This beautiful lakeside villa has a historical connection to a famous Norwegian composer

Perched on top of a hill, overlooking the serene waters of Lake Nordås, and nearly a 15-minute drive from Bergen, Norway, lies the enchanting Villa Grieg. The beautiful timber-clad house, designed by Saunders Architecture, is elevated on metal stilts and offers stunning views of Lake Nordås. Alexander Grieg commissioned Todd Saunders to build this “forever home” for him and his family. He is a descendant of the Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg, who lived in a nearby summer villa in the 1880s. The villa was joined by a composer’s hut, both of which are now part of the Edvard Grieg Museum.

Designer: Saunders Architecture

In fact, the new house is positioned to match the historic buildings, which are further up the hill.

“It’s almost a desire to live the same kind of life that Edvard Grieg would have had back then. Programmatically it’s related, as both a place to compose music and a place to live, and geographically it has the same relationship to the lake,” says Todd Saunders.

Villa Grieg is intended as a modern living-work space, with separate sections for both realms. The house moves harmoniously upwards, from an insular music studio on the lower level to an open and spacious living space elevated by stilts. I love how the roof of the music studio slopes beautifully upwards, rises slowly but surely from the ground and then artfully extends into the living area. It’s almost like an inverted rainbow if rainbows were a modest beige.

“We wanted movement, almost like drawing a single line that wraps around itself and a sculptural movement toward the sky,” Saunders said. “It’s about going from one level to another, but using the building to do it,” he concluded.


The house is clad in Kebony wood and features two bedrooms and a music studio whose oblique shape includes the staircase leading to the bedrooms and the remaining upper part. A skylight has been placed above the stairs, as well as a sliding glass door on one side of the studio. The door leads to a cozy patio area. There is an abundance of windows in the living room, giving the house a free-flowing aesthetic. Large windows in the bedroom and the living, dining and kitchen area offer views of the lake and countryside.

An amazing feature of the Kebony wood is that it slowly ages and turns grey, allowing the house to further blend in with its beautiful surroundings. The architect wanted it to “take up the patina of the natural landscape”. He said it almost looks like a rock jumping out of the landscape. The sculptural piece of architecture is a labor of love by Todd Saunders and Alexander Grieg, and this comes into its own beautifully in the home.