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Garage-makeover | Hannes and Floor

The Van Dahl’s garage – a chaotic space turned into a family retreat

 

Hannes and Floor Van Dahl are both musicians and members of the world-famous metal bands Sabaton and Nightwish. Before the makeover, their garage was cluttered with things like drums, riding boots and tools. But now, they are more than happy to spend a lot of their time here!

Text Charlotta Flinkenberg Photos Isak Sjöström

Hannes Van Dahl is the drummer of the popular Swedish heavy metal band Sabaton, which has reached quadruple platinum status. Floor is the lead vocalist of the Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish, which has sold more albums internationally than any other Finnish group. Both are massively successful bands that do world tours and fill stadiums like Wembley. Even the work of rock stars has been interrupted by the corona pandemic, of course, and all bands had to return home last year when their tours were cut short due. This meant that Hannes had time to get started on the project of renovating the family garage.

Hannes and Fool Von Dahls garage after the remodelling
Hannes and Fool Von Dahls garage before the remodelling

Slide to see before and after

 

 “Tools, quad bikes, snowboards, horse tack and gardening equipment are all vying for space”

Hannes Van Dahl

“We walk through the garage several times a day to our home studio, which is right next door, and I’d get a knot in my stomach every time I saw the state of disarray,” says Hannes. As well as music, the family Van Dahl has a lot of recreational interests including snowboarding, riding, and gardening. The equipment for these activities requires considerable storage space, along with other tools and items (like suitcases etc.).

Floor says, “The garage was always a messy and depressing space that was never pleasant to walk through or be in”. Hannes rolled up his sleeves, revealing his well-tattooed drummer’s arms, and got started with the project of giving the garage a makeover. This was easier said than done.

“I’m the sort who just throws myself into a job without any previous knowledge or experience. I tell myself “How hard can it be?” and then I search on YouTube for tips on how to insulate walls. It really is “learning by doing”. I’m rather naive that way and don’t realize what a challenge it will be. Or else, I would never have started,” Hannes says with a laugh.

The Storage Expert from Elfa came to the rescue

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Hannes thought it would take a fortnight to renovate the garage. He was feeling quite disheartened about the whole thing after three months, which is when Elfa’s makeover team appeared like a godsend with the offer of helping to complete the garage makeover. By then, Hannes had insulated the walls, installed electric sockets and painted the concrete floor. So, the shell of the garage was ready, but the work of installing shelving, storage systems and other interior fittings had yet to begin.

- It was a huge relief when Elfa turned up. They were more or less given carte blanche. They asked what our needs were and then we went away for two weeks while they fixed and fitted the rest.

And what were those needs, for your family?

- We’re an active family and have lots on the go, so we don’t want to spend time and energy searching for things when we come home after being away on tour or somewhere. We needed an organized space so we can quickly see our snowboards, sledges, quad bikes and other gear. Floor has two horses in the stables next door, so we needed space for her horse-riding equipment and accessories too. We wanted it to be easy to find tools and other items and have space for packing away suitcases. Elfa’s Storage Expert Christine Dalman and her team listened to their wishes and installed flexible and stable storage rails on the walls with shelves and hooks for tools, car tires, horse gear, snowboards and other items. This left plenty of free space on the floor which was painted an intense red that contrasts perfectly with the demure grey walls.

Hanging things on the walls and freeing up floor space is especially important in spaces such as garages, precisely because you may need to drive in and out of vehicles and machines here.

 “When we get home after a tour, we don’t want to spend time searching for things”

Hannes Van Dahl

A sliding door solution with black frames, black oak filling and tempered bronze toned glass, added to the style of the garage and created calm by hiding some of the things.

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Personal touches like paintings/photo prints, cushions, mats, and clocks add an aesthetic appeal. Buenos Aires and Shanghai are two metropolises in which both Hannes and Floor have played, and they symbolize their profession and travels.

"The results are excellent. We’re extremely pleased!"

Hannes Van Dahl

- It turned out fantastically well, we are extremely satisfied! I find things now that I had never thought of myself, from a practical nature. Small, attractive solutions that you may not see immediately, such as how to hang the bikes, for example. I am very impressed with the team's feeling for both the aesthetic and the functional. They are spoken of as storage experts for a reason and people who are experts in their fields are something I really respect. They are focused, driven and knowledgeable - which is contagious, really inspiring.

Hannes was also pleasantly surprised by the stability of Elfa's products, combined with the fact that it is easy to move and stow.

"The first thing I tested was how much rough handling the shelves could withstand. They are incredibly stable. Yet it only takes 30 seconds to reconfigure them and move or rearrange them if you want."

Floor can only add to the praise: “I’d been hunting on Pinterest for some inspiration for the garage but never imagined that they could make it look so comfortable and inviting!"

A designated area was created for Floor’s horse tack. Everything from hooks for bridles and halters to shelves for helmets and boots. There are also hooks for hanging up riding clothes after they’ve been worn so they can air between rides.

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That it could be transformed into a place we actually want to be in and not just rush through. It used to be chaotic in here, now it’s cozy and homely. It never even crossed my mind that you can put a table and chairs on a mat in your garage to make it more welcoming. This is where we come now after a day in the garden or in the stable. Perfect if a neighbor drops by and wants to stop for a cup of coffee,” says Floor.

Everyone in the family has their own space

The couple is also delighted that the Elfa team took their daughter into consideration when planning the garage design. Thanks to a flexible shelving system, four-year-old Freya now has a corner of her own in the garage with her tools, books, toys, skates, and other items all within reach.

Freya’s corner was a success for the whole family.

It’s fun for parents to be able to share leisure time with their children. Wherever you are, they are there too. If we’re busy doing stuff in the garage, she’ll want to be doing something here too. And if we stay here and have a tea break, she wants to do the same. Freya also has her own parking space in the garage for her quad bike which is personalized with her name. Neat and tidy.

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Even the dog was grateful! Our Irish Wolfhound puppy loves running around in the garage now and seems to appreciate having the whole family together here sometimes.

No more rooting around in boxes and drawers when tools and gadgets are hung on the wall, clearly visible, at the right height.

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About

The family Van Dahl: Hannes, 31, drummer in Sabaton, Floor, 40, singer in Nightwish and daughter Freja, 4
Lives: in a single-storey villa with a garage of 70 m2