In 1998 an editor of a popular British home decorating magazine gave my husband and I a book. She had written in the frontispiece ''To England's Carl and Karin Larsson'
The editor was featuring our home in her magazine and she and the photographer had spent a couple of days with us. At the time I did not know about the Larssons but her dedication was a compliment and whether true or not it is one that I enjoyed; even more so now that I have visited Lilla Hyttnas the home that Carl and Karin Larsson created by a lakeside in Sweden more than a century ago.
The editor compared Chips and I to the Larssons because most of the decoration of our home had been made by ourselves or our group of friends. We decorated our walls, ceilings, fabric, floor, rugs, and some of the furniture with designs from our stencil company and other designs for carpentry, lighting, iron work and soft furnishings were completed by our friends. They were a talented bunch of the 'You draw it and we will make it variety' and I doubt that we would have created our home without them. The Larsson dwelling was furnished and decorated for the most part with their own design and skills, they too called upon friends and artisans to help them realise their vision. Like my home theirs was personal, colourful and unusual... unlike mine theirs became a model for Swedish domestic design and spread the international success of the 'Swedish style'. Without knowing about the Larssons I had been influenced by them.
The cabin bed that I'd had made for a guest room was very similar to one Carl built for Karin in 1909 and the colours and decoration of our own bedroom owed more than a nod to the duo.
When my husband and I moved to our present home the landlord's agent remarked that there was no where to put a bed in the room we had elected to sleep in. "It will go in the centre" We said and I think the agent thought we were crazy. Whilst visiting the Larsson's house I noted that Carl's bed is in the centre of the room too.
His was positioned so that he could talk with Karin who slept with the babies in the adjoining room; ours was postioned for a view from both windows. Carl Larsson published sets of watercolours and illustrated books featuring his home and family. These paintings and books were the viral hit of the day and it was because of their popularity that the artistic couple's home became so familiar and emulated.
Carl was a highly skilled artist commissioned for monumental work as well as portraiture, watercolour and illustration. They were a pioneering team, at the time their style was unusual especially Karin's contribution; she was ahead of her era.
When the editor visited us a book about the decoration of our home had just been published.
The Stencilled Home was written by me and featured the rooms in our house, it explained how we achieved some of the decorative effects in them. The publication is still available in hardback form for the USA and paperback from the UK.
Visitors were not allowed to take photographs in the house and I expected that there would be loads of postcards of the interior decoration for sale in the gift shop that I could buy and show you...there wasn't. So, I shall have to leave it to you to research further images and a little more about them. The Larsson House is in Sundborn near Talun it is 3 to 4 hours drive from Stockholm. I visited it with a great friend who had helped us to stencil our home around the time of the editor's visit and my discovery of Carl and Karin Larsson; another nice little link in the chain.