This old house


I think I’ve only shown you pictures of pretty parts of the house, but believe me, it’s an ongoing battle to make this dump habitable! 😀 That’s why I’m trying to document the process – to be able to look back at how horrendous things were before we did something about it. It’s so easy to forget what went before – you just put in hundreds of hours of hard work and as soon as a problem is fixed, you get amnesia and/or only focus on the next one.



One big project is the facade. Half of it is painted red – the only part you’ve seen, I think – and this summer we’re planning to paint the rest. It’s in pretty bad shape – and it’s the wrong colour. The cinema is called Röda Kvarn, after all (Red Mill/Moulin Rouge), so the house better be red, right?



Yesterday, though, it rained all day so we couldn’t work on that. Instead I started on a random basement room where we’ve just stored Stuff. It’s in horrible shape. I won’t bore you with the gory details, but you can see for yourself that it’s not exactly cozy.


That floor! *shudder*

Every time I’ve passed that room to get something in what used to be the shop part of the house (the previous owner’s father sold men’s clothing), I’ve sort of stopped in here and surveyed the space, wondering if there’s anything at all you can use it for. And yesterday it struck me how to combine function and form.



To be honest, I dithered a bit at first. Hubby suggested white for the walls, and I was on the verge of agreeing because it’s cheaper and reflects light. But the room didn’t really want to be white. We really love colour, and it felt like a waste to paint this room a dreary non-colour just for scrimping purposes.

So. I pored over our collection of random paint buckets that we’ve gathered over the years when they’ve been on sale, and there was this one tomato red that was sort of nagging me to “Pick me! Pick me!” So finally I did.


The inspiration for this colour scheme is the HBO series Rome, so I’m trying for a “marbled” effect (on my level of expertise, which is zero). Suffice to say I’m not trying to make the paint completely cover the stone everywhere. I want that rugged, withered look, so that when we eventually store wine in here, it’ll feel properly Roman and ancient.

Unfortunately the paint was really glossy, and I tend not to check that kind of thing beforehand because I’m soooo spontaneous, so the next step will probably be to a) sandpaper the surface a little, b) fill in the white spots with a rag dipped in diluted ochre yellow, and c) maybe incorporate an intermittent pattern of gold. We’ll see.


For the pathologically interested, here’s a short video. 🙂

Moving Pictures…


… and other stuff, but who can resist a Rush reference?

Anyway, there’s a small room with slanting ceiling on both sides that I’ve used as an office, but I’ve always felt that it was underused and difficult to organize. There are so many dead spaces and weird angles that if you put furniture in the corners, you either bang your head when you get up from sofas and whatnot, or it makes the room feel cramped.

It used to be ugly as well, but I fixed that the first year that we lived here. That wallpaper is some sort of speckled grey, and the floor used to be a yucky dull green. It’s painted a light grey now, but I’d like to put some laminate flooring in there sometime.


For the longest time, it was decorated with nostalgic stuff like my childhood cuddly toys and mementoes from my trips to England, and I wrote my novels at that desk.

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I tried to make it both an office and a sort of tiny living room, so you could both work and read for pleasure, but it never functioned like I’d envisaged it. Neither of us ever sat there just for fun, so the space used for sitting was wasted.

And the other week, I read a blog post from my favourite blogger who was redecorating her studio, and it struck me: I could make this room a kind of studio as well. It’s a small room, so it wouldn’t be a studio in the traditional sense, but the light is really nice, it’s high up and the window is to the north, so it could really work. The challenge is to use the space creatively and efficiently, and that’s what I’m trying to do at the moment.

Another problem with the house has been that we don’t really have any designated area for artistic stuff – pictures, photos, colours etc, but turning this room into a studio would solve that problem. While it does seem a bit wasteful to dedicate a whole room to pictures, paints and brushes, when I started organizing it all I realized that we actually do need that much space for them. We’ve had all our paintings and artist’s materials in the attic, and I’ve lived with constant lowkey worry that they would be ruined by damp or cold. And also we never used all the things we have because who can be bothered to go into the attic just to fetch a piece of paper?

So, a change was in order.


All that fine art paper that used to sit in boxes, unused, was ripe for sorting into piles according to colour, size and quality.


This worthless desk (horrible for sitting at but picturesque because it’s made out of old sugar boxes) now hosts paints, ink and crayons.



A shelf for the stuff that wouldn’t fit into the desk.



I threw out the sofa I never sat in and left a single chair.


All our pictures and paintings are now gathered in one place. Like these efforts from when I was ten, fifteen and eighteen.


There’s even an easel, which has been kind of difficult to find a place for but which is now allowed to take up quite a lot of space.



The standing desk doesn’t really fit in with the whole artistic vibe, so we’ll see how long it gets to stay. There’s not really any room for it anywhere else, and I still need a novel-writing nook. Pity not all work stuff is pretty. There’s only so much you can do with a computer screen…



Careful carpentry

I’ve mentioned that we’ve had a balcony built, and it’s on the attic floor, so there’s a need for some floor laying so we can actually reach the balcony. We’re also waiting for a door, but we’re hiring a carpenter for that job. The floor is doable enough for an amateur, though.

Today the work began.



Well, hubby worked, while I mostly took pictures… I did some work of my own, though, but that’s for another post.


Half of building something is thinking.




There was a lot of saw dust, but it looked really atmospheric in the warm light.




You find all sorts of things in an old attic. Money, toys, and ancient newspapers.


Seriously, the light up there… When everything is made of wood and the window faces south, it really makes for a warm glow.