The Wall Street Journal recently featured an article detailing the long journey one family took to build a truly stunning home in the Icelandic countryside. The home, which won the 2013 Intelligent Design award from the Society of British Interior Designers, was designed as a Christmas gift by the daughter of the owners.
While Icelandic summer days are long, warm and beautiful, the winters are dark, snowy and freezing, making it impossible to continue building the home year round. This, coupled with an economic depression in Iceland in 2008, caused the construction process to last nearly ten years, from 2004 to 2013.
The home emulates the traditional Icelandic summer home in many ways: it’s made of timber, has a steeply pitched roof made of grass (echoing the ancient Icelandic tradition of building homes from peat), and is powered by geothermal energy (water from underground hot springs is used for hot water and heating while the steam is converted to electricity).
Although the home is rooted in Icelandic tradition, the aesthetic is distinctively modern. The main living space has windows on three walls to allow for an incredible and virtually uninterrupted view of the mountains and meadows that surround the home. Yet the bedrooms only have one small window to minimize the 21 hours of daylight in the summer.
Maple floorboards were installed indoors and slate tiles were used on the outdoor terrace, which also houses a hot tub perfect for viewing the northern lights. While the home has an overall natural feel, with wood tones, stone and white walls, the kitchen has a mustard yellow Silestone island and a teal glass backslash, further playing on the contrast between traditional and modern.
Click here to see a slideshow of this beautiful Icelandic summer home and click here to read more about the building process.