Love at first sight

When our 3 sons were little, we used to plan a typical holiday each year. We rented a house with swimming pool in France or Italy.

In 2010 we went to Scandinavia for the first time, to Sweden. It was such a big success that we travelled to Norway two summers later.
It was really love at first sight! The vastness, the peace and quiet, untouched nature … everything we were looking for was here!

We saw snow at 27°C, waterfalls and fjords, viddas and glaciers. Animals running around just like that in open nature. Sheep, goats, cranes, whales, puffins, seals, and of course reindeer and elks. We lost our heart in Norway.

And then it was winter … incredible

“Why not try a different kind of skiing holiday?”, is what we thought back then. During the Christmas holiday of 2013-2014 we defied the cold: -27°C at its worst! Again we thought it was utterly amazing! Suddenly all the water had gone and what remained was a desert of snow. A sunrise and sunset with an indescribable glow! We went skiing, sledding, snowboarding. We made tepees, built an igloo, and made a tour with the huskies. It was a holiday were we intensely enjoyed the environment, the natural beauty and the snow. From then on no more Austria, but always Austria. We longed to come back every Christmas holiday.

The plan … our own lodge

In 2015 the urge for our own lodge was becoming too big. In July 2015 we came to the Hallingdal region to buy a lodge. But no cabin had everything we expected. So the search for that unique piece of land began. We visited all “lodge builders” to ask if they could help us. Oddvar from Hallingdal Hytteservice had a piece of land left for us: on the plateau, with a view on the mountains and near a lake.

Pictures of the different steps can be found below.

Our mind made up

Barely a month later, in August 2015, we went back to our place again, and everything seemed to be coming together.

Anke drew the first plans. In the design we considered that we did not only want to live indoors, but also – and especially – a lot outdoors.

After dreaming we were called back to reality. Building something in Norway, being Belgian, is not an obvious thing to do. Would our plans be feasible? So we came back in the autumn break. A final check with our 3 kids. Is this the place where we want to build our dream? Fortunately, the answer was loud and clear: yes!

On 28 December 2015 we signed everything. Yes we go for it!

And then: action!

Everything went really fast from then on. The plans were approved by mid-February 2016. In April our lodge was ready down below in the valley at the lodge builder’s. Once the snow had gone, it could be brought up the mountain. The excavation and foundation works started in early July. The wooden frame structure was finished in September. In November 2016 everything was wind- and snowproof.
We celebrated New Year 2017 with a paint brush in our hand. After that Geert went to the lodge a couple of times with our painter Wouter to apply the finishing touches.

And so our dream came true

Admittedly with trial and error. Norway is highly regulated. Moreover, the Norwegians like to stick to their habits, which were not always what we had in mind. For example, we wanted black windows in our lodge, and they thought that was a really strange thing to do. In the end, we imported 60m³ of building materials and, of course, the complete furnishing of the lodge from Belgium: floors, metal doors, sink, lighting, furniture … after almost 2,000 e-mails Oddvar – our lodge builder – had a lot of worries on his hand but he was also very proud and happy with the end result.

All’s well that ends well! 25 February 2017 – sleeping the first night in our own lodge. An absolute jewel. A dream. Enjoying at last! We hope you can also unwind here … Hjemmebu!

Anke & Geert
Daan, Thijs and Tuur