Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Quick Update

I just talked to Janne, he's back on Aspö. Oddly, there's no snow at all on the island, which is unusual for the last day of January. If it stays this way, Grant will be disappointed!

Janne told me a bit of good news- he's completed environmental paperwork on the application, diagrams of water drainage and all that. We'll get the electricity order going when we're out there in a couple of weeks. I may also see if Janne is up to pestering Per at the kommun by that time, too!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Design themes

I couldn't resist linking to this webpage. Frankly, I think it would be cool to have a house in this style! But I'm not sure what Janne would think of toting the staircase up to the house site....

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Electricity Pt. 2

Having a house that is essentially solid wood has advantages and disadvantages.

Because there's no interior drywall to put things behind, all wiring (and plumbing, for that matter) would be exposed. X-House provide a baseboard system to help hide wiring, but there's a better way.

As suggested by the builder, Janne W, we will run flexible conduit under the floors and above the ceilings as the house is being built. That way, all of the power outlets and wiring for appliances, radiators, and toilets can be run below the floor and just surfaced where needed. Above, we can run wires for light fixtures, the heat pump, and maybe a ceiling fan, too. Our electrician will come in and actually run the wires and do the detailed work, of course.

The only wires we would have to fix to the walls would be for light switches, and a bit of care around door jambs should minimize unsightly wires running up and down our walls.

This means we will have to decide beforehand where we want to put outlets and fixtures. That process is underway with pencils and yellow pens on an A3 sheet of paper right now.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

First draft of the kitchen

IKEA provides lots of resources for kitchen planning. Their website provides a computer program which allows you to mix and match their products in great detail to design your own room. (It's Windows-only, sadly; good thing I have Parallels software on my trusty MacBook).

Anyways, we have taken a first draft of how the kitchen might look, and that rendering is attached. I was thinking about uploading the program's data file (rather than just the image) so anyone could take the IKEA program and 'remix' our kitchen themselves. Might be fun for any aspiring Fatboy Slims of the furnishing world....

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The 900- pound gorilla

Interesting that we're building a pre- fabricated house in Sweden, designed and furnished in a Scandinavian-modern way, and yet we haven't mentioned a certain retailer.

When Sooz and I lived in Stockholm in the 80's, we liked to drive down to Kungens Kurva, which was (and still is) home to the world's largest IKEA. It was a fun way to spend an afternoon, looking at all the design ideas, having meatballs for lunch, and watching our fellow shoppers as we snaked through the store.

In our stuga, we expect that IKEA will provide the fitted kitchen, the main furniture, and much of the decor. But that's fine; we like IKEA, we like their products, and the memories of those lazy Swedish afternoons.

First stop will be the kitchen. We will have about 3 x 2 meters to work with.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Fab Pre-Fab

Found this article in the New York Times today on an upcoming MOMA show of pre-fabricated houses. Technically, I think ours is a kit rather than a full pre-fab; but the idea is similar.

Saturday, January 5, 2008


As promised, here's a post on electricity. There are two separate issues, first is electricity to the house, and then within the house. Here, we'll talk about the "to".

Luckily, there's a power line along the back of our property. It parallels the long boundary in this drawing. We will make an application to the electric company for a drop to our house. There's a fee for them to do this work, plus a regular subscription fee as an island resident. (And of course the cost of the electricity itself, too. Lots of fees.)

A licensed electrician has to make this request, but no problem as Janne has one he works with on the islands, so it should be simple to contract him to do this for us. I will buy a fuse box (I suppose that's the wrong term as it's all circuit-breakers now), and that box will be mounted on a pole for electrical access during construction. That's important, as we'll need electricity to pump the water to make the concrete foundations, and then to run the tools during construction.

When the house is done, that box will be moved inside and the interior wiring can be connected. In a later post, we'll talk about that.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A lull

Margaret and Janne are off on a well deserved holiday (as noted in Margaret's blog; I'm not giving any personal info away)!

Since they've been my main point of contact the past couple of months, there probably won't be much island action until they're back. But soon after we'll take our next trip over, in February, so there'll be lots to post about then.

In the meantime, there are a few things on which I can update you, so stay tuned!