Jeanette says her interest in living responsibly probably goes back to her German roots and learning the value of making do with what’s available. As a consultant, she’s also traveled a lot and seen how actions in one part of the world create environmental damage elsewhere. ‘Coming back to this beautiful environment we live in makes you really want to fight for equality on earth and a better life for all of us on this planet.’ Here’s what we learned about her approach to reducing the furniture she buys and reusing as much as possible instead of throwing things away.
LONG-LASTING MATERIALS AND TIMELESS STYLE are important when Jeanette buys furniture. ‘If it looks like it won’t last or that I’ll get tired of it, I don’t buy it.’ She likes to keep pieces with emotional, family value and mix them with flea market finds. Her two IKEA sofas are at least 12 and 15 years old, but they look new. She dyed the cover of her KARLANDA sofa grey to give it a longer life and an updated style that matches with everything.
‘BECAUSE WE RENT OUR HOME, we don’t do things we otherwise would like change to solar power or geothermal heating.’ They still reduce their energy use in other smart ways. The second-floor can get pretty chilly, especially the bedroom that shares a wall with an uninsulated closet. Jeanette made a padded headboard by covering an old mattress in fabric to help block the cold air. The high bed legs put them closer to warm air that naturally rises. The fabric as a bedskirt? Pure personality.
TO HELP PREVENT WARM AIR FROM ESCAPING OUT and cold air from coming in, Jeanette made her own curtain solution. She turned old, thick INDIRA bedspreads into curtains. Big binder clips clamp the bedspread to the curtain rod. Thin strips of leather are threaded through the clips and tied across the bottom to raise and lower the curtain.
THERE’S A LOT OF REUSED FURNITURE in six-and-a-half-year-old Eja’s room. The polka dot cover was the fabric bumper from Eja’s crib, and the leafy LÖVA bed canopy is also from her nursery. Behind the bed, Jeanette covered a mattress with old sheets and colourful fabric strips.
‘EJA’S ROOM GETS A LOT OF SUN in the summer, so we needed to block it out a bit. I made the roller blind more personal by taking apart a curtain that Peter had in his childhood bedroom. Then I glued it inside a TUPPLUR white block-out roller blind.’
WHEN THE FAMILY MOVED FROM AN APARTMENT 5 years ago, they kept as many household things as possible. The SPONTAN magnetic board and GRUNDTAL stainless steel containers held spices in their old apartment. There wasn’t a space for it in their new kitchen, so Jeanette turned it into storage for Eja. ‘It holds hair clips, arm bands and other little things that tend to disappear somewhere.’
“It feels wrong to me to throw away something that can actually still be used. Nothing is waste, really.”
EVEN LITTLE ACTIONS CAN MAKE A BIG IMPACT, like this metre fabric that Jeanette turned into a wall hanging at the top of her staircase. ‘I bought it 10 years ago because it made me happy and had all of my favorite colours. I thought it would be a shame to cut it, so it always finds a new place everywhere we’ve lived.’ When she wants a change, she puts up a different fabric from her collection instead of buying new paint or wallpaper.
THINGS WE’VE LEARNT
Your home is where your heart is. Give new life to old pieces that are filled with emotions and old memories. What meaningful things do you have tucked away in drawers that could be reused in some way?
Look around your home for furniture you replace often or areas where you lose the most energy. Could you reuse the furniture in new ways? Could you use things you already own to reduce energy loss?
Consider the style and material of your next furniture purchase. Will you appreciate its style in the future? What is it made of? Will it last for years and years?
Ready for more ideas to bring home? Check back for Jeanette’s kitchen ideas and food philosophies in an upcoming May post.
Photographer: Johan Månsson
Editor: Linda Harkell