Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Patina of Time
When they first viewed this house in Österlen, one dark and stormy evening in August 2000, Christina's then-fiance said "Well, this is certainly a house we do not even need to think about." Much to his surprise, Christina loved it at first sight despite its neglected state (a window fell out of the second floor when she opened it), and eventually persuaded him that they should buy it anyway.
The house has a fascinating history — it was built in 1925 by a certain Katherina who grew up on the family farm next door, and had it constructed when she received her own plot of land at her father's death. She seems to have been a remarkable woman — she was single and 50 years old when she built it, and it was just four years after women received voting rights in Sweden. It was also the first large house in the area to have indoor heating, too.
As she learned more of its history, Christina discarded her original plans of stripping the floors and painting all the walls white — she discovered pristine vintage wallpaper under layers of tattered later ones, and when she tore up the living room carpet, she discovered a treasure trove of 1925 newspapers (at the time, frequently used as insulation between the floors and carpet). Christina spent hours on her knees read about Princess Astrid's engagement to Prince Leopold of Belgium and the price of pork stock while prepping the floors for finishing. Windows, frames and other woodwork were replaced or rescued by the village carpenter and furniture was found from local flea markets. The only real change by Christina was to convert a cupboard into a bathroom.
In 1956 Katharina died and the house was sold to a farmer in the village, who bought it mainly for the sake of the land. He continued to live at his own home, but in the afternoons he would take his tractor down to the house to sit alone and read in the quiet rooms. Now Christina and her family enjoy the same tranquility today. More here on Skonahem.