Located in the heart of Jakarta yet away from all the hustle and bustle of the city sits the magnificent Shangri-La Residences, which houses the lavish three-storey penthouse of Norway Ambassador to Indonesia HE Stig Ingemar Traavik and his spouse, Madame Noor Sabah Nael Traavik. Covering an area of approximately 700 square metres, the penthouse features an alfresco pool and a lounge area on its topmost floor.

HE and Madame Traavik designed the house with a minimalist touch, meticulously weaving their ideas to create a homey yet flamboyant atmosphere for their home. The furniture items, mainly made from wood, were sourced locally. However, the couple also brought in Norwegian memorabilia, such as a handmade drawing and a Norwegian seaside painting. Entering the minimalistic property, guests are welcomed by a three-metre-long rattan dining table, along with a spacious lounge area complete with two smaller wicker tables. The ceiling is high, creating a larger and broader feeling on its own. The sofas, all draped in beige materials, sit on a batik-designed carpet, adding elegance to the overall setting. The first floor is also home to a bedroom that has been refurbished into a children’s playroom.

“The penthouse was already furnished when we moved in, but we wanted to showcase a Norwegian ambience through the furniture and artworks we own. Mostly crafted by contemporary Norwegian artists, some of the artworks belong to the national gallery and some are ours. Norwegians are extreme minimalists and lean toward softer colours,” Madame Traavik said. An artistic cylindrical flight of stairs reaches to the second floor featuring the master bedroom, which comes with its own workspace, and the children’s bedroom. Moving forward, the dining room where the family gathers to feast is a circular space that protrudes out from the main area of the second floor. The guestroom is located exactly opposite to the dining room and the kitchen.

Living in a metropolis like Jakarta entails staying indoors most of the time—thanks to its limited outdoor parks and venues. Madame Traavik explained how her daughters miss the outdoors so much. Yet, she is grateful for what Indonesia as a country has to offer in general to make up for their lost time. “We visited Belitung some time back, and the girls were outdoors on the beach from sunrise to sunset. They collected shells, running around, laughing out loud, or just enjoying their time in the water. The girls and I miss doing it at any given time, but I can’t complain because I have a great and comfortable penthouse for the family,” she said.

The couple’s children, Asal and Celine, who are 5 and 3 years old, respectively, were both at school when we visited the diplomats. Asal is more of the sporty sibling, while Celine, who is soft from the outside, is emotionally stronger. The uppermost outdoor area is probably the main highlight of the residence. The eight-metre-wide pool boasts a stoned wall background overlooking a fabulous sunset amid the city skyline. Next to the pool is a circular sofa with a wooden backrest. The area also hosts a sauna and an indoor shower room. Despite the privacy of having the luxury of living at her doorstep, Madame Traavik explained that she and her girls enjoy being among people at the building’s public pool, gym, or garden on the ground floor.

“It is always nice to have this privacy after a busy day of being a diplomat’s wife. However, Asal and Celine enjoy being with other children downstairs. I used to make the best of our private pool all the time, but now I prefer doing yoga and Pilates at the public gym. But I think I want to make use the pool area more often in the near future, as I’m planning to throw a BBQ party some time soon,” she concluded with a smile.