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Best of est | Nordic Summer Houses

  • HERO IMAGE Archipelago House by Norm Architects
  • WORDS Livia Toscano
  • & Sophie Lewis
  • Step inside five Nordic summer houses that bring natural simplicity to the fore.

    From Sweden’s archipelago to Norway’s Hvaler Island, these five summer houses are inspired by and firmly grounded in their surroundings. Designed as a backdrop to their waterfront location, each home shares a natural material palette, in particular timber, prioritises indoor-outdoor connection and maximises space while minimising impact on the site. It’s through this shared approach, each Nordic summer house becomes a seamless extension of the landscape. 

    Archipelago House by Norm Architects | Photography by Norm Architects

    Archipelago House by Norm Architects | Photography by Norm Architects

    Archipelago House by Norm Architects

    Copenhagen-based firm Norm Architects designed their Archipelago House as a place to get away from it all among Sweden’s unspoiled and rugged coastal landscape. A modern interpretation of the traditional Archipelago vernacular, Norm Architects saw nature as a guideline for shaping the wooden structure outside and in. Set into a cliff, the landscape translates into soft and calming interiors that value age-old craftsmanship derived from Nordic and Japanese design traditions.

    The home comprises four wooden volumes with a pitched roof that interlock and are connected by a terraced wooden deck, adhering to the sloped site. The sloping site is cited indoors through five different levels that fold out into a functional layout, connected by internal steps and stairs. 

    Archipelago House by Norm Architects | Photography by Norm Architects

    Archipelago House by Norm Architects | Photography by Norm Architects

    Saltviga House by Kolman Boye Architects

    Located in Lillesand, Norway, Saltviga House by Kolman Boye Architects is clad in Dinesen oak timber offcuts as an alternative to carbon-intensive materials. The exterior Dinesen oak cladding that covers the walls and roof will fade into grey over time, reminiscent of the granite and slate surroundings. 

    Working with the landscape’s natural topography across five levels, the architects designed two main blocks with a connecting corridor to enhance and celebrate the terrain. The home features a gabled roof that shapes the kitchen and living area, while large windows invite natural light and sea views into the space. Dinesen Douglas fir lines the interiors, with the kitchen crafted from Dinesen Douglas fir offcuts.  

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    Saltviga House by Kolman Boye Architects | Photography by Johan Dehlin

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    Nordic Summer Houses | est living

    Saltviga House by Kolman Boye Architects | Photography by Johan Dehlin

    Villa Rauhanniemi by Joanna Laajisto

    Villa Rauhanniemi is Finnish interior designer Joanna Laajisto’s lakeside home in Karjalohja, Finland. The contemporary cabin is where the Helsinki-based designer retreats with her family, imbued with her Scandinavian design sensibility “to not clutter this world with unnecessary things”.

    The cabin lies in and around established pine trees, allowing it to recede into the forest surroundings; low ceilings also ensure its seclusion. In constant dialogue with nature, the living area is almost entirely wrapped in glass, while the wall-length kitchen window brings the treescape indoors. A large deck features a dining area, fire pit, and outdoor armchairs to soak up the lakeside location.

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    Villa Rauhanniemi by Joanna Laajisto | Photography by Mikko Ryhänen

    Kjerringholmen by Line Solgaard Arkitekter

    Line Solgaard Arkitekter’s latest project, Kjerringholmen, is a small cabin built on the water on the Norwegian island of Hvaler. An innate respect for the outdoors is a signature of the Norwegian design mindset, so forging a connection between the home and nature was extremely important in the design process. As architect Line Solgaard points out, the project emphasises “the philosophy of working with nature instead of against it”.

    The site is remote and difficult to access, so Kjerringholmen was pre-fabricated off-site. The cabin stands on steel pillars to disturb as little of the landscape as possible, featuring three interconnected volumes with large windows. The interiors are minimalist and lined with timber, just like the ash-clad exterior.

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    Kjerringholmen by Line Solgaard Arkitekter | Photography by Einar Aslaksen

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    Kjerringholmen by Line Solgaard Arkitekter | Photography by Einar Aslaksen

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    Kjerringholmen by Line Solgaard Arkitekter | Photography by Einar Aslaksen

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    Kjerringholmen by Line Solgaard Arkitekter | Photography by Einar Aslaksen

    Fjord Boat House by Norm Architects

    Continuing the theme of outdoor-indoor connection, Fjord Boat House by Norm Architects is situated on the water’s edge at the border of Denmark and Germany. With a grass-covered roof, climbing vines and blackened oak cladding, the exterior seamlessly merges into its environment. 

    Norm Architects were asked to design a tranquil, understated abode that taps into the rustic charm of the Nordic seaside through a natural material palette. Taking cues from the traditional summer house, the interiors are clad with oak that has also been used to craft the kitchen joinery, with handmade bricks on the floors.

    Fjord Boat House by Norm Architects | Photography by Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen

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    Fjord Boat House by Norm Architects | Photography by Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen

    Fjord Boat House by Norm Architects | Photography by Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen

    Fjord Boat House by Norm Architects | Photography by Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen

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