25 June 2010

Dream House: Haga Slott

A cross-section and photographs of Haga Slott, the new home of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and her husband, the former Daniel Westling, now Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland. The image above was published in the Swedish magazine Aftonbladet and posted on the blog Trond Norén Isaksen.

The main façade of Haga Slott.

Modesty is deeply attractive quality. Especially when it comes to royalty. And few dynasties seem to be as laidback as the Bernadottes of Sweden. After all, how often does one see a gay couple waltzing at any wedding, let alone a royal one, as happened at the wedding reception last weekend of Crown Princess Victoria and her husband, the former Daniel Westling, now HRH Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland? Friends of the bride and groom, the couple in question was pop singer Peter Jöback and his partner, gym instructor Oscar Nilsson, and the men, each dressed in faultless dinner jackets, danced amid a bevy of glittering crowned heads also tripping the light fantastic.

The Crown Princess's choice of post-nuptial residence is as easygoing as her homey yet elegant wedding turned out to be: Haga Slott, one of the loveliest houses in the possession of the Swedish royal family and much less well known than its near neighbor, Haga Pavilion, built in the eighteenth century and famous for its ravishing painted-metal tents. Though the name of the couple's new home translates to Haga Palace, it is really a charming villa in the Italian style: three stories tall and quietly neoclassical, completed in 1805 to the designs of architect Carl Christoffer Gjörwell. Originally meant to house the young children of Gustav IV Adolf and his wife, Frederica of Baden, Haga Slott is rather small in comparison to other buildings bearing "palace" in their names. Made of brick clad in stucco and incorporating marble columns salvaged from a burned-out church, it was given to Crown Princess Victoria as a wedding gift by the Swedish government, who had long used it to house distinguished guests.

Modest in scale, restrained in its details, and friendly in appearance, Haga Slott is a house I'd be quite happy to call my own. Though I would paint the exterior a warm shade of goldenrod and freshen up those rooms with masses of flowered chintz and a few deep-dish armchairs.

The floor plan of Haga Slott, from ground floor (far left) to second floor (far right).

The rear façade of Haga Slott, near Stockholm.


columnist said...

It is indeed pretty and modest. Did you listen to Prince Daniel's wedding speech? It was utterly charming and from the heart, which reassured many Swedes who were unsure about their future monarch's consort.

An Aesthete's Lament said...

Dear Columnist, He seems a charming young man who is well up to the task. I think the most charming comment he made was to the media prior to the wedding, when he said his job was to support his wife, and if he was able to half as a good a job as Queen Silvia has done supporting the King, he will have succeeded. My favorite of his comment thus far is this: "I grew up in a completely gender-equal family. The idea that father knows best is not something I'm familiar with. For me, it is no problem to walk one, two or 10 steps behind Victoria and still keep my self-esteem intact."

Quatorze said...

The house is perfect for them. Goldenrod would be a lovely color for the stucco, though I would also love to see it in seafoam green/gray to contrast with the gray stone window trim and marble columns, with chalk white on the stucco moldings to freshen it all up. As for the new prince, I have a number of Swedish friends who are well-placed in the arts (ballet, opera, etc) and they all seem pleased with the Princess's choice.

Amy said...

I'm thrilled you've featured something from Trond's wonderful blog (http://trondni.blogspot.com/) and hope you find more inspiration there for features on Scandinavian architecture and beyond!

Yes, a wonderful wedding and a very impressive groom!

Square With Flair said...

I followed the recent royal wedding with great interest, but didn't know anything about this palace. The simplicity and restraint of the design are lovely. Nouveaux riches around the world should use this as an example of the elegance and prestige of restraint. Nice that it is symmetrical and classical so as to evoke the historic past, yet unassuming enough to seem appropriate for the 21st century and be somewhat democratic, if that is possible of a royal domicile.

The architecture is plain and well proportioned enough that the rooms could be done in anything from Gustavian Louis XVI to Bauhaus or mid century modern, so they have an enviable choice and flexibility in how they decorate. Goes without saying that one of the rooms will be a gym! I am reminded of the 19th century glamour girl, Empress Sisi (Elisabeth) of Austria, who was the first “media princess” and first to have a gym at the palace.

I was fascinated how the groom was groomed for the position, and how he went from commoner to aristocrat. The bride looked beautiful in the heirloom Bernadotte cameo crown and her dress also had a discreet simplicity and modesty that you have admired of their home. I noticed that unlike most of the brides of today, she was not wearing strapless, but a dress with more coverage as is appropriate for the dignity and solemnity that should characterize a royal, or for that matter any wedding. Noblesse oblige.

Will you write anything about Bunny Mellon’s hundredth tomorrow? I’d do it, but you seem to be able to track down interesting facts much better than I can.

Thank you for the interesting material about this new royal residence.

Still missing all of your excellent past posts for reference. Will we see them again, or are they irretrievable in cyberspace?