July 10, 2017

Our new simple Scandinavian country kitchen

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Hope you are enjoying your summer.

We arrived in Sweden this week to an almost finished house I couldn’t be happier. Living in two houses that are being renovated while renovating and designing for others can put you over the edge!  You might remember the water damage disaster that ruined our country house.

Furniture sources here in the country side are sparse and contractors work on their own schedule (which drives me crazy!) so you have to go with the flow. As far as interiors you don’t strive for perfection, just simplicity and functionality.  Honestly when you are in the business of always trying to make things perfect – imperfection is actually refreshing.

The kitchen is almost done. The walls are now a bold yellow. I love super strong more modern tones of colors as a backdrop to old things.

All the old furniture pieces stayed.

The sofa is an old Swedish bed sofa that people in the 1800’s used for guests and often it was the place where farmhands and maids slept in the country houses.

The fur pillows, pendant and vase are from Ikea. The flowers are handpicked. The pillows are the Sunshine Embroidered Monogram designs from my line Jill Sorensen Lifestyle.

The strong yellow color is the perfect antidote to the moody blue skies outside.

The cool air and the sunny inside is a fun contrast.

The chairs are antiques, and the table we found in the barn and painted it white.

As I said…around here simplicity goes.

I love checked Swedish floors so I decided to make it easy and install a vinyl floor from Tarkett.

In case you missed it this is what our kitchen looked like last summer….

As you can see a big improvement!

We have a floor.

The counter top is temporarily just resting as Ikea sent the wrong depth. Ikea birch counters are my favorite.

Love the Ikea pendant – basic but cool.

I headed over to my favorite local store….my recycle obsessed brother’s Återbruket in Karlstad.

There you can buy people’s discarded furniture and landfill dropoffs. Aterbruket repairs everything then resells it. In a country who values nature above anything and recycles 99% of their trash it’s popular.  If you are local you should pay it a visit. Saturdays they serve fresh baked bread and coffee and I promise you it’s the perfect treasure hunt.

It’s mostly tech and lighting but I always manage to find some furnishing items I like.

This yellow vase was someone’s trash….

Not sure what this can be called…Landfill chic?

The carpet it my Monogram cotton carpet in Sky Blue from Jill Sorensen Lifestyle.

The older I get recycling and caring for the earth becomes more and more important.

Someones trash can be your treasure.

Do you by recycled stuff?

In our attic I found this cool old Swedish print and framed it.

The kitchen is now a fun place to hang and I was happy to have my cousins Susanne and Hans here from Denmark to enjoy it.

Bottom line is, don’t take decorating your place to seriously.

How important is buying vintage to you?  Do you have any good steals you want to share?

 

August 16, 2016

Renovation plans created in one afternoon

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We left our summer house in Sweden in slightly better shape than we found it in…

In case you missed the disaster I’ve dealt with you can check it out here.

You can see what the house looked like when we came home in June and I burst in to tears here.

The renovations are in full swing and I’ll handle it from the other side of the earth via images, e-mails and Face time. I’m really looking forward to restoring our beautiful house to even better shape than before the water damage.

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The new wood beams went in the last couple of days we were there and it was amazing how fancy it felt to get rid of the dirt floor!

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All the crazy items shoes, pots etc. from the 1800’s that we found below the original beams were collected and stored in the attic.

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I can’t help bu wonder if this old leather boot from the 1800’s that we found below the bathroom floor belonged to any of these people?

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The first owners of our home sometime in the late 1800’s.

When the plywood floor was installed we really felt we were living in luxury after a summer with the dirt floors.

Imagine that….to have a floor! We were seriously all smiles.

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Hans a contractor and friend of my brother’s since grade school has taken on the job. He did the first round of renovations when we first bought the house 13 years ago so he knows it well.

Now, how do you come up with renovation plans in one afternoon?

I visited two home stores with tile, faucet, flooring selections, a paint store and grabbed paint chips, then I grabbed a pen and paper and paid down on the foyer floor.  When you have no free time and under time pressure things can happen fast. Aaahh the luxury of doing it for yourself…old school style.

First off the Bathroom.

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The marigold seventies toilets that I bought from my brother’s recycling center set the tone.

The happy & fun toilets and sinks served as inspiration for the bathroom. I felt depressed when I forst arrived and saw all tha damage so the toilets put a smile on my face, why not orange toilets?

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Orange sinks?

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I drew layouts directly on the floors and walls. Moved walls for better space function and left instructions handwritten.

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At the local store I found the only cement tile they had and went for it.

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I found faucets that would bridge the gape between classic and modern and fit the sinks.

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Black and white subway tile for the shower cabin. White with two black stripes.

Next step will be to hunt down two old mirrors and wall sconces for the wall, and of course a shower curtain.

Now on to the kitchen…

Having the beams installed in the kitchen was the most luxurious of all. We could now walk in there and get to items in the top cupboards. The lower cabinets were salvaged and stored in the barn and will be put back in as well.

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How incredible to have a floor!

Try living without a floor for a while and you’ll come to appreciate the simple things in life!

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The kitchen needs:

–New flooring

— New Paint

–New tile  back splash

—New Light fixture

I picked them out in a flash at Stuvbutiken, Colorama and IKEA.

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I decided on plastic flooring for easy to clean surfaces. They have really great vinyl flooring options here and the actual plastic tile squares are not easy to clean.

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I have never installed a vinyl floor before, but this one looks refreshing.

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Tarkett from Stuvbutiken.

I would prefer to paint a wood floor like this below, but we have no floor at all so this is an easy and affordable solution.

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I’ll share pictures when its done and you can be the judge.

Have you ever used it?

The 80’s lamp above the kitchen table that I’ve been too lazy to change for so many years, will be replaced by this modern one from Ikea.

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I hope that mixing in some retro vibe with all the old school stuff will be good.

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I’ll be renovating from afar, with picture updates every Friday from the contractor.  The big project in Virginia is going ahead full speed and the guest house renovation back here in LA is beckoning.

For daily updates and design adventures you can follow me on INSTAGRAM@JILLSORENSEN.COM

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July 22, 2016

Unplugging Swedish style

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Hope you’re having a good summer.

I want to share some pictures from our trip over here. Since the house is undergoing renovations we have been out and about more than usual.

I’ve unplugged not been attached to my computer instead doing a lot of this…

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Enjoying evening swims in pristine lakes.

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Biking country roads…

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Even fishing!

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Time with lively nieces.

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Swimming off the cliffs in the giant lake…

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And of course spending time with family…

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…friends and neighbors…

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…and just enjoying this place.

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July 6, 2016

My DISASTROUS kitchen pictures & the coolest toilets ever

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There are makeovers and then there are M-A-K-E-O-V-E-R-S. Seems the most challenging projects just keep lining up.

We arrived home to our summer house in Sweden, except what house??  If you follow this blog you know we had bad water damage this spring. Turned out it was BAD.

This is our kitchen now…Want to come over for dinner?

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Yep down to the dirt floor. As I’m looking at this I realize a lot of my projects look like bombs detonated in them.

All the floor beams were damaged and had to go. The cabinets could be rescued.

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New tile is needed, minor detail in this room indeed.

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I guess we will not be doing any cooking in here!!

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Turns out there is a covered up dirt cellar below the kitchen floor!  The house was built in the 1830’s, burnt down 1870 and rebuilt so this stuff is 150 years old.

And the bathroom and laundry room by the entrance….

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I giant hole, no walls or anything.

When they tore out the floor they came upon shoes and boots from the 1800’s and old pots used as bathrooms.

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To be hinest Ive been very upset as you might imagine, no rest for the weary. However Luke’s summer job at my brother’s new recycling center could not have come in more handy….

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Peter my very entreprenurial obsessed reclcer brother has started a genius business. He made a deal with out city here to be able to get  all the stuff headed fro landfills landfills, then fix them and sell them.

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I felt instantly happier when I made this happy marigold toilet purchase!

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And two marigold sinks to with it. If the old bathroom is gone, a new one will have to be awesome.

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Can you believe these were headed for landfills?

(You can check out a few items that are for sale online at  www.aterbruket.se.

Follow along on INSTAGRAM@JILLSORENSEN for more updates.

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April 1, 2016

Has this house nightmare ever happened to you?

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Just as I’m gearing up start next week with the One Room Challenge (the internet makeover sensation where 20 designers and bloggers makeover a space in 6 weeks) another emergency home makeover will be in my future.

You might have seen pictures here on the blog of my old house in Sweden where we spend our summers. Two weeks ago I got a call from my mom that a pipe had burst in the laundry room and water had sprayed for two weeks in our pretty summer home. My heart was broken. Now part of the house has serious water damage and the rest is damaged by steaming water inside and freezing temperatures outside.

This is what I arrived home to…

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Even the ceiling on the second floor came down from steam.

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However a pretty wood ceiling appeared above it….something will be better afterwards after all.

The kitchen was soaked in water and will be torn out. Hopefully the cabinets will stay.

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The water had sprayed from the laundry room behind it.

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The wall has a hole in it and the walls here will be.

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The guest bedroom ceiling is buckling…

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…and all windows have peeled.

I’m sorting this mess out with the insurance agency, have spoken to contractors this week here. Luke and I are staying at my mothers house since the house is unlivable at the moment.

I know a major makeover is in the very near future, because a house with this amazing view even in wet april….

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…is worth pouring your time and heart in to.

April 6th will be the first day of the One Room Challenge and you’ll see me way more often on the blog coming up.

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July 24, 2015

A few things that will be hard to leave behind…

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Our summer vacation over here in Sweden is coming to an end.

Although I’m sad to leave next week, I’m ready to go back to work and to get our house in LA designed. Life here in Sweden is always like  a breath of fresh air and the few weeks of an uncomplicated lifestyle surrounded by family is so refreshing.

There are some things in our tiny village of Torp that will be hard to leave behind…

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All the blue and green.

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The relaxed and playful Pippi Longstocking inspired rooms.

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The lake view.

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My favorite mode of transportation.

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The serenity and silence.

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The overgrown guest house now home for Luke and his friend.

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The most adorable nieces greeting me on the country road.

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The so pretty that almost look fake sunsets right outside my bedroom window.

I hope your summer has been great so far.

For daily updates you can follow me on INSTAGRAM@JILLSORENSEN

If you read Swedish you can follow my daily blog for Swedish Magazine Skona Hem.

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July 3, 2015

Happy 4th from beautiful Sweden!

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Hope you are enjoying your holiday weekend!

We are over in Sweden enjoying the serenity and beauty of our country home here. While we are sad to be missing the July 4th celebrations over in the states,  it’s hard to suffer with this view from the bedroom….

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Pretty magical.

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We’re here for a few weeks to see family and friends…

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…and to enjoy some quiet (or not so quiet) dinners by the lake.

Today Sweden feels like Greece…

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…85 degree weather and not a cloud in the sky.

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The swimming pool is filling up just in time for a cool dip…

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..and the midnight sky does it’s best to awe us.

Happy 4th!

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December 24, 2014

Dreaming of a white Christmas…

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Happy Holidays!

The renovations are getting a break this week while we’re making a quick holiday visit to Sweden. I’m so grateful to be able to come here. Our new life in LA had us seriously dreaming of a white Christmas.

And thankfully this is what we came home to.

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All white and a morning fog.

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Not a perfectly Christmas decorated house.

But an awesome view.

Things are simple over here.

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I’m decorating with my Danish grandmother’s table cloth.

Luke is riding a sleigh behind the neighbors tractor (with a nine year old driver! yes its the countryside)

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Rooms still look they way we left them this summer.

(Headboard still needs some legs, however I’m still crazy about the Sunshine Deco Bedding.)

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I’m okay that it’s not all perfect.

But it sure does feel like Christmas.

From our place to yours have a very Merry Christmas & Happy Holiday!

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P.S. Another little Christmas thing…

 

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July 28, 2014

FIKA IN THE BARN – PROJECT PROGRESS

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Everything I wanted to get done to turn our barn in to a “party room” has not been completed, such as finding a pair of great chandeliers. But we came far enough to be able to invite some of our neighbors over for “fika” in the barn. “Fika” as you might have seen in the Gevalia commercial means a snack with coffee generally.

It’s so pointless to have spaces in your home, indoors or outdoors, that are not being used. They become storage spaces and burdens instead of rooms to enjoy and have fun in.

Every space in a home should serve a purpose.

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Most images by Mehreen Qudosi.

The barn was used since the 1800’s for farming. For years and years afterwards new owners used it as storage for firewood and other things. Ever since we bought it, it has been storage space for my bother’s salvaged windows and doors as well as leftovers from the renovation of the house.

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It felt amazing to get it cleared out.

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A barn is a perfect space for a meal or a party.

There’s plenty of room for lots of guests.

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We built an 18′ long dining table out of old planks found in the barn.

I was really excited seeing this start to take shape.

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For the party we picked flowers in the garden for center pieces.

I wanted to keep it to one color – sunny yellow.

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My friend Monica had a number of benches from her greenhouse she no longer used, and gave them to me.

Thank You Monica!

I covered them with Swedish “trasmattor”.

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As we were clearing out the barn I just randomly hung old tools and items found on the barn on the wall.

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I used antique pitchers for flowers, and bought some new ones from Ikea.

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We used simple vintage plates and napkins.

This vase is from Ikea.

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We ate some delicious cinnamon rolls. Recipe HERE.

The Swedish cinnamon rolls are nowhere near as sweet as the American version. A perfect snack with a cup of coffee in the afternoon.

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All the kids had run out to play soccer by the time we took this picture and my family had headed home except for my cute mom. This space now needs two cool chandeliers, painted ores for the back wall and party lights all over.

Inviting neighbors over that you know, or getting to know some new ones, I highly recommend!

You never know who might just live around the corner…

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December 26, 2013

Christmas, Glogg and Saffron rolls

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Happy Holidays!

Christmas shopping barefoot among palm trees I kind of forgot it was Christmas.

First year in California is disorienting because you keep thinking is still August.  But after a long flight to Sweden Christmas arrived after all. Although we’re missing out on snow here, it’s still very much Santa’s territory…

If you are up for the most delicious Swedish Christmas drink I’ve added links on the bottom of this post to two things really worth trying this holiday season. GLOGG and SAFFRON ROLLS!

A green Christmas around here.

But plenty white inside.

Santa is getting ready in the laundry room. Same routine every year.

Fake tree to save some trees….

And on a cold wintry night…

…you must try some—-GLOGG

It’s a mulled wine drink that all Swedes drink during the holidays. Check out the recipe on link above.

(If you want to spice things up you can also pour vodka in it). It will certainly help you warm up during the coldest days.

SAFFRON ROLL (LUSSEKATTER)

Saffron rolls are perfect with Glogg. Check Ewa from Delish recipe in link above.

Enjoy!

All images are from INSTAGRAM@JILLSORENSEN – join me there!