The end of an era

Unlike most countries where water and sanitation pipes are installed on the exterior of the buildings, in Sweden these pipes run down through the middle of the buildings. One set in the kitchen, one set in the bathroom. This is due to the cold weather. The only pipes placed outside are drainpipes, and they are either heated or have heated wires hanging out of them that you can shake to break the frozen water inside.

So when you have to have your water and sanitation pipes replaced (stambyte), it is an enormous job. Many people have to live in their apartments while renovations are ongoing. This entails port-a-loos and temporary shower facilities in the basement or the street outside. And lots of dust and noise.

We were lucky enough to be offered ‘evacuation pavilions’ made of construction containers when our apartment was renovated. The entire neighbourhood was built in the 1940s so it took from 2009 to this year to renovate them all.  I was one of the first to move into the containers in 2009 because our building was one of the first to have a stambyte so everything was brand spanking new. There were 26 units (2 pavilions of 13 units each) and the pavilions were on a parking lot a few hundred metres away so I stayed in the same place. No need to change my route to work or anything.

The containers were so nice. Each unit was made up of two or three construction-containers put together. Mine had a living and dining room, closet/storage room, and a bedroom in one container and a hallway, a beautiful white IKEA kitchen, study and toilet/shower in the second one. They were then placed together so it made a cosy little house. Brand new with the plastic still all over the IKEA furniture. They were fully equipped so all I had to take were my clothes and things I wanted to have with me. Everything else was packed up and put into storage for three months while the pipes were done, and then put back and unpacked afterwards.

I loved my time there and so did the cats. I almost did not want to move back when the time came! Everything was so cosy and so brand spanking new! Plus I first learned the wonderful feeling of just having the basic necessities.

Here are our postboxes. I was L

Over time though the elements wore away at the containers and the paint flaked and chipped. Still, it was so sad to see them dismantling them this week after renovations were done on the last of the buildings. They will be replaced with apartments.

Here you can see a kitchen unit on the right of the container and to the left of it a study with bookshelves and desk unit. To the left of the study is the shower and toilet.
One unit completely gone, the next one being dismantled.
My unit was on the bottom floor of this pavilion, second from the right (it has part of the decking standing up against it)

And soon it will look like this





Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

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