Join our family, help with our creative projects and renovation of a historic house in Småland, Sweden



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  • Description


    We have a unique picturesque property that stands just across from the Train Station in the historic Swedish town of Vimmerby. It also happens to be the birthplace of the most famous Swedish children's author, Astrid Lindgren.... Pippi Longstocking, Emil, Karlsson, etc. Since the late 90's, a children's theater park called Astrid Lindgren's World, has become a major attraction with over 500,000 visiting it during the summer months.

    The region of Sweden is known as Småland. It's about 45 minutes to the eastern coastal city of Västervik and 1 hour south of Linköping. Stockholm is 3 hours north.

    My wife and I are 'teachers' (and learners) at heart and also by training as well as amateur curious artists). We are the traditional Russian/American family living in Sweden :-) Maria has a PHD in Biology, a medical degree in pediatrics and also teaches middle school science. I'm (Wally) a Special Education teacher with a dual focus on gifted and social/emotional needs. I've taught in Portland,Oregon and Phoenix, Arizona and for the past 12 years, in various regions of the world (China, Egypt, Germany).

    We met in the typical way, playing Ultimate Frisbee on the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. We have three children, Ezra is now almost 8 years, our daughter, Yuki, is almost 5 years and Kano, is turning 3 around Xmas time. We don't have any pets yet, but we are considering getting some friendly chickens.

    Our project! in Vimmerby!!!!

    We have been trying to rejuvenate the original house, guest house, garden and barn,as well as infuse creative and playful installations. Our property is really sweet, with lots of apple trees, cherry trees, a pear tree, lots of flowers and a lovely atmosphere. In the 1800's, it was originally a small farming collective.

    We are constantly creating unique projects that are fun, challenging and fulfilling. We like color, texture and innovative designs that can incorporate and blend the old design with the new. We motivated very much by
    re-using 'found objects' (what other's throw away) into assorted environments.

    -We wish to extend the garden with a possible cob-green house
    -Solar initiative to power some basic use
    -Host cultural events such as music, theater, film, puppet, etc
    -renovate/redesign barn
    -Interactive natural playground area
    -Create curious installations

    Additional projects:

    The property consists of one main house that has been split into three apartments, There is also a separate, very cute and very old home, in need of some tender care, and a large barn that we are hoping to renovate with some interesting and unique ideas. We have a a good sized garden and two RV's, each with a private decks and a covered roof. In all, we have 6 various and unique accommodations.

    We have families and travelers that mainly, come and stay throughout the summer to visit Astrid's Lindgren's World (Theater park) and also in the spring and autumn. In other months, the area is in very close proximity to nature, trails, hiking, fishing, swimming, etc...

    New Project:

    We have a very interesting NEW project that we've been putting our sincere efforts this past year. It's in small town of Stockaryd, It's a bit different than our project in Vimmerby...

    We have been converting (and renovating) an old 1920's grocery store into 2 apartments with studio/creative live/work spaces.... on the 1st floor and also on the 3rd level. It's been a lot of work but we almost finished the new facade....

    We are trying to combine and incorporate new components while highlighting the open spaces and unique
    mood of the building.
    The 3rd level is about 300 sqm with huge wood beams.... all together, about 900sqm + a cement basement....
    There is also an outdoor playground (in progress) and old storage building....

    There are lots of opportunities for creative ideas and design...

    Most tools we have... plumbing, electric, carpentry,
    including work spaces for art experimentation :-)

    The style of the building is very interesting and has design elements from earlier styles. 1880's -1910's.
    We can send pics of the progress...

    We are looking for workaway people that have a creative profile. Of course, we are looking and appreciate considerate and kind individuals who seem to enjoy being with others in open to learning new experiences.

    We have three children.... ages 8, 5 and soon to be 3 years old. They are wonderful and full of endless energy and creativity. It's a nice balance to working with renovation and creative art/design projects, as well as looking at alternative perspectives and visions....

    Workaways have a good space to live and explore. We have multiple rooms for privacy as well as high speed internet :-)

    Hope you have a chance to respond...and we're looking forward to hearing from you soon!

    Kindest regards,
    Maria and Wally


    Maria speaks many languages, Russian, French, Swedish, English... and some German.... but I, sadly, only speak English, though, I can do it with various accents :-)

    We are open-minded, patient and genuine. We like to be social and have meals together...

    You should be open and creative. It would be really cool if you have some skills in painting, sculpture, cob architecture etc... Some of the work is physical... and so, please keep this is mind when you apply.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Art Projects
    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Babysitting and creative play
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance
    Help with Computers/ Internet

  • Projects involving children

    Projects involving children

    This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    You will have the opportunity to experience Swedish life in the countryside... Just like in the very picturesque stories of Astrid Lindgren... and the opportunity to meet travelers from all of the world.

    There are so many lakes and natural areas close by for hiking, biking, canoeing, swimming, fishing ... Many are in walking and biking distance...

    Traveling to Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmo, Lund and Copenhagen, the Baltics, etc..are easy.... by train, bus, boat.

    And our kids speak three languages: Russian, Swedish and English... Maria also knows French and German

  • Help


    Maria and I are looking for helpers that can positively contribute in creative ways... to projects, as well as with general/basic daily tasks. There are not too many taks and we are quite laid back. We are flexible with the hours we work and the same would be for you.

    We are constantly creating unique projects that are fun, challenging and fulfilling. We like color, texture and innovative designs that can incorporate and blend the old design with the new. We motivated very much by
    re-using 'found objects' (what other's throw away) into assorted environments.

    -We wish to extend the garden with a possible cob-green house
    -Solar initiative to power some basic areas on the proeprty
    -Host cultural events such as music, theater, film, puppet, etc
    -renovate/redesign barn
    -paint the original farm house
    -design an Interactive natural playground area for kids and adults :-)
    -Create curious installations

  • Languages spoken

    German: Fluent
    English: Fluent
    French: Fluent
    Russian: Fluent
    Sami: Fluent
    Swedish: Fluent

  • Accommodation


    There are several options depending on how many helpers visit us. We think it's important for helpers to have their own space for privacy and independence.

    In the summer, May through August: We have two large RVs (that can accommodate 4) each with a newly built covered deck area. Private fridge in RV, Full kitchen and bath facilities just across garden area.

    In Stockaryd, we have some private rooms... within a very big house.

    From September through April, we can offer a full sized apartment that is large enough to accommodate 6).

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    In your free time, helpers can explore many lakes, natural preserves and several national parks for outdoor activities. Fishing, hiking, swimming, camping, boating, ....

    The town of Vimmerby has events, music, markets and folk races throughout the summer. It's a very nice town situated in the countryside.

    The train and bus station are located right next to our property so traveling anywhere in the region or into Scandinavia is simple. There are also ferry connections to the Denmark, Poland, Germany, the Baltics and the island of Gotland.

    In Stockaryd, there is a train stop... and there are bus connections. We have lots of bikes.... and the house is located right next forest areas for trail riding, hiking, or walking. Nature preserves are biking distance and National Parks are also close by...

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • Can host digital nomads

    Can host digital nomads

    We have a fiber connection... pretty good wifi. A good space, by nature. Access to transportation, train and bus....

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    We have space to park a campervan....

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week

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Host ref number: 593122226692