A fan from the fine world – The amazing vestibules of Härjedalen

Many old log houses in Härjedalen have particularly beautiful vestibules. You can spot architectural influences from different building styles of the fine world. Make a tour based on the “barfreds” of Härjedalen and you will get an insight in yesterday´s ideals and how a vestibule could be used to make a statement.

Barfred -The amazing vestibules of Härjedalen
Karin Hüglow Fjellner Vemdalens Hembygdsförening
Hede Hembygdsgård photo: Barbro Nässelqvist
Barfred Gammelgården in Sveg photo: Henry Jonason

In the local dialects of Härjedalen the vestibules are called  “barfren” or “barfred” – pronounced “baffru”. The true meaning of the word is “a medieval defence tower without a castle”…

A vestibule to make a statement

In Härjedalen the word barfred refers to a particular type of vestibule. The function is the same as in the other constituents, a lock between the inside and out, which would protect the front door from rain and snow. But over time, the barfred in Härjedalen also became a symbolic charge. With a magnificent first impression that adorned the house, the proprietor could say something about his own prosperity and status.

It has not been clarified as for how long the tradition of barfred has been going on in Härjedalen. Perhaps the foundation of the concept is to be found during the middle ages when there was a law speaking for home peace for one´s front yard, also applying to the vestibule. Many examples of barfred bear clear traces of Baroque’s house-building style in the 17th century, while it was common to put the entrance gate to the houses at the center of the house.

Barfred -The amazing vestibules of Härjedalen

The most common form of the barfred is the baroque S-shaped pages, but there are also examples where the owner of the house has been impressed by the rococo, empire and new classicalism or the 19th century fine carpentered details of vestibules common in larger cities, reminding you of the New England house style porch.

Beautifully decorated vestibules are mostly found in the Härjedalen area. They are also found in the nearby areas of Dalarna and Hälsingland with special style elements for each area. In Härjedalen they are found from the village Lillhärdal in the south to mountain village Ljungdalen in the north. Many people like to attach a genuine barfred even to their newly built houses to honor the old days.

Many of the farms with the most beautiful barfreds are today turned into homestead museums, allowing you to get a close encounter. Otherwise show consideration for private owners and do not approach barfreds on private property without permission from the owners.

Remsgården – The amazing vestibules of Härjedalen

Examples of homestead museums where you can see beuatiful barfreds an take photos from up close:

Härjedalens Fjällmuseum (mountain museum) and the nearby Fornminnesparken in Funäsdalen

Hembygdsgården in Vemdalen (Homestead museum)

Hembygdsgården in Hede (Homestead museum)

Hembygdsgården Gammelbudd in Överhogdal (Homestead museum)

Hembygdsgården Gammelgården in Sveg (Homestead museum)

Remsgården (Gammelremsgården) in the village Remmet nearby Sveg www.hembygd.se/sveg

Hembygdsgården Högen in Lillhärdal (Homestead museum).

Överberg, Ytterberg and Duvberg – are three villages near the community Sveg with many older houses from the 16th and 17th century. Please show consideration for the private owners of the houses.