1890 Swedish Schoolhouse Turned Home

June 21, 2013

I came across this Swedish home at Elle Interior Sweden and had to show and tell a little bit about it because if you’re not Swedish, you may have missed it. I happen to be one of those people who subscribe to all sorts of newsletters and magazines and blogs that are in another language unknown to me simply because style is style and language isn’t going to hold me back from seeing it! Are you the same? Plus with all of the “translate” buttons these days on browsers and websites, we don’t have to guess nearly as much as we once did. Oh, internet. I love you.

1890 Swedish Schoolhouse Turned Home

This home, a former schoolhouse from 1890, was renovated for living and now belongs to Swedish artist and glass designer Gunnel Sahlin who has designed for companies like IKEA and Kosta Boda. She lives in this home with her 13-year-old son, imagine all of this space for only two people? I love the spacious rooms and the general bones of this place – floors, windows, ceilings, walls… It’s all very lovely and grown up, isn’t it? For me, the appeal isn’t so much the decorating but the overall space and the history of it. I delight in learning the history of any home. The home I live in here in Germany was built by my landlord’s grandfather and finished in 1900. Before the war, a Jewish family lived here and immigrated to America since discrimination against Jews was huge across all of Europe (not just Germany) and they knew fleeing over the border wouldn’t necessary be any better so off to America they went. After the war, my apartment had a different family living in each room. My neighbor told me when she tore down her wallpaper she found turn-of- century newspapers. It’s all so amazing, right? And now I’m here – an American in Germany!

1890 Swedish Schoolhouse Turned Home

1890 Swedish Schoolhouse Turned Home

1890 Swedish Schoolhouse Turned Home

1890 Swedish Schoolhouse Turned Home

But back to this house – it’s interesting isn’t it? I like the shiny wooden floors in her living room – they were painted by Gunnel using enamel paint. Because the surface is so reflective, the home is always bright even when the weather outside is not cooperating. And don’t you LOVE the kitchen? I like the natural wooden floors in her eating nook and kitchen area. I notice that all of the floors in her home are different, in some rooms shown HERE there are even chevron wooden floors shown. What an eclectic mix of surfaces! And did you see the bathroom floor? It’s interesting to note that the bathroom was once the schoolhouse entry area. What an interesting place this is!

(Photos: Elle Interior/Martin Löf)


  • Reply Maggie June 21, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Such an inspiration!

  • Reply Lucia Albertine June 21, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Hi , it is very lovely house, I love it for the spacious rooms and floors . I like old buildings.

  • Reply mm June 21, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Lovely story. Also yours!
    I think that you can find out many thing by a kitchen, that has got lots of hints about the story of the house: the lights, the doors,..

    Btw, I love the scandinavian decoration

  • Reply Martina June 21, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    I really like the house too and find it very interesting. I like a lot of the decorating too, it’s an eclectic mix which is quite artistic and probably reflects the owners personality and interests. It seems that you only find such houses in other countries (Skandinavia, England and Holland for example) but not in Germany. I am German but live in Brussels at the moment (architechture is very interesting here too, lots of Art Deco). I have often read about former school houses being renovated – it’s so charming. In England they even renovate old churches to live in!

    And yes I also “read” interior magazines in other languages just enjoying the design (at the moment a lot of Dutch ones) – my husband thinks I am crazy…


  • Reply Clare June 21, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    How darling! I love the tile in the kitchen.

  • Reply Jennifer June 21, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Such a great space! Nobody does design like the Swedish. Clean, beautiful–love it!

  • Reply Anna June 21, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    This is Sweden for me, love it!

  • Reply Marjory (@sacredflow) June 21, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    Yes, the space itself is incredible, what a beautiful renovation!

  • Reply Eva June 22, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    The curved wooden lounge in the second photo is just so vintage and homely!
    I read Detail Magazine because I love the architectural designs and detailings they include! German ain’t gonna put me off!

  • Reply nicolette tabram June 22, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    I really want to live here!

  • Reply Sandra June 22, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    This home is amazing! I love the windows and the doors – and everything else. ;-)

  • Reply Suzan June 23, 2013 at 1:13 am

    Love the cow-rug print on the distressed wood floor. Looks absolutely inviting and I kinda want to walk all over it barefoot…. just to feel those textures. very nice.

  • Reply laura redburn // cardboardcities June 23, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    stunning! the little bits of colour really makes it extra special.

  • Reply Sabine von azurweiss June 24, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    It’s gorgeous – I’m in love with the color palettes. Especially the one in the first pic! Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply Jen June 25, 2013 at 9:24 am

    I love those rugs! And the space and light too. I wouldn’t want to live here as I like more ‘things’ around the place, but I can appreciate the style. Lovely.

  • Reply Pom Lively June 25, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    This looks so good in its own way. I like the patterns and the lovely humane designs everywhere.

  • Reply Sam June 26, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    I’m seeing a trend in wood floors where consumers are trying a few different patterns, textures and colors. Over the last few years the trend has been the same wood floors throughout the entire home but I think we’ll see more of this in the future. Those floors are made from larch and are fantastic.

  • Reply gebril June 27, 2013 at 1:02 am

    The floors look so cool. I don’t know about the carpet but that looks very well aged as well. You know what they say about carpet right? The more it ages, the better it looks. That’s persian carpet of course.

  • Reply Aasif Interior June 28, 2013 at 8:57 am

    Georges, Dashing and stylish design….great share …

    Aasif Interior
    Meerut India

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