A magical Norwegian mountain cabin

Just how much do you love the sound of staying at a cosy mountain cabin at this time of year?! Last summer, James Gardiner and I went to photograph the most magical Norwegian hide-away for my book: The Scandinavian Home. Located near Lillehammer (scene of the 1994 winter Olympics), the delightful timber cabin belongs to Marianne and Jon and their two children who love to ski in the winter and hike or simply hang out and enjoy the nature in the summer.  It's hard to imagine that when the pair first acquired the property it was completely run down and off the grid. "For the first five years, we had to bring our own water and ski down from the nearest road," Marianne confided. The pair kept the original building and created a magnificent extension, inspired by a traditional Norwegian seter. Today it's a beautifully cosy, magical mountain hide-away and the perfect spot to sit and recover from a day on the cross-country ski tracks or simply get away from it all.

Many of the items in the home - including the side table by the window, knitted chair cover, artwork, lamps, coat and towel hooks and cushion covers  - have been handmade by Marianne who runs Slow Design Studio. The mid-century armchairs were a flea market find (source similar here).

Wall-to-wall seating is made cosy with the use of ex Norwegian army blankets, an abundance of locally sourced sheepskins (pick up similar here), and a ton of cushions.  Clever in-built storage storage beneath the seating is used for candles, spare blankets and everything in between.

An Ay Illuminate pendant light hangs over the table which is surrounded by Tolix Marais chairs softened with sheepskins. One of Marianne's beautiful knitted lamps which she sells through her online shop can be glimpsed on the wall behind. The floor is made from concrete with underfloor heating. They can turn on the heat and lights remotely so that it's already toasty when they arrive. So nice and welcoming!

The kitchen was designed by Marianne and made by a local carpenter using old barn wood. If you look closely you'll see the leather pulls - which have been made from old reindeer reigns.  The backsplash is made from copper which has been treated with acid to give it an aged look. 

A huge sliding barn door can be opened up to allow the warmth of the sun to penetrate the dining area - or closed to buffet the wind and snow storms and generally keep the cold at bay. Simple pine table and benches provide an ideal spot when the sun comes out.

You can see more of this cabin in my book - The Scandinavian Home by Niki Brantmark, published by CICO Books. Photography by James Gardiner. ©CICO Books.

I was so mesmerised by the area that six months after the photo shoot, I returned with my family. Marianne and her family were kind enough to invite us to stay in the cabin.  The vista was equally stunning in winter time, when temperatures can plummet to minus 25 degrees celsius (minus 13 Fahrenheit) brrrrrrr! The light was crystal clear and we spent our days on the nearby ski slopes, intermittently diving into mountain cabins to warm-up over a hot chocolate (the girls), and glögg (the man and I!). A sauna back at the cabin worked wonders to warm the cockles and we'd spend the evenings on the long seat looking out over the panoramic views of the undulating snow-covered landscape. As the sun went down the valley was dotted with the glimmer of head torches as cross country skiers made their way home. It's a site I'll never forget! Here are a couple of snowy snaps I took during our stay....

The family enlisted the help of Marianne's sister, architect Benedicte Sund-Mathisen of Suma Arkitektur to extend the cabin and create frameless windows.
The original timber cottage dates back more than fifty years. Poles at the side of the road help snowploughs locate the road after a particularly heavy dump of snow! I have to admit we got stuck more than once (even though our car has specially adapted winter tires!) - and I learned a few new Swedish swear words in the process!!

Although the days were short, when the sun shone the light was crystal clear and the girls loved sledging on the slope in front of the cabin.

Aaaaaah, how I'd love to visit this region again one day. 

In case you'd like to find your own magical Norwegian mountain hide-away this winter, try Airbnb! Perhaps we'll see you there?!

Have a wonderful weekend, and stay warm!

PS You must check out this rustic log cabin too! Guh!

PPS If you're Christmas shopping this weekend our scandi-inspired adult and children gift guides might come in handy!


  1. What a cozy getaway. I remember seeing it in your book and enjoyed seeing additional images.

  2. What a lovely place! Simple but inviting. Thanks for sharing your photos and memories. Amanda

  3. It looks so cozy! I got a crush on that kitchen!


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