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It’s 7am and I’m enjoying the early morning freshness of the woefully brief Swedish summer sitting on our balcony with a cup of tea (I am, after all, English by birth). It is almost completely silent except for the chatter of the birds and a very occasional car, despite living in central Stockholm. Of course being the biggest city in Sweden doesn’t make it a big city by many standards with a population of less than 1 million people.


Stockholm is located between Lake Mälaren and the Baltic sea and the city is spread across 14 islands. About a third of the city is water and about another third is made up of parks and green spaces so Stockholm really isn’t a noisy city at the worst of times but the summer is even quieter.

Almost all of Sweden takes its vacation for most of July disappearing off for some guaranteed sun or out to their summer houses around the forests, lakes and coast of this large beautiful and sparsely populated country.

However, what makes this seem all the more tranquil this morning is that we started a new project yesterday and the apartment was a riot of moving, stacking, cleaning,  building and hole filling (I seem to do this a lot!). We’ve been thinking about swapping our family and bed rooms around for a long time but somehow there had always been something in the way but yesterday was D-day.

My wife noted wryly that I was unusually enthusiastic at the start of such a big project but I assured her I was simply enthused by her design ideas not excited to be building new bookshelves, wardrobes, a bed and a TV stand I could blog about!

The projects are born out of my wife’s inspiration file. This is a collection of hundreds of pages torn out of magazines and annotated with hieroglyphics, arrows and circles that I’m not convinced even she understands. Once the planning start these pages are slowly sorted through and likely candidates are placed to one side for re-examination.

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I may be called in at this point to offer my amateur opinion on the feasibility of the project: can you build this, how would you make it look like that, will you pay attention. Next comes the drawing pad where sketches are made of the rough layout of the room with the furniture we’re adding plus any addition things I’ll be building.

I’m going to be using some IKEA units which I’ll be re-purposing and then jazzing up to get the look we want.  So yesterday we emptied the two rooms into our dinning room and living room filling most of the apartment with disarray. Built the new bed and headboard and moved some of the bigger pieces of furniture into place.

Within the next hour or so I’ll be leaving this little eye of tranquillity and entering another day of organised chaos.