When Jörgen Ahdrian Brorsson saw his new home for the first time, it was an antique shop – of course the hanging lighting that now hangs in the bedroom is a find he made on that visit. But the real find was the building itself, which he fell in love with and never forgot.
Two years ago, when he and his wife Sara decided to leave Stockholm’s hectic life behind, he knew about this old schoolhouse, built in 1928, and gave them the chance for the peace they longed for.
The building was used as a school until 1963 and had undergone several different incarnations when they got hold of it, including a church organ workshop, a B&B and a café. But Sara and Jörgen not only wanted to stamp their vision of the building, they also wanted to take care of it and renovate it in a style that was true to its history as well as their own special ideas.
“We moved here in 2019 and renovated the whole house and made sure to preserve the unique school style that we did,” says Sara. “We remained true to the era of the house and its art deco style, with it as a base, with added antique objects and modern art.”
The house is located in the scenic area of Kullaberg in the province of Skåne in southern Sweden, 10 km from the town of Höganäs, built around a fishing port in an area known for coal and mud. The clay produced here was used in the manufacture of ceramics and the original tiles in the school – which Jörgen and Sara have left behind – were made by a local company.
Sara leads the way through the beautiful rooms and old classrooms, which have a welcoming feeling and soft atmosphere, despite the large spaces. The layout is similar to that of an ordinary house, with a hall, living room, kitchen – painted in a sumptuous black – and study, but on a larger scale due to the larger rooms and higher ceilings.
The living room is painted in Green Leaf from Jotun and the light green Fold chair, from Olivier Gregoire, makes a striking point of contact on the restored wooden floor from the 1920s that has seen 40-year-old schoolchildren step on it.
We go up the stairs, along a corridor and down a few steps half a floor below to the old gym. It still houses some of the equipment that was used when it was a school, but it is now a TV and table tennis room. Table tennis is the family sport and the table – a conference and dining table with a net stretched – is actually from the couple’s own furniture import store. In fact, all rooms have pieces from their business, Dunke Design, which was started five years ago after a holiday in Vietnam where they accidentally discovered the local furniture company District eight.
The handmade furniture is inspired by early industrial design and the first collections were made from recycled materials taken from French colonial houses. The couple fell for the timeless design and sustainability and decided to take district eight home to Sweden, where they formed Dunke Design to distribute it.
Things took off and, as new to the furniture industry, they found themselves in demand, worked in their store in Stockholm during the day and delivered furniture in the evenings and on weekends and drove all over Sweden in their van. Sometimes they were so busy that they had to sleep in the store to manage the opening hours and keep order. After such a hectic five years, the old schoolhouse, close to the sea and surrounded by a vineyard, has proven to be the perfect escape.
“This is a place for peace of mind,” says Sara. “Being in harmony with nature and the sea is the best foundation – the starting point for being calm and harmonious.”
“We are completely surprised by the difference in pace compared to the big city,” adds Jörgen. “Living with nature, seasonal changes and changing colors – that’s basic.”
Of course, the furniture fits the space-solid materials and narrow shapes in high ceilings. In that sense, their home is the perfect showroom, something the couple has always imagined.
At first we only thought of being open to the public during the summer, but when the first week of autumn came and we thought we could have a free weekend, there were plenty of people waiting in the yard before we even came out. of the bed. So we could do nothing but jump out of our pajamas and go downstairs to open the doors, says Sara.