Prime lumber: we’re wild about wooden hideaways

Prime lumber: we’re wild about wooden hideaways

Norway: Fjordside Retreat
Name: Malagen Cabin
Architect: Snorre Stinessen

On a natural ridge rising above a fjord and overlooking a clearing in a forest, architect Snorre Stinessen has found a balance between isolation and togetherness, playtime and downtime, shelter and exposure. This perfectly pitched cedar-clad retreat is located on the Malangen Peninsula in Northern Norway, an hour south of the city of Tromsø, where Stinessen founded his practice in 2005.

The cabin’s architecture prioritises time with family and friends, yet doesn’t romanticise it: ‘It’s nice to gather together, but it can get a bit tiresome as well,’ admits Stinessen. ‘So if you can have some separation to be able to find privacy, that gives another aspect to being together for a long time.’ Thus the retreat is formed of a series of four elevated timber cabins connected by interior concrete walkways, which lead to an open-plan living annex. Each of the cabins has a separate function – there’s the parents’ master bedroom, the children’s bedroom, a playroom and a sauna. This zoning system is about creating an awareness of the activities that make up a day off.

‘We needed to allow space for the children’s playtime, without intruding into other people’s peaceful tinme – and the other way around,’ explains Stinessen. A higher section of the retreat includes a children’s room with a ‘lookout’ loft and a climbing wall. ‘The weather can be fairly harsh here. When I was young, in the traditional cabins, the only thing we did on such days was wait for the next day and perhaps better weather. Being able to let the children play inside makes playtime a part of the retreat.’

Pictured, cedar-clad cabins house different functions. Photography: Terje Arntsen. Writer: Harriet Thorpe

As originally featured in the December 2017 issue of Wallpaper* (W*225)

Malagen Cabin
Snorre Stinessen

Norway: Fjordside Retreat
Name: Malagen Cabin
Architect: Snorre Stinessen

Wilderness and warmth are intertwined thoughout the property, thanks to devices such as the winter garden, with a fireplace and outdoor kitchen, or the cabins themselves, which slant out towards the forest and allow inhabitants to feel in touch with the outdoors yet protected. ‘Regardless of the weather, you can enjoy the feeling of being immersed in nature,’ says Stinessen.

Inside, untreated oak lines the interiors in a comforting layer that softens the acoustics. The material continuity brings a sense of harmony and calm to the rooms, which are filled with bespoke oak furniture designed by Stinessen, while bold lighting and cushions bring pops of colour.

Pictured, the separate central living area, with views of Malangen Fjord. Photography: Terje Arntsen. Writer: Harriet Thorpe

Malagen Cabin
Snorre Stinessen

Canada: Suburban Retreat
Name: Rothesay House
Architects: Acre Architects

Nestled in a wooded lot, this new home by Acre Architects brings a contemporary edge to the suburbs of Saint John, New Brunswick. Driven to design structures that ‘inspire people to live great stories’, partners Monica Adair and Stephen Kopp worked with the homeowners, a young, growing, musically inclined family of five who most value social interaction and connecting with the outdoors, to create a house that would best reflect their personality and lifestyle.

The house is clad in silvery cedar shingles that recall the local vernacular, but with a distinct cubic form and tapered roof that set it apart from the town’s Victorian context. Floor-to-ceiling glazing along the building’s southern elevation extends the open living/ dining/kitchen area to the outdoors. Sight lines in, out and throughout the home allow parents and children to stay connected.

Pictured, a wood trellis provides a link to the garage, which has a discreet rooftop terrace. Photography: Julian Parkinson. Writer: Stephanie Calvet

Rothesay House
Acre Architects

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