Rescuing Villa Grönborg
As a child I spent every summer at the old farm and several times a week I used to bicycle through the forrest to the Raseborg castle Ruins. Right beside the castle, up on a small hill, was an abandoned cottage.
Actually, it was not quite abandoned. During my childhood the old couple who owned it used to spend their summers there, and I often saw them pottering about in the garden on sunny afternoons, tending to their fruit trees and herbaceous plants.
During wintertime no one lived there, and the house stood cold and empty, until as time went by the old couple was seen less and less as they moved into an old peoples home and visited their summer cottage no more.Then one autumn Friday in 2014 my neighbour called to let me know that the couple had now deceased and that the house and its grounds was for sale. I was abroad at the time, but having spent my childhood playing in the fields and forrest I knew it well.
So well in fact, that I more or less bought it over the phone to the real estate agents enormous surprise. "You do know it is in terrible condition?" he warned me. "Yes," I said, "I do."
And indeed it was a rescue project, as it was in such a condition that most people would just have torn it down and replaced it with something new instead of painstakingly worked to preserve and rebuild the old house.
Yet to me, saving old houses is a passion, and I felt it would have been so sad to destroy what someone once upon a time had built by hand, cutting each log and forming it to perfection into a home for their family.
The kitchen was the original cottage built sometime in the early 1800s, while the living room starting off as a stable for cows and sheep. Later on the house was expanded, and the livestock moved to the stables in the yard below the house. At some point when a degree of affluence permitted a wallpaper was put up in the kitchen, which probably served as the main room for many years. I wanted to retain as much of the old house as possible, so where the logg wall was too rotten to be saved around the base of the house and the windows, we patched it up with new loggs and wood frames.
The roof had to be redone, and as we had to do it anyways we added skylight windows to the bedrooms. The upstairs floor was never heated and probably only used as bedrooms in summer with a large part of it being kept as a cold attic. Of the upstairs cold attic, we made three comfortable bedrooms and a bathroom with a shower that actually overlooks the castle ruins.
I chose traditional wallpaper for all the bedrooms and really enjoyed putting a romantic touch to it. At first I furnished it sparsely, but as time has gone by more and more of my personal effects such as paintings and furniture has moved there.
The facade was the last detail to be added, and I am happy to say it was made in the traditional way with planks of different width. In the olden days there was no uniformity to plank production, and all old houses in the area are panelled this way. As they say, the devil is in the detail! Just in time for Christmas 2014 it stood proud and ready to welcome visitors to Snappertuna.
The villa as it stands now, happily renovated with the castle ruins in the background.