Swedish artist Lisa Rinnevuo shows us around her beautiful wooden summer home…
Hi Lisa and welcome to Om Pom Happy. I love your artwork so it’s no surprise that I love your home…
Thank you! Yes, the house truly is a dream come true. The former owner bought the land in 1963 and put a lot of work into planning and preparing the ground before building on it in 1971. It’s on quite a large island on Stockholm’s archipelego. There are lots of summerhouses in the area, most of them built in the 60’s and 70’s. It’s a two hour ride from the city of Stockholm and you can easily reach it by bus – which is good for us as we don’t have a driver’s license, neither me nor my man.
In some countries you are not legally allowed to stay in a summer house all year round. Is this the case in Sweden?
No, you can stay however much you like, although not many houses are built to manage the cold. They’re drafty and also not insulated enough. Most people have more time off during the summer and prefer the warmer seasons since you spend a lot of time outdoors. Our house has a perfect fireplace to warm it up and also radiators, but it’s expensive to use them so spending a lot of time there when you need to heat it up would be quite pricey. We’re planning to insulate it better though so we can spend part of the Christmas holidays there.
For now, in the cold part of the year, we stay at our apartment in a suburb south of Stockholm, but as soon as spring is knocking at the door we will open up the summer house and spend our weekends there until summer comes. Then we will rent out our apartment and stay at the house from June until August. I can’t wait, just talking about it makes my heart beat.
When did you buy the house?
In December last year (2014) so it all still feels a bit unreal. My boyfriend proposed the same day we got the keys so hopefully there will be a wedding in the garden soon!
We spent all of last summer there, ten whole weeks. At first I wanted to redecorate everything, repaint the walls etc, but the more time we spent there the more we agreed that everything has to be done in its own time… and now I’m not even sure I want to paint the walls. I think it’s good to spend time there to catch the vibe and sense what kind of energy the place has.
These days most people are so eager to paint every thing white and redecorate. But with a house that someone has put so much work into, and built for himself and his family, I think it’s important to respect the soul of the place and it’s kind of calming to let it be what it is and to linger in that for a while.
All the furnishings were included and there was a lot of stuff we just had to throw out so currently it’s a mixture of temporary stuff, our old furniture and stuff made by our grandparents, like carpets made by my grandmother and a gorgeous old cabinet that was made and painted in traditional Swedish folklore design by Magnus’ father’s grandfather.
Magnus is building an outdoor kitchen with an oven and fireplace in the garden made from tiles he found in the basement. We want to use stuff we find lying around and make things instead of buying new materials and things. I also want to plant a herb garden and a few vegetables and edible flowers. We like to cook!
Coming from an apartment in the suburbs of Stockholm the house must feel like paradise…
This truly is our paradise! It’s a place where all three of us (or four with the cat) recharge our batteries. Magnus loves the forest and to me the water is very soothing. Also our seven year old daughter enjoys being there. We leave all our stress and to-do lists in the city taking deep breaths and enjoying the days as they come.
The house overlooks a bay where we have a small boat. We catch plenty of fish which are ridiculously delicious to cook over an open fire!! And to go for a swim early in the morning or late evening before bed is bliss. The sea is just a bike ride away and sitting on the soft cliffs watching the waves is my favourite meditation. The forest surrounding the house is very fairy taleish. All three of us enjoy hikes and hunting for blueberries, lingonberries and mushrooms. We found so much this fall our freezer is bursting!
And of course it’s exciting to look for wild animal traces. So far we have seen signs of elk, wild boar and rabbits. Not to forget all the dead mice lying around the garden, our cat Fidel’s doings.
You must be very popular with friends!
We had lots of visits last summer and the place is perfect for that since there’s a proper guest house to stay in. It’s a one bedroomed house and even has its own small kitchen and fireplace! We love having friends to visit, some stay for a couple of nights and some come just for the day since it’s not that far to drive from the city. The main thing we tell whoever visits is: come as you are, do as you want. Since this is our motto of course we want our guests to feel the same!
Barbecue feasts are a speciality of Magnus. He is seriously such a good cook he should open a restaurant! If the weather is nice we carry out tables and chairs and dine outside in the garden, talk and laugh the nights through. Luckily the living room is big so there’s enough room to hang out inside too. The kitchen is quite small though and in desperate need of a proper remake, but it has everything we need so we have time to plan.
Do you think there will be a favourite time of year for you there?
Every season has its moments, springtime is lovely when you see nature slowly waking up and the warming rays of the sun whispering of summer coming. And fall is beautiful when the air gets cool and crisp and once again nature shows off, slowly falling asleep over the long winter. I love all seasons because of the changes and the new energy that comes with it, but I have to say there is nothing like summer in Sweden. Especially in the archipelego. It’s pure beauty!
That beauty must be such an inspiration for your art. Do you do much painting there?
I get very inspired, but since the place is still so new to us most of my creativity goes into fixing the house. We’re planning on a studio where I can work and keep all my art supplies, but that will have to wait a few years since the roofs on both the house and the guesthouse need to be changed asap! But I write notes and sketch for use when I’m back in Stockholm in the studio.
Hopefully I will do more painting next summer, but I’m very effective when I work so I need time to wind down and relax. I would go crazy and probably wear myself out if I worked at that speed for too long. I like to be 100% focussed to find the perfect creative flow and to be able to do that it’s so important to take time off once in a while. But I do creative stuff with my daughter while we are there like painting on rocks that we found on the beach or on branches from the forest. Nature is a big inspiration for me. I love picking flowers and making small arrangements to spread out all over the place. I collect all kinds of stuff, branches, feathers, driftwood to have as inspiration pieces.
Lisa thank you so much! It’s been amazing getting a glimpse of your very special home. I will be chatting to you soon about your art, but in the meantime perhaps can you can leave us with a favourite tune…
You are welcome, I hope you enjoyed it 😉
I hope you don’t mind that the song’s in Swedish. It’s about good vibes and that’s definitely what I get when I listen to it. It makes me dance!
Words: CAND JUSKUS and LISA RINNEVUO
Images: LISA RINNEVUO