Kakelugn: Ode to the Swedish Stove

Kakelugn: Ode to the Swedish Stove

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Carolyn Purnell
May 30, 2015
(Image credit: À l'ancien régime)

If you share my love of Scandinavian design, you have probably noticed a kakelugn lurking in the corner. You may not have known what they were called, or even how they came to be, but these tiled stoves are a prominent feature in old Scandinavian buildings. Read on to learn a bit about these stoves and to click through a gallery of images featuring these beauties in both classic and modern interiors.

(Image credit: Empire Nordic)

The Swedish Stove, or kakelugn, is a masonry heater designed to heat an interior through radiant heating. Radiant heating technologies have existed for centuries, but the Swedish tile stove is associated with Carl Johan Cronstedt, a Swedish polymath from the eighteenth century. Born in Stockholm, Cronstedt studied civil engineering and architecture under the prominent architect Carl Hårleman. In the 1760s, Cronstedt developed a stove that would increase the efficiency of the traditional wood-burning stove exponentially. The stove included long flues that wound around the inside of the stove. These brick flues captured heat and then radiated it for hours, meaning that the stoves only had to be lit twice a day.

(Image credit: Wikipedia)
This new technology was not only environmentally, economically, and socially beneficial. It also proved, in many instances, to be exceedingly beautiful. Some kakelugnar (the plural form), like the ones featured above, were built in the ornate, Rococo style that Cronstedt's mentor Hårleman helped popularize in Sweden. Others, as you will see in the gallery below, are simpler, featuring sleek white coverings. Regardless of the style, I am consistently impressed with their elegance and beauty. And you may be surprised to see just how easily these eighteenth-century classics fit with more modern aesthetics.

TOP ROW:
1. 55 kvadrat via Nomad Luxuries
2. Sköna Hem
3. Lars Bolander's Scandinavian Design via Empire Nordic
4. Erik Wåhlström
5. AD España via Remodelista

BOTTOM ROW:
1. Stadshem via Anyhomedecor
2. Nordiska Style
3. Moon to Moon
4. Scandinavian Chic
5. Planète Déco via DecorDemon

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