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Home visit: a family’s self-made country farmhouse

It took care, a passion for traditional handicraft and years of patience to turn a dilapidated farmhouse in the countryside into this conscious, feel-good family home. Step inside…

A white traditional-style sofa in a living room with striped cushions, vintage wooden trunk and natural materials.
A white traditional-style sofa in a living room with striped cushions, vintage wooden trunk and natural materials.

Make long-lasting choices

Claudia and Bernd spent years renovating to create living spaces they would appreciate for a long time. “If you constantly feel the need for change, you haven’t allowed yourself time to think things through,” says Claudia. “We loved our EKTORP sofa years ago and still love it now – the only difference is the colour of the covers. We want our things to look as if they’ve always been here.”

Plan for spaces to pause

Designing an open-plan layout from scratch enabled them to build in snug areas. “We put in windows all around to sit and look out to nature,” says Claudia. The cosy corners have seen more use as their daughters Stine (20) and Malin (15) have grown up, providing space to be together whilst doing their own thing. “The window-seat is Malin’s favourite spot to stretch out if we’re on the sofa.”

Customise your kitchen

“The kitchen was what I dreamed of for the longest. For years there was no hot water, only a camping stove. Eventually we had the idea to buy an IKEA kitchen and have a carpenter custom-make wooden fronts. It was perfect and affordable. No compromises,” says Claudia. The addition of an island made it a more sociable space. “I love having people join me in the kitchen. It’s good fun for parties.”

Grow and eat fresh

Claudia started an indoor herb garden using potted herbs, and makes cuttings to help her collection grow. An ideal spot to try yours is on the kitchen countertop (if there’s room) or windowsill – somewhere that gets plenty of daylight and is close to a food preparation area. “I love to bake with a view of the outdoors. The seasons influence the flavours I use,” says Claudia.

Embrace natural materials

Hand-crafted, rustic wooden beams divide the open kitchen and dining area – part of the reason natural materials, such as rattan, look so at home around the table. “I bought five pine trees on a sustainable farm nearby. When they were ready, I sawed and dried the wood for two years at home. I then visited a local craftsman and had him teach me traditional techniques using old tools,” says Bernd.

Design a workspace with creative freedom

Claudia’s passion is designing knitted clothes. She works next to the dining table, to benefit from natural light and feel connected. “Knitting can be wonderfully solitary, but I like to be around people. I’m part of a knitting circle and often host here,” says Claudia. Wheeled storage, like her RISATORP trolley, makes it easy to extend her workspace and even move it outside in summer.

Give teens room to develop

Towards the rear of the ground floor are each of the bedrooms. “Malin’s room is a little unusual because there are three doors, and we have to pass through her room to get to the others,” says Claudia. “Stine spends a lot of time at university, so she didn’t mind taking the smaller room. It gave Malin more space to decorate how she likes, hang out and do homework at her desk.”

Decorate for a sense of calm

The family’s shared bathroom has its busy moments, but a light colour scheme, a continuation of natural materials and soft linens help to create a relaxing feel. “There’s no better way to start the day than in our refreshing rain shower,” says Claudia. “Although, I must say, the bathroom hasn’t always been such a sanctuary… It used to be a pigpen!”

Passionate about the process

Claudia and Bernd are working towards having their bedroom in the attic. “We’ll be old by the time we finish! But to take the time to do things by yourself, you create something you truly love. And that’s a great reward,” says Claudia. “There’s always something to do. Something to fix. But all in good time… It’s a pleasure to see how things evolve and live on again,” says Bernd.

A farmhouse conversion with character

Claudia and Bernd found their 18th-century farmhouse in a newspaper advert 19 years ago. Choosing to ignore estate agents’ advice, they renovated the 140 square metres from the foundations up (including thatched roof!) using mostly recycled materials. “I was told it was impossible. I disagreed,” says Bernd. “We bought an old house, so it should have the charm of an old house, with modern comfort.”

We love to see our customers get creative with our products. Go for it! But please note that altering or modifying IKEA products so they can no longer be re-sold or used for their original purpose, means the IKEA commercial guarantees and your right to return the products will be lost.

Made by
Interior stylist: Carl Braganza
Photographer: Nato Welton
Follow Claudia on Instagram: @reetselig