A Careful Renovation of a 19th-Century Flat in Gothenburg Brings it Back to Life
When creative director Martin Ringqvist and his wife, My, a teacher, moved back to Sweden after a year in Los Angeles, they wanted an authentic, warm space to live in with their two children. After much deliberation and house hunting, they found what they needed in a four-bedroom flat in Gothenburg’s downtown neighborhood of Vasastan, where many of the buildings date from the 18th and 19th centuries.
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"On a rainy day in fall, when you feel a bit low, you can look out from our windows and pretend that you’re in the Marais in Paris," says Martin. "When we stepped into this apartment, everything felt right. Many of the original details from the 19th century were still there—and the rest we were able to re-create. So we didn’t even hesitate."
Original details were respected, first and foremost. "The trick is to find a balance. We love to mix stuff," explains Martin. "We bought black marble for nearly nothing from a quarry outside Valencia and paired it with worn-down furniture; we placed a 200-year-old tiled stove with a super-slick Vipp kitchen system. An apartment like this one needs to be ‘dressed down’ a bit. Otherwise it can quickly get tacky."
"We tried to find a balance between old and new furniture, exclusive and cheap materials, shiny and worn-down surfaces." Martin Ringqvist, resident
Martin and My have lived together for 18 years, and in the very beginning of their relationship they agreed not to buy a single item unless they believed they would keep it for the rest of their lives. They’ve stayed true to that promise—their television sat on a paper box for five years, and it took five more to find the table to hold the remote. They applied the same principle to one of the project’s biggest-ticket items: the Vipp kitchen system.
"We saw a picture in a magazine, and it was love at first sight. We immediately booked a meeting at Vipp’s concept store in Copenhagen. We were nervous as we were walking over there," Martin says. "We thought, ‘What if the kitchen isn’t as perfect in real life?’ Luckily for us, it was. After an hour, we walked back to the hotel, happy and broke."
"We’ve renovated previous homes and have learned from our mistakes." Martin Ringqvist