I live right in the heart of the city, near St Olvas Plass, in a townhouse apartment that was built in the early 1900s. Many of the apartments in the area have been renovated to embrace modern Norwegian design, but I’m lucky enough to live in a place that still features the design of the Progressive Era.
When I first walked into the building, I was hit with a burst of nostalgia. All these wonderful memories flooded back of my late Grandma and her old-style house in Sydney, Australia. The decadent colours and the patterned tiles, prominent of the Progressive era, felt like home.
I always enjoy the entrance to my apartment. In the picture above, I love how the tiled patterns are cut out of the floor from the sunlight, but then seen in the reflection on the wall tiles.
The building has a wonderful spiral staircase. The patterns of the metal bars, the tiles, the cut-outs on the boards of the steps, and even the old, dented, wooden railing that has felt many hands brace it over the years, are straight out of the Silver Screen.
The large stain-glass windows colour the light coming in and invite a coziness into the staircase.
The entrance to my apartment is rather grand. I live on the third floor but it never feels tiresome. I enjoy the trip up, around and around – and sometimes, if I’m not paying attention, I end up on the fourth or fifth floor and have to backtrack down to my apartment again.
My apartment is definitely charming. It’s old and has been lived in many times. The painted floorboards in the hall have a floral decal print running through, and the ceilings are high with old lamps designed from the oil-light era.
Nothing is left undesigned – from the faces on the coat hooks to the panelling of the cupboards – everything has been thought of. Because of the old wood in the apartment, most things are crooked or warped, but that is what adds to the character of the place.
The apartment was definitely first designed for the upper-middle class who had servants – we have a servant entry at the back. All the rooms are quite large, which is unusual for inner-city living in Oslo. The smallest is my bedroom of only 12 square meters.
But it does get very cold here. The high ceilings and big rooms do not help, but I’ve been told by an old local that this building is in the “cold zone” of the city. For some reason, this little cluster of residences, positioned at the bottom of a hill, is in a cold pocket. All the more reason to snuggle up in bed, and enjoy warm gløgg and pepperkaker during the frosty season!
I certainly feel lucky to live in one of Oslo’s iconic buildings untouched by modern design.