“This kitchen shouldn’t have to be renovated for another 50 to 100 years,” says Johan Sternberg with a smile as we talk about houses, renovations and philosophies of life in the newly renovated, classic farmer’s kitchen.
We have had the pleasure of visiting the Stenberg family outside Härnösand, who have traded city life for a quieter life closer to forests and fields, where a long-term perspective and sustainability are in focus.
FOCUS ON SUSTAINABILITY
“I want to be the master of my time, since time is what I value most. And that which I own is based on growth, like the forest and arable land,” says Johan. Johan was previously the CEO for a couple of technology companies but has now chosen to leave the executive life behind to be closer to nature and, as he puts it, to really connect to the place where he lives. The farm is nicely situated out on a promontory, 245 acres with 200 in forest. The two buildings on the farm have been carefully renovated over a period of one and a half years.
“I think of a house as furniture, a well-made piece of craftsmanship that you take care of. A wooden house feels unfeigned and genuine,” says Johan. The floor and ceiling are 200 years old and I see this a clear proof that they’re built to last.”
A FUSION OF MODERN CONSTRUCTION TECHNOLOGY AND OLD KNOWLEDGE
The house we’re in was last renovated in the ’40s or ’50s, and it was still in good condition.
“We wanted to retain the unity and feel of the house and have kept most of the interior intact except for a couple of minor improvements.” Almost all the lumber for the renovation has been cut on an extended chain sawmill from Logosol.
“I even cut up an old flagpole for boards and used them where especially long pieces were needed,” says Johan.
The renovation has been carried out with a sustainability and quality perspective. It should last for 50 to 100 years. Johan has felled the forest himself, and dried, cut and planed much of the material for the interior of the house. “The biggest challenge has been to get the old to join with the new construction technology. We’ve tried to marry modern construction technology with old knowledge to achieve the highest possible sustainability over time and also to be able to be build efficiently,” says Johan.
“It feels good to use a material that nature has created, plus there is a lot of experience in how wood behaves in the different parts of a house,” says Johan.
MOVE TO THE COUNTRY, APPRECIATED BY THE WHOLE FAMILY”
The children in the family have really taken well to the move to the country as they have seen the house emerge during the renovation, and what was initially perceived as a large and unfamiliar house is now an appreciated and warm home. We will return to Johan Stenberg and his family in the next issue of Fresh Cut.