Architect Todd Saunders designed a sleek blackened timber home called Villa S for himself and his family in Bergen, Norway, inspired by advice from his two young children. Set in a former grassy park, the unique house rises on two podiums, which form a sheltered outdoor area below and support a set of swings that the whole family can enjoy. The elevated living area makes the most use of the plot, while also offering Saunders and his family superior views of the lush area outside.
Building a home for himself meant that Saunders could tailor the designs to fit the desires and requests of his two children and his wife. The family sought to make the most use of outdoor space, so Saunders elevated the volumes so that the main living spaces lifted off of the ground level, creating covered outdoor areas. The children requested a swing set, so two swings hang below the house in a rock garden below one volume. The other cantilevers out over a grassy lawn, creating a rain-protected place to play outdoors.
The “podium” volumes contain the family’s storage space, and a family TV room, connected to upper spaces but a unique staircase designed by Saunders himself. The open living and dining area is sandwiched by the master bedroom at one end, and the children’s rooms at the other. Saunders’ daughter made the odd request that her room overlook the kitchen, so a window connecting her bedroom to the kitchen was installed.
The home is capped off with at tiny, private reading room, dedicated only to books, that is enjoyed by the entire family.