Biophilic makeover breathes new life into Bergen family home.

Designed for Norway’s TV2 lifestyle series ‘Tid for Heim’, this family home was given a new lease of life.

Wood for Good is a not-for-profit organisation that campaigns for the UK timber and forestry sector.

Overlooking the fjords in Bergen, the owners felt parts of their home were too dark, heavy and traditional and didn’t meet the needs of a modern young family.

Oliver Heath Design created a heart for the family home, a space where the whole family and friends can gather, and where cooking can be a social activity shared with others in the home.

The clever design means that the house is now usable and warm when the family are alone, while also being flexible enough to offer a spacious, sociable atmosphere for visitors.

 Zoning the spaces

The design involved moving the dining room and kitchen walls and incorporating new multi-purpose storage. By opening the kitchen to the dining room and adding a breakfast bar, the designers created a child-friendly, multi-functional space. The new seating in the kitchen means the family can now easily be together while preparing meals and additional surface space provides the opportunity for a wider variety of activities.

A new wall separates the living and dining rooms using sliding pocket doors. This gives the option to either open the spaces completely – or close the living room off for a more cosy feel when required.

Biophilic principles

With small windows, the stunning views out to the fjords were previously inaccessible. But by creating larger windows, the biophilic principle of providing a view is beautifully met. Moreover, natural light now floods the kitchen, making it feel both fresh and bright.

A cosy inbuilt seat with smart storage underneath provides a sense of refuge, while the use of natural materials and textures such as timber, and colours such as blues and yellows reflect the natural environment.

The old tiles were replaced with blue wallpaper and a glass splash back to provide a contemporary finish. Meanwhile the yellow highlights contrast with the blue and bounce the light around the space, making it feel bright and stimulating.

 Use of Timber

Timber is used extensively throughout the new interior, with pine floorboards, storage and joinery. The heavy chimney breast was clad in the same light-coloured pine as the flooring, adding both warmth and light.

The new in-built storage and seating spaces were also crafted from pine. A new wood-burner and timber storage in the living space provides a natural focal point at the end of the room and also offers some welcome warmth in the cold winter months.

The result is a practical, sociable and stimulating environment, perfect for a young family.