Air view of the Residential Area at Maihaugen.
Photo: Harald Christian Eiken / Maihaugen

Residential area

An exciting part of the Open Air Museum in Lillehammer is the residential area. Here you will find detached houses representing the various decades of the 1900s, and you can see the development of home standards and family life. 

During the high season residential area is a popular attraction with lots of activities. You can take part in the wandering theatre, remember your own childhood or show the children what growing up was like for grandparents or parents.

Houses from nearly all decades are represented. The oldest houses are placed at the bottom, and the House of the Future 2001 at the top. As we visit the homes we can follow the technological development, how the kitchen and bathrooms were modernised and how the different social and economical situations played a part.

We can see how the various families lived. The unmarried woman in the house from the 1920s, the family of seven in the functionalist-style house during the second world war, the prosperous merchant family during the 1950s and the families in the prefabricated houses of the last three decades. 
We also see how equality changed and started becoming part of family life.

This is where you can experience our closest history!

House from the 1920s

The little reddish brown house is the first furnished home we arrive at in the road from the 1900s. The house was opened during the summer of 2015 and is the last house to be opened in residential area.

It is a log house with cogging joints, with a timber framed entrance. This is an old method of building, but log houses with cogging joints were popular in Lillehammer shortly after the dissolution of the union with Sweden in 1905. The feeling of nationalism was strong, and in addition Maihaugen was an important source of inspiration.

An unmarried woman in her forties was the first inhabitant of the house. She only used the ground floor. The first floor was rented out. The house had water and electricity, WC in the basement, but no hot water tank. A wood fired oven in the kitchen was used for cooking. In addition she had an electric hotplate. She used to run a café in the Storgata, we therefore assume she did not do much cooking at home.

The house is characterised by strong colours. This is in line with the style of the time in certain circles. We see similar colours in Garborg’s home, Labråten, and Gerhard Munthe’s Leveld.

We imagine the sky blue garden living room must have been a wonderful place to enjoy a cup of coffee.

 The 1920s house at Maihaugen, Lillehammer

The house from the 1920s is a log house with cogging joints. Photo: Kåre Hosar/Maihaugen.

 Verandadør med blomst i vinduskarmen og sko på gulvet i 1920-tallshuset fra Boligfeltet på Maihaugen i Lillehammer.

The house from the 1920s is colourful and beautiful inside. Photo: Camilla Damgård/Maihaugen. 

 1920-tallshuset interiør i friluftsmuseet på Maihaugen på Lillehammer.

The living room in the house from the 1920s. Photo: Audbjørn Rønning/Maihaugen.

 1920-tallshuset interiør på Maihaugen på Lillehammer.

The ground floor in the house from the 1920s is fully furnished and can be visited. Photo: Audbjørn Rønning/Maihaugen.

 1920-tallshuset interiør på Maihaugen på Lillehammer.

Cosy kitchen in the house from the 1920s. Photo: Audbjørn Rønning/Maihaugen.

 1920-tallshuset interiør på Maihaugen på Lillehammer.

The bedroom belonging to the single lady who used to live here; she rented out the 1st floor. Photo: Audbjørn Rønning/Maihaugen.

Queen Sonja's childhood home

The home is open for visitors in the summer season only.

Queen Sonja's childhood home is the house from the 1930s in the residential area at Maihaugen.

The house was moved from Oslo to Maihaugen and the first floor opened to the public at Queen Sonja and King Harald's gold wedding anniversary 29 August 2018. The restoration was compleated in the fall 2020.

The home is restored like it was while the queen lived there from 1937–1968.

The house is an example of the architecture of the 1930s. It was put up in Tuengen allé 1B i 1935 and was designed by Ernst Motzfeldt.

The house was built for the Haraldsen family, and Sonja lived most of her life there until she married Crown Prince Harald in 1968.

They were secretly dating for nine years before they got King Olav's permission to marry. For those years, one of the few places they could meet was here at Sonja's mother's house.

The photograpy of the couple at the doorsteps of the home when the engagement was a fact, is an iconic image. This moment connects the Queen’s childhood home to our national history. A private story became official and national.

When she got married 29 August 1968, she was the first civil woman in modern times to marry an European heir to the throne.

  • The house was built in 1935.
  • It was originally located at Tuengen allé 1B at Vinderen in Oslo.
  • The house has a distinct functionalistic style, with hipped roof, horizontal cladding, windows by the corners and balconies with steel rails.
  • The inside of the home is decorated like it was between 1937–1968.
 Gult trehus i funkisstil på Maihaugen.

Queen Sonja's childhood home is from the 1930s and in typical functionalistic style. Photo: Camilla Damgård / Maihaugen

 Crown Prince Harald and Sonja Haraldsen on the doorsteps of a house.

Sonja Haraldsen and Crown Prince Harald on their way out of her childhood home when their engagement got known in 1968. Photo: Aktuell / Scanpix

 Queen Sonja and King Harald on their way down the stairs from her childhood home.

The historical photograph was recreated when Queen Sonja and King Harald came out of her childhood home when it opened at Maihaugen in 2018. Photo: Audbjørn Rønning / Maihaugen

 Queen Sonja next to a green painted children's bed.

Queen Sonja in the bedroom she had as a child. Photo: Camilla Damgård / Maihaugen

 Dining room, grand piano and telephone table.

Living room and dining room in Queen Sonja's childhood home. Photo: Camilla Damgård / Maihaugen

The 1940s functionalist-style house

The house is furnished as a wartime home from 1944, and shows that living on top of each other was the order of the day for some. The family consisted of a mother, father and 5 children. Despite being short of space, they rented a room to a young dressmaker who gave birth to a child while living there. A young couple also lived there during one period. There is water and electricity, but cooking was done using a wood-fired oven in the kitchen.

Lack of food and rationing was the order of the day during the second world war. That this is wartime is easily observed in the details, including a ration card and home grown tobacco. The windows are covered in black-outs and if you look down the dumb waiter shaft you can see the illegal radio hidden amongst eggs and jam. 

The house, like the telephone booth just outside, is typical of the functionalist style of architecture. Here we can find several typical details - the shape of the roof, the shape of the windows and the placement of the windows. The inside is more traditional. The furnishing shows signs of an old-fashioned style with heavy dark furniture. Most remarkable is the bed chamber with strikingly pink walls with painted silver cherries. Probably styled from exclusive wallpaper.

There is a bathtub in the basement, should you be in need of a bath. The toilet is in the outhouse - it could be cold during the icy winter months. 

 Funkishuset fra 1939 står på Maihaugen i Lillehammer.

The functionalist-style house is from 1939, but furnished as it might have been in 1944. Photo: Kjell Marius Mathisen/Maihaugen. 

 Røykebord og to lenestoler i stua på 40-tallshuset, Maihaugen, Lillehammer

A smoking table and two armchairs in the living room of the house from the 40s. Photo: Audbjørn Rønning/Maihaugen.

 Fra soverommet i Funkishuset på Maihaugen, Lillehammer.

The bedroom with the strikingly pink walls. Photo: Audbjørn Rønning/Maihaugen.

 Fra stuen i 40-tallshuset som står på Maihaugen på Lillehammer.

Part of the living room in the house from the 40s at Maihaugen. Photo: Kjell Marius Mathisen/Maihaugen. 

 Postbudet leverer post til beboer i funkishuset som står på Maihaugen på Lillehammer.

During the summer the wandering theatre performance is taken into the functionalist house. Photo: Jørgen Skaug.

1932 - Telephone Booth

The well known red telephone booth is one of the best examples of functionalist design. It is the result of an architectural competition arranged by Oslo Telefonanlegg in 1932. The winner was Riks, designed by the architect Georg Fredrik Fasting from Bergen.

The jury wrote the following about the winner: “No. 80 “Riks.” The draft shows a completely striking, simple solution to the task, which in both a technical and aesthetic way is well worked out. It solves all the problems of the programme in a satisfactory manner. The author has hit the mark both in the layout and the build. The draft has such a shape that the booth can be placed almost anywhere. The user guide can be put over the telephone and the suggested method of hanging can also be approved. The door must open outwards.”

 Den velkjente røde telefonautomaten, nå utstilt på Maihaugen på Lillehammer.

Telephone booth usage declined strongly when the mobile telephone became common during the 1990s. Photo: Camilla Damgård/Maihaugen.

House from the 1950s

The family in house of the 1950s consisted of parents and three children. The father ran a shoe shop in Storgata whilst the mother stayed at home.

The ground floor contains the dining room as part of the living room, not a separate room as was the norm in prosperous homes of earlier times. There is a fireplace for cosiness, a back wall in a contrasting colour, large panoramic windows, teak furniture - all new and modern. 

In the kitchen the surfaces are easy to keep clean, and the fridge has made its way into the home as a welcome innovation. There is a utility room containing a washing machine and a practical dirty clothes chute. Here the housewife has taken the new aids of the time into use!

On the first floor the three children have their own bedrooms. The bathroom has two wash basins, and the sanitary equipment is light blue - this was a luxury during the end of the 1950s. 

There is a large garden surrounding the house. Potatoes, vegetables, fruit and berries were grown in the back garden. Facing the street, you find the representative part of the garden, framed in bushes and fruit trees, with a large lawn and the pride of the housewife, the flowerbed filled with roses.

 50-talls huset på Maihaugen, Lillehammer.

The house from the 50s has a view down towards the house of the 20s. Behind we can just spot the house from the 90s. Photo: Maihaugen.

 Far leser avisen i 50-tallshuset på Maihaugen, Lillehammer.

Dad reading the paper in the house from the 50s. Photo: Esben Haakenstad.

 Hushjelpa i 50-tallshuset på Maihaugen, Lillehammer.

The housemaid working in the kitchen. Photo: Esben Haakenstad.

House from the 1970s

Prefabricated houses became the norm during the 1970s. The largest producer was Moelven. This house is produced in four separate sections that were delivered complete from the factory The foundation wall was ready, so all you had to do was to connect the water and electricity and lay the bricks for the chimney. This was completed in one day.

The family who lived here consisted of a mother, father and a son aged 15. The two older children had moved out. The house is called Moelven Senior. The colour is brown, the fashionable colour of the 70s.

Indoors too, the 70s colours are strongly evident - brown, green and orange in large, often powerful patterns. Even the white goods have been given colours. At this time people wanted green, brown or yellowy brown fridges and cookers. The latter colour has been chosen here. The TV has entered the living room and is placed centrally. So has the Stressless chair from Ekornes. A colour TV and a Stressless for dad, what more could you want?

The house from the 70s is well placed in residential area. Photo: Maihaugen.

The living room of the house from the 70s is full of furniture and things typical of this period. Photo: Kåre Dehli Thorstad.

 Et tidstypisk bad fra 70-tallet som er i Boligfeltet i friluftsmuseet på Maihaugen, Lillehammer.

The bathroom in the house from the 70s is typical for its time, and many will feel at home here. Photo: Kåre Dehli Thorstad.

House from the 1980s

The 80s family living directly across the street from the 70s house, has chosen a house produced by Block-Watne (Block 18). The family living here consists of a mother, a father, a teenage daughter and a young son.

White houses have become popular. The house consists of one floor with a full basement. It has a hipped roof covered in black cement roofing tiles. The window surrounds have been painted pink. 

Pastel colours also dominate indoors, pink, light blue and mint green. Patterns are not as eye catching as in previous decades. The housewife’s interest in crochet can be seen from all the small crocheted doilies and other handiworks that have been started and are dotted around the room. The living room has a so-called Korea panel in synthetic mahogany on the end wall, a light coloured velour bowed corner sofa and a large, brass coloured table with a glass top.

The terrace is large and partly built over. The outside has become a more important part of the house. You must grill, eat and play and the body must be tanned and trim.

Holidays in warmer climes are still out of reach for most people, but you can save miniature bottles anyway when you live close to an airport. The collection of these bottles dominates the living room in addition to other trinkets. The family has also obtained some old objects. It is fashionable to have antiques on display and a samovar and an old milk churn are used for the purpose.

One of the many typical 80s articles is the water bed in the parents bedroom. This was very popular for a period, but soon problems arose. Sea-sickness might have been the reason or if there was a big difference in weight, one would lie at the bottom whilst the other had to balance on the top. Leakage and fungus could occur. Water beds are in the main history today.

 Eneboligen som representerer 80-tallet i friluftsmuseet Maihaugen på Lillehammer.

The house from the 80s in the Residential area at Maihaugen. Photo: Maihaugen

 Stuen med hvit TV i 80-tallshuset på Maihaugen, Lillehammer.

The living room naturally contains a white TV. Photo: Maihaugen.

 Jente i tidstypiske klær som står foran 80-tallshuset i Boligfeltet på Maihaugen, Lillehammer.

The 80s house is open during the summer and you can meet this girl. Photo: Esben Haakenstad.

 Tidstypiske gjenstander som bladet Romantikk og kasett av A-ha på et typisk ungdomsrom i 80-tallshuset på Boligfeltet på Maihaguen, Lillehammer.

Many teenage rooms during the 80s contained cassette by A-ha and the magazine Romantikk (Romance). Photo: Esben Haakenstad.

 Et bord fullt av hårspray og andre tidstypiske gjenstander fra 80-tallshuset i Boligfeltet på Maihaugen, Lillehammer.

Lots of hairspray was needed to get the hairstyle of the 80s to sit perfectly. Photo: Esben Haakenstad.

House from the 1990s

This is a prefabricated house from Hetlandshus called Tradisjon. The name says something about the shape of the house. It has elements of old styles, in this case the Swiss style. It also contains nostalgic elements like a steep roof, cross post windows and decorative details in the gables. This was the most popular prefabricated house type during the 90s. The design was flexible and could be adapted to different terrains.

The family living in this house consisted of parents with two children, with the addition of a son from an earlier marriage during weekends. The living area is below the average, but the space is well utilised. The corridor space is used as an office on the ground floor and as a TV room on the first floor. The kitchen is large and contains the only dining area in the house. The room otherwise has features showing an international influence in food preparation. All the technical aids are present. The new microwave has started to become common property.

The living room is decidedly small and strong colours dominate - this is the end of the pastels of the 1980s. The walls are strikingly yellow and the curtains are colourful. One of the two TVs in the house is placed here. The media world is making an impact with stereos, video players and cassette recorders. In the office there is a Macintosh - the digital world is surrounding us This is an old model that has previously been used at work. It was only in use for writing.

A large and comfortable bathroom was a high priority. The bathroom is the same size as the bedrooms. You need to take a shower at least once a day. Well-being has a high priority.

 The 1990s house at Maihaugen, Lillehammer.

This type of house was the most popular during the 90s. Photo: Maihaugen.

 The kitchen in the 1990s house at Maihaugen open air-museum in Lillehammer.

Strong colours and flowers over the cupboards. Photo: Camilla Damgård / Maihaugen

 The living room in the 1990s house at Maihaugen open air-museum in Lillehammer.

The period of pastels, which dominated some years ago, has come to an end. Colourful curtains and strikingly coloured walls are the order of the day. Photo: Camilla Damgård / Maihaugen

 Hus med garasje og bil i garasjen. Fra Boligfeltet på Maiahugen i Lillehammer.

The house from the 1990s also had a garage. Photo: Maihaugen. 

2001 - The house of the future

In 2001, Telenor built a house at Fornebu. This was meant to be futuristic, and was to be used as a laboratory for entertainment technology, communication technology and similar for the home.

 Every room is on the same floor. There is a corridor running the length of the house. The technical functions such as bathrooms utility room, kitchen unit and a separate room for multimedia equipment and computers are installed in the northern side of the building. The living quarters are in the southern part of the building. In this area the ceiling is high and there are large windows that let in lots of daylight. The internal walls are not load-bearing. It is therefore easy to change the room divisions as requirements change.

The house of the future’s modern design contrasts with the nostalgic detached houses that were presented in the prefabricated house catalogues during the 1990s. The horizontal lines, the simple shape and the use of oiled wood are characteristic of the houses designed by Norwegian architects around the turn of the millennium. The house is designed by Div. A. Architects A/S in Oslo.

 Framtidshuset på Maihaugen, Lillehammer.

The house of the future is built in a modern style. Photo: Camilla Damgård/Maihaugen.

 Framtidshuset på Maihaugen, Lilleammer.

The exterior and interior are both in a minimalistic style. Photo: Camilla Damgård/Maihaugen.