8 Scandinavian Cabins That Master the Art of Minimalism

These vacation homes and cabins in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark feature sophisticated but pared-down interiors that complement their serene surroundings.

Thanks to their love of minimalist design and respect for their surroundings, Scandinavians have created some incredible getaways in beautiful bucolic settings. Take a look at a few of our favorites below.

A 538-Square-Foot Cabin Comprises Undulating Sections That "Fit Together Like a Puzzle"

Cabin Norderhov by Atelier Oslo is an eco-friendly seasonal retreat situated on a steep hillside overlooking Lake Steinsfjorden. The exterior walls and roof of the 538-square-foot structure are clad in overlapping stone plates that mimic the look of traditional wood paneling found in homes across Western Norway. 

The home’s layout revolves around a central glass and metal "campfire" that burns beneath a suspended mantel. The surrounding floor is covered with hexagon tiles cut from marble, which transition into tiles made of birch log in the rest of the house. The cabin’s curves are fixed by a prefabricated, laminated wood structure with a subdivision of Kerto CNC-milled plywood.

Architect Irene Sævik’s summer retreat is located an hour from Oslo. Originally built in the 1960s by the Norwegian artist Irma Salo Jæger, the 430-square-foot cabin was in partial disrepair for years before Sævik purchased it and decided to expand, keeping Scandinavian minimalism and respect for nature in mind.

The house is divided into three sections connected by a series of outdoor galleries. "When I walk from one room to another, I have to go outdoors and feel the weather and nature—rain, cold, and sun," says Sævik. Instead of emphasizing the expansive panorama of oak, pine, and aspen trees, the house frames select views—a move inspired by Japanese design.

Architect Håkon Matre Aasarød led the design of the 592-square-foot Cabin Vindheim, situated deep in the forest near Lillehammer, Norway. The concept was simple: To create a cabin that’s small and sparse yet spatially rich. The structure comprises a large living room, bedroom, ski room, and small annex with a utility room. It functions off the water and electricity grids. 

The classic Norwegian mountain lodges are covered in dark wood, making them seem both solid and grounded," Aasarød says. "Inspired by this, the cabin is clad in black-stained ore pine. The interior is lighter, fully covered in waxed poplar veneer." 

Outdoor enthusiast and tech executive Anders Smedberg called on Stockholm architect Måns Tham to help him create an alpine getaway for his family among the ski slopes of Edsåsdalen in northern Sweden. Tham tweaked the classic American A-frame concept to reflect the home’s Scandinavian context.

The interior walls, ceilings, and built-ins are clad in Siberian larch from UPK Concept. Tham placed the glazed openings and doorways to maintain clear sight lines throughout the long and narrow home. 

Eivind Bøhn’s cabin on the outskirts of Hardangervidda National Park is a modern update of the classic Norwegian hytte. The design, by Snøhetta architect Øystein Tveter, features a sod-covered roof that blends with the grassy hillside in warmer months.

Eivind wanted to find a contemporary, minimalist take on the hytte that would still evoke the requisite sense of koselig (warmth, contentment, coziness) he recalls from his childhood. Vaulted ceilings in a warm, pale pine paneling are juxtaposed with glossy black accents. Light pours through the panoramic windows that blur the line between indoor and outdoor.

Architect Line Solgaard, founder of the eponymous Oslo- and Fredrikstad-based firm, designed a getaway for her family in the place where she grew up. Untreated, exposed concrete pairs with cedar cladding; custom, oak-paneled ceilings; and a glass roof in the center of the home that opens like a sunroof for natural ventilation. 

The cabin’s profile slopes on one side to create an ever-changing play of shadows on the ceiling and roof throughout the day. The ceiling remains free of lighting and other technical installations, allowing it to frame the room with its beautiful shape and put the focus on the views outside. 

Norwegian architect Erling Berg designed the 1,560-square foot Kvitfjell Cabin high in the Kvitfjell Mountains for a family of passionate skiiers. The design brief called for a relatively compact build. "A big goal for this project was to reduce the size of the cabin’s footprint as much as possible to keep the construction costs down, while meeting programmatic needs for four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a sauna, and a spacious, open living and dining room connected to a kitchen," Berg says.

To achieve a spacious feel in the living/dining room, Berg drew design inspiration from Frank Lloyd Wright’s use of the "gallery," a low-ceilinged entrance corridor that leads to a vaulted room, which feels taller and more open due to the architectural principle of compression and release. Oiled white pine makes the vaulted rooms feel light and bright even during long, dark winters. 

A multigenerational Oslo family tapped Gartnerfuglen Arkitekter to design an extension to their traditional 1980s log cabin near Hardangervidda National Park in Norway. The facade is clad in highly durable, untreated ore pine that will develop a silvery patina over time, helping the building blend into the landscape. 

The birch plywood–lined interior mimics traditional open-hearth cottages with an open-plan layout that functions as a large family room, punctuated with small, cozy nooks. A small wood stove quickly heats up the space.


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