On this trip, we headed the car towards Skövde to visit Anna in her 1960s villa.
While we enjoyed the results of her exceptional artistic decorating talents, we heard all about the challenges she encountered during the renovation. Not least in bringing together 6 different wallpaper patterns without confusion and disharmony.Her home is very welcoming and warm, which is a genuine reflection of Anna as a person. She is open and chatty, smiling and laughing almost constantly.
Anna, who is originally from Skövde, had been living in Lerum with her family, consisting of her partner, Kalle, and her daughters, five year-old Lovis and two year-old Hilda. While they were expecting Hilda, they decided to move back home. Anna really had only one criterion; she wanted to live in this precise area, close to her family and the school. They began by putting flyers in people’s letter boxes, hoping that someone would be minded to sell and would get in touch.
The house, in classic fly ash brick, was perhaps not Anna’s dream house, but she saw potential in it. The house was in the right area, and she liked the layout. Anna and her family have now been living in the house for 1 year, and in that short time, they have transformed this typical 1960s villa into a totally “different home”. A dream for all wallpaper lovers.
Before moving in, they replaced the windows, ground the walls, repaired the roof, installed a new kitchen and painted all the rooms with the intention of wallpapering them. They carried out the majority of the work themselves, with the help of Kalle’s dad.
Anna, who is employed as a decorator at Billinge Färg in Skövde, has worked in the industry for around 15 years, and it is this considerable experience that we really want to benefit from.What were your ideas as you planned the renovation of this 1960s villa?
“I wanted the renovation to fit in with the style of the house, and at the same time, I wanted to put up lots of wallpaper. For me, the most important thing is that it feels like a ”home” as soon as you come in. I certainly don’t want anyone to feel that they are scared to touch anything”.
What was your greatest challenge?
Anna smiles as she explains that the great challenge was to bring together all the patterns without any sense of confusion or disharmony. They must blend attractively together!How did you go about bringing the different wallpapers together?
“I had already thought out the kids’ rooms in advance, and the important thing for me was that they would blend nicely together when all the wallpapers were visible at the same time.
I hung the wallpapers beside each other to see how well they harmonise. The girls’ rooms are really colourful, so I selected a more laid-back wallpaper for the hallway. This meant that I could really let myself go again in the living room,” Anna laughs. “I reckon that the living room was the most difficult one. I knew that I wanted to try something darker since I had only ever use light colours before. I also had an old cupboard, which I painted green, and I really wanted to have that in the room. I have a penchant for nature patterns and flowers, but I couldn’t find anything that really grabbed me until I saw press photographs of the Villa Dalarö and realised that that was just perfect for us!”What is your best advice about wallpapering?
”Don’t be afraid to try it yourself! It’s much easier than many people think. Use proper tools to get the first strip right, and that will keep the pattern straight and true. Don’t get impatient and stay cheerful, and that will see you through,” says Anna with a laugh.How long did it take you to wallpaper the kids’ rooms?
”We are pretty fast at renovating, so we managed to finish both the girls’ rooms in a couple of weeks. That involved painting the ceiling, replacing the flooring, filling any defects in the walls, fitting new mouldings and finally, and the most fun, furnishing.”
When we asked her what she calls her decorating style, she became a little hesitant. Perhaps Scandinavian cool but with colour!? The most important thing is that the home conveys a feeling.
”Everything in the home should be personal,” says Anna, who is a bit of a flea market fanatic. “I love to buy old furniture and paint it, and then mix it with new stuff. I also like retro style, but I want to update it a little. My favourite piece of furniture is my Tre Sekel sofa, which goes beautifully with Sandberg Wallpaper’s Emma pattern. The kitchen, which is a beautiful lime-flower green, was ordered from Ballingslöv, and the wall features the Sigfridpattern from Sandberg Wallpaper. “I chose the wallpaper when Emmie (Sandberg’s representative) was visiting the store. The paper softens the hardness of the stone tiles, and together they create an individual and welcoming kitchen.” For lunch, Anna has prepared a pasta salad to die for, and Kalle (Anna’s partner) comes home from work and eats with us. He tells us that there was an awful lot of hard work involved in finishing the house. Both of them agree that it feels great that the rough work is over. But even so, Anna can’t wait to get started on the next project, the cellar.
“I would like the TV room to be in a cool grey, and I am tending towards Raphael grey. We also intend to redo our bedroom. I want to open it up and install period-typical mirror doors to give us a variant on a walk-in-closet outside the bedroom. I am totally addicted to decorating, I love to redecorate and I just can’t let things be. If Kalle didn’t stop me, I would be redecorating all the time. If I find something that is being thrown out, I’m never afraid to ask if I can have it. Like the shelf in Lovis’ room. It was being thrown out at work, so I asked if I could have it, and that wasn’t a problem. When I got it home, we built a new cabinet and an extra shelf, and then repainted it in a soft green which goes exceptionally well with the Lisa wallpaper.Three walls in Lovis’ room are papered with Lisa, and the fourth wall, behind string shelves, has the slightly more neutral ”Skal” pattern in pale pink with small gold dots.Hilda’s room features Sandberg’s Axel pattern in green on all four walls.She gets inspiration from her clients at work. ”Someone might come in and show photographs of how they want to redecorate, and I start thinking whether I could also do that at home. I’m also a fan of Instagram.”
Anna has an exceptionally attractive Instagram account, @annat.hem.
”I believe that decorating is totally cool, and I love to inspire other people and show them that it’s not really difficult to do it yourself, and that goes for everything from rebuilding to painting and wallpapering. It is so simple to transform a home totally with paint and wallpaper.
What makes you happy?
Being at home with my family, getting together with friends and renovating.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by photographs and by the natural world. Going into other people’s houses also inspires me. That’s the most fun of anything.
How would you describe your decorating style?
Oh dear, my decorating style...hmm, snug Scandinavian with natural materials and flea market finds/repainted furniture.
Well, that would be my Tre Sekel sofa and the Axel wallpaper in Hilda’s room.
What would you absolutely not have at home?
Anything glossy and mass produced.
What is your favourite wallpaper?
Oh, that’s a difficult one, but Raphael would be high on my list.
Is there anything you’d like to recommend?
Yes, I recommend that everyone wallpapers more!
We would like to thank you, Anna, for a fantastic day and for so generously sharing your renovation and decorating tips. And for your delightful enthusiasm.
photos by Sandra Willund
We left Anna and Skövde feeling really inspired, and we hope that you are too. If you are in renovation mode and aren’t quite sure where to begin, or if you are wondering whether to paint or paper your walls, click on the link below for a concise guide to help you make up your mind.