Elisabeth Ellefsen is an Interior Architect and Furniture Designer based in the small coastal village Kilsund, in the vicinity of Arendal, in southern Norway. After living several years in Bergen, she moved, along with her husband, back to Sørlandet in 2016, to the area where they both grew up. Elisabeth lives in an old house by the sea, where the couple has taken on the task of restoring the wooden house and an English garden. She works on architectural projects, specializing in coastal dwellings and huts, and in creating rooms outside.
“The mild and sunny climate makes spending time outdoors a natural choice down here.” she says, “And a house or hut on the Norwegian Riviera is such an asset, often passed down through generations, people really value and treasure their dwellings down here.”
Elisabeth also creates and makes her own decorative products. Sustainability, high quality and good craftsmanship are essential elements in all her work.
CABIN BY THE SEA
The task was to make the most out of a small addition, giving the owners a charming and inviting summer refuge. The cabin is nestled between the rocks in a windswept landscape, strict zoning laws limiting both the structure and the window size, considerably. The small hut is still offering three warm and colorful bedrooms, a narrow hallway with much needed storage, and a bathroom. Wallpaper and fresh color gives the three bedrooms a distinctive character and old fashioned charm. To make the most of the limited space, open custom made shelving with pegboards and drawers with leatherpulls, ensures practical and functional solutions to this active family. DesignSalong was able to fit in two full bedrooms, one with immediate access to a deck, and a bunk room with a full size lower bunk, and a twin size top bunk. The steps to the to bunk doubles as storage drawers and stairs.
A BIVOUAC FOR PROTECTION
Blistering sun, strong winds or a light shower. The short Scandinavian summer can require some shelter from the elements, or just a hangout in the shade or a cozy nook in the evening. DesignSalong was given the opportunity to design this little hut. Constructed like a bivouac on a concrete deck, built from locally sourced timber and left unpainted to minimize the upkeep. The low benches with custom made cushions and pillows, makes it easy to stretch out, and it provides ample seating for family and friends.
A bit of old fashioned luxury, shimmering or just charming. Things and pieces that tell a story, sometimes a place, a room or a house. You can’t show a squeaky floorboard in a picture, and you can not explain the smell of dust, but sometimes a picture will give you a bit of the feeling.
Gardening. This is a never ending project and an unlimited source of joy.
This is the house I live in. Or outside, depending on the weather of course, about half the year is best spent outside. And Lucy, of course, our beloved cat. Do you think my pictures look a bit crooked? It is not my photography skills, it is the house. There are simply no straight lines or straight angels, at all. And the ceiling hight is only a little over two meters, or about seven feet. I love to live in this quirky cottage, all the imperfections just add to the charm. I took these pictures back in December, when the local TV Agder had just paid me a visit, and got served Afternoon Tea. The result “Afternoon Tea in Kilsund” (Norwegian) is found in the Menu bar.
Do you love the warm summer sun, the fresh air of spring, the fall with harvesting and foraging, and the cold and quiet winter? Do you have a favourite, or do you like them all, just as much? I don’t have a favourite season, I simply love all four, and all the variables in between. If you live your life with nature as your clock, and by changing what you do and behave with the seasons, this gives you an opportunity to reconnect and live a natural and balanced life. I don’t mean that you shoul´nt get up in the morning to go to work, or that you should´nt pick up your kids from daycare, but by doing certain tasks at certain times, will simplify your life. So, Carpe Diem - seize the day!
Colour is magic. Nothing changes a room like color, and it by far the cheapest way to transform a space. So many things can be salvaged and rescued with a fresh coat of paint, and textiles can be given new, extended life after dye bath. Colouring with Indigo is pure magic, who would think that this jar of gooey green stuff can turn into the brilliant shades of blue? Just add oxygen, and sit back and watch the magic begin!
Colour can be used to renew and upgrade. Other techniques, like sewing, mending and darning can also give old clothes, and other textiles, new life. In a world drowning in cheap consumer products, the need to mend and repair is crucial. I have fond memories of my mother knitting and crocheting, maybe the forgotten crafts that was a neccessity in earlier days, will have it´s revival?
I try not to photograph my food to often, both the meals I get served, and the ones I make. But occasionally, I just can’t help the desire to try to keep the memory of a special restaurant, or a particularly fine evening, a bit longer and more alive. So then I fish out my iPhone and take a picture, it is usually about the setting or the company, rather than the food itself. And, it is usually simple food on a picnic on the skerries or something I have gathered or grown. Always simple, and as you know, good food tastes even better outside.
Wander, walking, hiking, or just strolling. we are so lucky to have access to the forest and the sea, right outside our front door. On the weekends we meet up with our two, and four legged friends, like adorable little Lucas, and go for long, or short walks. Sometimes, we light a fire, sometimes we just hang out and enjoy the view.
My lighthouse. Not only mine, of course, technically, I guess it does not belong to me at all, but I still feel connected to it. A lot of people here, or with roots in the area, have feelings tied to this abandoned lighthouse. A steel structure, painted brick red, with a single bold, white stripe, standing on a rock in ocean, you see it and you know you’re close to home. It has not been operating for decades, and it was badly neglected for years, but a group of local enthusiasts went together and fixed it up, and now the owners, the Norwegian Coastal Authorities, have decided to put in a lamp. What is so special about it? The name. Møkkalasset Fyr. Meaning “Dung heap lighthouse”, but that is another story….