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“This is Her Berg”, I say to Henrik. We are in our tent, which is next to the main house. We are here to renovate the roof with a team of 11 friends and family members. Because all bedrooms and the guest house are already filled, we sleep in the open air (and we love it!).
“This is Her Berg” refers to the campfire evening with which we have just finished the day. Two members of our DIY team – Henk and Chris – made a beautiful fire circle from stones and tree stumps earlier in the week, but due to the autumn weather and other priorities (playing Risk, reading, chatting by the fireplace), we are now around the fire for the first time.
Henk, Henrik’s father, initiates the idea of passing on a ‘talking stick’. The person who has the stick gives it to someone else and asks a personal question. The most beautiful conversations automatically roll out of the campfire. We share intimate experiences, sadness and life missions. A beautiful meeting between different generations who did not know each other before Her Berg. And they experience that these two weeks are about more than renovating the roof. So that is Her Berg.
And then the renovation itself: Like many old houses in Sweden (Her Berg was built in 1876), the roof is not yet insulated. The previous owners mainly used it as a summer house. If they were there in the winter, they would not use the first floor. We love the cold winters as we love the hot summers, that’s why we want to make Her Berg accessible and comfortable all year round. A true ‘Four Seasons’ location.
This roof renovation is the first project to gradually transform Her Berg into a sustainable and self-sufficient place. Although the old cracks and holes contribute to natural ventilation, which prevents moisture build-up and therefore rot, we have found a way to let it go hand in hand with energy saving and comfort. The insulation material is made of wood fibers, a natural and environmentally friendly alternative to insulation. A green roof was also among the ambitions, until after some research we came to the conclusion that it is even more sustainable to reuse the old tiles. These are still in good condition and also from natural and environmentally friendly material.
In addition to the sustainable renovation of the house, it is also our mission to preserve the authentic elements as much as possible. That is why we restore the trusses and the white, wavy decorative trims. Not necessarily our taste, but the taste of the house;)
Renovating a roof is something we had never done before and we only had two weeks for the whole project… We are indescribably grateful to our friends, family and local experts who helped us get the job done (on time)! Our gratitude goes to: father and photographer Henk (63), mother and cook Trudie (68), brother-in-law and roof professional Sjoerd (34), friend and expert-by-doing Chris junior (40), Henrik’s former biology teacher, friend and hard worker Chris senior (63), uncle and just as energetic, flexible and strong on the roof as the young guys Kees (67), sister and ‘loppis’ partner in crime Lotte (33) and our entertainment and mascots Abel ( 1) and Doris (4).
On behalf of your “herbergiers” (inkeepers),