Perfect Cube. Nora Hagfors
The French/Dutch/Austrian interior architect Nora Hagfors has just set up business on her own in Oslo.
Nora has experience from the haute couture of interior design, when she lived in Paris, she used to work for Charles Tassin! Her design signature has a daring, playful and continental flair to it.
Just like Nora.
This major move, from working for others to going solo,- coincided with her drawing, project managing and moving into a new home with her architect husband Stian Hagfors (Blokk Arkitekter), their two little boys Markus and Victor, and Jim, their very small but loud dog.
They simply wanted easy living.
-Either we are at work, yes we both spend a lot of time working,she smiles, or we want to be with our boys. Preferably without having to work on the house or fix things, redecorating and such. Just be with them. So ironically we spent a year doing exactly the opposite, setting up house, having a somewhat chaotic life for some time. But of course, this, in order to to be able to live exactly the way we want as a family... We are very fortunate, I know.
As you moved from a downtown neoclassic apartment, and planned your house from that point of view, what brief did you give yourself?
-We wanted as much space as possible, a rational plan, a lot of sunlight and some space for our artwork. They deserve to be given a proper hanging on the walls. AND, we wanted to have as little upkeep as possible to do for the years ahead.
You are both pretty experienced at this, but with it being your first BIG personal project, what were you certain about from the start with so many choices?
-We were quite certain of the shape. The house was to be square like a box. We had also been talking a lot about the materials and their sustainability. Stone floors, proper woodwork which doesn’t need painting or changing in the short term. Long sightlines throughout.
Building a house, can have infinite costs, what were your priorities?
-We wanted long lasting materials that don’t require much maintenance, and that even get more beautiful with age. Sticking with this, and spending surprisingly only a little bit more than on the more affordable alternatives, we chose to invest in the future by using mostly natural materials such as concrete and burned wood/kebony on the exterior. Inside, all our floors are filled with terrazzo.
Added to this we wanted to make sure we got enough light in to every little corner of the house without having floor to ceiling windows; it feels slightly more cosy and private.
How far have you come in what you planned?
-We are still missing some of the custom made furniture like desks, a wardrobe, bench in our bedroom, but we do not want to rush it.
What is the house like to live in?
Light, easy and happy. Really nice really !!
What are you the most happy about?
-The light (natural light) and sun that fills the house. The plants are growing like crazy!
The house is well orientated, and plans are made after the sun's trajectory. During the summer, our living room and dining room are filled with sun from early afternoon until it sets. With the big sliding windows towards the garden and terrace, it feels like having dinner outside. Even when it rains. And I love the skylight in the bathroom above the shower! I guess I am content with everything we have done, the staircase too!
Did you take any risks? Anything you would have done different?
No risks, well not in my mind anyway.
We could have made more time for the plans in the bathroom, but I like them as they are, the colours, the skylight, the floors. And come to think of it, we could have used sliding doors more...
And in the initial plans we had included a big sandblasted glass window in our little office in the ground floor. It would have blown our budget but would have been worth it!
You have a lot of nice art pieces, Kaarstein, Morten Andenæs, Yngve Holen and your own work come to think of it. What will be your next piece of art?
We already have a super cool portrait by Marius Ektvedt on the wall, but also want a landscape photograph which he has done, we first saw it at Sondre Frost house (Frost Produkt) and fell in love! That is, if he can find the negative. I already have a space designated for it.. on the second floor vis a vis our bedroom door, at the end of the corridor.
I regret not having a window there.
Nora is currently working on a new concept-wine bar Vinoteket in Oslo, just finished a large office space in Vika and a private home.
WORDS & PHOTOS: The Chromarty