The history of Villa Wäring

When Villa Wäring's current owner Lasse Diding bought the house in 2015, it had been in the same family's possession for over a hundred years. Lasse's bid was not the highest, but his intentions to preserve and make available the cultural heritage that this unique villa constitutes was decisive for the sellers.

It was Henning Holmberg with his wife Lovisa who had Villa Wäring built and moved here with his large family in 1913, at the same time as he took up a regular position as an elementary school teacher at the likewise newly built Rosenfred School a stone’s throw away. This was then a settler area on the outskirts of town and life lay ahead of them filled with expectations and the breath-taking surprises of the new century. The villa was named after the town of Väring in Västergötland, where both Henning and the house’s architect, Gottfrid Ljunggren, had their roots.

Henning and Lovisa Holmberg.

To be able to afford the house, it had right from the start, in close collaboration with the neighbour and architect Ljunggren, been adapted to have tenants all year round and especially in the summer, when the family therefore had to move up into the attic. Financing this building, which cost SEK 13,000, with a meagre elementary school teacher’s salary was hardly possible. The plot alone had also cost a thousand SEK, and in addition there was six children to support.

Thus, from the beginning, the legendary drawing teacher Adina Sand moved into the house and was very helpful with interior design and colouring. Suitable furniture was ordered from local craftsmen and the style was, as always, a kind of mixture of what was trendy at the time. If the house’s architecture was mostly Art Nouveau, then the house’s atmosphere was characterized by national romanticism in the spirit of Carl Larsson, as well as by Ellen Key’s reform-pedagogical Children’s Century, where the educational family togetherness played a decisive role. The children often managed to get Aunt Adina to the piano for singing and playing, which was then mixed with reading aloud in front of the magnificent fireplace Henning had built from a model in his childhood home up in Väring.

The fireplace in Villa Wäring’s drawing room.

The inside of this house is largely untouched since the building was completed in 1913. The interior reflects well that this house was built to house many people. The villa was thus equipped with a kitchen on each floor and the attic with all its nooks and crannies could house all eight family members during the summer, when the paying summer guests took possession of the rest of the house. In winter, mother Lovisa sat diligently in the basement at her loom and many of her fabrics, tablecloths and sheets are still there today. Still there are also parts of the furniture that Henning, in collaboration with Gottfrid Ljunggren, designed and ordered from local cabinetmakers.

The drawing room’s dining area with Adina Sand’s original colouring.

In Ellen Key’s spirit of public education, this home was also characterized by the bourgeois family and educational ideals of the time. There was music, reading aloud and the issues of the time were discussed in a future-optimistic spirit. Henning became head teacher at the Rosenfred School and a committed rightist. The children, and not only the boys, received a solid education and reached prominent positions in society. Daughter Elsa, for example, became Sweden’s first female postmaster in one of the few areas where women were allowed to shine. When the siblings spread over the country in different positions, Villa Wäring remained their fixed point, and in older days the sisters settled here again and the rest of the family always returned for at least a few weeks in the summer.

That old houses can speak is especially clear when it comes to Villa Wäring and as far as we know there is no other house in Varberg with similar continuity and preserved history.