Welcome to the cosiest living room in Flogsta
This article is the first out of a small series about the student rooms in Flogsta, in which Maria Brix Rasmussen and photographer Miriam Hauertmann explore the inside of the apartment buildings’ seemingly identical corridors.
On the seventh floor in building nine, I enter a room that immediately gets me thinking of those cosy British retro living rooms from the 60s. This is definitely not the typical IKEA-home but a room where every item has been carefully collected from far and wide to keep the memories of family, friends, and travelling alive.
With a welcoming smile and a typical Swedish calmness, the ‘Malmöbo’ and student Emelie Alsheim invites me and the photographer Miriam into her room, where not only the view is stunning but also the detailed decoration of the room. The expression on Miriam’s face tells me that she doesn’t even know where to look.
Emelie asks us if we would like a cup of tea, and while we’re making ourselves comfortable in the cosy leather armchairs and place our feet on the furry grass-green carpet, I look around and imagine that the decorations and interior are probably not only limited to being visually pleasing – they must also hold great stories.
One of the cosy corners in Emelie's room where both walls have been neatly decorated with posters and postcards from different places in the world. To the left is a unique yellow lamp from the charity shop in Glasgow where Emelie used to work. (Photo: Miriam Hauertmann)
Emelie was born and raised in Malmö in the southern part of Sweden but moved to Uppsala in November 2020 to study her Master in Infection Biology. Because she studied her Bachelor and lived in Glasgow in Scotland for four year, she brought most of her stuff from her previous apartment. Though I don’t know Emelie, I can tell she has put a lot of effort into decorating her room. She even brought her bamboo coffee table and a yellow lamp all the way from Glasgow, which she also describes as one of her dearest items.
– The lamp emits a yellow light that gives such warmth. I got it for only two pounds from a charity shop I used to work in when I lived in Glasgow , she says.
Emelie did not grow up in this type of snug home, though. She describes her childhood home as a very typical grey and white IKEA-home. Even though she still loves her parental home, this is, as said, not her preferred way of living.
Three years back Emelie did not use to integrate colours in neither her wardrobe nor her home, but when she moved into an apartment with her best friend in Glasgow, her perception of what a home “should” look like changed. She started working at a charity shop at the same time, and all the time she spent with old, retro and quirky furniture and knick-knacks made her want to integrate that into her own home. When I ask Emelie what she considers a home, she emphasises that a home could be different things to her.
"I don’t like to have this fleeting feeling of ‘I’m just gonna stay for some time’."
– Since I’ve moved so much, it doesn’t really seem that a specific place is my personal home. I did live in a flat in Glasgow for two years, it wasn’t the best flat but that kind of became a home. I got to live with my best friend. I feel like this is ‘homy’ for me too, because of all the personal stuff.
Even though Emelie has only lived here since November 2020, it is clear that she has put a lot of effort into this place. Emelie would like to feel comfortable in her home even if she only lives there for a limited period of time.
– I want to make it feel like it’s a home. I don’t like to have this fleeting feeling of ‘I’m just gonna stay for some time’.
When I ask Emelie what she would like to take with her in case of a fire, she hesitates a bit before she looks over and points at a framed black and white picture.
– I would pick the photo of my granddad picking strawberries. My dad actually took this photo. He used to be a photographer back in the day. So I really like that picture. It makes me really happy.
The amazing cat teapot. When you pour the tea, you have to hold the cat's head carefully for it not to fall off. (Photo: Miriam Hauertmann)
As the conversation goes on and I have had a little more time to look around properly, I start to notice that Emelie’s room has a very specific theme to it; A cat theme!
A cat shaped teapot, a leopard blanket on the leather chair, porcelain figurines shaped as leopards, and the cushions on the bed are just a few of the cat-themed things in Emelie’s room. One would think that we were sitting in front of a cat loving person, but when I ask Emelie if she likes cats or animals in general, she answers ‘no’ and laughs, and we all give each other a knowing look – she has to explain why she has felines of all forms and sizes scattered around the room when she doesn’t even like the animal.
– My family found some other quirky animal things for me. So, most of it was gifted to me as a fun joke that the cat teapot started. I also had this idea that when I have my own place, I would like to have the animals on this 60s kind of ‘stringhylla’ (an iconic shelf seen in many Swedish homes, red.), simply because I thought it would make a good feature in a kitchen.
Even though Emelie is studying Infection Biology, I could easily imagine her being a home decorator with her eye for small details.
– I think I did a pretty good job. I don’t like the empty spaces on the walls. I think the decorations give warmth to the place.
And I must agree – Emelie did a really amazing job decorating her room. Everything from her leather chairs which she inherited from her grandmother, to the cat teapot, and the yellow lamp from the charity shop in Glasgow has a personal meaning to it. Even though all of these items are personal to Emelie, it is almost like the whole cosy atmosphere is contagious which both Miriam and I agree on as we leave the seventh floor in building nine after a nice and cosy fika in Emelie’s room.
Emelie herself in front of a few of her many photos. (Photo: Miriam Hauertmann)