November 17, 2011

Aja, Christian, and their four boys in the unfinished living room at Lundagård

One of the main reasons I love design is the stories behind a well appointed space. To me looking through someone’s home is like a treasure hunt not only of precious goods but of personal tales. The history of possessions – where someone got something and why it’s special – can reveal a lot about a person. But it’s not only the objects in a home, but the house itself that has a chronicle – one comprised of people and place. And the more a person puts into their home in terms of time, effort and themselves, the richer the story. So when someone takes an historic house, renovates it, and raises a family and runs their business there, they not only add their own narrative to the deep layers of the home’s history, but the house’s story also becomes part of their own.

One such home that was lucky enough to be resurrected and given a new chapter in its history is Lundagård. Aja and Christian Lund and their four boys have been working on this historic, 1860’s house for so long that it’s practically a member of their family. Much like a child it has inspired them and humbled them, caused them to take on new adventures and learn new skills. In turn they have grounded it with traditional values and given it all the advantages of modern life. They have worked hard to mold it the best way they could and they have taken great joy in its development. And because they document each step of this journey on their home’s eponymous blog, they have opened up the life of Lundagård to us as well.

When Aja and Christian first found this traditional timber home in 2004, it was delapitaded and so close to the road that you could practically reach out and touch the passing cars. Therefore they decided to move it 50 miles from its original local to Ostrobothnia, Finland. In between day jobs and rearing children, Aja and Christian dismantled the house and then reassemble it (themselves)! Bit by bit they renovated each room, a process that continues to this day. Taking their time to do it right, they traveled to find sources of inspiration in other historic districts, took courses on traditional building methods, searched to find just the right local timber and/or recycled lumber and even made their own paint! And that’s just the outside. Lundagård is also the name of Aja and Christian’s vintage shop, a renovator’s treasure trove of historic goods, fixtures, and products, which is not only located in their home, but is also the source of most of its furnishings.

The result of the Lund family so completely integrating their house into their own lives is a space that is so decidedly of a place and at the same time of a single family. Indeed Lundagård is part of the Lund family. And because Aja and Christian have invested so much of themselves in their home and have chronicled the process with such feeling and authenticity, we respond to the house much as we would a person – as a distinct character in the Lund family drama, with its own vitality and personality which is informed by its past and excited about its future.

A montage which shows Lundagård in various stages of reconstruction at the new site

The new foundation is made of Kilsta – large natural stone blocks cut from regional rocks. The traditional Scandinavian Falu Red paint, which contains copper and is excellent at preserving wood, was boiled by the family themselves.

Lundagård exterior with most of the work finished

The roof is red tile. The bottom windows are original, while those on the upstairs are custom made with antique glass. I love the way the family situated the house on the property. Minimally landscaped, it sits on a small rise which is buttressed by stones that echo the foundation. On one side a sweeping expanse of wild lawn creates a dramatic and sunny prospect. While on the other, Lundagård is cozily nestled into a delicate forest. (Here is a picture.)

The next series of images show the kitchen area which, as you can see below, is currently doubling as a family room while the living room is being renovated. The fireplace is a modern reproduction similar to the one in the original house. Christian made the center island himself.

above and below: another table in the workroom

above and below: the bathroom

above and below: a bedroom

All rights reserved. Photos used with permission of Aja Lund.

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