Across the divide
Living Etc Magazine|December 2021
Swedish photographer Kalle Gustafsson turned his hand to carpentry to create the ultimate in broken-plan living
By Jacky Parker

LIVING ROOM

Kalle knocked down all the walls in the apartment then used screens to divide spaces.

Find a mid-century cord and wood chair at 1stDibs. Source a mid-century dayb d on Vinterior. Photograph, Kalle Gustafsson

When Kalle Gustafsson emails across the original sales brochure of his central Stockholm apartment, the difference is startling. The only clues that the photos are of the same property are the views, in particular the wide back of the Sankt Eriksbron bridge leading invitingly across the canal. After six months of hard graft, imagination and a handful of Pierre Jeanneret’s finest furnishings, Kalle has transformed it into a space that would seduce even the most high-brow design enthusiast.

LIVING ROOM The compact proportions of the mid-century furniture ensure the space doesn’t feel crowded. The wood tones are punctuated by the strong black forms of the lights.

Source a similar plant and pot at Patch Plants. Find a mid-century daybed on Vinterior. Photograph on floor, Kalle Gustafsson. Photograph on wall, Pelle Bergström

‘I was living with my ex-girlfriend in another apartment in a different part of town previously. When we split up I moved back to my house in the countryside outside of Stockholm and six months later found this apartment,’ Kalle says. ‘It’s only a few minutes from my gallery and studio and what immediately grabbed me were the windows on three sides of the building. It feels like a small tower,’ he explains. While his apartment is on the third floor above the bridge, the building is deceptively larger, rising from the street below.

KITCHEN

Built on wheels, the island unit can be moved around for flexibility. An overhead gantry provides additional storage.

Kitchen designed and built by Kalle Gustafsson. Source similar glazed tiles at Ca’Pietra

The photos from the brochure show a series of neat, white, box-like rooms trimmed with lacy curtains and furnished with ornate antiques. ‘You wouldn’t recognise it at all now,’ says Kalle. ‘I took everything down – all the walls and took up the floor. I’ve always had a big interest in design so I wanted to see if I could renovate every aspect of this apartment myself from scratch.’ Having set himself the challenge, the first stumbling blocks were complications with the plumbing and electrics. ‘The previous owner didn’t tell me that these are all in the centre of the apartment so I had to redraw my ideas and talk to my builder about what was possible.’ The solution they came to, placing the kitchen centrally, is one of the master strokes of the floor plan. From around this central hub ,the open-plan sitting room, dining area and office wrap, giving way to a bedroom further back. Having dispensed with most of the walls, the old corridor was no longer needed and was transformed into an en-suite shower room for the bedroom. ‘I don’t like bathrooms without windows, so for these central rooms I came up with the idea of one-way privacy windows that appear as mirrors from the outside,’ Kalle explains

“My style is a mix of everything but I don’t really know where it comes from – I just take whatever I like from everywhere”

ENTRANCE HALL ‘I bought this rail at an auction in Germany for about £200. I don’t even know what it is or whether it’s hung the right way,’ Kalle says.

Find an alternative metal coat rack at House Doctor. Cobra wall light, Gubi

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