My cabin is my castle

I stole the title from a research paper by The Research Council of Norway.

Main house from 1924
Main house from 1924

Norwegians love cabins, and they are a big deal here. A big deal! There is no exact definition of what a cabin should look like. A cabin can be a simple hut that provide shelter but has no electricity and the only running water is that leaking through the roof. On the other end of the spectrum, a cabin can be almost like a country estate with garage, internet and jacuzzi. Most people who have cabins, have something in-between these two extremes.

During my youth, I spent probably one out of every two weekends between Easter and October on my uncle’s cabin by the sea. In the last few years, I have been able to borrow cabins from family members and have enjoyed tremendously bringing friends there for a relaxing weekend. This weekend I got my own!!

We bought an old farm about one hour and fifteen minutes from where we live. It is close to the Swedish border. The farm does not have much in the ways of farming land, as that now belongs to other farms in the area. It does have 15.390 square meters of land. More than enough for my purposes.

The main building was built in 1924, but has since been renovated a bit. Though that renovation is probably many decades old. It needs a fair bit of work. It has both running water and electricity. Toilet facilities, not so much. That will be one of the first things that we need to remedy.

The annex, 3x3m
The annex, 3x3m

In addition to the house there is small building (annex), that we might use as a guest room. It has no electricity and is only about three by three meters. Looks like it originally had a wood roof, but that has been covered up by cheap metal roofing sometime in the past. From the inside it looked dry and the structure of the roof sound. Therefore we will probably not do anything about it this year.

The farm also has a barn. The barn is quite large, six by twelve meters. It is in poor condition. If it is possible, I want to turn the barn in to several tea-rooms that can double as guest rooms. Which is the reason for me going on and on about cabins on this Tea blog. It might be my next big Tea project. A sequel to The Making of Chashitsu?

I have a lot of work to do on the barn before we get to the Tea part of the project, though. First of all I’m not a 100% certain that It will be standing next spring unless I do something to support it before we get snow. I’m hoping to enlist some professional help in deciding what has to be done to prevent it from keeling over on it self. Next, as you can see from the images below, it has a glassless “skylight.” Or put another way: there is a big f-ing hole in the roof. That has to be covered up one way or another. In a ideal world I would either have enough time or enough money to have someone else change the entire roof.

Next all the wall planks ought to be changed, and a layer of wind proofing added underneath. That way it would be ready for insulation, which can be put in from the inside. Talking about the inside, there is a lot of stuff on the inside. Mostly wood. Some firewood, some junk wood and some planks that could be used on the outside. But it all has to be cleared out eventually.

In summary, the barn will be a lot of work. In addition, I need approval from the municipal building authorities to change the use of the barn from farm-use to a place for people to sleep and stay. This also include a permit to add some windows. I envision a few actual skylights, and some windows on the side facing into the property.

Received ownership of the property last Friday. We spent the weekend trying to fix the most dire issues. This included covering the barn with tarpaulin to prevent more water from leaking through the various holes in the roof. It was not easy to get the tarpaulin up there, and to fasten it. The roof is not a safe to walk on, and we had to pull the 6x10m tarpaulin over using ropes. Since the old roof is filled with bumps, bent metal sheets and nails sticking up, this was a struggle. It had been impossible to do alone, and I’m very grateful to the kind friends and family members who helped us during the weekend (Ola, my mother, Thomas, Jan, Øystein).

 

If your curious about the Norwegian cabin culture, just type that phrase into google and you will find many foreigner that has been surprised by the Norwegian obsession with cabins. I hope that the future will give me as many if not more fond memories at our farm as I have from my childhood cabins.

 

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