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Maintenance-free cabin: get a magical effect with the same tiles indoors and outdoors

En moderne hytte som har fliser av lys Oppdalskifer i en sømløs overgang fra spisestue og terrasse. Spisestuen har store glssdører som kan trekkes fra slik at spisestuen blir en del av terassen. Samme materiale inne og ute!

When architect Tommie Wilhelmsen starts up a new cabin project, he always gets inspiration and ideas from the surrounding landscape. For this beautiful cabin in Ryfylke, maintenance-free natural stone was the star attraction.

A modern cabin with extensive use of natural stone. Oppdal slate is laid as flagstones and as stepping stones. Drywall slate facade is combined with wood.

– I always begin with the landscape. Spend a little time at the site, thinking and getting ideas. Combined with the client’s wishes, this is the foundation for everything I design, says architect Tommie Wilhelmsen.

After 20 years in the business, he is now one of Norway’s most renowned architects, with several awards and accolades. In 2008, he was named one of the world’s top 100 architects.

The answer lies in the site

Wilhelmsen designs both residential and holiday homes and says that he often tries to keep everything as timeless as possible. This is why he chose slate both outdoors and indoors for a cabin in Ryfylke, Norway. A cabin built alone on an island.

A modern cabin by the sea. Slate tiles of Oppdal quartzite is laid both on the terrace and inside the dining room.

– When it comes to architecture and design, I usually say the answer always lies in the site – and this one was exceptionally scenic. It’s not every day you get to design a holiday cabin on your own island, he says.

He understood at an early stage that the rock formations on the island had to be respected and highlighted.

– Just imagine, the interplay between sea and rock has been like this for thousands of years and it will surely look like this for thousands more. It’s important to have respect for this landscape, so that what we build fits in. That’s why I used a lot of wood and stone in this project, he says.

A modern cottage by the sea. Light Oppdal quartzite slate tiles are laid both on the terrace and inside the dining room.
A modern cabin with light gray tiles in the hallway on the floor and with furniture and game panel of oak in the ceiling.

The function of the cabin is always the basis for what Wilhelmsen builds.

– In this instance, it was a summer cabin with a lot of sun. So it was important for me that the transition from living room to terrace was as seamless as possible. I wanted to create the magical effect of moving easily from the living room to the terrace, and I think we achieved that, he says.

Wilhelmsen describes how the best thing about using slate was that this stone could be laid in almost the same way both indoors and outdoors.

– If we had used wood, it must have been treated completely differently between living room and terrace, but slate on the other hand is so maintenance-free and versatile that it was the best choice, says the architect.

The light grey Oppdal slate was not only used in the transition between outdoors and indoors, but also in the transition to nature itself.

– We focused a lot on the horizon when we designed this cabin. It’s meant to blend seamlessly into the surrounding environment. So the windows go all the way down to the floor and the slate is more or less the same shade of grey as the surrounding rocks. The stone became a great bonding material between the foreground and the background, he explains.

A modern cottage by the sea. Slate tiles of Oppdal quartzite are laid both on the terrace and inside the dining room. Large glass doors open up the entire wall.

Warm, maintenance-free and non-slip

For Wilhelmsen, slate is a preferred material when creating terraces and decking for Norwegian homes and cottages – where appropriate, of course.

– As an architect, I have gained a good knowledge of different materials and slate is certainly high on my list. It’s often the case that people who know slate will stick to slate, he says.

A natural stone staircase in a garden with large steps in Oppdal quartzite. The slate slabs are laid with an overlap upwards like a terrain staircase.
A path of slate stepping stones in the garden of a modern cottage.

Even though he believes that there are no specific situations in which slate isn’t a good choice, he points out – again – that the nature of the project determines the material used.

– We’re in Norway – a land of stone – so a natural stone such as slate is a good choice – even in the heart of the city. Nevertheless, the choice of materials is important. Many people want natural colours – wood and stone – for a modern house or cabin, so slate is an obvious choice.

An added bonus is that the material is so easy to use.

A stepping stone path of slate slabs in the garden outside a very modern cottage.
Natural stone steps of Oppdal slate runs along the wall in a garden outside a modern cottage.

– Especially for cabins, where some time can pass between visits, it’s a good idea to lay slate on the terrace and the decking. Because slate is so maintenance-free it works just as well in the mountains as for a sunny wall by the sea, he says and elaborates:

– In fact, it works particularly well by the sea. Slate can withstand sea spray and is non-slip. In addition, it stores heat, which makes it lovely to lie down and relax on. Slate allows you to enjoy yourself during the long summer evenings, without ever having to worry about maintenance.

Technical specifications and test results: datasheet Oppdal, datasheet Otta, datasheet Offerdal.

Products used on these projects; slate tiles, outdoor tiles, stepping stones, slate steps, flagstones.

Portrett arkitekt Tommie Wilhelmsen

– As an architect, I have gained a good knowledge of different materials and slate is certainly high on my list. It’s often the case that people who know slate will stick to slate.

Slate can withstand sea spray and is non-slip. In addition, it stores heat, which makes it lovely to lie down and relax on. Slate allows you to enjoy yourself during the long summer evenings, without ever having to worry about maintenance.

Tommie Wilhelmsen
Civil architect, Wilhelmsen Arkitektur

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