A fun and creative Halloween

A fun season every year is Halloween! Decorations, costumes, creative food and fun parties – grateful for both children and adults!

We usually invite some friends, eat good food and arrange fun activities. This year we had a slimmer version because of Corona and only invited a couple of friends. The children and I usually have a lot of fun when we plan everything scary the guests will experience. Everything from tombstones with someone climbing up from the grave to dry ice that becomes like a smoke machine and then all the food of course! There is so much on this theme and here I share some decorations, activities, costumes and food we have had over the years.

We begin with…

Decorations

A zoombie tried to get up from the grave (hands visible at the far end)
Here we had a murder in the bathtub 2 years ago, not solved so far!
Decorations this year with light loops that give a cozy glow.
In the US (Ohio) around Halloween which I visited a few years ago
A pumpkin that feels bad!
The clown IT, painted by my daughter Mikaela. See more of her art by clicking here.
Nice light loops at the coffee table
Cobwebs and light loops in the lawyer tree
Happy Halloween!

Disguises

Always fun every year to try to come up with new things to wear. Here are some picks from our guests and ourselves over the years.

We had a nice visit from a handmade monster jaw and zoombie woman, the clown IT can also be seen on the right
Donald Trump! One of our guests was thinking about the scariest thing he could think of and it was Donald himself!
Help! Jason (Max) is trying to kill me!

Activities

There are many fun activities you can do and here are some things we have done recently. Last year we had a costume contest, best costume and most creative costume won! We have also had dry ice in the bonfire and dry ice final and quiz competition.

Quiz competition

This year we organized a small quiz competition in the forest we have behind the house. I arranged small scary stations with light loops and lanterns in the woods and the questions I had set up as notes on the trees. Guests were given flashlights and a map to follow. Here are questions and answers if anyone wants to implement.

Questions

1. What day is Halloween?
2. What is the name of “the kind ghost”?
3. What does a vampire drink?
4. Where is Count Dracula’s castle?
5. Which country holds the title of “The World’s Heaviest Pumpkin”?
6. What colors characterize Halloween?
7. What is the Swedish word for Halloween?
8. Which character is the creature from the movie IT best known for posing as?

Response

1. 31 October
2. Casper
3. Blood
4. Transylvania in Romania
5. Switzerland. It was a total of 1, 190 kilos
6. Black and orange
7. Alla Helgons Afton (All Saints’ Eve)
8. Clown

Food

There is a lot of fun food you can make on Halloween. Here are some tips on good dishes.

Cut pumpkin with guacamole and nacho chips
Root structure in pumpkin-cut shapes. Boil them a little lightly before cutting them so it will be easier to slice them. When everything is ready, add a little oil and salt. Feel free to add some rosemary leaves and garlic also for a slightly better taste. Then roast in the oven until they get a nice color.
Hamburgers can easily be decorated in fun shapes

Hope you have a fun Halloween despite Corona! Regardless of whether you invite guests home or not, it is still possible to do a lot of fun such as cooking scary food and decorating creatively!

Happy Halloween!

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Lina and her family built their dream home!

As our family grew, we felt that the city life no longer suited us. We decided to leave the city and invest in building our dream house in a more quiet environment a bit outside Stockholm. We found the perfect plot in Huddinge, a suburb of Stockholm, at the end of a small street very close to a lake. We felt that we would now begin a whole new phase in life – a journey towards our dream home!

This is what the plot looked like when we bought it
I (Lina) and my daughter visit the plot

Choice of a house supplier

We immediately decided on a turnkey contract as none of us are handy fixers. We booked meetings with the house suppliers Rörvikshus, Myresjöhus, Trivselhus, Götenehus and Intressanta hus. We managed to book all five meetings with the house suppliers on the same day! After an interesting, exciting and rewarding day, we were completely exhausted. We learned that most suppliers can deliver similar results, but the cost can vary.

The plot came with certain conditions determined by the municipality’s detailed plan. It was something we had not thought of before, but it affected what type of house we could build. We needed to relate to a building area of ​​a maximum of 150 sqm and a building height of a maximum of 5 m.

Our best tips for the meeting with house suppliers:

  1. Have the plot ready
  2. Know the type of floor plan you want but at the same time be open to new ideas
  3. Read about the conditions for the plot according to the municipality’s detailed plan
  4. Be price conscious – everything can affect the price, from ground works to all choices to be made

Choice of house type

We had an idea of ​​what kind of house we wanted to build which was a mixture between New England style and country style. But we were not completely convinced and felt that we needed more inspiration. We therefore visited  Interesting houses  (Västerås-based) which had a viewing day for two of their houses, Villa Holmberg and Villa Carlsson.

It really was an eye opener! The houses were like classic barns converted into luxury villas and contained a lot of smart solutions in a completely unique way. Clean, stylish and fresh, no window linings, minimal moldings, built-in laundry sink, etc. It became a real insight about how we should think ahead.

We knew the ultimate floor plan was out there somewhere, but where? But then one Friday afternoon we got an e-mail and it was from Rörvikshus – they had sent their new house plan! At a first glance, it looked hopeful.

We started going through the proposal and sketched out the changes we wanted to make. After a few turns back and forth, we finally got a proposal that felt just right for us. Our choice was Rörvikshus and it was so nice when that decision was ready! Of course we had compared all the different offers we received and not least the price but Rörvikshus felt most right for us.

Sketches of house and floor plans
Our final floor plan, downstairs
The upstairs

Planning application

It took a total of 15 weeks from the time we submitted our building permit application until we received an approved building permit. It is longer than the prescribed 10 weeks that the Planning and Building Act states. Admittedly, we had to supplement with changes during the process, but 15 weeks still felt like a very long time.

Interior Options

Early in the process, you have to make all the interior design choices and it is really both fun and difficult! You turn and twist everything and have time to change many times. Some choices we stuck to right away while other choices took much longer.

The kitchen

The Bistro model in linden flower green from Ballingslöv. It has it all! It is stylish, classic but still modern. Gives a feeling of being site-built, without being so and thus not as expensive. This was a style we fell for right away 😊

We fell for this lovely color – Lindblomsgrön from Ballingslöv

Kitchen worktop

Here we had a hard time deciding! In the end, after much hesitation, we landed having Carrara marble and chose to join the company  Apeia granit. It is a natural stone that requires a little care, but it is so heavenly beautiful. 

Kitchen counter tops in Carrara marble

Floor

Before the visit to the floor store Kvadratmeter in Stockholm, we had a long list of what we liked most. In the end, the choice was between 3 favorites:

  • Berg @ Berg Öland XXL Extra white Matt lacquered
  • Tarkett Epoque Also Rustic Plank
  • Tarkett Heritage I Blonde

Once we left, we had made our choice – it was Berg @ Berg Öland XXL Extra White Matt lacquered. We also chose a base mat called Timbertech TX which will make the sound muted.

The choice was between these 3 favorites
It ended up being this nice extra white matt lacquered from Berg @ Berg Öland XXL

Appliances

Rörvikshus has a collaboration with Miele, and since they also have good products, we chose to take Miele straight through.

Tiles and tiles

There were many turns here before we finally landed in the right choice for us 😊

Marble inspired by Konradssons. The plate is called Marmi Cararra Naturale Matt in 29.5×29.5. It is a slab in granite ceramics that is thus easier to maintain than real natural stone.

We also want to build in such a nice niche with built-in spots, which gives both feeling and character. This also avoids the awkward shower baskets that also take up extra space.

Nice niche with a spot light

Floor drain

So nice, discreet and fresh, just such a floor drain we really want!

Really nice floor drain that we ordered

Floor in bedroom

We chose a carpet in the bedroom and for our walk-in closet. A nice gray shade shown in the picture below.

We chose between these colors
It became this gentle light gray tone

Ground work

When the ground work was to start, we had some concerns about what would be underneath. We had not done any geotechnical investigation so we really had no idea what was underneath. There was a risk that the ground was loose and needed to be piled up or even that the boulder found on the plot would turn out to go just below a thin layer of soil.

The ground work is underway and everything seems ok, nice 😊

The plate is cast

Now we had a cast foundation and it went so fast! The sun shone from a clear blue sky and it did not take many hours for the plate to become firm. 

We were amazed at how small the plate looked.

It is important to be involved! As we stood looking at the plate, we discovered a misstake. This applied to the downpipes that would be placed by the bay window. The ground workers had prepared for each downpipe around the house by pulling drainage pipes to our stone coffin for drainage and stormwater. But the ones at the bay were not there. We notified our contact person at Rörvikshus and he announced that the ground workers would rectify this. There was an uncertainty in discovering shortcomings for fear that they forgot more things that we have not yet discovered.

As you can see in the picture at the end of the house, it should be prepared even at the bay window (left in the picture).

The house arrives

Suddenly the first part of the house delivery came and we now got half a house! The builders were incredibly talented, efficient and had a fantastic teamwork! In three hours they had put together an entire basement. 

The lower part of the house comes into place

The house started to take shape and on day 2 the second part of the house delivery came from Rörvikshus, the upstairs! The carpenters worked quickly and efficiently. We hade first worried about the size of the house, but when we saw the base plate we no longer had to think about it, the house felt huge! 😊

The upper floor of the house is raised on site

Some more problems that appeared along the way

Downpipes

When we were at the house, we discovered that gutters had started to be set for future downpipes. It did not look at all like we had thought, there were extremely many downpipes everywhere. It turned out that the downpipe supplier Plannja planned without us being able to take part in the drawing. Whether it got stuck at Rörvikshus or Plannja is unclear, but we would not have seen it anyway.

We had to quickly produce a drawing of how we wanted it and go over it with Rörvikshus and Plannja. Once again, the lesson comes up. EVERYTHING must be checked and approved and you have to think about EVERYTHING. It quickly goes wrong when many parties are involved and do not communicate properly.

Our awesome carpenters fixed the downpipes on the front just as we wanted. It turned out nice too!

Next problem

Roof tiles

We had been told that our roof had been delivered and we were so excited when we went to the house to look. At first we were very happy that they had already had time to lay almost all the roof, but pretty quickly the joy was exchanged for confusion.

Was it just us or were they not very bright roof tiles? At first we did not say anything to each other, my husband and I, but just walked around and watched. But then it was inevitable. It looked very bright!

The concrete tiles we had to choose from were available in three different shades of gray: light, medium and dark. We thought we ordered a dark, but probably there had been a mistake in the communication between which one was which and which one we would have. Right then it felt hard, and we called our contact at Rörvikshus, but afterwards you notice that some things are not as big of a problem as they seem at first.

“Wrong” shade of gray on the roof tiles

Color on the house

Now that the house was in place and we saw the whole house, we started the next project, to choose the house color! We visited Flügger paint, Colorama and Fredell’s DIY stores and bought some paint samples. We painted the colors in a row on our new house in daylight to try to get an idea of ​​which we liked best.

Immediately we could see that some shades really looked completely different in place out in normal daylight and that there was also a difference between sun and shade.

We painted white in the shades (from left to right): Tinted white (or Stockholm white) from Alcro Bestå, white from Jotun Demidekk, S-0500 from Flügger color and Warm white from Alcro Bestå. The winner? White from Jotun Demidekk!

One bathroom tiled and almost finished

Suddenly things started happening inside the house as well. The tile in the bathroom was so nice and we were so happy with the niche and the nice floor drain we chose.

The bathroom is about to be finished.

Final inspection

And then it was finally time for a final inspection and final consultation with the municipality and our KA. Our house got approved on both occasions! The inspector was impressed and said that there were very few things that needed to be fixed, and nothing that affected an approval. The things that needed to be fixed were written down and then the responsibility lay with Rörvikshus and their subcontractors to remedy. The things that were brought up were painting jobs, marks in the foundation and the shade of the stairs. Fixing the stairs was what would be most difficult and take the longest. In the end, we had to hire an external company to repaint it, even though it still did not turn out perfectly, it got much better.

House painted and ready-to-move-in house

Our terrace

A wise decision we made regarding our outdoor environment was to build our terrace already the first year. The environment around a new house construction tends to be quite messy, and especially with small children it is extra hard not to be able to move around on the plot at first. We realized this and are so happy that we chose to build a patio right away. We added a built-in bench and a privacy trellis and here we have really been able to enjoy many wonderful evenings together!

Our cozy terrace 😊
Our private terrace with beautiful rose bushes

What is your best advice to others who are thinking of building a house?

  • EVERYTHING must be checked and approved and you have to think about EVERYTHING. Otherwise there is a big risk that something will go wrong,
  • Choose an independent controller – we did it and it worked so well!
  • Contact the bank early to introduce your idea. Make financial calculations for housing costs and household budget so that you know how your finances are affected when you borrow and build.
  • Build a patio at the same time as the house so that you have an area to enjoy outside when you first move in.
  • Do not wait to paint the house!  The earlier you paint, the better for the house. The primer that the house comes with is not enough to avoid getting moisture (especially in nail holes, etc.) after a whole winter and spring. Also make sure to paint between May-Aug if you are in northern Europe as it is mostly steady weather and mild humidity. Optimal painting conditions are between 20-23 degrees celsius with even daily temperatures.
Welcome in!
Inside the entrance
Stylish and nice bathroom
We love our linden flower green kitchen from Ballingslöv
Our beautiful tulips!
So lovely to have your own little kitchen garden 😊
Our little playhouse on the plot that the children love

How do you feel in the house today?

We still enjoy and LOVE every square meter!

Feel free to go in and follow our continued journey on Instagram: @hejhuset

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Kristina and Axels house-building journey

Our Ekudde – Kristina and Axels house-building journey

The plot

We found the plot about 15 minutes from the center of Linköping in the direction of Askeby and Bankekind. It was a perfect location for us as it combined the best of both worlds – the proximity to town but still out in the country 😊 We found a plot that would be divided into two plots. In a plot division process there are a number of things you have to go through. Here we list the most important steps.

5 steps you must go through to divide a plot:

  1. The buyer together with the landowner applies for a subdivision.
  2. The municipality’s surveying unit is investigating the matter to see if it is ok to divide the land as desired.
  3. If everything is ok, an exhibitor from the surveying unit at the municipality will come out and design a map.
  4. Provided that no one appeals, the National Land Survey registers the procedure and then it is visible in the Property Register and is also entered in the register map.
  5. When all this is done, all that remains is to complete the purchase between the buyer and the landowner.

An advice is to write a small clause in a contract with the land seller, that the building permit must be ready before a purchase can be completed.

The plot from the subdivision was about 2,100 sqm.

There were many trees and sly on the plot that we needed to clear

The name Ekudden

At first we really wanted the name Ekbacken but it was already taken in the area. We had to think of a new name and it took some time to come up with another name we liked. Finally we came up with the name Ekudden which i really suitable for the area because it is like a triangle that goes out and there is also a big nice oak on the plot.  The surveying unit at the municipality welcomed our name proposal. It fit well and was also nice, the manager thought. Within a week we got the new address.

Building permits

We ordered a new construction map that you need when applying for a building permit. Based on that, we decided on the location of the house and given that the plot is not rectangular, it was not easy. The location we finally decided on was great and gave us space on all sides of the house. We sent in the building permit and hoped that everything would go through.

Unfortunately, our building permit was appealed by two different neighbors and we realized that the whole thing would be a lengthy process:

  • First appeal : A neighbor submitted an appeal during the building permit process to test whether our intended entrance could be moved. It was rejected and the building permit was granted shortly afterwards by Linköping Municipality. After this, we thought we would finally be able to start the construction process.
  • Second appeal : Later, an appeal of the building permit came in from another neighbor who was not comfortable with our plans. The County Administrative Board then became the next instance. We still had to pay Linköping municipality as the building permit for their part of the job had already been granted. According to the County Administrative Board, it would take 3-5 months to go through the appeal before a decision could be made.
  • The appeal to the county administrative board was rejected and now there was another opportunity for the appellant to proceed to the next instance, which is the land and environmental court in Växjö. But this next step cost money and we hoped that the person would refrain from appealing to the next instance.
  • The neighbor chose not to pursue the matter further and the building permit was finally approved in April, 2017. The process had taken almost 8 months!

Choice of house supplier

We decided quite early on to choose Hjältevadshus, an established house developer in Sweden. 

After careful consideration, we decided on a house model from Hjältevadshus which was a 1½-storey house called Solid 175 with a living area of 175 sqm.

The house that we chose

Trial excavation on the site

We decided to peform a test excavation on the site before we started all the ground work to avoid encountering surprises such as rocky knoll or loose ground that would need to be piled up. We received good support from the administrator at the municipality who we could consult about things like this and it was nice when an expert could give us guidelines. After the test was executed they informed us that everything beneath the ground looked fine and we had nothing to worry about.

We cleared sly and trees ourselves on the plot. A big job to clear 2,100 sqm and thanks to the fact that we received such good help from relatives and friends, we were able to complete this work within a reasonable time.

There was a lot of sly and trees that needed to be cleared but we got good help from relatives and friends 🙂

The foundation is being built
Our dear ground contractor was efficient. The foundation was quickly put in place and now we could really start to see how everything would turn out! So cool to see your own house grow piece by piece. 

The heart wall in the foundation and the styrofoam floor were also to be lifted into place, but we still saw where the descent to the foundation was and where all the drain and electrical pipes went.
All basic work ready for delivery of the house parts

Delivery Date

It took almost 1.5 years to get started with the construction from the time we first found the plot. Obstacles such as appeals and other annoyances made it take an extra long time.

At the end of August 2017, it was finally time for the assembly start when the crane lifted the house volumes in place. Just a few hours later the house was in place.

The house on site

The first volume, kitchen and living room, came in place first. A few hours later, the whole house was in place and we got a chance to see the house once again during the construction period. So nice when the whole house was set up and we could se what the wonderful view would be like!

The whole house on site - great feeling 🙂
Sheet metal and roof tiles are laid here and the painter has puttyed and prepared for painting
Now we had a house and we were out contemplating many evenings. Just looking, sitting by the house and taking in the new feeling was amazing 😊
The scaffolding was removed now and only one week remained until the final inspection

Internal work

So far, everything looked great! The painter had finished painting in the bedroom with a nice light gray color thats calming. On Thursday morning, all accessories for the water and electricity would be installed and on Monday the final inspection would take place.

The floor is laid and the stairs are built

Final inspection

Now it was finally time for the final inspection. The inspector, construction manager and carpenter were with us around every corner and to fill in paint cracks in the walls, wash away dirt stains and put part of the stair railing in place. We walked around for a full 3 hours. It was a rather good atmosphere all the time and we had similar views on what should be fixed. Phew!

We lingered after the final inspection and just realized the fact that it is actually ours all this. A huge feeling that would take a while to get used to. To begin this first chapter we had dreamed of and longed for so long!

A little later, our control manager and the municipality’s representative came to go through the house. There was a lot of focus on ventilation and heating. A lot of technical pieces that really none of us were so to familiar with. But good views came up that needed to be corrected!

We moved in

It was so wonderful with a proper kitchen with space for cooking, dishwasher, areas for socializing and inspiration. So long awaited! We finally had so much space that we could have a proper dining table and could now invite everyone who had been so hospitable and invited us home in recent years.

Wonderful with a large and airy kitchen!
This is how the house looks finished
Our wonderful view from the terrace
Our wonderful view from the terrace

When we had lived in the house for a few months

Unfortunately, we started to discover a lot of things that were not as it should be when we spent more time in the house. It was everything from craftsmanship that was not done properly, such as the oven which was misplaced and with a lack of ventilation above, front panel that was missing, etc.

When we got in touch with Hjältevadshus to report these shortcomings, we did not receive any feedback. We had to chase them ourselves and needed to feel like two annoying and ungrateful people who were never satisfied. We were certainly not far from impossible, but for millions of kronas and the biggest deal of our lives, we should not have to settle for half-baked solutions.

Unfortunately, everything was handled poorly and we could not recommend anyone else to choose Hjältevadshus. All the errors that arose, without information or any direct goodwill from Hjältevadshus, meant an enormous amount of extra work on our part.

Here you see there is a lack of ventilation above the oven
Here you see how the lower part is cut off, not acceptable in any way!

What advice do you want to give others who are thinking of building a house?

Building a house is not something that is done in a jiffy, even if some house suppliers give that impression. There is so much work behind that should be highlighted! Here are some of our best advice:

  • Preparations
    Read everything you could find. Blogs, municipal pages and other useful texts that can prepare you for the road ahead of you and how much actually depends on you and your preparations!
  • The plot
    First of all, are there neighbors to the plot you want to buy? Walk around and greet them, do they seem friendly to a new neighbor? If not, maybe you can count on appeals from them. Then be prepared for the building permit to wait. Explain that you exist and that you are looking forward to making this journey, but be careful not to tell too much. It can be used against you at a later stage.
  • Subdivision of plot
    If you, like us, have found a piece of land to be divided, it is important to send in the application for prior notice of the building permit. That application was paid for by the land seller in our case. In the event of a positive advance notice, a purchase contract can be signed with the land seller. On the other hand, make sure that payment is made only in the case of a positive building permit.

    Then there are other questions you need to be prepared for, such as how much land is included in the subdivision? Who is responsible for the fees for the demarcation and the fee for prior notice of the building permit? We were careful to write in the purchase contract that in order for the purchase to go through, it required a positive building permit. If we did not get a building permit, the purchase would go back. Before we had our building permit ready, we paid a down payment of 10% of the plot price. This is done so that both parties will feel secure in that no one backs out of the deal and that both will at the same time work together for a positive building permit towards both neighbors and the municipality. Here, it is also important to be aware that the National Land Survey and the municipality charge for their handling of the demarcation / building permit / advance notice and more.
  • Electricity and plumbing
    Before you buy a plot, it can be good to know how far it is to electricity. Is it developed and is it then far to the nearest connection point? How far does the land contractor or housing company dig for you? What does it cost to connect electricity? Is there municipal water and sewage? Or do you need to drill for your own water and fix your own drain? Our basic contractor had nice contact with a sewer designer and we were so happy about that. She solved everything for us. Registration to the municipality / meetings with the municipality / drawings and contact with the land contractor. Big plus to Anna Stridh on avloppet.se based in Kolmården, Östergötland who also had very good prices.
  • The house supplier
    Choosing a house supplier is very difficult, but make sure to take in quotes from as many as you can based on the type of house you want. What kind of house fits on the plot you found? For the plot, you should choose before choosing a house. What suppliers do the different housing companies use? Who builds the kitchen, the bathroom or lays the floors? Who is the appliances supplier and so on… Also think about what options you have for adjusting the walls / design of the house. If something can be changed, what does it cost? What is included? What requirements can you make? What is expected of you? These are important questions to really keep in mind, whatever it is about.
  • Other contractors
    We have only had one other contact next to Hjältevadshus. Our ground contractor. It has been nice not to involve more people to keep track of the work and with whom the responsibility lies. Our excavator has also been tied to our salesman at Hjältevadshus. It has been nice to know that he has done a good job before and that he is knows our house type!
  • Own work
    Is there anything you can do yourself? As you know, we had a lot to do with felling trees and clearing sly on our plot. It has been absolutely hard, strenuous and in part this has been dependent on our help from our loved ones. But we have also saved a lot of money. Money we have had use for when we made some choices to and around the house. Be sure to keep track of the dates that apply, so you have time for your part in the work. Maintain an ongoing dialogue with the entrepreneurs who will have access to things.
  • Purchasing
    Here we may not be professionals yet, but there are some things that are worth thinking about. Will you live in the country side or on a street with street lighting? Sweden is dark large parts of the year. Remember that you will want to find the house and the front door. Lighting is important!

    It is easy to be seduced by the house firms promises that as a customer you do not have to do much. But it is a truth with modification. It is called a turnkey contract and not everyone offers it. What we as buyers of a Hjältevadshus have is a shared contract with a basic contractor that we have also hired for the ground work in two different agreements, in addition to the agreement we have with Hjältevadshus. In the case of a shared contract, you as a client are also the developer, which means that you are responsible for the entire construction.

  • The process
    Be persistent and stay put. Feel free to make that extra phone call to make sure that things turn out the way you want them to and that everything is in phase! Kristina did it after she had a whim and just wanted to check that everything was in order and ready for the electricity, but discovered that not even a notification had been made. Then there was a panic outburst at both Hjältevadshus and the Swartling-Johnsson family.

Feel free to follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/villaekudden/

Our self-designed villa in New England style

My name is Johanna and I live together with my husband Matias and two children. We built our dream house in 2018 and here is our house builder’s story!

Me and my family. Photo: Hanna Maxstad

After 14 years in Stockholm and a job in the advertising industry, I moved at the end of 2015 with my family down to my hometown Lidköping to realize the dream of a house. It was not in our plans to build a house. We searched for a long time on Hemnet (swedish real estate site), but when our dream house never appeared, and we suddenly managed to come across a plot from the municipality, we decided to build one instead!

ABOUT THE PLOT

The area where we bought the plot is called Sjölunda Äng and in total the area consisted of 34 plots. The size of our plot is 1,034 m2. 

When we became landowners, we often went past the area where we were going to build and could see how roads, electrical cabinets, street lamps and new buildings such as preschools and schools grew. A toboggan slope was also built in the area. It was exciting to see when the new area was developed. It was also fun to see when construction began on the neighboring plots and to be able to follow the development of other house constructions and their various forms.

Land area
Our plot

Not all house models fit on all plots, so it is important that you carefully review your plot choice. 

5 smart tips to find the right plot for your dream house!

  1. Point of the compass. From what direction does the sun come from and at what time of day? How should the kitchen, living room and bedrooms be best placed in relation to this? Hitta.se has a smart function called solar info where you can search for a plot and see information about the sun’s orbit. This way you can see how the house and a possible garage can best be placed on the plot.
     
  2. Plan Provisions / building views. Check with your municipality which planning regulations apply to the plot. If there is a detailed plan, it states how you can build. For example, there may be regulations for height, exterior and house type. Also look at the municipality’s area plan, here you can see which future plans apply to the area. Our municipality invited us to an information meeting where they went through the planning regulations for our area.
  3. Visit some house suppliers and ask them to bring their expertise. Does the house we want to build on this particular plot fit well? In our case, it was definitely worth it as we first decided on a plot that was close to a forest area but which had not been optimal at all for a two-storey high house as both the house and the trees had shaded large parts of the plot. We had to reconsider our choice!
  4. Examine the ground – what is needed to make the plot ready for construction? There may be large costs for blasting, excavation and other ground works. In our area, the foundation needed to be reinforced with ribbed tires and because we knew this we could negotiate it in our contract with the house supplier from the beginning.
  5. Think about what your needs will look like in the future. How can the floor plan of the house change over time? Young children would like to have their bedrooms next to their parents’, but in a few years they may want more privacy. Are the storage spaces sufficient if your family grows? For example, we have chosen to build a double garage just to have space for storage.
LOCATION OF HOUSE

It is important to know the plot properly and think through the plot layout and house type before deciding where on the plot the house should be placed.

For me, it was important to have the house’s entrance on the long side facing the street, it fit well as the plot was wide enough. We placed the house so that we got the most garden at the back where the sun shines most of the time. We placed the garage on the east side of the house so that it does not obscure the evening sun.

We used this room compass to find the right location on the house - a good guide in how different rooms are usually placed in relation to the weather conditions. Click on the image to get to the room compass.

Tips when placing a house on a plot

  1. Look at the detailed plan for the area. What are the regulations on how to place a house and garage on the plot.
  2. Find out how the light falls on the plot. You can do this, for example, on solar info.  Then you see where around the house you will want to spend most time and where you, for example, want to build a terrace.
  3. Mark out the house on your plot. Use sticks to mark the shape of the house, think about the placement of rooms, windows, entrance so that you get a picture of the house in place on the plot. In our case, we want as much garden in the back (south) and in the southwest as possible, this is where the sun is present most of the day.
  4. Look at existing houses and garages how they are located on the plot and in relation to each other. We went around and watched a lot!
  5. Measure, measure, measure! Borrow a friend’s plot with house and garage and MEASURE. Mark out exactly what your garden will look like. This is unbeatable, you really get a sense of how big the garden will feel in relation to the house.
CHOICE OF HOUSE SUPPLIER

When it came time to finding the supplier who would be allowed to build our house, there were four critical areas we were looking to compare:

  • house model and floor plan
  • construction shape
  • Trust
  • offer

TIP! Meet several suppliers before you decide! We thought for a long time that it would be the first supplier we met that we would build with, but it turned out that there was something even better around the corner. Try to get in touch with someone who lives in a house your manufacturer has built so you can come in and look. Go around newly built areas and look at houses and their design for inspiration. Read house blogs! For example mine 🙂

We met 6 house suppliers before our choice landed at the local JB Villan. JB Villan has been around since 1998 and has grown step by step because their customers have recommended them further. Today, they are market leaders in Skaraborg County. What made us stick to JB Villan was:

  • that they draw the house exactly the way you want it, they do not have ready-made package houses. Many home builders have prefabricated houses and then charge a fee to unlock the floor plan for alterations.
  • that they offer a turnkey contract (ie you write ONE contract and then they are responsible for everything up to a ready-to-move-in house).
  • that they build a lot in the area and know the land well. We have contacted and met several who built with the supplier we chose and asked how they experienced their work. Must say here how incredibly nice everyone has been that we met and generously invited us into their homes, you know who you are 🙂
  • a competitive quote.
  • Last but not least, that we got a good trust in the owner Jan-Bertil who really took the time for us with all our countless questions and not once stressed at meetings.

CHOICE OF HOUSE MODEL

In our case, we were pretty much in agreement at once. We both grew up in two-story houses and like the idea of having the bedrooms separated from the rest of the house. So a house with two floors was the focus. It would be white, we like it stylish and simple. We started by googling all the home suppliers we knew, looked at their websites and ordered home catalogs. We also heard about Husknuten, a large area with display houses in Gothenburg, so we went there and looked. In Stockholm, there is an equivalent called Nybygget. It was clear quite immediately that a New England style house with horizontal panels was what we absolutely loved and what we wanted.

New England house

TIP! We assumed that a house on 2 floors would be more expensive than a single-storey house, but we were pleasantly surprised when that turned out to be wrong! A big cost when building a house is to cast the base plate on which the house stands and if you build a house on 2 levels, the plate will be smaller than a single-storey house with the same square meters because you build on the height.

CHOICE OF HOUSE FACADE

Wood or plastered facade? The choice of facade material determines not only the appearance of the house but also how much work you need to put into it in the future. Wood is cheaper initially but more expensive to maintain while plaster costs more but is almost maintenance-free. We landed in a wooden facade when it fit best with the New England house style we wanted.

Some advantages and disadvantages of wood facade and plastered facade: 

Facade type:  Wooden facade
Description:  Natural and living, often of spruce, larch or heart pine. 
Durability:  Several hundred years with the right construction method and maintenance. 
Care:  Facade washing if necessary. Repaint about every seven years depending on location. 
Benefits:  Sustainable, natural, environmentally friendly. Easy to build and repair. 
Cons:  Requires maintenance. Many details make maintenance difficult. 

Facade type:  Plastered facade
Description:  Smooth to coarse-grained coating of lime cement plaster, cement mortar or lime mortar. 
Shelf life:  About 50 years, then refurbishment is required. 
Care:  Facade washing and repainting if necessary.
Advantages:  Relatively maintenance-free, minor damage you can repair yourself.
Disadvantages:  Moisture sensitive. Trimming must be done by a professional.

FLOOR PLAN AND BUILDING PERMIT APPLICATION

When we started planning our house, the most important thing was that the house was spacious and had a large amount of light. It would feel airy and like you can really breathe. When we were around and looked at showrooms, we discovered after a while what it was we thought did incredibly much for the floor plan and the light – it was that there was transparency in the house and light entry from two directions. When you step into the entrance, you see straight through the house instead of being met by a wall, a staircase or similar. Maybe it sounds obvious but many houses do not have that floor plan.

After landing in a house location on the site, house supplier, house model and house facade, we were now sketching the drawings before the building permit application. After turning and twisting our preliminary drawings, twisting and turning a little more, adjusted and polished, we finally approved those drawings and sent them to the municipality for the building permit application! There are many hours of work behind every corner of the house, we have bumped and soaked, measured, prioritized and chosen. It will be so exciting to see it in real life in a couple of months!

Here you see pictures of the house drawings we finally got
Floor plan downstairs
Floor plan upstairs

Tip!  Gar-bo has a good page here about everything you need to think about when it comes to building permit applications.

OUR FURNISHING CHOICE

Door handle

Interior door handles were something we decided early on for the house. We knew exactly what we wanted and I am so happy with the result! That we chose brass in the house just felt obvious and somehow I think it fits incredibly well in the New England style we have built in. I am so happy that we got the chance to work with Habo when we chose our prints, they had a huge range of brass printsOurs is called  A9685.

Door handle

Kitchen faucet with sensor

For our kitchen, we chose Mora Cera Duo Miniprofi  from  Mora ArmaturThe best thing besides the nice design is the detachable hose and that it has a sensor. We thought a sensor would be a useful and a fun little detail but it turns out that we use it ALL the time! The good thing is that there are also handles that you can use if you want to flush for a longer time. For the faucet, we also chose electronic dishwasher shut-off .

The tap in the kitchen

The kitchen and windows

Induction hob (Husqvarna QHI7556P) is 70 cm wide, we wanted a slightly wider one but that was what we had room for because we finished drawing the house and the window replacement before we even started drawing the kitchen. This is because Vedum did not want a meeting before we had a finished drawing to start from. We love our window in the kitchen and would not have wanted to be without it, it really gives a wonderful light! But a small mistake from our house supplier JB Villan, was that they missed to inform us how much the placement of a window in the kitchen affects the entire kitchen plan. It was not something we immediately thought about. You want the top cabinets to go past the windows. Had we made a new plan today, we would have made the window a little shorter or moved it a few centimeters to the right to be able to fit a wider hob in the opening. 

The kitchen with the small window just below the cupboards

Floor hall

The floor we chose in the main entrance was an Italian tile from Swedish Tiles, Travertino Grigio gray polished. We had a very hard time choosing tiles for the hall, we knew we wanted a high-gloss floor but most of the ones we liked were very expensive. When we almost gave up, we found this and were so lucky that a neighbor a few blocks away had it in his hall so we had to come and look. Then we knew right away that it would be perfect! We love the texture and color. 

The floor in the hall at the main entrance

Floor In the kitchen, living room

The floor is a slightly white glazed oak parquet from Kährs called  Ek Vigo Country.

White glazed oak parquet that is being laid

Ceiling

The absolute best choice we made in the whole house was the overhead shower! After the first shower in the house I was completely lyrical, I promise it is MAGICAL! It’s like standing in a summer rain, even though the rays have perfect pressure. The overhead shower is really big, 40 cm in diameter, so you are really surrounded by water. The model is called Mora One and was designed by Thomas Sandell for Mora Armatur. 

The bathroom with the overhead shower
Close up of overhead shower

Laundry room – storage and countertops

The laundry room is really one of the things I appreciate in the house. I’m so happy about how we planned the laundry room adjacent to the main entrance. It is not super large – 8.1 sqm – but we have a solid countertop above the washer and dryer and lots of storage with large top and bottom cabinets. To the right of the bench we also have a drying cabinet and it is so fantastic to be able to hang the laundry in there!

Laundry Room

Tips for laundry!

  • Choose a solid sink and faucet, it is incredibly useful to have an extra sink in addition to the kitchen.
  • Include the choice of a mixer at an early stage. Think about what your needs are and choose the function and design accordingly. If, for example, you have a cupboard, it can matter how high your mixer can be.
  • If you plan to have a washer and dryer next to each other, turn the doors over so that it is easy to lift out of the laundry and directly into the dryer (without having to “walk around” the door).
  • To maximize space, insert a sliding door instead of a regular door into the next room, if possible.
  • Invest in dimmable spotlights under the top cabinets if you have them, it gives a good and cozy light at the workbench.
  • Tile above the workbench so it is easy to keep clean.
  • If you are building a two-story villa, think about what is above the laundry room. A washer and dryer always make a noise. We are glad that we have our wardrobe above and not our bedroom.

Lamp dining table

We chose a classic chandelier 2097  from FLOS, designed by Gino Sarfatti. It may seem common in the flow of interior design reports and Instagram posts, but for me it was a long-awaited lamp that had its rightful place in our house!

How high should the lamp be placed?

A classic measure that interior designers use is say 50-60 cm above a dining room table, large chandeliers may, however, need a few extra cm because they are often part of the interior and not just light over the dining room table. We hung ours at 75 cm from the table.

Dining room table lamp with 30 lamps
Dining room table and lamp above
HOUSE BUDGET AND COMPROMISES

Most people who build houses have a budget to deal with, so did we. It is really important to be focused and disciplined when entering a house building process because the many choices to be made can be overwhelming. I don’t really think you understand exactly just how many choices before you are in the middle of it! The most important tip is to decide on a budget and then stick to it by prioritizing your choices; is upgrading the fridge and freezer more important than carrara marble in the bathroom? Is a higher ceiling height more important than double doors in the entrance? Is it better to invest in finer tiles in the entrance hall than in the laundry room? Is the choice of flooring more important than the choice of wallpaper? etc. 

My tip when prioritizing your choices is to think about what is easier or harder to do in the future. For example, we put extra focus on the inner staircase as it is difficult to redo it afterwards, as well as our choice of 270 cm in ceiling height on both floors. We also chose the full height of the cabinets in the kitchen, double doors in the entrance and sliding doors where we wanted. Some things we chose to compromise with along the way were to go with simple baseboards / plinths and door frames instead of more profiled, higher plinths and door frames. Molded interior doors instead of solid and single-strip parquet only in the open areas and not in the bedrooms.

LIGHTING AND ELECTRICITY

Tip! Budget for more electricity than you think you need.

We budgeted for about SEK 60,000 in addition to what was included in the basic package for the house, but after the meeting with our electrician we realized that it was too low. We don’t think we have chosen something extravagant but electricity costs, it’s that simple! If, for example, you have a lot of spotlights, which we think gives a nice light, the price goes up quite quickly. Our electricity eventually landed at about SEK 100,000 extra in addition to the basic package for the house and garage (190 + 50 sqm), but then we also include the exterior lights. We are super happy with how the lighting and wiring turned out and are happy that we added what we did. Our electrician from Alvelods El  has really been a good advisor when we wanted everything from the exterior lighting to lights in the interior stairs.

So very happy with the lamp we put up in the hall! Even though we think that all the spotlights in the window sills lights up very well, it is still icing on the cake when you add regular lamps.

The basic package that was included in our house contract contained 0
 (b = opted out by us) :

  • 39 wall sockets, double, earthed
  • 5 lamp sockets over windows (b)
  • 13 lamp sockets in the ceiling
  • 5 telephone sockets (b)
  • 2 boxes and empty tube for antenna
  • electricity for 1 washing machine
  • electricity to 1 dryer
  • electricity to 1 hob
  • electricity to 1 oven
  • electricity for 1 dishwasher
  • electricity for 1 fridge & freezer
  • 1 bench lighting (b)
  • 1 luminaire in kitchen ceiling (b)
  • 1 faucet in laundry room (b)
  • 1 luminaire in dressing room (b)
  • 3 luminaires in garage
  • 2 luminaires in bathroom (b)
  • 4 pipe outlets for external lighting
  • 2 external sockets
  • 1 bell (we bought our own bell)
  • electricity for 1 central vacuum cleaner

We chose to:

  • electricity to micro
  • electricity for drying cabinets
  • electricity in dressers
  • more electrical outlets and lamp buttons inside and outside
  • electrical outlet in kitchen island
  • dimmer for several lamp sockets
  • Schneider electric socket “Renova” instead of standard
  • 2 network sockets
  • spotlights in all the window sills
  • spotlights in display cabinets
  • spotlights in bathroom
  • spotlights under kitchen cabinets
  • spotlights under cabinets in laundry room
  • spotlights in the porch roof
  • astronomical clock for exterior lighting that makes it turn on and off automatically
  • 7 exterior lighting “Paris” from Norlys and 2 “Cone” from Hide-a-lite
  • sensor-controlled lighting in the garage (soooo happy with this choice!)

Had we had a higher budget for electricity, we would have chosen a smart system with displays where you can control the lighting, recessed speakers, more network sockets and dimmers on 100% of all lamps. 

Here are 12 quick tips for those of you who are planning electricity!

1) Go from room to room physically in the house and visualize everyday life. How do you walk in the house, what exactly do you do in the rooms: charge your mobile phone, iron, whip with an electric whisk, brew coffee, charge your toothbrush, blow dry your hair, put lighting in a Christmas tree, put up a christmas window star, watch TV, etc

2) Think about what the interior will look like. For example, should there be a bookshelf, wardrobe or display cabinet that needs light inside?

3) Spotlights in the window sills instead of window lamps. We have chosen it in all our windows and window doors because we think it gives a pleasant and wonderful light. You also do not have to set up window lamps to get a stylish window.

4) “Hide” sockets under the kitchen island and in the chest of drawers in the bathrooms.

5) Keep in mind that not all sockets have to be placed by the floor, it can be both practical and nice to have them in line with windows. Many people think that it is practical to have above windows, personally I do not think it is that nice, but if you know that you will have window lamps, it is smart.

6) It may feel far away, but think about where the Christmas tree will be and where you will want to put up advent candelabra and christmas window stars.

7) Dimmer, dimmer, dimmer. Best of all, I would like to have dimmers on all lamps. But be realistic and think about which lamps you really need to dim. Also keep in mind that it is a fairly simple thing to install afterwards.

8) Astronomical clock makes it possible to get exterior lighting that is controlled by the rising and setting of the sun. You do not have to come home to a dark house.

9) If you are unsure about the exterior lighting, go to the house with a flashlight when it is dark and shine where you plan to put the lights.

10) Put electrical outlets outside the house as well, if you want to connect a light loop over the terrace, a pergola or similar. Or if you are planning for awnings.

11) Should you have a robotic lawnmower – plan for an outlet for it in a good place on the plot.

12) The garage. A smart thing is to have a lamp that is sensor controlled in the garage. Then you do not have to be in the dark when you step out of the parked car. 

BUILDING STARTS

Once things started to happen, it went really fast and it was so exciting to follow all the steps from when the foundation was laid until the slab was cast. It was really possible to imagine how the garden would feel in terms of size and in relation to the house, which felt incredibly good!

The plot is ready and ready to start casting
The plate has been cast - here you see the plate to the house straight from the front
The scaffolding is up and ready for the house parts to arrive.

The best of the week  was when our contact at JB Villan emailed and asked if we had thought of that the hinges for our exterior doors are in chrome? (we had brass handles). Eh, no we had not thought of that. So thanks to his attention-grabbing eye (he is beginning to understand that we are careful with the details), we now get brass hinges. Thank you Patrik, you are the best!

The worst of the week  was that we decided which of the double doors’ left and right door to the garden should be opened first and then changed our minds a couple of hours later on the double door in the kitchen, but then it was already too late and the cost to change was SEK 2,500. We thought it was really bad, so now we have to live with the right side instead of the left one being opened first. Not the end of the world but annoying.

HOUSE UNDER CONSTRACTION

The construction of the house went quickly once it started and it was so exciting to follow everything new that happened all the time. As a developer, you are responsible for transporting away rubbish that is left on the site.

First house parts in place 🙂
Here the house parts are in place and the facade is being completed
House and facade on site

FACADE PAINTING

Once the scaffolding was in place, we thought it was easy to take the opportunity to paint the upper part of the house. The house is very high so it would have been difficult to arrange your own scaffolding to paint later.

Tip! How to paint a facade: Here is a good step-by-step guide on how to paint a wooden facade!

Here we are ready to start the facade painting at the top of the house
Invaluable help from our parents! Without them, we would not have come as far as we did with the painting so quickly. Matia's parents who had come here from Katrineholm and worked for three days now, my father who feels like a natural part of the construction team and my mother who takes care of the children
The eaves - the hardest, most difficult and most inaccessible part of the whole house
COLOR CHOICE ON THE FACADE

What shade of white was it then ?! So it was the hardest choice of all for the house. I’m still pensive to all the different white shades that should fit together. It would have been much easier to choose a house with contrasting colors… but if you want white, you want it! In any case, it was Jotun Eggvit 0502-y, a soft white tone with a little yellow in it so as not to become dazzling white. 

Tip!  Keep in mind that the nsc code 0502-y and S0502-y are two completely different colors. S stands for second edition and it is much more yellow than the one without s which is more pure white. S0502-y is usually the shade (unfortunately) that interior doors and moldings come in. 

The deck

Now it went fast – when the painting was finished and the scaffolding was gone, our balcony construction started! We could barely keep up but when the weather turned out for the best and we got the opportunity to help with the work, it was just best to keep on going! We dug out and leveled to the ground where the patio should be, measured out where the plinths would sit, dug holes and started placing them. It was a tiring job and it really ached in my body afterwards!

The ground prepared for patio construction
This is where the terrace construction starts
The terrace construction is almost complete

Final inspection

The final sprint was intense! Our fantastic craftsmen worked hard and worked late several evenings to finish everything before the final consultation. I have to admit that we were extremely hesitant that they would make it but you know – they did !! We were there Matias, me, mom and dad and cleaned the house before inspection so that it would be nice and easy for the inspector to go through the house.

Early in the morning, we met with JB Villan’s complaint manager for a review of insurance on the house and the various products (such as exhaust air heat pump, windows, doors, floors, etc.) and care advice for them. After that our inspector came and for two hours he walked around with a flashlight in the inside and outside of the house and garage and looked at every detail. Good arrangement by JB Villan to at the same time have carpenters on site who could adjust things that needed to be adjusted, a kitchen door, a door, a handle on a chest of drawers etc. Not everything was enough so they booked a time at a later time when they would come and fix the last things.

When the inspection was completed, the building inspector came from the municipality and our control manager also came to go through the house. When everything was ready, we were told that everything was approved for moving in, a completely unreal feeling that the house was now ours!

The final inspection - funny that the inspector liked our white color on the walls so much that he asked to get the color, as he is just about to repaint at home. Guess if I was happy about that question! As we struggled with all these white shades !! Jotun Egg White 0502-Y is the color we used on the walls both on the outside and inside of the house.

Tip!  Here  you can read more about how a final inspection takes place and what happens afterwards. 

OCCUPATION

It is impossible to describe in words how this journey to build a house has been, it feels like a life before and a life after. We’ve learned so much about things we had no idea about before, and it’s been so FUN! But of course also stressful, anxious and super exciting. We are not really quite there yet, our next project this spring and summer in 2020 is garden planning and final painting of the porch. But right now we are looking forward to landing in our dream house and to not have to make a lot of decisions for a little while.

Now the house is approved and we can move in, hooray !! 😊

SOME TIME AFTER MOVING IN

When we had lived in the house for just over a month and a half, a protocol came from our final consultation, our inspector wrote of various small things that had to be fixed. On that list were the following items left that JB villa would arrange:

  • Replacement of windows upstairs that were not tight (it whistled and howled throughout the house when it blew).
  • A switchboard in the garage was to be set up.
  • Part of downpipe on the front would be attached.
  • The boiler was to be built in at the top of the roof.
  • Moldings at the sliding wardrobe in the hall were to be painted.
  • The mirror cabinet in the small bathroom was too high and had to be lowered.
  • The heat pump (NIBE F730) had been in trouble from time to time since we moved in.

How do you feel today in the house now that you have landed a little more?

Today we fully enjoy our nice house and terrace where we alternate country life with big city life as my husband still works in Stockholm. We alos have an apartment there and a lot of our close relatives and friends.

Here are some pictures of the house and the outdoor environment as it looks completed.

The house finished with terrace and lawn.
Our terrace which is a total of about 107 sqm. From the house wall towards the lawn, it runs 7 m on each side of the angle. From the angle in the middle it goes 4.6 m and out on the short side from the guest room it goes about 2 m and is 15 m long. We have chosen 145 mm wide wooden planks.
Photo: Hanna Maxstad. We are so happy with the house today and happy about the decision to move here to Lidköping.
Main Entrance
Our main entrance where you look straight through the house and out to the back.
Entrance hall where hall meets living room.
The kitchen with the kitchen island in the middle, we are happy with all the storage we have built in.
We wanted a kitchen with a lot of light and here you see windows and doors in several different angles.
Bedroom upstairs.
Children's room on the upper floor with built-in storage.

Feel free to follow my blog: http://www.johannawalden.se and / or Instagram at @villawalden

Here are some of our top tips for those of you who are thinking of building a house:

Are you a novice in the housing industry and facing the choice to build? Here are my 8 best tips!

  • Even if you do not know anything about houses, dare to hop on the train! You learn gradually, and EVERYTHING can be googled!
  • Talk to people who built before!
  • Build ONLY with a well-known and established house supplier.
  • Walk around and feel the area where you are going to build, talk to neighbors and review what the price picture for houses nearby looks like.
  • When choosing a plot, be aware of how the sun moves and where the house can be placed on the plot. And which house model is right for your particular plot.
  • Make a clear calculation, count at the top and add 5-10% as a buffer.
  • Expect more budget for electricity than you think.
  • Do a lot of research, especially if you are careful with the details. Read on and visit as many houses as you can in the same style as you are going to build. It is one thing to see a house on a drawing and quite another to experience it in real life.

5 tips when placing a house on a plot

  1. Look at the detailed plan for the area. What are the regulations on how to place a house and garage on the plot.
  2. Find out how the light from the sun falls on the plot. You can do this, for example, on  solar info.  Then you see where around the house you will spend most time and where you, for example, want to build the terrace.
  3. Mark out the house on your plot. Use sticks to mark the shape of the house, think about the placement of rooms, windows, entrance so that you get a picture of the house in place on the plot. In our case, we want as much garden in the back (south) and in the southwest as possible, this is where the sun is most of the day. Therefore, we have, for example, placed a patio door in the guest room facing the garden to the west, to be able to easily get out in the evening sun.
  4. Look at existing houses and garages how they are located on the plot and in relation to each other. We went around and watched a lot!
  5. Measure, measure, measure! Borrow a friend’s plot with house and garage (thanks Eva and Erik!) And MEASURE. Mark out exactly what your garden will look like. This is unbeatable, you really get a sense of how big the garden will feel in relation to the house.

 Other tips!

  • Here you can read more about building credit.
  • Negotiating the interest rate is important. Here is some help along the way.
  • To keep up with all new words can be a jungle, Here you will find 20 words that are good to know.
  • Here you will find, and can compare, the banks’ current list interest rates and average interest rates.

20 things I did not know I cared about until I built a house

  • How wide a threshold is.
  • If the floorboards are laid horizontally or vertically.
  • What color is the joint between the tiles in the bathroom.
  • How wide the panel is on a house.
  • Where the break boards sit on a house.
  • What kind of raw glass is it in a bathroom window.
  • What a window lining looks like.
  • Which door you open first in a double door.
  • What kind of wood is it in a staircase.
  • How close to the wall a toilet seat is located.
  • Where wall valves are located.
  • How many degrees a roof slopes.
  • Where the lamp buttons are located.
  • What insulation is in the walls.
  • What a garage can look like.
  • How wide a house knot is.
  • Which way a balcony door opens.
  • How high a bathtub mixer is.
  • How far into a plot a house is located.
  • What the bottom valve in a sink looks like.

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Our house building journey continues with a new garage

Residence Journeyes has been selected by a panelist of Feedspot as one of the Top 40 Custom Home Blogs on the web. Se the entire list at  Top 40 Custom Home Blogs.

Our garage project

We are building a garage and a carport with a small apartment on top of about 25 sqm. We will asphalt the driveway and continue to lay natural stone walls all the way from the stairs down to the road. 

This is what the floor plan looks like for the garage, the carport, and the apartment on top
This is the sketch we have done on the floor plan for the apartment of about 25 sqm
It is a long driveway we have and there will be a natural stone wall that will frame this whole side
Retaining walls on the side facing the neighbor

In order to gain land space and cope with the load of vehicles, we needed to plan the construction of retaining walls on the side facing the neighbor. To be able to build a retaining wall, you need to start by digging out and preparing the ground. Just at the end of the excavation, we discovered a big boulder, but it could be solved by placing a lower L-support right there.  

Preparations to be able to build retaining walls, the boulder comes down right at the end of the excavation as seen in the picture
This is what it looks like with the L-support in place
Work is underway here to prepare the ground for a garage slab
Mountains in the way of piping

When the driveway was excavated to be able to prepare for piping of water and sewage it was quickly discovered that the mountain went just below the surface. Fortunately it was still possible to solve the problem by using insulated culvert boxes for water and sewage pipes. Together with a heating cable, the box can be laid superficially just below the ground. 

The insulating box is usually used when the ground conditions are difficult, such as mountainous environment. If you can avoid blasting, thats what you want to do it as it is very expensive and can be complicated depending on what the mountain looks like. Our mountain turned out, during our house construction (in 2016), to be full of cracks and cavities. This created a lot of problems as the blasting did not give full effect as it otherwise does when the rock is solid. The blasting work became complicated and took time. We are very happy that we now did not have to go thru that again this time.

This is what our insulation box looks like
Stones for the natural stone wall

There were a lot of large boulders under the ground, which was great as we need all the stone later on for the construction of the continued natural stone wall.

All boulders were saved and will be used later
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This week our garage projekt continues and I frequently post here on my blog about our progress. Make sure you get the latest updates about our garage construction directly to your e-mail.

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Our garden design and exterior work

Our garden and house exterior

After we had finished our house building project it was time to plan the house exterior and our garden. We took our time to make a plan over the entire area and had some really good help from our family. My father-in-law knows alot about plants and gardens so we had good help and advice from him when deciding which plants, flowers and trees to buy. 

Planning pool and terrace

All work with the terrace and garden has taken time to plan and build. Now, 3 years later, we are finally starting to see the end result and it is so exciting to see how everything we have planned has turned out. 

We have taken the work with stone walls, terrace and gardening step by step and it started already during the construction of our house where we prepared for the pool at the same time. We poured the foundation and a pipe was dug under the house that runs between the rock heat exchanger and the rock heat pump.

Cast foundation for the pool
Cast foundation for the pool
Stone terrace and natural walls

When we moved into the house, the plot consisted of a ski slope full of blasted stone. To be able to build a terrace and garden, we needed to support with walls in two levels and to do this we used all the blasted stone on the plot.  

For the terrace, we ordered light gray granite stones that fit well with the wall and stone stairs.

All the blasted stone that is left over and that we used to build all the walls
Pool is being build at the same time as the stone wall
The foundation is prepared to begin the work of laying the stone terrace
Natural stone wall around the house
Front of the house were the ground work is prepared
Stone terrace is being laid
The lawn

It took many days of hard work to get a nice lawn. The toughest job was to get the groundwork under the lawn in good shape. We ordered several large truckloads of soil and then there were a lot of boulders left that we had to move to get the ground leveled. 

Once the groundwork was done, we could start rolling out the grass. This took us about 9 hours on two people. When we were done we had some grass left but luckily the neighbor needed some grass so it was not wasted🙂

It was a tough job getting all the soil out
The soil spread out
The soil flattened ready for grass to be rolled out
Newly rolled grass, it took a week or so before all the parts had grown together
This is how nice the lawn became after a few months
The pond

One thing we decided from the beginning we would do was to keep the pond which was quite overgrown when we bought the plot. We dug it out and planted some new plants around the pond. Today, plants and animals thrive abundantly around the pond and it is a pleasure to just look at it. We also have salamanders that live in the pond and are very active in the spring.  In Sweden Salamanders are protected.

Many different plants around the pond, both older plants and new plants
Aquatic plant Kaveldun can be seen to the right in the pond
Dew cover - a type of perennial that does not require much care
Snare wind that we have both around the pond and in other places in the garden, very beautiful but unfortunately it occurs on other bushes and trees nearby so I need to go and pull regularly
Hornbean from Germany

When we were going to build the plot, we ordered a lot of trees and bushes from Baumschule eggert in Germany as it was much cheaper. However, it is only worth it if you order alot. The hornbean we got was very nice and today it has become big and plump.

Hornbeam directly from Germany
Newly planted hornbeam
Hornbeam today, 3 years later
Path in natural stone

Behind the house we have laid tiles in natural stone as a path in the gravel. Fits perfectly in the forest and mountain environment that surrounds the house.

The path on the short side of the house towards the forest

The stone terrace 

We finished the stone terrace a few years ago and light gray granit stones stretches around 3 sides of the house. It fits well with the stone wall and stairs in granite stones.

Natural stone wall around the house
The entrance at the front of the house
Stone terrace at the back of the house
Stone terrace at the back of the house with level differences
Granite stone terrace goes around most of the house
Nice view over neighborhood from the pool
At the other corner you will see a ledge that we chose to build instead of a ladder - perfect hanging place on a hot summer day 🙂
Finished pool on stone areas that go around the house
The yard is right below the edge of the pool
Granite stone stairs leading up to the terrace at the front of the house
Granite stone stairs leading up to the terrace at the back of the house
Bushes and plants we chose to keep

On the plot there were some old apple trees which unfortunately were in too bad condition to keep so they went with the plot clearing. There was also a really beautiful old rhododendron that we chose to keep. As they like shady environments, we were a little worried that it would not work when we felled the trees on the plot, but it has done very well and is so beautiful now! We also managed to preserve some really old lilies that were in the forest part of the plot. They had to live temporarily with my father-in-law during the construction period, but then when we moved in we replanted them in the mountain pocket by the driveway. They smell really good (as very old lilies do) and thrive in the mountain pocket together with some other lilies we have planted. 

The old lilies that were on the plot
Purple Iris
Beautiful iris close up
Rhododendron with deep roots, probably the reason why it did so well even though it is now exposed to more sun
Beautiful old lilac bushes, there were some on the plot when we bought it
More old lilac bushes in a different color
A large beautiful golden rain bush
Yellow fat buds, fits perfectly in a mountain environment
Full of rose bushes growing around the pond
Flowers, bushes and trees we have planted ourselves

We have planted a lot of new things in the garden and received a lot of help from my father-in-law to plan and plant the garden with beautiful trees, bushes and flowers that suit the seasons.

In the old house there were old margarine, egg and sugar boxes. Perfect for planting colorful flowers in🙂
Seasons and flowering

We have tried to think through how different plants bloom during the year so that we often have something that blooms in early spring to late autumn. 

We have a lot of mountains with pockets and cracks so we have planted small sweet mountain plants
Shrubby Cinquefoil in different colors
Spiraea japonica froebelii - very nice and full-bodied. Begins to bloom in mid-July
Purple petunia, so beautiful!
Lovely hydrangea that I finally got in a good shape this year, now it is nice and full
The hydrangea is located at the front of the terrace
The hydrangea also grows in the backyard
Squash plant
This beautiful lily blooms for a long time and starts in the middle of summer
Purple prakttry
Walkers low that fits perfectly between the walls
Walkers low spreads out nicely
Rosehip shrubs
Our cherry tree is growing bigger each year
Colorful red tulip
A bee on a hydrangea
Magic sunset

Our future projects

Soon we will start another project of building a new driveway and a garage with a little flat on top. Make sure to follow our continued journey by subscribing to blog posts and you will get all the latest on our new adventures.

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Our house building story

My name is Magdalena and together with my husband Claes and my two children Mikaela and Max we found our dream location for building a house ia few years ago and this is our house building story. 

This is me and my family on a vacation to Puerto Rico, Spain

ABOUT THE AREA TÄBY KYRKBY

Täby Kyrkby is a small town close to Stockholm city and is a beautiful place known for its rich history which goes back all the way to the bronze age. The Vikings had, during the 1000s, a strong grip of Täby which back then was a prosperous countryside. Through the 37 known rune carvings that exist in Täby today, we know alot about the Viking Age and the people from back then. The most talked about Viking of runic carvings was Jarla Banke – a viking who was the head of Täby and who lived in Täby Kyrkby.

We first moved to Täby Kyrkby in 2006 when Mikaela was born. Much of what we were looking for we found here such as close to nature, water, god public transportations, restaurants, a small town center with a bakery, grocery store, pharmacy, flower shop, and more. In addition, the environment was picturesque and gave a small town feel in the middle of the Stockholm area.

Highlights of the area:

Vallentunasjön

Just nearby is Lake Vallentuna which offers beautiful natural paths to walk in and is a popular skating area in the winter.

 

Vallentunasjön which is beautifully situated in Täby municipality and Vallentuna municipality.

Nygårds Värdshus

In the countryside in Täby Kyrkby there is a small 19th century cottage called Skänkstugan  and next to it is the manor – Nygårds Värdshus . The food is fantastic and the staff welcoming and friendly.  We have a 10 minute walk to this lovely place!

Nygårds Värdshus and Skänkstugan

Täby Church

Dating back to the 13th century, this beautiful church is located in the middle of Täby Kyrkby. Extensions took place during the 14th and 15th centuries. During the 1480s, the interior of the church was decorated with frescoes by the famous master Albertus Pictor and his associates.

The church dating back to the 13th century

Charming environments

All around Kyrkbyn are old beautiful buildings and nice small country roads with natural stone walls.

Nice benches right next to the belfry
Pond beautifylly situated
Country road

FINDING OUR DREAM LOCATION TO BUILD A  HOUSE

In the autumn of 2014, we found a plot of 2,760 sqm in our dream location i Täby Kyrkby. We used to live in the southern part of Täby Kyrkby and now we wanted to find something closer to the center and schools. The plot had exactly everything we wanted, situated in a high and free location in the center of Täby Kyrkby. However, the plot was very overgrown and it was difficult to see any view, but when we climbed up to the attic of the old house on the plot we could get a feeling of what the view would be.

View to the west from the attic window of the old house

The dwelling house

On the plot there was a dwelling house that we chose to demolish as the condition of the house was in far too poor condition. 

Picture on the back of the old house
Picture of the front of the old house

Little cottage

On the plot there was also a cute little cottage that we have chosen to keep. We currently use it as storage, but later on there are plans to renovate it and turn it into a guest house.

Picture before we cut down the trees on the plot

The last outdoor toilet in Täby Kyrkby?

There was also an outhouse on the plot that was used into the last of the uncle who lived in the house earlier. We think it must have been Täby’s last outdoor toilet that was located almost at the top of the mountain 😂

Nicely decorated outdoor toilet

Charming paintings

Inside the old house there were paintings on the walls just inside the entrance. Very charming paintings of what we think would represent a painting of the dwelling house and a troll on the mountain 😊

Paintings inside the entrance - the mountain troll?

Diary entries about animal and bird life

In the house we found a huge collection of diary entries with documentation from animal and bird life in the nature around the mountain from the 60s onwards. We chose to submit all these books to the Ornithological Society so that they can preserve the work for the future. We also had a flea market before we demolished the house which was well visited by friends, neighbors and others.

Pictures inside the old house
The day before we were to demolish the house, we had a burglary in the house and they stole, among other things, the wall clock you see at the top right. We were not particularly upset about that burglary since we had already cleared out the things we thought were special 😂🙂

HOUSE EXTERIOR AND BLUEPRINT

Early house sketches

House proposal designed by our son Max, then 7 years old
The first sketch of our dream house that we drew Claes and I before we had met any companies

Great freedom to control the process

As the site was not linked to any developer, we could control the entire process ourselves and choose what suited us best. We invited several pieces, including Myresjöhus, Götenehus, A-hus, Trivselhus and an independent free builder.

We showed our own sketch and said that we wanted something similar to what we had sketched ourselves, but where the architect from the builder was happy to come up with his own ideas and suggestions. The choice fell on Götenehus, who were responsive and listened to our wishes while contributing their own ideas and expertise.

The floor plan developed by Götenehus architect
Götenehus came up with a proposal for a single-storey villa we liked

THE HOUSE IS DEVELOPING

That first time when the work finally starts is a very special time! Now, finally, everything you have longed for for so long should begin.

The children are excited - the machines are ready to start work on the site
The blasting work on the site was extensive

The surface is prepared and ready

When the work of building the house was finally to begin, it had become winter and very cold.

Beautiful winter picture of the plot that we got sent to us from a future neighbor - much appreciated

The plate in place

So fun to follow all the steps in the process. There are really many steps and a lot of basic work before the first parts of the house start to take shape.

A great deal of basic work before the slab could be cast
The plate in place
Here you can see all the pipes and wires in the plate and the level difference where the small mini staircase should be
Pre-cast plate
Claes and the children on the plot on a nice winter day
Me and two happy children who follow the journey with great anticipation
The scaffolding is ready to wait for the body parts to arrive

The house parts arrive

This part was so exciting to follow! The house parts arrive and are put in place and the whole thing only took a few days. It is unbelievable that an entire house can be assembled so quickly.

Great teamwork to get all the parts in the right place
A giant crane lifted the house parts
Lifting crane with long arms
A craftsman makes sure that the house parts end up right
The whole house in place and the first time we get to see our house in real life 🙂

The interior work begins

Once the house is in place, the interior work can begin. Many people involved in various parts of the work – carpentry, electrical and plumbing, painting work, tile and tile replacement, etc. The interior work took a total of just over 4 months to complete.

A future kitchen island
New material arrives

INTERIOR CHOICES AND PLANS

The floor plan

The floor plan is divided into three parts, a social part with large areas of living room, dining room and kitchen and a bedroom part with walk-in closet and associated bathroom with sauna and finally a separate part for children with social room, 3 bedrooms and a bathroom.

The children’s part

Another thing we did was to build in an insulating inner wall against the children’s part where the main reason was to make the house less sensitive, which is otherwise a risk for single-storey houses. There was also an idea that the children would soon be teenagers with all that entails of loud music, friends and a greater need for personal space. In the children’s bathroom part there is also a terrace door where they and friends can go in and out themselves.

Walkin-in closet

One thing we really liked about the walk-in closet was that it is open from both sides and just as the sketch on the floor plan shows, it is appropriate to have the bed in the middle and open on both sides towards the wardrobe.

The bedroom with walk-in closet behind

Get a living feeling in the house in a single-storey villa

Some things that we thought were important to keep in mind to get a living feeling in the single-storey villa were to build two steps into the living / dining room towards the kitchen. We have not regretted that choice for a second as it makes the whole house feel cozier and more alive. 

Level difference down to living room and dining area

Color – 2 shades lighter

A tip we got regarding the color choice was to choose 2 shades lighter than what we wanted and when you paint it on a large surface, it will be the color you have in mind. We had a very hard time deciding the color, especially in the bedroom. We had decided which shade we wanted on the samples and it was really difficult to take two shades lighter from the color we saw. But we did it and the result painted then became exactly the color we wanted🙂

Painting test on bedroom wall

Electricity, technology and VA gathered centrally

In the middle of the house we have gathered all the technology, electricity and water and sewerage. Everything is hidden away in a sliding door wardrobe where there is also plenty of space for storage. 

The entire house is controlled from this location including the sound system to the speakers which are located in the roof in central parts of the house and on the terrace outside.