May 7, 2012
So, why am I so obsessed with Swedish style and craftsmanship? Maybe it has something to do with my ancestry. My great grandparents immigrated to Connecticut from Sweden in the 1890s, and I grew up hearing stories about Sweden from my grandmother. I also had lots of visual reminders of our Swedish ancestry at Christmastime, when my grandmother, mother and aunt would bring out the many Swedish ornaments that decorated our home. We always had strings of tiny Swedish flags on our Christmas tree, which my father topped off with a set of painted wooden Dala horses—one to represent each family member.
When I was a kid, most of the walls in our suburban Connecticut Cape Cod were painted white to emulate the Scandinavian Modern look my parents admired. For example, our kitchen was painted Swedish blue. This contrasted with most of our neighbor’s houses, which were mostly a 1970’s take on Colonial Revival. But I always loved the clean, crisp lines of Swedish design, and envisioned living in a house that would have a mix of bright space and natural wood.
This house represents the opportunity for my husband and I to create that space within the confines of an urban Queen Anne. The house was built in 1887—around the same time my great grandparents arrived here from Sweden. In fact, one of my great grandfathers was a stone mason in Middletown, Connecticut, working on houses that are similar to the multi-family houses in our neighborhood. My other great grandfather—"B.B."—was a builder in New Britain, Connectircut (the "For Sale" sign above is from one of his houses, and hangs in our house today).
Kind of cool to think that Grandpa B.B. left his quaint, rural home in Sweden to come to New England to build houses just like the one where my family will be living. I hope our New England exterior will house a Swedish soul.
(2) CommentsComment on this Blog
Swedish design is light, airy and comfortable, with old-world elegance and easygoing style.
Good luck on giving your New England historic home some ancestral touches!