December 15th, 2010:
Scandinavian Homes purchased an old merchant’s house, J.B Jonsson at Kungsgatan 21 in the centre of Lysekil. The sale encompassed not only the main merchant building, but also a large 3-storey warehouse, garden and cottage – in effect the whole block. However, let’s start at the beginning:
November 1849 J.B Jonsson
Johan Bernhard Jonsson was born in the fishing village of Fiskebäckskil, across the fjord from Lysekil, on the 12th March 1827. At the age of 17 he came to the market town of Lysekil to serve as an apprentice in H. Anderssons shop. After completing his exams J.B Jonsson applied for permission to “settle in Lysekil with the objective of engaging in trade”. He was granted the legal right for this undertaking on Nov 5th 1849.
J.B Jonsson was a knowledgeable and progressive businessman. As the company expanded and the premises became too small, a new building was erected in 1860 with the same appearance as it has today. As well as engaging in wholesale and retail trade, J.B Jonsson was both owner and partner in several of the sailing vessels in Lysekil at that time. These were mostly engaged in shipping grain and herring to England and the Baltic and returning with other merchandise. J.B Jonsson was a highly respected man, well known for his kindness. He took a lively part in the town’s civic business and was a member of several committees. After 46 years at the helm of his business, “Old Jonsson” died on 13th Nov 1895 at the age of 68.
March 1901 J.A. Jacobsson
Jonas Alexander Jacobsson was born in Fiskebäckskil on Dec 16th 1862. He worked as a book-keeper in the firms of Ringström Mellbin and C.B Andersson in Göteborg until 1886 and then in Alingsås with the firm Alfred Heden. After his uncle’s (J.B Jonsson) death, Jacobsson came to Lysekil to help administer the estate. On the 1st Mar 1901 J.A Jacobsson became the company’s successor. Lysekil acquired city status in 1903 which enhanced the advancement of commerce and industry and under discerning management the firm developed accordingly.
The First World War brought with it rationing and shortages; however when the import trade became free and many new goods came on the market, the company initiated a new phase of development.
J.A Jacobsson was a popular businessman and also involved in the association of traders. He was an avid sailor, singer and a humorous character about whom there are many stories. After 30 years in the business, he died on the 4th Apr 1932 at the age of 69.
April 1932 Harry Ljunggren
Harry Ljungren, born in Lysekil Oct 22nd 1895. With the passing of J.A Jacobsson, Harry Ljungren took over the business on Apr 12th 1932. He began his working career in the company in the year 1908 and was employed there until 1915. He then spent a few years at Otto Meyers Handels Ab in Åmål as well as a short time at Ragnar Andersson’s in Lysekil but returned to J B Jonssons’s in 1920.
In 1950-1951, Harry Ljungren modernized the shop by lowering the floor to street-level and installing larger windows onto Kungsgatan. Fridges and refrigerated counters were also installed. Photographs from 1956 show a pleasing façade. The distortion of the façade with asbestos panels and 60’s-style windows of larger and wider dimensions took place in 1960. It was allegedly the planning authority of the time that enforced this remarkable “modernization” – the same social engineers who are responsible for the destruction of so many of Sweden’s city centres during this era. Harry Ljungren died on Dec 4th 1970 – 62 years after he first started working there..
Ingvar Ljungren was born in Lysekil on 10th April 1934. After leaving school in his home-town he studied business in Gothenburg and education in Stockholm. He joined the family business as junior manager in 1958. Between 1960 and 1968 he worked as a commerce teacher in Hunnebostrand and Malmö. After his father’s death in 1970 he took over the business in 1971. I. Ljunggren was well known for his cheeses as well as the company’s own Jubileum blend of coffee. The cottage and garden at the back was like a secret oasis in the centre of Lysekil. Ingvar ran the shop singlehandedly for 39 years until illness obliged him to close in the autumn of 2009. A 160 year epoch had come to an end, to the regret of many. Ingvar died on Dec 13th 2013 at 79 years of age.
The merchant house was clad in asbestos façade panels in 1960, but only on the front and the sides. The back of the house, which had almost never been seen, was completely intact from 1860. No rot or cracks. The back faces north and is therefore not exposed to direct sunlight. It had been painted with thin layers of linseed-oil paint. By carefully scraping and sanding away the paint, we were able to identify eight layers – not much considering the age of the building. This means that the back was repainted approximately every eighteen or nineteen years during the last 150 years. The single-glazed windows in the external stairwell were the originals and the frames were in perfect condition. They, too, had been painted with linseed-oil paint, a very different story compared to the water/plastic-based paints which are used nowadays.
The warehouse behind the main building was built between 1860 and 1866. We were under the impression for quite a while that it was built around 1900 but during the leveling of the building we found “1866” written in pencil under the roof beside the gable wall. .
14 April 2011 Removing warehouse
The documentation of the buildings and the preservation of usable components were made possible by a more or less manual dismantling. Previous owners had carefully stored away old doors, windows and other materials which we could now re-use.
Two pairs of 19th century entrance-doors equipped with cast-iron grilles, were found way up in an attic. These are now re-installed on the merchant house and the old locks are fully-functioning.
In the past, construction evolved more organically, large areas weren’t blasted and filled, the buildings were adapted to the natural surroundings which resulted in people-friendly environments. Who really wants to live in sterile, mass-produced settings? High-density, however, is important in the creation of a living, vital environment.
3x10” planks with juniper dowel-pins, an incredible craftsmanship from 1860. One cannot help thinking about how easy everything has become with the help of oil, electricity and all the clever inventions which we take for granted.
4 June 2011 Restoring Merchant building
The renovation of the merchant building starts. The upper part of the stairwell is preserved, as is the district-heating connection (under the waste-bin). All pipes and conduits for future connection are installed in a modern, insulated foundation. The building will be insulated on the outside so as to preserve as much as possible of the interior. Wattle and straw was used as plaster on the inside of the ax-hewn logs of the external walls. There was somewhere between 15 and 25 layers of old wall-paper on top of this. We kept this in the apartments, just added new layer of paper wallpaper on top.
On the old façade we fixed 170mm insulated timber studs at 600mm centres with 170mm rockwool carefully inserted in-between. Externally covered with an impregnated light density wood-fibreboard called Asfaboard and 28mm nail-battens horizontally. The new wooden exterior is spruce, primed with a linseed-oil base-coat. Just like a new Scandinavian Home.
The roof was insulated externally with between 200-300mm Paroc rock-wool.
Our long time partners Flaherty and Goaley Carpentry from Galway performed the entire renovation. Including the complicated addition of four separate ventilation systems with heat recovery in this old building.
The building methods from 1860 don’t differ a lot to the method used by Scandinavian Homes today. It’s mainly a question of more insulation and air-tightness. After 160 years, the roof-structure was still perfect, we just added rafters, spaced 1200mm apart, and 300mm of rock-wool insulation, on the old roof.
A small amount of adjustment was necessary to level out any sagging which has occurred throughout the years. Then tongue and groove timber sarking, our special roofing-felt, battens and counter-battens was put on. The double-roll clay roof-tiles, which were laid in 1950, were in perfect condition and could be re-used. Some extra tiles needed to be sourced and these are slightly lighter in colour.
The new wooden windows are painted white and look similar to the original windows. They are our Scandinavian Homes standard windows with 50mm glazing-cassette, triple-glazed. But here we used the old double side-hung opening version with 19th century clasps. The average U-value for all the windows in the building is extremely low, 0,85 W/(m2K). It is a strange world we live in. In 1960, when the asbestos sheets were put up, Lysekil’s Kommun required Ljunggrens to reduce the number of windows and increase the width of them in order to modernize the appearance of the building. In 2013, after the building is restored to it’s original form, it wins the Kommun’s building prize!
The methodology of renovation can be backwards sometimes. We did the roof and walls first and the exterior insulation of the foundation came last. Because it wasn’t possible to get access to insulate underneath the building, we insulated around the perimeter on the outside. A ditch was dug, as deep as we could (approx 50cm) right around the edge of the building. 20cm of expanded styrofoam insulation was added to the outside of the old stone foundation and this was subsequently plastered with reinforced silicate plaster. The ditch was then filled with LECA (Light Expanded Clay Aggregate) balls and topped off with more styrofoam to a width of about 80cm out from the wall of the building.
The above method threw up another conundrum however: what do you do about ventilation under the house when the vents in the old foundation are blocked? Our solution was to extract air from the cellar up through the middle of the house with a small vent in the floor at each end of the house delivering air into the cellar. This works really well and the ground under the house has a temperature of 20°C and a relative humidity of 40-50%.
Scandinavian Homes Sweden AB acquired a fine new office in the old merchant building. We are house manufacturers who build new houses. Seeing as we pride ourselves on using proven methods and materials, we felt there was a certain logic in selling new houses from a 150 year old house. Our visitors can see our new 3-appartment passive house through the window.
These old glazed tiles from Karlkrona tile factory were also re-used. The bench in the kitchen is constructed of planed spruce and treated with pigmented Jupex 45 tung oil and linseed-oil wax. The three retail outlets comprise of ”Kungsgatans Delicatessen”, which maintains the 150 year tradition associated with the building., the cosy “Culture Café Earth” and a small shop selling eclectic crafts made from reused materials – “Rita’s Flickor”
April 2012 Newbuild of passive apartments
The foundation for the new passive apartment-building was started on April 1st 2013. The building is divided into three apartments – one comprising 116m2 and two with 94m2. The building is a variation of the standard model Skagerrak 229. By increasing the width with 600mm, and adding the floor-area gained by utilizing the attic space, the total floor-area becomes 304m2. Originally, a larger building with six apartments was planned, but it would probably have been a little too large for the site. For this reason, we decided to reduce the size of the new building so that it would fit without demolishing the old cottage. The integrity of the site was better served and most of the old garden was also preserved.
The foundation was built with 30cm LECA blocks directly on sloping bed-rock without there being any need for blasting. There was a great difference in height – 4.2m - from north to south which created a large cellar. After using the insulated light and stong LECA blocks I really wonder what is wrong with Irish Cement and the other cement boyos, why do they insist on supplying inferior concrete blocks – fragile, heavy, un-insulated? Why do they not manufacture and sell LECA blocks instead? A 23m3 steel tank was located here as a seasonal store for the 50m2 solar collectors on the roof of the old merchant building. The foundation was insulated with an extra 20cm of expanded polystyrene on the inside. The heat-losses from the insulated water-tank heat the cellar and even the surrounding bed-rock without causing the house to over-heat. In this way the cellar contributes to the building’s extremely low energy consumption. The system itself is described more accurately in the pages relating to the EINSTEIN research product. The results of this research will also be presented in the coming years.
The floor-joists were laid out on April 23rd and the erection of the pre-fabricated building started the following day. One of two unusual details was that the walls were delivered without internal plasterboards. This was possible because the Scandinavian Homes factory is located just two km away from the building-site. The other is that the vertical panels were not fixed in the factory. They were nailed in place on site so that the horizontal joins wouldn’t be obvious, thus giving a more authentic 19th century look. As is usual, everything went swiftly and according to plan. On a normal build we usually start at 07.00 on a Tuesday and finish, with the roof on and the door locked, at around 12.00 on following Friday. This time, it took a little longer, because we loaded tons of plaster-boards, ceiling panel and flooring to each floor as the building went up. This saved time and heavy lifting later on.
The A-team Flaherty & Goaley Carpenters came to Sweden from Ireland again to build this new passive apatment building. With the hands-on experience of building more than 280 low-energy and passive houses it is hard to imagine anyone with more experience and skills than these guys. The picture shows the team on a Sunday afternoon in the beginning of June after five long days of erecting the large house.
It is worth mentioning our passive roof-truss which we developed ourselves. It has double rafters which creates space for 40-50 cm blow-in cellulose insulation. What is especially ingenious is that the floor in the attic hangs down between the 2950mm extra-high walls. It is very valuable to have this extra height available when the roof-pitch, for architectural reasons, has to be reduced from 40 to 35 degrees. For very little cost we gain a spacious upstairs while maintaining passive roof insulation. Since we introduced this unique roof-truss four years ago, it has been used in most of our houses with attic-conversion. This truss is actually inspired by 200 year old barn-roofs built by Lars ancestors in the north of Sweden.
There are two roof-windows serving the bathrooms upstairs. They are triple glazed and have an extra foam-frame around, to reduce the heat-losses. It is always problematic with the large heat-losses from windows installed within the roof.
They are installed above the insulation and the roofing felt. As well as this there is always the risk of water-penetration around roof-windows. For this reason we have developed our own methods to reduce the risk of leakage. The blower-door test was very successful with <0.2 air-exchanges at 50 Pa over- and under- pressure. This was In spite of a noticeable air-leakage around the glazing of both roof windows. At the same time, there was not a single little trace of a leak from any of the 28 excellent NorDan windows or the 6 NorDan doors!
The double external passivehouse wall developed by ourselves is both cost- and space-efficient. We simply staple up a layer of 120-145mm rockwool on the inside of the external walls. Vapour barrier is installed and a simple wall made from 45x70mm studs and another layer of 70mm rockwool is built on the inside. The total thickness of the insulation is between 335mm and 360mm. We achieve fantastic U-values of lower than 0.1 thanks to the middle layer that is completely free from cold-bridging.
The three apartments were occupied on October 1st 2013, 6 months after commencing the foundation of the building.
December 2013 Building price
Lysekil’s municipality’s new building price was awarded to us for the restoration of the old merchant building in December 2013. The rules are; “The price should be awarded every second year to a building in Lysekil municipality that, in a commendable manner, renews our modern heritage and/or contributes to our historically interesting cultural environment. The assessment shall be for new construction and/or renovation projects"
It was the planning office of the county council that awarded us the prize. We won in hard competition with the excellent extension of the venerable Beach Hotel. Scandinavian Homes Sweden’s office is located in the old office of the merchant building. We still use the original 19th century desk and also the new desk from 1930. You are welcome to visit us to plan your new build - ecological, long-term durable and extremely energy efficient, just like our buildings at Kungsgatan in Lysekil.