A Mini Cabin Tour and Why I LOVE Ships!

I have always found myself drawn to pieces of art portraying ships at sea, particularly the ones sailing in a “happy” sea as opposed to those in turmoil. I recently discovered that my maternal grandmother (Grandma Soffia) always wanted a “ship in every room” of her house. Pretty cool. It completely makes sense for her considering she was transported from Iceland to the landlocked Midwest as a young bride. She literally grew up about a block from the Atlantic Ocean. Is it possible that a little piece of the sea came down through her DNA? Maybe so. My momma tells this little story about ships, the sea and love. <3

A beautiful Icelandic harbor.

A beautiful Icelandic harbor. Photo creds to my momma.

“Knud Lindholm was trained in Denmark as a nautical architect, a designer of ships. Soffia Benjaminsdottir was working in Iceland in an architectural firm, her first job. Both grew up breathing the air of the North Atlantic. Soffia’s  father Benjamin was a commercial fisherman and worked on a trawler. Travel by ship was a daily experience for many and vessels of all sizes were harbored all around them.

In 1947 Knud traveled to Iceland to work at the organization where Soffia was employed and mom describes it as love at first sight, an instant connection of their souls.

In 1949 they were married and in 1950 Knud, ever the dreamer, brought his young bride to landlocked Iowa, America for the opportunity and adventure. But to this day their love of the open water still courses through my spirit.”

Passport photos:

Grandma Soffia's passport photo



Grandpa Knud's passport photo


Aren’t they beautiful? My momma is the oldest of four children born to Soffia and Knud. Sadly, I never met my grandfather because he passed away in 1967 due to complications from heart surgery. It has been over 50 years since she lost him, but at the age of 91, Grandma Soffia still gets a twinkle in her eye when she talks about Grandpa Knud. 🙂

My maternal grandparents - Soffia and Knud

So back to the ships:

I have begun to collect nautical artwork for our cabin because I think I need a “ship in every room,” just like Grandma. 🙂 Most of my ships have come my way as hand-me-downs or gifts, but I always have my eye out for them at second-hand stores and antique shops. They usually need a little love…new matting or a different frame. Here are a couple that I was actually lucky enough to get from Grandma Soffia. I love that one of them is printed with Icelandic words, which I definitely wanted to keep when I had a mat cut for it. The other print is my grandmother’s favorite, but it suffered some water damage on the corners, and there are several small holes in it. Don’t worry! I am going to “fix” it.

Here is another one that my sister gave me. She could never find a spot for it. Again….lucky me!!

Ship print from Beckie

Now for the fun part. You are going to have to WAIT to see how all of these come to life! I am hoping to show you the finished decorating project in a week or two. For now, I have a couple pictures to share of some ship prints already hanging in our cabin.

Our swing bed in the cabin’s sun room is hands down my favorite spot at the lake. You probably can’t tell, but the ship “print” at the top is actually all needlepoint! I should have taken a closer pic!

My refinished childhood dresser....now at the cabin :)

Another great ship print on my refinished childhood dresser which now lives at the cabin 🙂

There’s another small print just above our thermostat. As you can see, we still have a LOT of bare white walls, and I really want to tuck a cozy built-in nook under the stairs. It just all takes time….a bit each year. I have one more little thing to share with you.

Aren’t the colors in this cabinet fun? The cabinet came with the cabin when we bought it. I have debated over the years about painting it, but I love the quirkiness of it. The fabric hanging over it is actually a shower curtain. I have a special project planned for it, too.So….. STAY TUNED!! 🙂

Well, that’s it for now. I hope you enjoyed the little peek into a few more spots at our cabin. I can’t wait to show you my finished projects VERY SOON. Be sure to subscribe to my email list to get that post as soon as it is ready!

Happy sailing and God bless!



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  1. Daniele Rodriguez

    Love the clean, white beachy look of the cabin. The eclectic older pieces keep it warm and personal!

    • Karen Carlson

      Thank you! It is a work in progress. I love the old pieces, too. 🙂

  2. Momma

    The water always has a calming effect on me. When I gazed out over that harbor at sunset in my mom’s home town of Hafnarfjordur, Iceland, it somehow made me feel my soul had found its way home.

    • Karen Carlson

      So special. I hope you can go again when you can spend more time! <3

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