My Icelandic House

I frequently take guests to the Árbær Open air museum, which is a collection of houses from Iceland’s past. Most would have been torn down to make way for new development, but were instead moved out to a farm on the outskirts of Reykjavik where they were preservred and restored and are now open to the public (


I found this little house particularly charming, but they informed me that none of the houses in the museum were for sale or to let. However, they did open up the house in the middle of winter and allowed me to crawl all over and around it for about an hour taking numerous pictures, sketches and measurements of the smallest details.

My next step was to purchase a piece of land and hire an architect who would draft the plans needed for building approval. Once this was accomplished I hired a builder to construct the thing. At 9 meters by 6, it is about 10 percent bigger than the original where a family of 4 lived in the 1880s. And they didn’t have a basement either…

So here it is shortly after moving in… The building requirements and fire regulations would not allow for a wooden plank roof and a turf roof tricky to install and maintain so I had a cheery red metal roof installed, which is also a very Icelandic thing.

And because I am an environmentalist wacko who likes saving money, I had 19 solar panels installed on the back roof. Now I have a negative electric bill even though I operate an electric car off the system too and drive well over 1000 km per month. Now I find petrol cars to be noisy and dirty. In almost 4 years I have not purchased 7500 liters of petrol, I’ve not changed oil 12 times, and have needed no repairs. Idid replace two tyres however…



Written by davidcou