To mark the launch of our Entertaining issue - out now - we are taking you on an interactive tour of three houses designed with hosting in mind. From this self-contained retreat in Norway conceived for a family and their friends to the rectilinear Hurst House in the UK, with open-plan spaces opening onto bucolic views, to an ambitious private home on Singapore's Sentosa Island - dubbed 'Asia's favourite playground' - these houses have entertaining in their DNA.
Remote retreats aren't usually as stylish as this elevated house, the Trekronekabin (literally, 'cabin in the tree tops' in Norwegian), set in a remote part of the Sjernnaroy islands on Norway's west coast, not far from Stavanger. Accessible only by boat, this private lodge - a model for entertaining on a modest scale - is placed on a steep rock buried deep in the woods. The client wanted only one thing; a retreat that evoked the feeling of rising above the trees to catch the sun and watch the ocean, just a few hundred feet away.
Architect Tommie Wilhelmsen has extensive experience of working on remote sites in Norway's beautiful but often-unforgiving landscape. Using only local materials, including oak, pine and fir taken directly from island, Wilhelmsen has created a sleek but sympathetic intervention into the landscape.
Very highly insulated, the house is designed to touch the site lightly, making a minimal impact on the environment. Sober black and natural oak tone sympathetically with the surroundings, whilst the intersection of house and rock is treated as dramatically as possible, with slender steel pilotis pushed to the edges of the floorplan, and the whole building visually anchored to a rocky outcrop by the vertical concrete shaft of the chimney.
Designed for summer occupation, rather than as a snowy bolthole, the Sjernaroy cabin is open and inviting, the curving slats of the interior wooden ceilings curving down and round to enclose the sitting area. An open-plan kitchen, dining and living area, and small but practical bedrooms with bunks with unrivalled views are all part of the package, while a large deck, carved into the rock, provides ample space for outdoor entertaining.
The Trekronekabin is proof that modern living and modesty aren't incompatible with grand gestures.