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In pictures: Twelve stunning Scandinavian swimming pools

If you're going to own a swimming pool in a Nordic nation, you may as well do it with style. Houzz.se editor in chief Sara Norrman takes a look at some of Scandinavia’s most striking pools.

In pictures: Twelve stunning Scandinavian swimming pools
Houzz.se editor Sara Norrman rounds up stome striking Scandinavian pools. Photo: SAP Stockholm AB

Having a swimming pool in a northern climate may seem like a major luxury, but in recent years it has become more and more common to invest in one. Some architects are now taking pools into consideration when drawing up their floor plan, while others look to integrate them into the garden.

Whether you’re thinking of building a private pool, or are simply fantasizing about taking a dip in 23-degree water while others shiver in the sea and lakes, Houzz.se have pulled together some inspiring examples. Check out the gallery of beautiful swimming pools below.

Enjoy the warmth

Neither Sweden, Norway or Denmark are known for their steady summer heat, but once it finally hits, a Nordic summer is absolutely stunning. In typical Danish fashion, the villa below has refused to ignore beautiful design, and instead moved Thomas Pedersen's iconic Stingray chair out to the pool. 

STINGRAY
Photo: Spark by Thomas Pedersen
The Swedish pool below, meanwhile,  has the perfect combination of a seaside view from the comfort of warmer water.
 
Våra pooler och spabad
Photo: Pool Store Sverige AB
 
 
Asian touch
 
The firm Architecture by Lofti built this wonderful pool in Skåne in a way that family and friends could gather around it. The paving around the pool provides space for sun loungers, while the wall creates a beautiful sun-trap. Some scattered statues of Buddha and a pared-down garden gives the pool a kind of an exotic flair.
 
Villa in Falsterbo
Photo: Architecture by Lofti
 
Architectural dreams
 
In the splendid Villa Midgard in Stockholm, DAP architects were very keen to make the pool a natural part of their project. The result is below, with a facade covered in weathering steel, which will get rusty and stained with time and perfectly matches the deep green colour of the pool.
 
VILLA MIDGÅRD
Photo: SAP Stockholm AB
 
Glittering darkness
 
With the right kind of light reflecting off a facade, pools can also look beautiful in the evening. The below house is located in Duvnäs, Stockholm.
 
Duvnäs Udde
Photo: Wrede Fastighetsmäkleri
 
Swimming with trees
 
In this villa in Rönninge, entrepreneur Elithus had to blast into the bedrock to achieve the right, floating feeling. Because of the chilly climate, the pool is only in use during the summer months, but when the weather is right the resident family often goes for a swim. The pool is made of concrete, while the deck is made of larch wood. Since the pool is located high above the ground, the family can feel like they are floating among the treetops during swims.
 
Rönninge
Photo: Elithus i Stockholm AB
 
Cool in Copenhagen
 
These home-owners wanted to modernize their 60s house, located at Solrød Strand, south of Copenhagen. Taking inspiration from their travels abroad, the owners wanted to create a pool area that was quiet and transparent. At the same time, they also wanted to hold on to the home's original style, combining classic 60s Danish architecture with influences from southern California and Miami.
 
60´er villa forvandlet til moderne poolhouse
Photo: NB Ark
 
 
Time to party
 
This Vaxholm paradise pool with a wooden deck allows guests to hang out by the water. On particularly sunny days, an awning unfolds and provides shade for the seats along the wall.
 
Våra pooler och spabad
Photo: Pool Store Sverige AB
 
The nature friendly pool
 
If you want a more natural feel in the garden, this Danish 'swimming lake’ (svømmesøn) may inspire. Less chemicals are used in the more natural pool, helping it to integrate into the garden and the surroundings. With its magical water mirror look, it somehow feels more Nordic than traditional azure blue pools.
 

Birkerød Svømmesø
Photo: Svømmesø.dk
 
Why swim in the ocean when you can swim above it?
 
In this awesome infinity pool in the Gothenburg area, you can enjoy the view while staying warm and comfortable. The pool and the large attached deck took three months to complete, following digging and blasting to prepare the foundations.
 
Pool Åsa
Photo: Ludwigs Pool & Badrum Bygg AB
Working with nature
The beautiful flat rocks around this house in Stockholm give the pool a coastal feel. This kind of steep and rocky landscape can be difficult to adapt for a garden, but the wooden deck works nicely with a swimming pool or a hot tub.
 
Våra pooler och spabad
Photo: Pool Store Sverige AB
Come see more Nordic lifestyle, design and architecture over at houzz.dk and houzz.se.
 

PROPERTY

These are our readers’ top tips for buying a property in Sweden

Buying an apartment or house in Sweden can be a daunting process, but with rentals so hard to get, many foreigners end up taking the plunge. Here are the top tips from readers who have done it.

These are our readers' top tips for buying a property in Sweden

Get prepared! 

Most of the respondents to our survey stressed the importance of preparation. 

“Spend time on defining your requirements properly, including visits to different locations to narrow down your search,” advised Julian, a Brit living in Malmö. 

As well as working out your requirements, other participants argued, you should also get to grips with the way the bidding system works in Sweden, with one British woman recommending buyers “speak to professionals about the buying procedure”. One respondent went so far as to recommend hiring a buyers’ agent, something international employers sometimes provide for senior executives moving to Sweden. 

Elizabeth, a 26-year-old charity worker from South America, recommended that all buyers “learn to read a bostadsrättsförening årsredovisning”, the finance report for a cooperative housing block. (You can find The Local’s guide here.) 

Get to know the market 

Maja, an anthropologist from Hungary, said it was important to take time to get a feel for the market, suggesting buyers visit different areas to find the one that they like. 

“It will take 6-12 months easily,” she predicts. “Don’t rush. Visit the neighborhoods where you are thinking of buying.”
 
Others recommended spending time surfing Sweden’s two main housing websites, Hemnet and Booli, to get a better feel for how much different types of housing in different areas typically sell for, before starting to look seriously yourself, with one even recommending going to viewings before you have any intention of buying.  
 
“Start visiting houses and monitoring bids. That will give you a sense of the process,” recommends Shubham, 31, a software engineer from India.
 

 
Think about your expectations
 
While house prices have soared in Sweden’s cities over the past decade, the same is not the case in all rural areas, something some respondents thought buyers should take advantage of. “To buy a house at a lesser price, look at areas as far from urban areas as is possible for you and your family,” wrote Simon, a 61-year-old living in rural Sweden. 
 
Julian warned bidders against areas and types of homes that “will attract tens of ‘barnfamiljer’ (families with children), meaning “bidding wars will result”, pushing up the price. 
 
On the other hand, one respondent warned people to “avoid buying apartments in vulnerable areas, even though prices will be lower there”. 
 
An Italian buyer recommended looking at newly built apartments coming up for sale. 
 
 
Get a mortgage offer before your first serious viewing 
 
Getting a lånelöfte, literally “loan promise”, can be tricky for foreigners in Sweden, as our recent survey of banks’ policies showed. 
 
Shubham warned against applying for a loan promise from multiple banks, arguing that this can affect your credit rating if your finances are not otherwise good. He suggested using an umbrella site like Ordna Bolån and Lånekoll, although he warned that the payment they take from the ultimate mortgage provider might ultimately be taken from borrowers.  
 
READ ALSO: 
 
Get to know the estate agents, but don’t necessarily trust them 
 
Gaurav, a sales manager based in Stockholm, recommended getting to know local estate agents in the area where you are planning to buy, as they might be able to direct you towards owners who are in a hurry to sell. “Those can be the best deals as you have greater chances to avoid bidding on such properties,” he argued. 
 
Maja, from Hungary, warned, however, against believing that the estate agent is on the buyer’s side. 
 
“You cannot really make friends with them, they work for commission and they will also try to raise the selling price,” she said. “It’s how they present you to the seller that matters. Seem like a serious buyer.” 

 
Should you try to make an offer before bidding starts? 
 
Morgan, a 33-year-old marketing manager from France, said it was worth studying the kommande (coming soon) section on Hemnet and Booli to spot houses and flats before they are formally put on the market. “Be alert. Book an appointment asap and get a private visit to reduce competition. If the apartment is what you’re looking for, make a reasonable offer with a condition to sign the contract in the next 24 hours,” he recommends. “You will cut the bidding frenzy and save money.”
 
Gaurav also recommended getting a private viewing and making an offer while the property was still off the market, as did Julian. 
 
“If you are lucky, you might find owners who are in a hurry to sell,” Julian said. “Those can be the best deals as you have greater chances to avoid bidding on such properties.” 
 
But other foreigners warned against bidding before a property is publicly put up for sale on housing websites, arguing that estate agents used this as a way of getting higher prices than they would expect to get at auction.  
 
“You are essentially negotiating directly with the owner, without finding out the actual market price via bidding,” argued a 31-year-old Indian business analyst. “Usually this will work only for an apartment not in top condition.” 
 
What to watch out for in the bidding process 
 
Morgan advised buyers to take what estate agents say about rival bidders with a pinch of salt. 
 
“Estate agents will play the competition card. Don’t fall for their trick and keep a cool head. Ask yourself if it really worth it before increasing a bid,” he wrote. 
 
In Sweden, it is possible to make a hidden bid, which is not disclosed to other bidders. One Indian software developer warned that estate agents would often claim that there was such a bid to pressure you. 
 
“The hidden bids are really confusing as you don’t know the bid placed,” he said. “It’s a trap to get higher bids. “
 
A 21-year-old Romanian agreed it was important to watch out for estate agents who try to rush or panic you. 
 
“[Look out for] those that try to rush you into it by saying stuff like ‘this will be gone by Monday, the owner wants to sell fast’, or if they don’t want to include a two-week period to have the property inspected as a clause in the contract,” she said. 
 
Maja recommended choosing an estate agency that required all bidders to supply their personal number, with all bids made public, “because other agencies might cheat that price rise”. 
 
“Don’t be the first bidder,” she added. “Keep your cool, and if the agent calls or messages, just hold on. There is no official end to the bidding. Only when you sign the contract. So the best game is to seem very serious but not stupid. You have a budget, and try to sign the contract the same day or the next if you are the highest bidder.” 
 
Is now a good time to buy? 
 
The respondents were, predictably, divided. 
 
“It’s risky for both sellers and buyers,” said Carl, a Swede who recently returned home from China. “The market seems to correlate pretty well with central banks raising interest rates. If that’s the case, then it’s still a sellers’ market since central bank [Riksbank] will continue to increase interest rates until 2024.” 
 
“It’s difficult to predict anything at the moment,” agreed Gaurav. “Prices should fall a bit but that’s not happening in all the areas. Avoid buying or selling if you can for a few months.” 
 
“I see there is no difference in buying in total cost. You can get a property at a lower price but end up paying more in interest and the price is the same in five to ten years,” said one Indian software engineer. “Buying is still better than renting.”

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