Christmas in the country is always special, but Kim Månsson’s weekend home in southern Sweden is even more appealing when it’s decorated with bright ribbons, foliage, moss and fresh flowers.
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Owner: Kim Månsson, a hairdresser, divides her time between here and her apartment in Malmö Property Built in 1856, in Nilstorp, near Kågeröd in southern Sweden
What she did: The roof, electrics and floors had to be replaced, the windows were repaired, and all the interior walls have been replastered and painted
‘One Christmas I was completely snowed in and didn’t come out for a whole week,’ says Kim. ‘But with two freezers full of food and plenty of books to read, it wasn’t a problem. In fact, it was wonderful.’
Even without being cut off by snow, Kim’s small, white farmhouse is fairly remote, on a large plot with wide views across the fields.
Inside, though, the atmosphere is convivial and the antique furniture that Kim has collected at auctions and fleamarkets since she was 20 complements the old house.
‘My friends couldn’t understand why I was so interested in antiques,’ adds Kim. ‘They said it was junk and didn’t see the beauty in things that I did. I served up food on my East Indian plates from 1790 and they thought it was unhealthy to eat from such old china. Personally, I thought it was amazing that the plates were still holding together!’
Her interest became a passion and Kim signed up for antiques courses and spent whole days at auctions, learning as much as possible about the items up for sale.
She learned how to make her own tapestries and how to paint and renovate the furniture she picked up. ‘I’m fascinated by the fact that people had these things before me and always wonder how they used them, how they lived, and what my things looked like in their homes back then.’
It was her love of antiques that led Kim to Nilstorp in the late 1990s. An advert for ‘a summer house, complete with antique furniture’ sparked her curiosity and she viewed it as soon as she could.
There was no hot water, and the bathroom was an outhouse, but Kim had fallen in love with it and bought it on the spot. She saw past the damp walls and floors, leaky roofs and wiring problems – not to mention the rotten floors and garish paintwork.
At times Kim found herself wondering whether the renovation would ever be finished, especially when one of the interior walls collapsed.
Luckily Kim found skilled craftspeople who replaced the roof and gutted the inside of the house, fixed the floors and electrics, built a bathroom, renovated the windows and plastered every wall, then painted with linseed paint.
Of all the antiques that came with the house, just one large baroque-style cabinet remains in place – other pieces have been moved to Kim’s apartment or given away.
Kim has found furniture to suit her home’s ‘new and old soul’ and now every urn, candle sconce, chair and table looks familiar and comfortable, as though they’ve been gathered together for centuries.
The antiques and the calm colour scheme are a fitting backdrop to the fresh green decorations Kim brings into the home for Christmas – holly, pine branches, Christmas roses and hyacinths: symbols of new life and, for Kim, a reminder of all the work that went into breathing new life into this charming old home.