Royal Rooms – Public Rooms at Skaugum

Thank you to one of our loyal blog Baguettes, Marina J., for this fascinating post! Personally, LiL and Suds decided we wanted to move in after reading it.

The Estate

Skaugum Estate is in Asker, a town outside of Oslo, Norway. Skaugum is the official residence of Haakon, The Crown Prince of Norway, and his family. The house and the 240 acres of agricultural and woodlands were wedding gifts to Crown Prince Haakon and his bride, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, from the groom’s parents, King Harald V and Queen Sonja, in 2001.

King Harald V and Queen Sonja lived at Skaugum from 1968 until 2001. Harald and Sonja were given the property as a wedding gift in 1968 by Harald’s father; King Olav V.  Skaugum was King Olav’s principal residence from 1929 until 1968. The original property was believed to be a gift to then Crown Prince Olav from his father, King Haakon VII, upon Olav’s marriage to Princess Martha of Sweden in 1929.

The Royal Family rebuilt the home after a fire destroyed the original Swiss Chalet Style (c.1891) wood estate house in 1930. The new fire-resistant residence was rebuilt by 1932.  Functionalism, known outside of Scandinavia as Modernism, or the International Style, is the home’s architectural style. The Royal House of Norway advises: “The architect has designed Skaugum as a home where family life takes precedence over official entertaining and events. The various rooms were also designed around the furniture that had been rescued from the flames.”

First Floor Public Rooms

The first floor of the estate house is the public floor. It is where the royal family entertains guests and hosts official royal events. The Crown Prince family’s private residence and related private support spaces and rooms are on the second floor.  The first (main) floor consists of a series of representation rooms including an entrance hall, a large reception room, the offices of the Crown Prince and Crown Princess, a library , the central kitchen, and a large dining room. Most of the main spaces feature stoves or fireplaces, wood floors with loose rugs, large doors, and windows that face south over an expansive terrace and lawn and out to the view of Asker and the sea beyond.  

The original interior décor of the Estate House was completed with the rebuild in 1932 by the then Crown Prince Olav and Crown Princess Martha. The décor differs from the exterior. The interior has a softer approach, more traditional elements, combined with 18th and 19th Century décor elements. The interior is considered to be “cozy,” “warm,” and “approachable.”

The original décor and design elements remain as intrinsic characteristics of the home. For example, the large dining room remains close to its original design with clear wood floors, light walls, crystal chandeliers, tapestry, and stone mantel. There remain in the home from 1932 the original artwork above each of the fireplaces, the crystal chandeliers throughout the main floor, all the built-in casework and paneling, and of course, the arrangement of the south-facing rooms – being an enfilade of rooms formally aligned with each other.

Living Room/Crown Prince Office

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit have recently changed some of Crown Princess Martha’s design features.  A recent example of such a change is the update of the original patterned wallpaper in the main living room/Crown Prince Office out to a blue-grey grasscloth. Many of the original furnishings from 1932 also remain in use today. Other Royal Houses use this typical approach, where the public reception/representation rooms do not change between occupants. Examples can be seen in the Royal Palace in Oslo, at Clarence House in London, and at Fischbach Castle in Luxemburg.

The living room before redecoration, as seen in the time of CP Olav and CP Martha, and CP Harald and CP Sonja

The Representation Room

The vestibule sized room representation room is situated between the dining room and library, and can only be entered from those rooms There are always many comments –  “We love the paper! We love the color! A space with a unique charm!”.  It’s often viewed on the axis through the library to the dining room. This space can almost disappear in photos. This room – and all the rooms – seem expansive when the doors are open.

Current Representation Room – Last Day of Advent Video 2020
The Representation Room seen through the Green library (pre Haakon and Mette-Marit)

Crown Princess Martha appears to have used the room as a China Room (like this one ), or as an ante-room / pre-function room, as well as a small 4-to-8-person dining room, and possible storage.

In the photos below, Crown Princess Sonja is serving lunch to her family.  In the background of the picture, we see an extensive collection of blue and white porcelain.

The current wall fabric / or wallpaper is identical in color and pattern to what Crown Princess Sonja had when she lived in residence. The far wall was different during Sonja’s tenure as there was another recessed niche, which now is covered. The Crown Prince couple removed the wall sconces and artwork. As there is no visible damage in photos, it appears the wall fabric or paper is new. The opposite wall not in view is a window looking out-, hopefully with a matching window treatment to the wallpaper! What a unique room to Skaugum Estate- what makes all the owners want blue toile? English décor? Could it be a personal memory to Queen Maud? Did Crown Prince Olav, when he rebuilt the house, make this a collection space for his mother? 

Image with Baby Princess Ingrid Alexandra c. 2004, her first Christmas, prior to the redo of this room. Note there is no blue gimp (border) around the edge of the walls as there is in all recent photos.  

The current Crown Prince and Princess have made some changes to suit their tastes, and left some of the traditional elements from the previous occupants. Let us know know what you think of the new/old modern/traditional blend!

Let us know what you think of the Skaugum Estate.