Hovelsrud Villa in Helgøya Island
Hovelsrud is a large farm on the island of Helgøya with magnificent views over the lake of Mjøsa in southern Norway. The house and gardens were created by the politician Nils Hoel in 1840, but were severely altered in the 1950s. This project, carried out by the owners of the property, has entailed the restoration of the entire estate, including the house, as closely as possible to its original form. The integrated garden with its formal axis from the lake to the house has been re-established, using early drawings and written descriptions and planting varieties of flowering plants and fruit popular in that period. In the house, colour schemes, fabrics and decorative techniques of the 1840s have been reinstated, and floors painted with faux marble and wood designs. Four of the original wallpapers were recreated. The exterior was repainted in its original pink colour with a continuous decorative frieze.
The entry document for the project states: ‘This house and garden are closely related to the Southern European villa tradition, with grand villas outside the cities where you could retire and live the good life’. Hovelsrud has certainly made a commendable and successful attempt to revive this enviable lifestyle.
“The power of example which the Jury noted here is directed towards private owners of historic properties. The authenticity of this restoration, using research methods and professional restorers, deserves to be widely copied. The property has also been made accessible to the public, while local jams, juices and similar products are for sale. The jury were impressed by the passion and assiduous approaches shown by the owners.”