For years I had been inspired by the home of Carl and Karin Larsson. I had collected books and images about the house and I even had a friend who designed their home based on the Larsson home. One rainy autumn day about three years ago, I had the pleasure of spending a quiet day there.
Their home is completely charming and even with the rain, nothing could mute the happy feelings the home evoked.
Welcome to the home of Carl Larsson and his Spouse.
That is what is written above the entrance to Carl and Karin Larsson’s beloved Lilla Hyttnäs in Sundborn, just outside Falun.
Karin’s father, Adolf Bergöö, gave Lilla Hyttnäs to Carl and Karin in 1888. Throughout the years they, with their 8 children, transformed the little cottage into one of the world's best known and decorated artist's homes. The house was originally built in 1837. The home still remains in the Carl and Karin Larsson Family Trust. The house and grounds are a museum which can be visited throughout the year. The Larsson family still uses the property for family occasions.
Carl Larsson spoke in great length about the love of his home. He even wrote a book called "Ett Hem" which mean "A Home". Here is an excerpt from his book:
" A while ago my father in law and I took some time off and travelled around here in Dalarna.
We made the usual pilgrimage around Siljan apart from a diversion to father in law’s birthplace, Sundborn, where his two old sisters lived in a cottage that belonged to him. It was somewhat ordinary, an ugly and insignificant building, standing as it did on waste rock from the mines. It was known as Hyttnäs-Little, in contrast to the neighbours’ large one.
The cottage stood right on a bend in the Sundborn River, just where it gets a smidgeon wider. Everything inside was spick and span, the furniture was simple, but old fashioned and robust, handed down by their parents, who had lived in the vicinity. While I was here, I experienced an indescribably delightful feeling of seclusion from the hustle and bustle of the world, which I have only experienced once before (and that was in a village in the French countryside). When my Father in law suggested buying me a small property in the same village, I declined, saying that only something resembling this little idyll would suit an artist.
A couple of years later one of the sisters died and the other did not wish to remain there alone. Father in law remembered what I had said on that occasion and gave me the cottage with everything inside it. For the next few summers radical changes were made to the cottage, it had to be exactly as I wanted it, otherwise I should not be happy there and my work would suffer as a result. Now it is finished – I believe – but before you look around be so good as to listen to my little sermon on art in the home. Others have done it better than I have, but one cannot say too much about the matter.”
To learn more about the Larsson home please have a look here. The sight is both in English and Swedish. On the Swedish link there is a silent home movie with Carl Larsson and his family in it. It's completely delightful.