Living the Swedish Dream

Living the Swedish Dream

Nordique are thrilled to share the story of Chantal Bruienne-Buil from the Netherlands and how she fell in love with the beautiful Swedish countryside on a summer family holiday. So much so that she decided to pack up the suburban life in the Netherlands together with her family for an idyllic rural Swedish life.


Chantel: “For quite some time me and my husband were saying to each other how wonderful it would be to live in a detached house with more trees than neighbours around us, just like somewhere in Sweden! Back then we lived in an apartment on the third floor with no garden and only a few trees there. When our daughter was two years old we decided it was time to move house. We bought a terraced house with a lovely garden. But still….there were more neighbours than trees. And the peace and quiet we were dreaming of wasn’t to be found there either. After about half a year of living there I felt we didn’t make the right decision. Living the suburban life wasn’t for me, and my husband felt the exact same way. Thankfully in that period we had booked our holiday to Sweden for the summer!`’

Our home.jpg

It was the most wonderful holiday! In our hearts we immediately just knew we would have to move there…. We kept telling each other that life is too short for putting your biggest dreams on hold. After spending over two wonderful weeks in the countryside of Sweden we dreaded going home… Having all that space outdoors, all this nature and adventure on your doorstep. Our daughter had the time of her life!”

I remember it so well. We came back home on a Saturday, and already on the Monday my husband rang the estate agent. We were on a mission! We’d decided to put our home up for sale! In two weeks time our home was sold, and within five months after the holiday we returned to Sweden! Of course those five months were incredibly busy arranging so many things, but the adventure that was ahead of us gave strength and inspiration.

Hubby & daughter.jpg

We started our new adventure with booking a private rental house in Småland which we could rent for at least three months. It was the loveliest house. The first few weeks were spent holidaying and celebrating Christmas. But after those weeks the house hunt started. We would look on the internet what’s for sale and then book a viewing when we’d fancy anything. There was this one house we really liked but the bidding just went on and on so at one point we quit bidding. After two months of looking around for houses is Småland we started to look for houses further up north. We saw a few lovely houses in the county of Värmland online. From here we booked some viewings and rented a B&B for a few days. We visited Värmland during our holiday but it was only for a quick visit. Now we really got to drive around and check out all these houses and its areas. We loved Värmland and its slightly rougher nature compared to Småland. Snow reached up to my knees. Fantastic!

After a few disappointing viewings we drove to a house in Sunne. As soon as we arrived on the narrow country road things started to look promising! This is what we were looking for! We saw trees everywhere! This house was in the middle of a big forest! With some neighbours in the far distance. We immediately fell in love with the house which was from 1909! It was just perfect for the three of us and renovation ideas already came to mind. The garden was amazing! Really big with a small private forest. As it turned out two moose had been sleeping in the garden last night as their body prints were still visible . This was just the complete dream package! Both my husband and I were completely smitten by the house and we even made a bid after the viewing. After a week we got the call we were hoping for. The house was ours!

Another climb reward.jpg

As with all renovations it was pretty full-on but it was just wonderful to make that house more ‘us’. We took down a wall to make the the living room into one open space. It was such a fun surprise when not only layers and layers of old wallpaper were behind the wall but also bits of newspaper dating back to 1912!

Livingroom.jpg

I spent hours on the internet looking for the most beautiful wallpaper. Back in The Netherlands I would drool over all these Swedish rooms with breathtaking wallpaper I saw on Pinterest and the Swedish people I follow on Instagram. All our walls are white but in every room, except from the living room, we have some lovely wallpaper. When the Dutch moving company, who had most of our things in storage, drove up on our driveway four weeks later it was all birthdays and Christmases rolled into one. The past weeks we’d worked really hard and it looked ever so lovely and now we got all our stuff back. The best part could begin! Our daughter’s room was my first priority. After going from rental home to rental home without complaining once, she really deserved a cosy room. Thankfully she really loved it and told me she would have heaps of fun in her room. Which she now has. Decorating the house was a treat and never before a house felt like home this quickly. We sold some furniture before we moved here and were looking out for some vintage bits and pieces. Slowly but gradually we found everything we needed. We all love a good ‘loppis’ [flea market]. It’s always so exciting what you will find there! From crockery, flower pots, decoration to furniture, I adore it all. I always wonder who was enjoying it before me. The same goes for our home. Who were these people who lived here early 1900’s and further on? What did every room look like?

Kitchen.jpg

I think the kitchen is my favourite room of the house. The light is breathtaking early in the morning. I love to bake there while my husband and daughter hang out at the big table while the ‘vedspis’ [stove] burns during the colder seasons. And to me a room isn’t a cosy room without any plants. I just love plants! I had over sixty plants in The Netherlands. Don’t get me started about having to give them away or sell them.... That wasn’t much fun!”

Kitchen2.jpg
Daughter in lake.jpg

We’ve been living in Sunne for nearly a year now. We couldn’t be happier! For nature lovers like us Sweden is heavenly! Living here isn’t only easy on the eyes but also very good for the soul. We really feel one with nature and the peace and quiet it brings is just what we were looking for all this time. Also the way of life here is so different compared to The Netherlands. Everything is much slower paced and the people are more to themselves which is a plus for us. They are much more relaxed then an average Dutch person.

Daughter's room.jpg
Daughter's room2.jpg

Our now five year old daughter goes to pre-school and she loves it there! How she handled everything, picked up the language…we’re ever so proud of her! My husband, who is a web designer, started his own company Värmland Design and it’s doing really well. I really wanted to share my photography and designs so I started Loveprinted. A web shop where I combine my passion for Sweden, photography, graphic prints and interior design into prints.”

Our bedroom.jpg

Hand on my heart, there has never been a day we regretted taking this big step. I’m so incredibly glad and proud we had the courage to pack up and leave and live our dream! Swimming in the lake, prepping food on an open fire in the garden, also in winter!, all the peace and quiet in the world and everywhere you go it’s just so insanely beautiful! We have roe deer and moose visiting us which is amazing, every time! And for almost a year there’s a fox who stops by nearly every day. It’s such a lovely creature. Cheeky too! He even jumps on the feeding place for the birds to eat their food. He brings us so much joy! We named him Foxy and I had to feature him on a Loveprinted poster.

Foxy.jpg

Chantal Bruienne-Buil.jpg

See more:


Tartlets with panna cotta and cloudberry jelly!

Tartlets with panna cotta and cloudberry jelly!

Conceptual Photographer Mariell Amélie

Conceptual Photographer Mariell Amélie