Furnishings that last a lifetime

  • Hamran_BAW_04

Furnishings that last a lifetime

From the forests of Southern Norway to furniture art, oak is the pinnacle of Norwegian wood. In this family business, craftsmanship, quality, and design take center stage and have done so for three generations.

-We call ourselves the Hamran people, but we are in no way related," says Trond Hamran, chairman of Hamran Carpentry Workshop. 

-We are a group that enjoys creating solutions infused with craftsmanship, quality, and design," he explains.  

And as the third generation of Hamran in the family business, he knows what he's talking about.

Approximately 30 minutes north of Lyngdal, in Snartemo, Agder, the family and its 40 employees have been operating since grandfather Torleif Hamran started the carpentry workshop well over 90 years ago.

Now, the carpentry workshop produces custom kitchens and comprehensive interior solutions using Norwegian raw materials. 

-When my grandfather started in 1930, there was a carpentry workshop for every mile up the valley," says Trond Hamran.  

Since then, almost all carpentry workshops have disappeared, and Hamran is one of the few remaining carpentry workshops preserving the ancient Norwegian craftsmanship traditions.  

From planing benches to tailor-made interior solutions

At the end of the 1930s, Trond's grandfather traveled to the capital. There, he obtained a license to produce planing benches in birch. It was a resounding success, and soon the forest owners were out of birch of the right quality, and he had to import timber from Sweden.  

-Towards the end of the 1950s, my father trained as a cabinetmaker. He came up with the idea of creating kitchen solutions in solid wood. In the 1960s, more and more kitchens were being produced in plastic and with colors. That wasn't what my father wanted. He aimed to produce quality kitchens in solid wood.  

"Since then, things have progressed continuously for the carpentry workshop in Snartemo. Trond completed his own cabinetmaking education and joined the family business around 1990.  


Leaving its mark

Over time, Trond also took over as chairman of the family business, and in 2008, Hamran Carpentry Workshop found it necessary to make some adjustments to further streamline production.  

Now, interested customers can visit it in a studio on Skøyen in Oslo and in the carpentry workshop in Snartemo.

We decided to fully focus on the custom-made market for kitchens, wardrobes, and comprehensive interior solutions. Often, the kitchen market can be divided into three groups: flat-packed kitchens, standard kitchens, and customization where everything is tailored. We are in the last category, and craftsmanship is important to us.  

With a streamlined business model, Trond experiences an increase in trust in the market. Now, between 150 to 200 custom-built Hamran kitchens are produced each year.  

Kitchens in Southern Norwegian oak.

In 2018, a new turning point occurred for the kitchen manufacturer. Trond and his colleagues discovered that a lot of oak was being harvested around them in Agder. 

-It turned out that it was being chopped into chips for heating. That prompted us to start unraveling the value chain.  

At the same time, there was also an inquiry from the restaurant Under at Lindesnes regarding the production of the interior. 

-We considered the possibility of using Norwegian oak, and the idea stuck. This led to a project with forest owners to purchase oak that would be harvested anyway. We had it delivered, processed, and dried. Now, Under is furnished with local oak," Trond Hamran proudly recounts. 

This marked the beginning of an expanded effort to combine Norwegian craftsmanship with local raw materials. A new sawmill was also built, where the Norwegian oak is sawn and dried. According to Hamran, about 80 percent of the Norwegian oak stock in the Agder counties is utilized. All the oak used comes from there. 


Developing solutions

Projects at Hamran Carpentry Workshop involve both individual customers and architects. 

-We handle various projects, including wardrobes and complete interiors. This can involve vanity cabinets, bookshelves, as well as living room and bedroom furnishings in the same style, with the aim of creating a cohesive design throughout all rooms. 

-We are pleased to include one of our interior architects, who collaborates closely with both the customer and the architect. This interaction ensures that the result aligns with the desires and needs of all parties involved. 

According to Trond Hamran, the entire process is crucial.  

-We collaborate with customers to find tailored solutions that fit perfectly into their environment and home. 

For Hamran Carpentry Workshop, it is always important to further develop both the business and the solutions they produce.  

-Sometimes we spend more time than what we are paid for. But we see it as a development cost; we always have to lift ourselves," he insists.  

Look more at the interior to Hamran Snekkerverksted here!


Customized machinery.

Before the interior solutions are built, everything is drawn down to the smallest detail to customize nooks, crannies, electrical installations, and plumbing.   

-We're not just a pure kitchen manufacturer. We work a lot with drawings and design. 

Once the kitchen is fully designed, the cabinetmakers begin the work of constructing, selecting the right materials, processing, and shaping.  

-That's when the craftsmanship of cabinetmaking truly shines. At Hamran, we value quality and design. It's good craftsmanship. It's important for our customers. The interiors we produce should have a timeless design.  

And it seems like the customers are satisfied as well.  

-The greatest inspiration for us is satisfied customers who take pride in the interior they have received. They have been involved in designing the solutions and gained a new sense of ownership.  

Continuing the cabinetmaking craft

-For us, it's important to contribute to value creation in Norway and to be able to carry on the cabinetmaking craft. After all, it's an old tradition in Norway. It also provides a greater closeness to the product you're buying. 

-We not only add value for our customers through the solutions we produce. When the interior is well done, we also see several examples of it contributing to increasing the value of the house," he says.   

And if there's a lot of office work for the chairman, he is more than happy to contribute at the carpentry workshop.  

-It's the best therapy. That's when I can disconnect. Production is the driving force, and being part of creating something is fulfilling," he says.  


Opted for a comprehensive solution.

At Tåsen in Oslo, Øyvind Kvalnes lives with his family. They have been living here for the last 25 years. Just over a year ago, they were planning to renovate the kitchen and living room. They wanted a custom-designed kitchen and came across a kitchen from Hamran Carpentry Workshop on social media.  

I was a bit conservative in the beginning and didn't want to change the layout too much, but now I'm extremely pleased," says Kvalnes.  

In collaboration with Hamran Carpentry Workshop and the interior architect, they made some key decisions that left their mark in the Tåsen home: A door to the living room has been removed, and a wall knocked down to create a more open living room and kitchen solution, and the upper cabinets in the kitchen have disappeared in the new design.   

-It gives a greater sense of space. It becomes airier and more open," says Kvalnes, who has settled into a corner of the living room.  

There, the family has set up a cozy corner with a custom-built bookshelf from Hamran Carpentry Workshop and a large window overlooking the treetops – almost from floor to ceiling. Kvalnes often sits there to read books, listen to music, or gaze out of the window.  

Before, this part of the room was more like a corridor. It has become a nook where you stay instead of just passing through," he says  


Professional competence.

This summer, Kvalnes went on vacation to the Southern Norway and chose to visit both the Under restaurant and the carpentry workshop in Snartemo.  

There, we got to talk to those who have been involved in selecting the oak for the kitchen. It's interesting to see the professionals in action. I experienced that the cabinetmakers who produced our solutions take great pride in what they deliver and have a tradition they want to carry on. I really appreciate that," he says.   

Kvalnes may be more interested in collaboration and dynamics in the workplace than the average person. He is a trained philosopher and works daily on research in collaboration and leadership.   

What struck me the most is about pride and professional competence. In my research, I see that people, especially in Norway, are often afraid to show pride. The Hamran people could show that pride and be clear about it. I think it's important to preserve," concludes Kvalnes. Text written by Dagens Næringsliv.Photos and video by Benjamin Ward.