A cabin in the woods is a special place. For many people, cabins are retreats where they can go to get away from all the hustle and bustle of city life, and be closer to nature.
Some cabins are fortuitously located on the shores of a quiet lake somewhere, overlooking cool, calm waters and surrounded by wildlife. Those who own such cabins tend to count their blessings.
We here at the Backyard Gnome like to fancy our very own backyard as our personal getaway, but having access to an actual cabin in the woods is fine too. 🙂
We must admit, we have always had a deep appreciation for cabins in general, and are always on the lookout for cabins made in some exceptional way as well as unique locations that speak to us.
This lead us to research the idea of raised cabins, as we find them particularly fascinating.
That’s when we laid our eyes on this place…
This particular cabin was made by Knut Eivind Birkeland, who constructed it along with his business partner Knut André Fiddan in a fairly remote and scenically rich forested area of Norway. Both guys are passionate about construction, as well as ecology.
This cabin he calls “Treetop Fiddan”, because it is built into the trees, 5 meters up, and surrounded by a beautiful lake called Bervanett (beaver lake, ber = beaver, vanett = lake) and located on a tiny island in a part of the world that most people have never been to, and yet, its beauty is quite staggering.
The surrounding “township” of this island / lake area is called Fiddan, although it is very small and has only 4 or 5 houses total.
Essentially, it is a very scenic area with lots of trees, water, and nature, and not much else around, with the nearest city being Mandal at about 45 minutes away by car.
Knut owns the land that surrounds Treetop Fiddan as well, with about 90 hectares of raw wilderness that dates back for generations in his family, from parents, to grandparents.
We were immediately curious about this cabin and its uses, and so we were lucky enough to have a little chat with Knut about his cabin “Treetop Fiddan” and how it all came to be.
We hope you enjoy our interview with Knut Eivind Birkeland, the co-owner of the magical and mysterious Treetop Fiddan!
TBYG: Hi Knut, what is the name of your cabin project?
Knut: We named it “Treetop Fiddan”. Fiddan is where the cabin is located and it’s in the tree tops, of course!
TBYG: And what is the purpose of Treetop Fiddan? Do you live in it?
Knut: No, we rent it to anyone who wants to experience this magical cabin and be closer to nature. You’re on an island in the middle of a lake, surrounded by forest, and so it is quite isolated.
Also, we want to put our small town of Fiddan on the map, so to speak, by providing this service and this attraction.
TBYG: It looks amazing! Can you tell us some of the special characteristics of this cabin?
Knut: Well, about 90% of the materials we used to make the cabin were harvested from the forest located around the cabin. It was just the flooring and the windows that we had to buy.
If you and your family rent this place, you can fish for trout in a canoe, or you can stare up at the stars at night, which are incredibly clear to see, with no city lights at all nearby. It’s a star-gazer’s dream out here! Overall, it’s a remarkably peaceful place to be.
Q: So, this is a business run by yourself and your partner?
Knut: Yes. Myself and my business partner live on a farm nearby, taking care of the tasks associated with renting out such a place. We take care of the bookings, as well as the cleaning, washing, and also we handle the marketing that is needed to promote this place.
We care deeply about this place, and, with the popularization of BnB’s worldwide, we thought we would open this cabin to the public and share this marvellous location with everyone.
Since March 2018, we’ve already had 300 customers and the popularity of Treetop Fiddan is only increasing!
Q: How long did it take you to build this cabin? You built it yourselves, you and your partner?
Knut: Yes, we began building in 2016 and we finished at the beginning of 2018. I got the idea from a TV show called Treehouse Masters (https://www.facebook.com/treehousemasters/)
Renting Treetop Fiddan
Q: It’s a fancy-looking place. How much does it cost to rent it?
Knut: We charge $350 on weekends, holidays, and other special days. During the week it’s $250.
Actually, most people who come here are from Norway, and so in our country payments equate to 2990 kroner per night on weekends and holidays, and 1990 kroner per night during the week.
People can pay with PayPal, Transferwise, or by using a credit card.
Currently, if you want to rent, you can go through our website (http://treetop.fiddan.no/), or through AirBnB.
We will be renting soon through Canopy of Stars, which specializes in unique trips and adventures.
Also, we will eventually rent through Fritzenurlaube, a German travel site.
I think that over the next year, more people from the UK and Germany will come here, and maybe some people from America and Canada too. It is great for families to spend time in. Very cozy. A great retreat!
TBYG: Is Treetop Fiddan one of a kind, or do you have many cabins of this sort?
Knut: It is our first, but we are planning more. We are searching for the right location first. This particular location goes back in my family for several generations, so it has a very special significance for me.
TBYG: I can understand that. I am wondering, what wood is this cabin made from?
Knut: On the outside, it’s pine wood, with juniper wood around the platform.
On the inside, it’s birch on the walls of the first floor and the roof, and then on the second floor it’s aspen wood. As I said, we got the materials from the surrounding forest. The only thing we had to buy was some oak flooring.
TBYG: Very cool. How high up off the ground is this cabin?
Knut: It’s about 5 meters up off the ground. It’s a nice elevation, providing some view while not being too high as to be precarious.
TBYG: Ah…and how does someone visiting the cabin get to it? Is there a road?
Knut: You have a couple options. You can either take a path through the forest to reach the wooden bridge we built, that leads to the island. That’s about a 8 minute walk or so. Or, you can take a canoe which is closer to the road, and avoid walking altogether. The canoe trip takes only about 5 minutes.
Here’s a diagram, with the walking in red and the canoe launch point in white.
TBYG: Is it ok to use in the winter time?
Knut: Yes, it’s nice there in the winter. I’ve stayed there when it is 20 below, and it’s fine. The gas stove keeps things very warm.
TBYG: Ah yes, I see the pictures. It looks especially pretty in the winter too. How many people can stay in the cabin at one time?
Knut: One family, or two couples. There are 3 single beds and a double. Oh, and there’s a hammock inside as well, as well as outside, which is our hydro hammock.
TBYG: Sounds nice! I’ll have to come there one day and test this place out!
Knut: You are most welcome to come! There is an underwater restaurant called “Under” (https://www.under.no) that is 50 minutes drive away from the cabin which you might like to visit as well, but they are still building it.
TBYG: When will it open?
Knut: Beginning of 2019…
TBYG: Where can people get food that’s closer?
Knut: There is a store which is 15 minutes drive away and has all you need, or you can fish in the lake for trout. It’s good fish.
There’s a canoe you can use as well, if you want to go out fishing or just cruising around the lake. It’s very lovely out there on the water on a nice day. If people want to borrow my fishing poles, they only need to ask me. I’m not far away!
For cooking things, the inside of the cabin has a gas stove with a grill, and, if you want to cook outside, then you can use our outdoor grill.
TBYG: I can see the value in staying at Treetop Fiddan. It looks beautiful there. Can I ask, what else is this part of Norway known for in terms of unique tourist attractions?
These are all very amazing places that most visitors to Norway love to visit, and they aren’t very far away from our cabin. Maybe 2-3 hours of driving.
TBYG: Ah, these places seem to be worth a look as well. Overall, I want to say that Treetop Fiddan seems like a very environmentally friendly project, because it is located in such a pure and untainted environment. Do you feel this is true?
Knut: Yes, and my partner Knut Andre Fiddan runs an eco-farm in the area, too (https://www.facebook.com/fiddanokogard/). It’s another great spot to visit.
TBYG: Thanks for the interview, I hope to come there soon!
Knut: Come any time, as long as you book ahead!