Fifteen years ago Gunilla and Sven Montan came across an almost ruined farm in western Ljungby, in Skåne, Sweden. Despite the need for serious renovation — the outside was mostly covered in sheet metal, the windows needed replacing and the only thing that worked was one small toilet — they fell for its potential and decided to take it on anyway, as there was also beautiful old floors, hand-planed boards in the walls and ceiling and a 1920s Aga, too. And there was the beautiful cobblestone courtyard, as well.
With four buildings on the property — the main house and three barns — they first focused on making the house liveable for themselves and their four children. Gunilla and Sven used traditional materials and methods to replace and restore the old ones, and made some discoveries along the way, too — in the course of their work they discovered that the house was actually much older than they first thought, with sections dating from the 1700s. During the first twelve years the family lived in Malmö and used the farm as a vacation home, but three years ago Gunilla and Sven decided to move there permanently. With the three barns now converted into summer homes for their children and grandchildren, they enjoy visits from family, who also appreciate the farm's bounty of raspberries, strawberries and other berries as well as the apples, pears and plums in the orchards. Their pets also enjoy it — the red currants are a favorite among the hens and the rooster. Happily busy with the farm, visiting family (and lots of travel to see them in turn, as their children are scattered throughout the world), Gunilla and Sven are truly reaping the rewards of their years of hard work.
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(photography by magdalena björnsdotter)