It feels as if spring has shifted into summer this week, even though we’re still in May. The biggest challenge of our home in summer is the temperature. We face south-east at the back where there’s a glass-roofed conservatory that’s our dining room, and as this is open to the kitchen and the sitting room there’s really no way of preventing this heat from just …. seeping everywhere. If you’re someone who really enjoys warmth, you’d love this set up. If, like me, you really can’t handle heat and enjoy cooler days, you’d be dreaming of escaping to a house that was well ventilated, with extensive glazing in the right places (not on the roof in other words), and open plan living where every space feels comfortable all year round.
Years ago, when I first started blogging in the days before Copperline, I had a property blog called The Property Files. I used to write about property every week for two newspapers, and when work stopped with one (budgets, budgets) and was reduced by over a half with the other (yes, also budgets) I found myself itching to still be sharing properties. So I started a blog about Scottish properties, and every week I’d feature something national, and then on Fridays, something international. I called this slot International Fridays as it always felt like a nice way to end the week, virtually strolling through a lovely house or apartment somewhere.
So hello again. It’s been a while. Of all the things that I imagined might draw me back here to blog again, a global pandemic wasn’t one of them. But look at how much our lives have changed in a few short weeks. Short weeks that feel so much longer. Two weekends back we were in Fife visiting Cambo Estate; having a bite of lunch in their café and walking in the walled garden; visiting the glasshouses before winding through the woodland with its carpet of snowdrops. We walked along Kingsbarns beach in the low, late afternoon light, enjoying the peace and emptiness of the scene. Two weeks ago, we couldn’t even have imagined the rules of social distancing; friends losing all their work and closing the doors to their businesses, unsure of when they might open again. A country in lockdown with all the restrictions this brings. A world in crisis.
How do you build a house on an unspoilt natural site without destroying the very nature that makes that site so special? This was the question faced by the owners of Villa Åkerman when they came to this plot in Värmdö, which sits in the middle of the Stockholm Archipelago, back in 2013. Albert and Amanda Åkerman wanted to create a family home that would embrace the nature surrounding it while also respecting the site. As Albert says in an interview published in Swedish Elle Decoration in June 2016, even if the house isn’t here in 100 years, the couple wanted the rock that it sits upon to be intact.