Monday, December 9, 2019

Decorating With Eighteenth Century Swedish Tile Stoves ( Kakelugns)

If you love old world Swedish interiors you have to have fallen under the spell of the gorgeous tile stove called a kakelugn. Considered an icon of Swedish design, you will find them in almost every picture of an old world Swedish/Gustavian interior you see on social media or in decorating magazines. Built from bricks with clay sealed joints these Swedish stoves are then covered with beautiful tiles. Whether plain or exquisite, these tiles give the kakelugn a charming and graceful appearance that, like a work of art, makes it suitable for the most refined and elegant Swedish interiors.

That being said the Swedish tile stove was a virtual workhorse when it came to keeping it's homeowners warm on those cold Scandinavian nights. The real beauty of the Swedish tile stove is the fact that, once it gets up to temperature, it continues to give out heat as the bricks cool slowly over a period of ten or twelve hours, long after the fire itself has died down. That means the stove does not have to burn continuously to heat the room but at best only twice a day - in the morning to heat the room through the day and in the late afternoon or early evening to bring the bricks back up in temperature to heat the room through the night.

I hope you will enjoy the lovely images I have gathered as well as a bit if history about the Swedish tile kakelugn.

At the beginning of the 18th century, North Eastern Europe and Scandinavia experienced a wood shortage due to the simple matter of deforestation. Once depleted, the trees couldn't grow back quick enough to sustain the need of wood for heat, paper production, and construction. The timber industry was pushed to its limits.

From The Swedish Country House by Susanna Scherman, photographs by Åke E:son Lindman

This scarcity forced the government to look into ways of redesigning existing forms of masonry fireplaces. In 1767 the king of Sweden commissioned architect and member of the Royal Academy of Science, Count Carl Johan Cronstedt, and Field Marshal Fabian Wrede to develop a stove that would burn fuel more efficiently. They brilliantly redesigned the traditional stove and made the kakelugn about eight times as efficient as the ordinary wood stove.

via Pinterest

In the lower part of the Swedish tile stove there is a fire box where wood burns at a very high temperature. Gases (and heat) that normally would go straight up the chimney were redirected through a number of flues around the outer edge of the stove before finally being drawn out through the chimney. 

via Pinterest

Stone requires more time to heat up, but once it has, it holds the heat much longer. This is called radiant heat.The bricks themselves warmed up and the heat they retained radiated from the masonry to the floors, walls, ceiling and the furniture. In other words it warmed up the entire room instead of just the air like our forced air systems today do.

I understand radiant heat because our 130 year old house uses the old cast iron radiator system for heat. I love it because it is stays so warm and since it is a boiler system that heats the water in the radiators, I don't have to worry about dry skin which is caused by modern forced air systems. 

A tiled Swedish oven stove is only fired for a short time, from a quarter of an hour to one or two hours, and then it radiates heat for at least 12 hours. These hand painted tile stoves look so beautiful in spaces with painted panels.

 The tile stove radiates heat all day and night from just two fires per day. Firing the heater only twice a day means much less wood is used.

via Pinterest

Oven stoves are large, heavy and slow, but they offer so many advantages. They are low maintenance since they only have to be fired twice a day, no smoke leaves the chimney so there is less air pollution than conventional wood burning appliances, and since masonry is only just warm to the touch, you won't get burned. And let's not forget how beautiful they are!!

 Because of the tiled kakelugn the Swedish people didn't have to stay glued to their fireplaces to stay warm. Now they had some of the warmest homes in Europe!

Classic Swedish Interiors’ published by author/curator/Lars Sjoberg. Photographs by Engallil Snitt

Although initially only wealthy Swedish homeowners could afford these new tiled stoves, eventually the "new technology" was made affordable for poorer Swedish households as well. By the 19th large upper class homes might have a stove like this in the corner of every room. 

Stoves in the most elegant rooms were decorated with multicolored hand painted porcelain tiles and were prominently put on view in a specially designed niche emphasizing its beauty.

Like a treasured piece of furniture the Swedish tiled stove was proudly displayed in a corner or in the middle of a wall.

In the late 18th Century the Marieberg faience factory in Stockholm was where the most famous of all the hand-painted stoves in Sweden came from. They were known for their white backgrounds and beautifully colored tiles. photographer Will Pryce

Solid white tiled kakelugns were used in all types of Swedish interiors from the classic and elegant.........

to the more modest rooms. Thought of as plain in the 18th century, we now find these extremely charming and beautiful.

This image and the one above it features Swedish kakelugns in Sabylund Manor, considered the best late 18th century Swedish house to be built outside of the royal circle.

via Pinterest

The tiled stoves that were the typical heating device in 18th century Swedish homes are being produced again due to the recent rise in popularity.

Today 's Swedish tile stove renaissance is causing the industry to manufacture new tiled stoves. Also antique stoves that are in perfect working condition are avidly being sought after for their aesthetic value as well as their functionality. 

via Pinterest

These wonderful tiled stoves are being saved from old 18th and 19th century homes and buildings that are being demolished. Collectors are literally standing in line!

The crown like tops of this style Swedish kakelugn makes them quite attractive and adaptable to any style interior.

Plus they remind me of giant chess pieces.

I love the twin kakelugns at the entrance of this home. They are so pretty when displayed in their special niches.

Sometimes referred to as cocklestoves, the Swedish tiled stove is still used in some of the older houses and apartments throughout the Baltic states.

via Pinterest

Blue and white Swedish tile stoves seem to be the perennial favorite.

Hope you enjoyed!!

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This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

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