Interiors

A Kurbits Villa Filled With Swedish Folk Art

by Annie Werbler

For a Swedish couple with a modern Scandinavian sensibility, purchasing a historic home in Stockholm with details from another era meant respecting what came before while adding their own touches. Just over three years ago, Elin Johansson and her husband, Daniel, were looking for a flat, but ended up buying “a house with potential” instead. They fell in love with all the quirky features, like a fireplace with kurbits flourishes — which is a historical Swedish style of painting decorative vegetation in bright colors. Built in 1938 by a man from Dalarna, Sweden (where kurbits detailing is typical), the home also has a fully painted ceiling downstairs. “It’s very unusual,” Elin says, “And always fun to see people’s reactions!” Though the kurbits paintwork is signed and dated, the couple has unfortunately not yet been able to track down its creator, but try to fill the house with fun things they find throughout their travels to contrast with and complement the artist’s vision.

As much as the homeowners adore these interesting and original characteristics, they also wanted the home to reflect their own personalities. They favor prints, retro objects, and Art Deco furniture, so they tried to achieve an eclectic mix of styles in their decoration. Elin and Daniel love hosting parties for friends and family, where they start up the sauna and hot tub, add some drinks from the bar, and fully appreciate all the modern conveniences — in addition to more classic details. —Annie

Photography by Elin Johansson

A Kurbits Villa Filled With Swedish Folk Art, on Design*Sponge
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The original herringbone floor remains in Elin Johansson and husband Daniel's kurbits-style 1938 Stockholm, Sweden home.
A Kurbits Villa Filled With Swedish Folk Art, on Design*Sponge
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Elin in her favorite living room chair, where she drinks tea and leafs through interior design magazines.
A Kurbits Villa Filled With Swedish Folk Art, on Design*Sponge
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The living room bar, where Daniel concocts drinks during parties. A DIY copper pipe and leather string lamp hangs over the dining table.
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A view of the property's apple tree from the head of the dining table.
A Kurbits Villa Filled With Swedish Folk Art, on Design*Sponge
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Looking toward the living room from the home's entrance, which was recently renovated and wrapped in Palm Leaves wallpaper by Cole & Son.
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Mr. Flamingo is immediately visible upon entering the house. "He always makes you happy!" Elin says.
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With a view toward a refinished bathroom, the original wooden ceiling sits at a height of almost 10 feet.
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"We love all quirky original details in our home!" - Elin and Daniel
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New bathroom tile in a herringbone arrangement replicates the pattern in the living room floor.
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Elin took inspiration for the bathroom redo from Schiller's, her favorite New York restaurant.
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The master bedroom, with a peaceful screen as a headboard and a big new bed in which to spread out.
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The bedroom fireplace features kurbits paintings from 1938, showing couples dancing around the midsummer pole. "The churches and houses painted on it exist in real life," Elin reveals.
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Instead of paintings, a vintage kimono bought on a trip to Tokyo is displayed on a bedroom wall. Elin and Daniel devised the copper pipe and leather string hanging system themselves.
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A guest bed covered in a decorative carpet doubles as a daybed when no visitors are present. Pictures on the wall are ripped from interior design magazines and fixed with washi tape (which doesn't leave any marks).
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A cozy kitchen overlooks the garden. Though the homeowners painted the cabinet doors a light green, the space is still too small for their needs, and an extension project is in the planning stages.
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Original, custom-built kitchen storage from 1938. Elin and Daniel spent three months removing old cracked plastic paint when they bought the home.
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A sauna is the couple's pride and joy. Daniel is from the north of Sweden and could not imagine living without one.
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The downstairs ceiling with original paintings from 1938. "It's not only Daenerys Targaryen who has dragons - one lives in our home as well!," jokes Elin.
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The two-story floor plan for the Stockholm, Sweden home.

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