Letting Light and Life Into An Attic Apartment in Stockholm, Sweden

by Sabrina Smelko

Louise Ljungberg is a self-described “Jill of all trades.” After making the move from the beautiful woods of Värmland to Stockholm, Sweden over a decade ago, she jumped right into the hustle and bustle of the city. As a PR specialist at creative agency House of Radon, a freelance photographer, teacher at Berghs School of Communication and as digital manager of Creative Mornings Stockholm, she likes to keep busy. But after a period of job burnout, and wondering how to better enjoy life, Louise and her fiancée Filip Lundqvist decided to sell their wonderful city loft apartment and move outside of the city center. “The reason?” she begins, “To make room to afford a car and to spend more free time at the countryside.”

When the couple found an ad for this 800-square-foot attic apartment, they saw its potential right away. Located in the turn-of-the-century Art Nouveau quarter of Aspudden — an up-and-coming suburb 15 minutes to Stockholm city and close to green and lush areas — the first thing they noted was how quiet and private the apartment was. The second thing they noticed? The massive amount of work it needed. Louise describes: “The floor plan didn’t make the most of the apartment, and we struggled with the light (it felt very dark and narrow), so we had to transform the place into ours.” But as is almost always the case, the renovation was more work than they anticipated. With the goal of letting in more sunlight, walls came tumbling down, nearly every room was gutted, and they installed several new large industrial windows and doors to create a restful retreat.

“Both me and Filip are hardworking people who recharge in environments that breathe harmony,” Louise shares, so of utmost importance was fostering a relaxing space that would be home to oodles of plants and soft colors. Also, nearly a year into renovating, they learned that they would have to make room for one more addition to their family — a year later, they welcomed baby Leopold into their lives.

For Louise, life is sometimes more hectic than ever, but that only makes the simpler moments of stillness more meditative and beautiful. It’s all about “finding the little things in everyday life that make me happy,” she explains. “I just love my little family so much and I’m proud of the home we built together.” –Sabrina

Photography by Linda Alfvegren for The Way We Play

With recharging top of mind, Louise and Filip's bedroom may be subtle and small in size, but thanks to the windows (one to the outside, and one that looks into the kitchen on the wall above the bed), it's a calm oasis in shades of grey and green. The linen bedding is from H&M Home.
This little chair, bought in an antique shop, is from the 16th century and works perfectly as a bedside table. "I'm trying to cut down screen time before bed," Louise explains, "so reading some pages in a paper book helps me sleep better." The industrial accordion lamp was purchased in a small lamp store in Stockholm.
"This room used to be a huge bedroom," Louise explains, "But when renovating, we decided to update the layout of our house and divide it into two." Filip and his 70-year old dad did an amazing job building out interior walls that now serve as a kids room. With white, wood-soaped floors, it really softens up the industrial touch of the black glass door and window.
In Leopold's little corner room that Filip and his dad created is another big window that also serves as a mini-shelf for baby plants. On the wall above Leopold's crib are two adorable animal prints from Japanese illustrator Takao Nakagawa.
Entering into the kitchen, the window into the bedroom also acts as a backdrop for storage shelves that Louise and Filip hung across it. "In the beginning, I was a bit intimidated about having our bedroom on display while having a coffee," Louise admits, "But I love it! It's pretty cool to see the shelf life of glassware and ceramics right above the bed. It also forces us to keep it tidy, making the bed and keeping things in order."
With so much light now in the apartment, the home's 23 plants -- such as this flowering geranium -- are happy as can be! The antique lamp is a favorite of Louise's from Brandstationen (AKA The Fire Station).
"Photography is my meditative process of finding the little things in everyday life that make me happy," Louise explains. The still life photo hanging in her kitchen is one of her own, which she also sells in her online shop.
"Sometimes you need inspiration to fall in love with cooking again," Louise remarks. Karen Mordechai, the brains behind Sunday Suppers, is an Instagram friend of Louise's. "I love her book 'Recipes + Gatherings'."
The floor plan gives a better sense of the layout of the apartment. The left half is for sleep, play and eating, and the right half is all about lounging and bathing.
Off of the kitchen you'll find a small entrance hallway where this large and very old IKEA painting by Gustav Klimt hangs. "It's simple, feminine and the fact that it has a few scratches makes me love it even more," Louise says.
Passing by the dining area through the kitchen, you'll stumble into the living room. "A new experience having a kid is that toys are everywhere you turn!" Louise says, "Thankfully the old trunk helps us to declutter the mess."
Above the sofa on the right wall is Louise's real-life Tumblr feed. She got the empty frame for her 25th birthday from her previous neighbor and photographer Martin von Krogh. The story behind it was to fill the frame with one of his amazing photos, but six years later, it's still empty. "I really have to get to it!" Louise laughs, "I just love how this wall is a living project and we change the prints almost every month."
Along the window wall in the living room is a long, custom-made bookshelf. "My baby Leopold is a very curious baby," Louise shares, "so this works as the best observation tower for spotting dogs and busses! I also love how it reflects lights and covers the less-pretty radiators."
To the left of the window is this pretty little vignette. The print was a gift from Louise's friend and skilled graphic designer and art director Albin Holmqvist. The poster is from the beautiful short film, "Everyday."
The calm atmosphere takes the cake in this home.

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