On a cloudy and rather chilly autumn day, we drove out to visit the Villa Strömsfors. This is a really wonderful turn-of-the-century villa, which has undergone a careful and sympathetic restoration. The Villa was completed in 1908, on a small rise in Strömsfors, just outside Svenljunga. On the day of our visit, the house was beautifully silhouetted against a high fog.
Entering the large hall, it seems as though time has stood still. There we were greeted by the Manager of the Villa Strömsfors, Carin. This bubbly young woman made us immediately welcome, as she came in carrying sprays and leaves newly picked from the garden. We were invited out into the conservatory where she served us coffee and home-baked cakes.
Carin serves afternoon coffee on the Rosenholm tray from Sandberg Wallpaper
She explained that she had worked in the Villa for around 18 months, and looked after it with the help of three other girls and the caretaker, Joakim. Carin’s background is in the hotel industry, and her previous jobs included a spell at the Hotell Avalon in Gothenburg. She has a lot of drive, and is happy when new things keep happening. She loves to find new projects, so she never gets bored. She told us that the Villa Strömsfors is her dream project.
”I have no idea what I’ll do next, as I don’t think there is anything that can top this project. I love the Villa!”
In the dining room, the ceiling, walls and the small ceiling lamps all date from the beginning of the 20th century.
In the Villa, almost everything is possible – weddings, dinner parties and conferences. Modern facilities have been successfully blended with the ambience and warmth which David and Davida created over a century ago. The villa is open on demand, for whatever event you wish to hold. Many people hire the Villa over a weekend, to spend it with their nearest and dearest. Also on offer are Christmas dinners and beer tastings, but the staff are also dedicated to finding new ways to reach out to more people. A couple of weekends ago, the Villa hosted a training weekend jointly with the popular fitness trainer, Lofsan, and in a couple of months’ time they will be holding a fantastic party in the Villa. A Thirteenth Day of Christmas Ball with a Gatsby theme.
On the way out to the conservatory, there is a beautiful striped wallpaper in soft pastels, Sandberg Wallpapers’ William pattern.
A little history on the turn-of-the-century house.
The Villa Strömsfors was built by the General Manager of a local company, David, and his wife, Davida, at the beginning of the 20th century. It was completed in 1908, when the couple moved in. They loved to entertain, and often held large parties in the Villa, with guests who travelled far to attend. They ensured that the people in the village had work, attended church and school, and the couple generally helped the life of the community prosper. In the house, they had the help of a butler, 3 maids and a chauffeur. The maids slept in a small room up in the attic. They moved around the Villa through forgotten stairways and passageways.
Ownership of the Villa has passed through several hands since then. Hökerum Bygg, the current owners, purchased the Villa from a German family in 2014. They say that it was love at first sight. They do admit that this love, in combination with several dark winter months, blinded them to a long list of faults and defects. These were, however, more than offset by beautiful oak panelling, tiled stoves, handmade tiles and perfect colour scheme.
The entire Villa is painted in beautiful colours.
Renovating the Villa.
Hökerum bygg’s goal has been to preserve the ambience of the early 20th century, and the whole renovation has been carried out with love.
”The western side of the house has been completely rebuilt, as it was in such a bad state that it was possible to push a finger through the wall,” explains Carin. “The beautiful window surrounds were also in poor condition, so it was necessary to make moulds and produce the new ones on site. These then had to be lifted up using a crane, since they were so heavy. The stucco work has also been renovated. Though some of this could not be saved, and it was decided to replicate it in the same style. There is only one person in Scandinavia who specialises in this, and he was flown in. Nothing was rushed, and no shortcuts were taken in creating a modern environment while retaining the original atmosphere.”
This photo shows how it looked before Hökerum Bygg began renovation. This room is now papered in Sandberg’s Grace pattern. You can see that all the details have been preserved.
We are grateful to Hökerum Bygg for lending us this picture of the beautiful conservatory. Beside the window, you can see the pale green shade in which the whole conservatory was painted when it was renovated.
To finish this wonderful garden, the local garden architect, Petra Hallberg, was brought in to help.
The entrance to Villa Strömsfors
All the rooms and public areas have been renovated with care and attention, and every effort has been made to preserve as much as possible from the early 1900s. Modern fire regulations had, of course, to be taken into account, and many hours were spent rewiring the building. The bedrooms have been renovated with the aim of providing as much as possible of the ambience of a luxury home. The nine bedrooms have been furnished in nine different styles, with four of them decorated using Sandberg Wallpaper’s patterns. When it came to furnishing this turn-of-the-century house, the stylist, Anna Starrén at Oddbirds, who is now a part of the Villa, along with Ida Ståhl and Erica Emilsson.
This lovely bathroom, which is ensuite with one of the bedrooms, with its classic black and white clinker brick floor and white tiles, is finished in the off-white flowered wallpaper, Vera. A pattern from the 1920s.
In one of the bedrooms, the Diana pattern from Sandberg Wallpaper flows gently over the walls.
The walls of this downstairs bedroom are decorated with the Grace pattern from Sandberg Wallpaper, inspired by the 1920s.
From the bedroom, these wonderful double doors lead into a large and luxurious bathroom.
This bedroom has space for three people. Sandberg Wallpaper’s Soho has been used to great effect..
We were also shown the cellar, which features a baking oven for home-made pizzas. There is also a very attractive sauna and relaxation suite, the perfect complement to a swim in the heated outdoor pool.
”A lot of people must have had serious doubts that we would be able to finish on time, and indeed it took many hours and a great deal of hard work, but the beautiful turn-of-the-century house was finished in time for the formal opening on 23 September 2016”, Carin told us.
The conservatory is a peaceful place to chill out.
As we left the Villa, we felt really inspired, and very content. We are already dreaming of going back.
Thank you for a fantastic afternoon
Photos: Sandra Willund
Are you in renovation mode? To see how particular wallpaper designs and colours would suit your own home, we recommend ordering samples to try against your wall. Take your time and look at them in both day and evening light.