December 3, 2010



My dear brother Peter has worked tirelessly for years with his organization Operation Karlstad. He has spent endless hours blogging, writing newspapers, calling people who didn’t want to take his call, doing research no one else cared to do, urging people to fight for the protection of old, beautiful, historical buildings, and to save them from being carelessly torn down. He is deeply passionate about what environments we live in, and what we leave behind to future generations. I’m so happy he is finally getting the attention he deserves for all his hard work. Last year he was the recipient of a an annual architectural award in Sweden, given to people who’ve done the most for our surroundings. A journalist called him “The House hugger”, and I can’t think of a better name.

On top of his full time job as a graphic designer, he fights so beautiful old buildings like this one in my hometown Karlstad…

…does not turn in to….

…this boring building which is there today.

Or quaint old city blocks…

….like this street, doesn’t turn in to…

…this sterile shopping arcade that’s there today.

Thousands of people have joined his cause.  With each beautiful old building that goes down, we lose history that will never return.

He’s also a great older brother and a great uncle! Here are Peter and Luke outside of Peter’s house last summer. He bought an old house a few years ago and renovated it himself.

He restored it…

…and painted it the original colors.

Of course I have to show some of the inside….filled with only (Sweden’s version of ) Craigslist finds. (Blocket)

Sneaking in a snapshot from last summer so you can check out his DIY zebra table he did 15 years ago, way before zebra or DIY’s were cool!

His girlfriend lives in another beautiful, old house that has received the same loving care. How could you ever tear down homes like this?

(Could not resists to include her insanely cute kitten.)

When I think of all the generations of kids that have grown up at my old house in Sweden, I have tremendous appreciation for what he does. (You can see old and new photos here). It feels really special to live in a home with all that history, and to be it’s caretaker for a while.

Of course we need to create, invent and design new things, but we also need to care for and respect our beautiful history.

Don’t we owe it to future generations to leave something special behind?  Something of our history?

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13 Comments

  • Comment by Sarah Wells — December 3, 2010 @ 12:23 PM

    This is such important work! It is positively sinful some of the poorly constructed and atrociously designed buildings we put up where historic buildings used to enhance the landscape. Good for your brother!

    P.S. That kitten is TOO CUTE

  • Comment by Iris Rubio — December 3, 2010 @ 10:00 PM

    What a wonderful post! I couldn't agree with you more. It breaks my heart to see gorgeous charming houses being knocked down to build these cookie cutter mansion houses that have no character and wash away all of the history it once had. Oh, and thank you so much for visiting my little blog and your comment. You are an inspiration and for you to have visited my itty bitty blog is awesome:-) Your work with Knock Out Abuse is admirable…as a psychotherapist in Ca. I unfortunately come across DV too often. :-(

  • Comment by Margharete — December 4, 2010 @ 5:56 AM

    So nice to learn of your brother's being acknowledged for his good works preserving the historical buildings. Both you and your brother restore and refurbish. It must be a family trait that we all benefit from, so "thank you" for being creative and passionate people. Keep up the good work!

  • Comment by Dan — December 4, 2010 @ 7:59 AM

    It is so important that we leave some of our history behind-to preserve what was here…….not to mention, those new buildings are atrocious!! Three cheers for the'' HOME HUGGER''

  • Comment by Karen Robert — December 4, 2010 @ 8:02 AM

    I wholeheartedly agree with keeping and preserving old buildings and houses . It is important work. I am glad he is helping preserve Sweden's history as I have yet to visit your country and may not get there for a few more years. Keep it up Peter.

  • Comment by livelikeyou — December 4, 2010 @ 9:41 AM

    HI Iris, What a great and important job you have, and on top of that to find time for blogging! I'm glad to hear you're helping victims of DV!!

  • Comment by Kristen Hedberg — December 4, 2010 @ 1:04 PM

    Wow. I was just doing genealogy research on a relative born in Karlstad when I decided to look at your blog post and and am stunned you're referencing the same city in Sweden I'm currently researching. :)

    Preserving the beauty, history and uniqueness of the past enriches our lives today! There's nothing interesting or warm about another cookie-cutter building, but houses and shops built long ago have priceless stories to tell! I whole heatedly support your brother's efforts and the efforts of Operation Karlstad!

  • Comment by livelikeyou — December 4, 2010 @ 4:39 PM

    Hi Kristen, that\’s amazing!! Maybe I know them…?? I love your store. Wish it was closer to DC.

  • Comment by Kristen Hedberg — December 4, 2010 @ 6:43 PM

    Haha, do you know any Hedberg's in Karlstad? ;) The great grandfather I'm tracking ended up moving to Dalarna and got married and had his family there, but perhaps I have some ancestors still living in Karlstad! I can't wait to go back to Sweden and visit these areas (and Astrid Lindgren Värld)!

    I'm actually in Northern Virginia and try to help my Dad and Uncle with their store with the blog and whenever I go down to the Outer Banks. :) It means so much that you've taken the time to look at the store blog and website! :)

  • Comment by JulieShay — December 5, 2010 @ 6:39 PM

    "We have not inhereted the Earth from our Ancestors, We have borrowed it from Our Children."

  • Comment by angela | tph — December 6, 2010 @ 5:42 PM

    So thankful for people like your brother!

    (And that kitten, oh my, I have a sudden urge to cuddle!)

  • Pingback by Saving the Station house – the makeover of a lifetime - Live Like You & Marmalade Interiors — May 17, 2013 @ 6:49 AM

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