written by:
photos by:
December 13, 2015
Originally published in The Modern Prefab
as
Once Removed
In Sweden, an architect finds an efficient building solution 260 miles from home.
Swedish Prefab Home, Exterior

“How would a kid draw a house?” architect Per Franson asked himself when designing the Olivero-Reinius family home in suburban Stockholm. The simple prefab structure’s unusual color comes from a traditional source: falu rödfärg, the historic mineral paint that gives the region’s famous barns their red color. Here, the addition of a tint created a hue that matched the house’s green Plannja roof panels.

Photo by 
1 / 12
Swedish Prefab Home, Second Floor Hallway

A double-height corridor runs the length of the house, and a slatted wall on the second floor overlooks the space.

Photo by 
2 / 12
Swedish Prefab Home, Master Bedroom

 In the master bedroom, a Hästens bed is atop a Mats Broberg & Johan Ridderstråle rug.

Photo by 
3 / 12
Swedish Prefab Home, Desk

Franson Wreland also designed the court-yard and a pair of 160-square-foot outbuildings—one is used as guest quarters and the other as storage space. While residents Julia and Fatima Olivero-Reinius chat outdoors, Chippie the dog approaches an Asplund desk and a chair by LucidiPevere. 

Photo by 
4 / 12
Swedish Prefab Home, Courtyard

Outside, Kartell Masters chairs surround a Tom Dixon Screw table.

Photo by 
5 / 12
Swedish Prefab Home, Dining Room

In the dining area, Splügen Bräu pendant lamps for Flos hang over a Super-Elliptical table by Piet Hein and Bruno Mathsson for Fritz Hansen. 

 

Photo by 
6 / 12
Swedish Prefab Home, Second Floor

The second floor holds three bedrooms and a living area for the girls. Here, Paula, 11, and Sofia, 9, hang out near an IKEA PS 2012 sofa by Nike Karlsson. The slatted wall at left allows a view to the downstairs.  

 

Photo by 
7 / 12
Swedish Prefab Home, Living Area

Zebra-print cushion covers from H&M Home and a pair of tables by Patricia Urquiola for B&B Italia provide a colorful counterpoint to the neutral palette of the living area’s B&B Italia sofa and Pernilla 69 armchairs by Bruno Mathsson for Dux. A Lotta Döbling painting from Domeij Gallery hangs on the wall.  

Photo by 
8 / 12
Swedish Prefab Home, Kid's Bedroom

Upstairs, each daughter’s bedroom was designed as a sanctuary, with cozy touches like Simon Key Bertman quilts and cushions. The bed and Pile bedside table by Jessica Signell Knutsson sit on top of a Carpet Honeycomb by designer Maria Löw. 

Photo by 
9 / 12
Swedish Prefab Home, Master Bedroom View

The master bedroom opens onto the backyard. “The view is beautiful year-round,” Fatima says.

Photo by 
10 / 12
Swedish Prefab Home, Bath

Six-inch-square blue tiles cover the walls and floor of the girls’ upstairs bathroom. The towels and rug are also by H&M Home.

Photo by 
11 / 12

“I’m in love with the floor plan. A kid can be on the upper floor talking to dad in the living room.They’re far away but have visual connections between them.”–Per Franson, architect

 

Photo by 
12 / 12
Swedish Prefab Home, Exterior

“How would a kid draw a house?” architect Per Franson asked himself when designing the Olivero-Reinius family home in suburban Stockholm. The simple prefab structure’s unusual color comes from a traditional source: falu rödfärg, the historic mineral paint that gives the region’s famous barns their red color. Here, the addition of a tint created a hue that matched the house’s green Plannja roof panels.

Project 
Villa Olivero
Architect 

Building a house is a journey filled with unforeseeable variables. When traditional hiccups like late shipments and permit delays are compounded by a harsh Swedish winter, the challenges may seem almost insurmountable. On Lidingö, an island in the suburbs of Stockholm, one architect found a way to cut time—and costs—thanks to a tip from his contractor. 

When Per Franson was tasked with building a minimalist family home for Fatima Olivero-Reinius, a Web designer, and her husband, Johan, an advertising executive, he wasn’t expecting to sidestep the usual challenges of construction. But builder Michael Johansson offered a novel solution: He and his team of carpenters would build the structure in a hangar-like space in Johansson’s hometown of Kalmar, some 260 miles from the building site. 

At first, Franson and his business partner, Mattias Wreland, weren’t sure. They had built a house with prefab components before, but this project would be the first time they’d be designing one with the intention of building off-site from the very beginning. Eventually, Johansson swayed the architects with the benefits of using his own team on his own turf. 

Swedish Prefab Home, Desk

Franson Wreland also designed the court-yard and a pair of 160-square-foot outbuildings—one is used as guest quarters and the other as storage space. While residents Julia and Fatima Olivero-Reinius chat outdoors, Chippie the dog approaches an Asplund desk and a chair by LucidiPevere. 

“I’ve been to so many construction sites where you have meetings on a Monday afternoon, snow is falling, or, even worse, it’s raining. It’s wet, it’s damp, it’s dark, and nobody’s in a good mood,” Franson recalls. “Obviously, you cannot do as good work then as you can in an indoor environment in a large space where it’s warm and you can listen to good music.”  

The decision to build in Kalmar wasn’t just a matter of convenience. The small city is located in southeastern Sweden in the region of Småland, where both Franson and Wreland—who has since shifted his primary focus to furniture-making—were raised. It’s an area steeped in craftsmanship, with a wealth of small factories, carpenters, and builders, and its influence extends to the heart of the architects’ practice. 

“When we started our company, we were interested in the industrialization of design,” Franson says. “You want to talk to the factory, or, in this case, the carpenter, and, maybe through industrialization, come up with an even greater design.”

The residents were open to the solution. They knew they wanted a modern house that connected them to nature without being a glass box, and a design that complemented a nearby home by the well-known Swedish architect Thomas Sandell. The other requirements were simple: a kitchen to serve as a gathering place, a master bedroom for the parents, and three identical bedrooms for their growing daughters, Julia, Paula, and Sofia, now 13, 11, and 9.  

Among the challenges Franson and Wreland faced were local building restrictions that limited the scale of the house to one and a half stories. Taking a cue from the historic structures around it, they imagined the house like a barn and a hayloft. Communal areas and the master bedroom comprise the first floor; the girls’ bedrooms, bathroom, and living room take up the second. Open sight lines from top to bottom connect the two spaces, while grown-ups and kids have plenty of space for themselves. 

“We wanted the family to be able to move around the whole floor plan,” Franson explains. “You can actually see yourself walking in a figure eight, which makes it interesting.”

Further restrictions, which limited the size of outbuildings to 15 square meters (160 square feet), led to the creation of two matching structures, a storage space and a guest cottage that each max out the square footage the architects could build without needing a permit. With these twin spaces set across a small courtyard that the architects also designed, the result is a small compound that’s complete to itself—the house like a barn, looking out not to the neighbors but over its own stables.  

Swedish Prefab Home, Living Area

Zebra-print cushion covers from H&M Home and a pair of tables by Patricia Urquiola for B&B Italia provide a colorful counterpoint to the neutral palette of the living area’s B&B Italia sofa and Pernilla 69 armchairs by Bruno Mathsson for Dux. A Lotta Döbling painting from Domeij Gallery hangs on the wall.  

The architects ended up with a 50-50 split between off-site and on-site work, building the shell of the house in the hangar and finishing the details on location. To avoid the telltale seams of modular construction, the exterior pine cladding and Plannja metal roof were installed and painted after the pieces were shipped to Lidingö. All together, the process took about eight months. 

Creating a prefab program from the very beginning led to surprisingly few compromises. One came in the form of the windows—ordered from Poland and custom painted to match the exterior’s traditional green-tinted falu rödfärg mineral paint—which were lifted from the floor to allow space for a beam underneath to make the panels more stable for transportation. “We didn’t have to rethink too much, actually. It’s a matter of centimeters, plus or minus, to be efficient on that loading truck,” Franson explains.

The success of the project has inspired Franson to imagine recreating it for other clients, tweaking the plans, and the color, to suit their individual needs. And thanks to the off-the-shelf solutions the architects chose, it’s easily achievable. 

“When I think of the house, I actually think of houses, numerous houses,” Franson says. “In our little dream, this is the first one of many.”

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

45 dva 2270 persp1 cmyk 0
The prospect of retirement doesn’t just signal the end of a career; it offers the chance to recalibrate and re-prioritize in life.
July 25, 2016
18
You don’t have to choose between sustainable energy and curb appeal.
July 19, 2016
jakemagnus queensland 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
July 06, 2016
content delzresidence 013 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 29, 2016
abc malacari marwick stair 01 0
A simple set of stairs is a remodel’s backbone.
June 28, 2016
Design Award of Excellence winner Mellon Square.
Docomomo US announces the winners of this year's Modernism in America Awards. Each project showcases exemplary modern restoration techniques, practices, and ideas.
June 27, 2016
monogram dwell sf 039 1
After last year’s collaboration, we were excited to team up with Monogram again for the 2016 Monogram Modern Home Tour.
June 27, 2016
switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Compact Aglol 11 television plastic brionvega.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
Exterior of Huneeus/Sugar Bowl Home.
San Francisco–based designer Maca Huneeus created her family’s weekend retreat near Lake Tahoe with a relaxed, sophisticated sensibility.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016