We believe a century-old house can never be owned; instead, we feel bound to carefully preserve the property while we enjoy the privilege of living and working here, passing along its rich history.
A place WITH PREHISTORY
The earliest known history of our place dates back almost 3000 years! The Swedish History Museum in Stockholm exhibits a bronze horn found in the field in front of us in 1907. As if this impressive discovery isn’t enough, rock carvings from the Bronze Age have been found on the hillock behind our rustic sauna. While relaxing in the sauna, try to picture the act of sacrifice where seeds from the ancient fields were ground up in rock cups right behind you.
THE BEGINNING OF HÅKANSGÅRD
It remains uncertain when exactly our Countryhouse was built. We are able trace back the history to the 1840s, but have good reason to assume that it was farmer Jöns Håkansson who began building his family home almost one hundred years earlier. Håkansson set the cornerstone between the battle when Sweden conquered the region of Scania from Denmark and the landing of Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, future king of Sweden, in Helsingborg . It must be in honor of the founder that the family who lived here for nearly two centuries named the property Håkansgård, which is Swedish for Håkan’s farm.
FAMILY OWNED FOR TWO CENTURIES
The last generation of the founding family who kept animals and farmed the land was Anton Patrik Andersson, together with his servant Alfried. Patrik was an old bachelor without any children, so the daughter of his older brother, who had returned from his emigration to the United States, inherited the property. She was married to Bil Knutsson, a renowned tractor and automobile merchant from the nearby city of Ängelholm, and they had little interest in moving to the countryside. Initially they rented the farm out, but under a reclassification process the king and crown subsequently became the rightful owner of our Countryhouse.
TIMES OF CHANGE
The operating farm with fields and pastureland once totaled 17 ha. In 1969, a national rationalization program allotted most of the land to a larger farm and sold the building in the name of the crown, reclassifying the remaining 0,4 ha to the holiday home of a merchant from Gothenburg. To the widower, this was the ideal romantic retreat; it was halfway to Copenhagen, where his new love lived. It was an exceptional honor for us to host his two sons and their spouses, who inherited the property in 1975, as guests back at the Countryhouse.
In 1990 a Swedish expat family took over the property, first for holiday purposes and then as a permanent countryside home after they decided to leave the buzzing Hong Kong and fashionable Milan behind. By renovating, repurposing, and expanding the property, the old farmhouse was slowly turned into a modern home. The premises grew to the current size of 1.3 ha after they bought land to realize their dream of a horse farm. Today the original paddocks, horse stable, and surrounding fields create a genuine rural charm.
In November 2017, with our wet signatures on the buying contract, our chapter began. We have been inspired by the previous owners' approach to renovations, and we are committed to maintaining the same respect for the past, smart innovations, and careful choice of materials, coupled with great love of details, as we continue the restoration process.
STONE BY STONE
In 1840, only two buildings were raised; more were added in 1937, and finally the new horse stable was built in 2003. The original buildings were built with rocks from the fields, reed from the shore, and wooden slats from ships that sank in the challenging waters outside of Torekov. If you look carefully, you can still find parts of maritime wood in our lobby.
As far back as we can look, the house has been painted in Falun red rounded off by navy blue and pure white. The historic earthy red color, containing a natural pigment from the Falun mines, is Sweden’s oldest and most widely used type of paint. We believe that the three colors symbolize the love for the Bjäre Peninsula – a place where land, water, and sky meet.
Before the opening of SOEDER Countryhouse & Kitchen in June 2019, we spent nearly two years planning, renovating, and repurposing the property. For us it was a very personal project, created without the help of an architect or interior designer. The hotel wing with its four rooms was originally a chicken house. The traditional timber frame was hidden behind a plain wall of boards. Except for its historic outer walls, this part has undergone a full yet respectful renovation. When you are sitting in our lobby by the crackling fire, try to envision the throaty tractors that once openly passed through the area.
Our restaurant, where our guests gather to enjoy our countryside cooking, once stored potatoes and housed pigs. The former owners repurposed this part to a so-called party location – definitely a good omen for many more joyful evenings to come. It was important to us to hire local builders and craftsmen for our renovations, just as our predecessors did. The signature of Platte Kalle, Swedish for Tile Kalle, a compass rose that would indicate the way home on a late night, was the initial inspiration for naming and designing our four rooms after the cardinal directions.
A devastating storm in 1969 destroyed the thatched roof, a major earthquake in 1985 made one building almost collapse, and the drought in 2018 put an end to our two majestic cherry trees. Even nature claims its part of history.
A PLACE WITH AN ANIMAL SOUL
In the past, farmers would live with their animals under the same roof. We were told that our Countryhouse was once evenly divided into two separate family homes, each one sharing a wall with their pigsty. A historic book from 1943 counted 2 horses, 7 cows, 4 calves, 2 pigs, 12 piglets, and 45-50 chickens. Even after the farm became a holiday home, the merchant kept chickens. The family still remembers dad’s angry rooster that regularly scared away his Danish lady. Before Marianne and Michael took over, the premises housed a horse farm with up to six riding horses. Today our two cats stand together with Queen Regina’s bee colony, representing all of farm life, but we keep dreaming of welcoming more animals over time.