When Frode Danielsen invited his then-girlfriend Tone Beathe Øvrevoll on a holiday to Hallvardøy Island in northern Norway, little did he know that she would fall so deeply in love with the area that they would spend the next two years putting down roots on the remote island.
With the support of Danielsen’s family (who lived nearby) and the design expertise of award-winning architect Snorre Stinessen, the couple dove headfirst into creating the retreat of their dreams—and they even documented the entire process on Instagram.
"It’s actually a beautiful love story," says Stinessen. "These two people met at a grown-up age, each having their own children, and live on opposite sides of the country—Frode lives in Tromsø, Tone in Elverum—but this project became their place to meet and spend as much time together as possible." The couple recently married, and they spent their honeymoon at the Efjord Cabin.
The process of creating their dream cabin, however, was no easy task. First, the couple had to work with the Ballangen municipality to develop a completely new zoning plan for the undeveloped area. Once complete, they carefully selected a building site that was naturally flat, so as to minimize site disturbance. The site affords spectacular views of the fjord and mountains, optimal access to daylight, and privacy.
"Connection to the place, site, and nature and the actual retreat from hectic daily life were perhaps the core elements they sought," notes Stinessen, who worked closely with his clients to create a sculptural retreat that not only amplifies the beauty of Efjord, but also exudes a sense of warmth to make the couple feel instantly at home.
Taking advantage of the site’s slight slope, Stinessen divided the 2,150-square-foot cabin into two parts: a larger two-story volume containing the bedrooms and sauna, and a smaller volume that houses the open-plan living areas located a few steps below.
"The shape of the building is both a dialogue with the close natural formations, but also with the larger landscape. Its functional aspects create privacy and indoor/outdoor connections to different zones around the building," says Stinessen.
Stinessen relied primarily on locally sourced timber to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Core pine treated with iron sulfate lends an even patina to the exterior cladding, and birch veneer clads the interior. Walls of glass frame breathtaking views of dramatic mountains in the south and the fjord to the west.
Asked about his favorite aspect of the project, Stinessen says: "It must be the integration with the landscape, both up close and from a distance."
Structural Engineer: Svein Hugo Leiknes
Cabinetry Design/ Installation: Stinessen + owners, cabinets by Masterworks Furniture
Wicona structured glazing installation: Alutec
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