The log cabin seems to form the heart and soul of Norwegian life.
Having travelled around this remarkable country over the summer, I’ve seen how the log cabin, or “hytte”, is an assumed part of a person’s being, of their life cycle. You work in the city or in smaller remote towns, then you spend your leisure time in your small hytte. Enjoying nature, whether it be hiking, fishing or skiing. The log cabin appears both on small islands in Oslo, and in the most remote corners we encountered.
In days gone by, a log cabin was so cheap the government practically gave them away. This even included cabins on the outskirts of Oslo. Getting into nature was strongly encouraged and was thus made extremely affordable. Sadly, the price has increased dramatically. But it seems it’s still within reach of most Norwegians and a natural goal.
Our Days in a Log Cabin
Biophilic design, interior design that connects people with nature, doesn’t appear staged in Norway. It is an absolute given, always being part of its surroundings.
An English friend who relocated to Norway after we finished university kindly lent us their cabin for a few days. She’s never looked back, and I can see why.
Their remote central Norway cabin is situated near Ål, halfway between Oslo and Bergen. Here, they have access to a nearby downhill ski resort, endless hiking and cross country skiing, and fishing in a nearby lake and river. And it’s a mere couple of hours from their home in Oslo. (You can access remote beauty far nearer Oslo than this).
Clever & Beautiful Design
Whist small, the design of this log cabin is genius, and made to a high standard. The three cleverly designed bedrooms and a small mezzanine sleep eight people, thanks in part to a hidden away bunk bed. The cabin was built three years ago, based on a cool 60s design. High level home comforts include under floor heating plus an effective and beautiful Jotul wood stove. These are matched with cosy interior design classics like Hay’s pastel candle holders, Norwegian Tova slippers and Iittala Moomin mugs. The interior colours blend warm muted wood, moody blues and soft white sheepskin. These sit comfortably in the all natural interior, where floors, walls and ceilings are all made of wood. The shape and forms of the log cabin mimic the rugged mountain exterior, with high peaks and strategically placed windows that maximise the stunning views, whilst keeping the warmth and homeliness inside.
If you’d like to see another stunning example of a Norwegian log cabin, also check out this post about a glass cabin in the Manshausen Island Resort, which overhangs the water.
The Norwegian Approach to Life
I’ve grown up in England. Being originally from Sweden though, I’m no stranger to how the Scandinavians create a good quality of life. But the Norwegians really do get it pretty darned right! Whilst doing so in an utterly understated way.
This country isn’t in the global limelight and they don’t revel in fame. But they seem to look after their people to an exceptionally high level. People are financially comfortable, and enjoy a country that is so beautiful it stops your heart beating for a moment at every turn.
Norway seemingly played their business cards well though. As opposed to England, they retained government ownership of the majority of their oil since 1969, distributing it to make Norway and its people rich. This funded their welfare state. It’s also evident in public art, including impressive architectural picnic spots and scenic viewing platforms. If you’re interested, read more about Norway’s oil history here.
Norway also guaranteed to provide mobile 4G coverage to the majority of the country’s landmass, rather than the majority of the population. So even those living in the most remote corners stay connected. A big green tick for those considering running an online business from the wilderness (i.e. me).
Over the past few months, I’ve re-evaluated what I want my life to look like. I left my job, and am in the process of setting up the Chalk & Moss natural interiors online shop – my own creative and location independent business. I want a life that incorporates me and my family in the natural environment where we so instinctively belong. And a life that gives us time to enjoy it. The Norwegian approach to log cabin life certainly strikes a chord.
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