a sander. ‘When we uncovered it, the ground floor was a mixture of different types of wooden flooring,’ she says, ‘so we created a new herringbone parquet throughout the hallway and into the kitchen to match the beautiful original in the living and dining areas.
‘ We also stripped all the staircases and painted every wall in cool, neutral tones. Doing this instantly brought the house
together, giving it a style of its own and making it feel even bigger.’
Susanne cleared out the basement to make it workable as a laundry room, store and garage and, on the ground floor, knocked through into the former maid’s parlour to extend the kitchen and dining area to create a real family hub. ‘ We spend most of our time there,’ she says, ‘so that was really a good idea. It’s a lovely and bright space with beautiful windows and doors that lead to the garden terrace.’
As well as the four bedrooms on the first floor, Susanne managed to carve out a TV room for the children. She also transformed the attic into a fifth bedroom with its own sitting area, making it ideal for guests. ‘I’m very pleased that we’ve retained the character of the interior of the house and simply refined it,’ says Susanne. ‘It still feels substantial, solid and spacious.’
The house happily consumed furniture and furnishings from the family’s previous home, and Susanne enjoyed picking up new items as they caught her eye in stores and antique shops. ‘ When we travel, I’m always on the lookout for vases, ceramics, cushions and all kinds of lovely curiosities, whether new, heritage or vintage,’ she says. ‘The monochrome colour scheme I’ve chosen meant I could add a lot of detail this way, without overwhelming the house.’
Some of her favourite items are those she and her husband have inherited. ‘The gold-framed paintings in the dining area were my grandmother’s and Fredrik’s grandfather bequeathed us several classic Swedish antiques, including the chair in the sitting room, which we re-covered in velvet, and lots of ornaments and vases. They look at home next to new items that I’ve bought, and I love the way they add a bit of family heritage to our home.’
The exterior of the house, however, became Susanne’s next challenge. ‘ We could not have imagined how much work it would be to replace the façade and put on a new roof,’ she admits. ‘The whole process took almost six months and the place was such a mess. All we could do while it was going on was think about how lovely it would be when it was finally completed!’
SITTING ROOMThe original fireplace (opposite) makes this a wonderfully relaxing spot in winter. Armchair inherited from Fredrik’s grandfather and re-covered in Opera sapin, £96m, Pierre Frey. coffee table, £723, Oscar & clothilde. bespoke rug, Ntk europe
DINING AREAWhite cupboards and a display of vintage bird prints create appealing symmetry. Per söderberg Neb table, £1,780, länna möbler. Hans J Wegner ch 24 chairs, £589 each; Jonas bohlin kvist light, £1,088, all skandium. Vintage bird prints, Home market
MAIN BEDROOMRestful rich green accents add vibrancy to this stylish sleeping space. headboard, £585, Mille Notti. Domo bedside table, £385, royal Design. Konsthantverk uno lamp, £123, Stockholms Ljusbutik. Deva green cushion cover, £ 45, Chhatwal & Jonsson
EBBA’S BEDROOMThe neutral palette in this room is lifted with a little bit of sparkle. headboard, from £59.50, Made by Märtha. grey cashmere throw, £320, Stackelbergs. try Fifth Avenue Sparkle gold cushion, £15, Dunelm. Jieldé Signal table lamp, £215, Made in Design