We are Rogier, Jana and Sophie Tijm. The family behind the NordicLife project.
Rogier is Dutch, Jana is German and Sophie, well she’s both. We all live in Haarlem, a beautiful town in The Netherlands.
So how did we end up with a cottage on the Swedish Countryside?
Rogier went to school in Göteborg and as a child lived the Swedish life: honouring nature, playing outside, celebrating Swedish tradition. He moved back to Holland when he was a teenager.
Jana on the other hand was born in East-Germany and grew up with the nearby forests as her favourite playground. Gathering mushrooms and berries was one of her families favourite things to do in autumn.
How we met? In 2003 we were both backpacking through Myanmar, took the same bus and to make a long story short: we fell in love and some weeks later we moved in together in Haarlem.
Two years later we went on vacation to Sweden. Friends of us had recently bought a house in a small village in Värmland, so we visited Munkfors, of all places. A neighbour happend to be a real estate agent. Just two days before we were about to leave a house came on the market and we went to check it out. What we found was a Pippi Longstocking house. Perfect size, cosy but not to small. Stuffed with way too many old things but still airing a warm, welcoming atmosphere. A little garden and a beautiful view over the village. We fell in love. Again. Well… this is how it can happen. So be warned!
One year of restoration
During the year to come we spent all our holidays and money on restoring the house. We stripped the walls, sanded the floors, painted everything and went on a hunt for authentic Swedish furniture. With the help of our family and friends we managed to do all this within less than a year. In summer 2006 we welcomed our first guests and since then we have shared the pleasures of the Swedish country life with many more friends, guests and family.
The project goes on
Within the last years we subsequently improved and enlarged the NordicLife property. We bought the plot behind the house and when we got the chance, the neighbours house. The garden space was increased a lot. Plans for the future include a sauna, a greenhouse, treehouse and who knows what Rogier will come up with.
Creating the perfect outdoor space
When we invited Roeli and Piet to come to NordicLife and work with us in the garden (yes, they did come voluntarily, and yes, we owe them, big time), we had some simple gardening in mind: the lilac had to be relocated to form a hedge for our enlarged garden. Well, they did relocate the lilac. And after that, while having a beer, they found that something was still missing. That somehow they would enjoy their beer even more if they could sit just a bit more sheltered, snugged away. They started digging and nothing could stop them until they had created the perfect place to chill out.
By now, we can’t imagine our garden without the fire pit they created. It’s such a cosy place. We can enjoy long evenings outside even in winter time. Great work guys!