This festive illustration by Carl Larsson (1853-1919), titled "Christmas Eve at Sundborn," serves as the cover for the December 1979 issue of Cricket.1
Cricket, a smart and literary children's magazine that was launched in 1973 and aims to be "The New Yorker for children," describes the Swedish artist's life and times — and his amazing residence — within the issue. An excerpt:
"[W]ith the help of his wife, Karin, he transformed a two-room country cottage into one of Sweden's most unique and beloved homes. 'Little Hyttnäs,' as their house was called, was given to the Larssons by Karin's father in 1889. The cottage was small and dark, as were many houses at the turn of the century, so Carl and Karin set about to brighten and enlarge their home. Carl painted the walls — along with the doors , cabinets and sections of the ceiling — with flowers, folk designs and portraits of Karin and their children. ...
"The Larsson home grew in intervals, with the help of local craftsmen and carpenters. Room after room was built onto the original cottage, so that in time the house seemed to wander across the yard. But it never seemed 'big,' because the rooms were always small, simple, and cozy and were attached at odd angles, with doors and stairways in the most unexpected places.
"Every nook and cranny was different — shelves of richly-illustrated books were built into the walls, flowers and ivy adorned tables and window sills, and colored panes of glass were set in the windows to soften the bright summer sun. Walls and trim work were splashed with color — green, rose, and sunny yellow.
"For over twenty years, 'Little Hyttnäs' grew and changed with the Larsson family (Carl and Karin had seven children), and today it is considered one of the most unusual and striking examples of the beauty of a hand-crafted home."
What a wonderful home! For more information on Little Hyttnäs, which is located in the village of Sundborn in central Sweden, check out these links:
- The Carl and Karin Larsson Family Association (official site)
- Apartment Therapy: Carl and Karin Larsson: An Artists' Home in Sweden
- Learn Sweden: Carl and Karin Larsson's Lilla Hyttnäs
- Little Jenny Wren: Lilla Hyttnas
- The Thinking Housewife: The Home of Carl and Karin Larsson
1. The contents of this issue include:
- "Has Winter Come?" by Wendy Watson
- "The Clown of God" by Tomie de Paola
- "All Those Mothers at the Manger" by Norma Farber
- "Zlateh the Goat" by Isaac Bashevis Singer
- "Christmas Treats from Sweden" by Ulf Löfgren
- "A Family" by Lennart Rudström (the article about the Larsson family)
- "Banana Twist" by Florence Parry Heide
- "Bells, Bells, Bells" by Bernadine Bailey