33. sagittarius. real princess.

How long has your family had this place?

Since the 1940s, after the war. My grandparents bought it and then co-owned it with five other families. The men were pilots, so they called themselves pilot families. Each family had their own room, and the women and children lived here for three months every summer.

a little scary,
a little delicious.

There is something Agatha Christie about this place!

A little scary, a little delicious. And a murder has actually happened, or a suicide, but more about that later.

How did the generational change cause your family to take over the place?

The original families owned this place together for many years. But then my grandparents got divorced and the other families either moved or found their own places in other parts of Sweden. In the end, my great-grandfather bought the place so that my grandmother and her three siblings could share.

And what does it look like today?

There are six part-owners. My mom, her sister and their cousins, and then my cousin recently got a share from her mother.

Would you like if you got the offer?

Then I would have to buy out my mom which I don’t feel is the right thing at this moment. I would probably rather wait for the inheritance [Laughs]. But more like it’s still “their” time here. And I’m not in a rush to start “mine”.

there are several artists in the family.

I wouldn’t say that there are several, but my aunt is an artist and art educator. My mother has always been dedicated to handicraft. My grandma always had an interest in art and literature and thought it was important to be surrounded by books and paintings. She was obsessed with objects portraying either Jämtland or Italy.

she was obsessed with
objects portraying either
jämtland or italy.

Tell us about grandma, the matriarch!

She was the sole ruler here, took care of everything, decorated and made sure everything worked. Her part of the family came from Östersund and ran a lot of cinemas—a kind of upper-middle-class life.
      When I was little, I thought of her as an incredibly independent and charming person. She really had spunk and a sharp sense of humour. She was quite unconventional, extremely strong-minded and sometimes unapologetic. I know she loved a good party as much as she loved the mountains, and was very sociable when she was younger.
      This became a place that united her interests in antiques, decor—and her love of Italy! She took her family to live in Rome for a while and you can see that in certain rooms, the Italian vibe.

It’s almost as if you can still feel her presence here!

Yeah, but towards the end she was quite an introvert. She was here a bit with her friend Britta, who had her own room.
      It has become a bit like a mausoleum after she passed away. If something breaks, it cannot be thrown away, it’s interpreted as throwing her away. This place is her, that’s how it still feels, like you’re visiting her.
      This is also the case in our own lives—we’ve all received so many things from her. My apartment still consists of about seventy percent of her old stuff. She was a little bit of a hoarder, who managed to fill this house, a house in Jämtland and an apartment at Medborgarplatsen in Stockholm.

what was your grandfather likE and how did he fit inTO the picture?

Grandpa was almost two meters tall, a charming pilot man, quite sporty with a cheeky racing boat. He traveled a lot for work. Later he met a Danish woman and moved to Denmark. He’s had a presence in our lives, but then we were not so close because of the distance. He was always very kind and timid.
      With grandma, it really feels like we are a “woman’s family”, probably also because there hasn’t been that many men either. I have always thought of it as possible to live by myself for the rest of my life. Maybe because she has shown me how to.

it’s probably
a bit grey gardens.

Your aunt’s paintings are a natural part of the decor, so you have been allowed to add a little?

We have done a little, but it isn’t much. My aunt paints a lot when she is here. Sometimes painting us when we sit in the garden, it becomes a documentation of our life here.

what would this place be if it were a movie?

With Grandma it’s probably a bit Grey Gardens. There's something about the lost wealth, but still being quite happy.

The house consists of many different wings, it’s a manor house. do you know how old it is?

Different parts of the house were built in different eras. The lower part was built in the 1700s by a farmer who owned a lot of land and this was his main property. The other floors came in the 1800s.
      One of the houses has been renovated by a tenant who holds a meditation service every Friday for any neighbours who might be interested.
      We can’t be here in the winter and then the house stays empty and reigns over the ground, it is a bit scary in a way. Once my brother and I were about to open it up in the spring, the grass stood up to our hips. As we drove into the garden, there were different animals that flew in different directions, a deer that jumped out of the bushes, a pheasant that flew away.
       The deer are here all the time, we are in their territory. Once when someone was going to the outhouse at night, they accidently sat down on a deer that was lying down. A bit like when I found my friend in a bush during a party one summer.

there were different animals that flew in different directions.

he shot himself because he was unhappily in love.

The house had its own life before your family took over. First there was a big farmer — how did the journey continue for the house?

The farmer was first, then there were a lot of different owners for around two hundred years, each living there for around five to ten years. Before we bought it, it was used as a boarding house.

How long was it a boarding house?

For about 20 years maybe. There was a person who died here who shot himself because he was unhappily in love. This was in the early 20th century I think. If you look at the outside of the house, you can see that there used to be a window where he shot himself, but they covered it up afterwards. His name was Petterson and was a lieutenant.

What was his connection to this place?

I regret that I didn’t show more interest and asked Grandma these things and the history of the place. It was Grandma who knew about this.

And she’s a credible source?

I don’t know, either way it adds an air of mystery.

SpEAking of, Tell us about the fire!

So the mansion used to have two wings, which is a custom from 18th century France, but there was an accident a couple of years ago caused by some damaged electricity. So we had to take it all down. It’s sad. Something changed in the community after that, now that the man who rented the house is no longer here. He was a foundational part of the vibe. 

you can disappear for several hours without anyone noticing.

what would you say that you have learned from the house?

It might be the comfort and serenity of getting together. Me and my cousin have used the house a lot to bring our mutual friends together. And also with the family, learning to live in big groups under these circumstances, cook together, wash up, play cards, “manage the property” and create a place where people can socialize and take it easy. It’s such a huge privilege to have this amount of space to share.

space creates privacy in many ways.

It really does, if you are angry you can disappear for several hours without anyone noticing. You can sit on the third floor and be pissed and then come down to dinner. ✺