Thursday, May 8, 2014

Our new home in Hammarby Sjöstad

Hammarby Sjöstad  |  Living in Hammarby Sjöstad on afeathery*nest  |
Finding an apartment in Stockholm is hard—NYC hard, but with a twist. While NYC apartments exist, they’re just incredibly expensive. In Stockholm, they just don’t exist. The city is built on 14 islands and most residential buildings seem to be 4-6 flights. Ours in NYC was 35.

Plus, the city doesn’t want to crowd out the original buildings or smush in too much construction, so if you want to live in the city itself, it’s very hard to find a place. If you want to live on the public transit line (which serves Stockholm county, not just the city), you could find some newer construction in what you could consider the “suburbs”, but for my first year or at least for a little bit, I wanted to be more central. I thought it would make the transition a bit easier. Regardless, in our minds we were set to live with R’s mother for a couple of months before we found anything, whether permanent or transitional.

Then: her cousin’s daughter’s boss decided to move in with her partner and offered us her furnished apartment for 6-12 months! We found out a few weeks before we left NYC, which made our departure so much nicer, knowing we wouldn’t be nomads and squatters for long.

Hammarby Sjöstad  |  Living in Hammarby Sjöstad on afeathery*nest  |
Not only is the apartment furnished in our style (my mother-in-law said when she walked in she felt like she was in our NYC apartment), but we could keep our shipment of NYC things at her house and just bring over a few things to tide us over in our transition period because the apartment came with everything (dishes, pots/pans, coasters, candlesticks, a TV, etc.). All we had to bring with us were our suitcases and some linens.

(Of course we also went and got tons of plants and flowers and candles, because you know I can’t exist without those).

So the apartment itself is a perfect temporary solution for us: we can comfortably and affordably live somewhere while we figure out what our next, more permanent move will be and we don’t have to go through the hassle of unpacking all of our belongings and then repacking them.

But it wasn’t just the apartment that won me over—it was the area, too. There are two small promontories that are (almost literally) a stone’s throw away to the south of Södermalm, the island people say is the “Brooklyn” of Stockholm, where the city had planned to construct the Olympic village if they had won the bid in 2004. Since Athens got it, it was decided create an eco-zone within an already very sustainable city, the area now known as Hammarby Sjöstad, where we live.

Hammarby Sjöstad  |  Living in Hammarby Sjöstad on afeathery*nest  |
When it's time to find a long-term home, I can’t really decide if I’d rather move to a renovated apartment in a grand old palazzo, similar to my brother’s in Milan or stay in the sort of apartment we’re in now: a more “modern” building that’s a mix of metal, concrete, and glass, with wood finishes. We’re amidst low-rises with large terraces that are in small groupings along the waterfront and canals, each with their own courtyard and gardens, with footpaths and bridges and gazebos everywhere.

At the moment, the closeness to nature and nicely landscaped areas, the rushing water and all the blinking glass and shininess is wooing me over. I also love the easy access to trams, buses, ferries, and the subway line (although that’s true in most places here), but something that’s a little different in this neighborhood is the intense commitment to sustainability.

Our building has multiple recycling containers plus a compost valve, so we can port all that outside and these whooshing vacuum things swoop it all away—no need for garbage trucks. All the waste is carted underground to some sort of facility where it’s recycled and the heat generated from the process creates electricity to run things here.

The area also uses half as much water as Stockholm proper, the windows and terrace doors don't let the cold in (it’s been in the 30-40s here and we haven’t turned on the heat) and has tons and tons of commitments to implement even more practices to inspire better behavior.

My other favorite feature: in the mornings I can hear the seagulls on the water while I have my coffee and fuss over my plants.

Our new apartment in Hammarby Sjöstad  |  Living in Hammarby Sjöstad on afeathery*nest  |
One year ago: Lullaby oil concoction


  1. Glad you found such a nice temporary solution! Very cool that the area is so eco-friendly. Hope the other aspects of settling in are going ok!

  2. Replies
    1. I can't believe how nicely it all worked out! :)


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