Isabelle and Petter found their dream life in the countryside
From an apartment in Gothenburg to a restoration and renovation project in Ljusvattnet outside Burträsk. Isabelle and Petter Knyck followed their dreams and made a complete turnaround in life. House renovation, cultivation and village community have enabled the couple to find their home.
These are busy days at Knyckska farm. When we visit, Petter and Isabelle are running back and forth with their wheelbarrows, and preparations are being made for the summer's crops - some seeds have already been planted, such as in the 42 square meter greenhouse where tomatoes, cucumbers, chilies and peppers will dress the space in beautiful colors. Potatoes, squash and turnips are grown outdoors in large beds.
- "This is a wonderful period," says Isabelle, spreading the grass clippings over the garden.
She is not unfamiliar with the village of Ljusvattnet. Her childhood home is located diagonally across the road that winds through the village and the beautiful agricultural landscape. Her parents still live here too.
At a young age, Isabelle found her way to Gothenburg where she met Petter - the couple moved into an apartment together, but the idea of a house grew stronger, as did her interest in building conservation and farming.
That balcony garden started to feel small.
- We liked the cultural offerings and of course our friends in Gothenburg, but life was stressful and we were looking for a different lifestyle. When the opportunity to buy this farm came up, it felt right. The house and the surroundings were a single renovation project that we saw great opportunities because the house had the right basic conditions. I knew the lady who used to live here so I really wanted to help keep the farm alive and I'm so happy that Petter did too," says Isabelle.
Next year, the couple will have lived in Ljusvattnet for ten years and the family has grown with a two-year-old son. Riding in the snow cone tractor in the winter with grandpa, running around the yard and having lots of play areas is of course a highlight.
- When we live like this, we have a lot of time together and it feels great to be able to give him that," says Isabelle.
For Petter, the biggest change was of course moving to a completely new part of the country, but the transition to life in the north has brought many benefits - he got an engineering job at Rönnskärsverken, where he commutes by car, and has been able to develop his interests with the farm.
- "Our friends from Gothenburg probably think we're a bit 'crazy' and wonder how we can do all this - and how we manage," he laughs.
- But it's a lifestyle, we live this life and renovate all the time, when you finish a project you move on. There is so much work, but in this peace and quiet you can develop and constantly learn something new.
- I experience great creativity from living like this, it opens up to try different things and learn something new. It feels good in the soul in some way to grow and renovate the yard, it means that you can let your shoulders down. Here, the neighbors also grow and together they create this community that we appreciate where everyone helps everyone. It's wonderful that you're almost like one big family," explains Isabelle, who is studying museology - industry training for museums and cultural heritage at Umeå University.
Since moving in, they have renovated the kitchen into a dreamy country kitchen with wide, wooden floorboards that are soap scrubbed. It is the heart of the house.
Here they will make stews from fresh vegetables that are then put in the freezer, ready to be picked during the winter.
- The aim is to be as self-sufficient as possible. "The garden contains a lot of what we want to eat, like the potatoes that we put in our root cellar so we have something to pick during the winter," says Petter.
The garden has a clear division that they have preserved and it turns out that it was designed by a garden architect in the past.
- "We like to mix flowers with vegetables and we want to preserve biodiversity. It can be combined with potatoes to create a living garden. Growing is always a learning experience - sometimes it works well one year, the next year it doesn't work so well. It's really just a matter of trial and error and today we have the advantage that it's super easy to Google yourself or ask the neighbors for advice. If you want to start small, it is fun with pea shoots - a layer of soil, water, then regular yellow peas, some plastic with holes and then wonderful pea shoots come up that cost quite a lot in the store to buy. Then you have fresh vegetables every morning," says Isabelle.