My Norwegian Design Adventure – Small homes can be better homes

oliver General

You may not know it, but i have something of a secret TV career going on in Norway. Well i say secret Norway’s TV2 are making sure all Norwegians know.

My last project was set in this beautiful house dating from the 19th Century, located just outside Bergen. Whilst it seems grand from the exterior the main spaces that the family lived in were surprisingly small, and in desperate need of a design update.

The house in Norway

The interior was tired and faded, but aesthetics aside the space had never been properly laid out so its greatest crime was of disorganisation, wastefullness and inefficiency. But what an opportunity! Like many of the spaces we choose to inhabit it carried out a number of interconecting functions, serving as a kitchen workspace, dining area, tv chill out space and dog sleeping area (although dogs arent very fussy)

The living area before we began

I chose to treat this room concept as a “spacecraft” inspired by nautical designs – as the family are passionate sailors so this i felt would be a design language they would appreciate. The design employs all the space saving designs i could squeeze in; efficient furniture, lifting items off the ground, cantilevering pieces, under lighting , multi-functional furniture, flexible lighting and built in furniture. Below are a couple of my design sketches for the space which accompanied the  technical drawing package.


Perspcetive 1

and another perspective looking back towards the stairs

Perspective 2

And below the finished results. What do you think of the hanging table….. its rocks! (by the way)

Lifting items off the floor creates a very real sense of additional space. this cantilevered counter top creates a sense of magic and allows stools to be concealed beneath when not in use.



The TV seating area with built in seating and underlit plant holders, allowing light to flow onto reading material from behind the sitter. Zoning spaces with furniture, colour and light is a means to squeeze in spaces that contain specific functions and give them a feeling of “place”.





My wonderful up-cycled sea chest, which when opened reveals a TV and DVD player concealed within!

Multifunctional furniture is a great way to double up activity within spaces. A wood burning stove creates a great sense of focus to the seating/ lounge area of the room.

TFH project 2 finished 018

Lifting items off the floor like this kitchen cabinet adds a feeling of lightness, and under lighting them again creates a sense of space. Great to squeeze in a little work space into this compact kitchen too!

jan norway 005

And a scheme wouldn’t have my name on it if i didn’t do a little upcycling – i just love these Upcycled “Norge” glass jars that make wonderful pendant lights over the cantilevered counter-top.


Its been great fun working in Norway – a country that really appreciates craftmanship, attention to detail and design. The hanging table by the way kicked up a whole stack of comments on the TV2 website – it seems that some people love it, others are unsure – luckily the family rest firmly in the group that love it ….. so i have a feeling of pride in a job well done.