An Iceland Vacation Home With Front Row Seats to a Rare Sight: Greenery


With its waterfalls and glaciers, Iceland gives views which can be laborious to beat. However Tina Dico and Helgi Jonsson managed to do exactly that with their new trip dwelling, constructed on quite a bit the place the view is made much more spectacular by a uncommon little bit of greenery.

Lower than an hour’s drive from the couple’s most important home in better Reykjavik, their half-acre property above Thingvallavatn, considered one of Iceland’s largest lakes, has a transparent sight of Skjaldbreidur, a 3,500-foot mountain shaped by an extinct volcano, and, simply past, the highest of the Langjökull ice cap, Iceland’s second-largest glacier. However what sealed the deal was quite a few spruce, pine and birch bushes.

“While you’re used to having no bushes round, which is just about how it’s right here in Iceland, this place is like strolling right into a inexperienced haven,” says Ms. Dico, a 43-year-old, Denmark-born singer and songwriter.

Ms. Dico, who performs below the title Tina Dickow in her native nation, and her husband, a 41-year-old Icelandic musician and painter, purchased the property in 2013, not lengthy after she relocated to the subarctic island. They paid $226,800 for the property, which got here with a 500-square-foot, A-frame home relationship to the 1970s. Able to make the most of latest zoning legal guidelines permitting bigger buildings, they determined to interchange the construction with a 1,600-square-foot, three-bedroom dwelling that has one full lavatory and a second-story sleeping loft. It additionally encompasses a deep bathtub in the primary residing space that converts right into a daybed. The couple share the home with their three youngsters: Emil, 9, Jósefína, 7, and Theodór, 4.

The couple labored with KRADS, an structure studio with companions in Reykjavik and Copenhagen, however, aided by their households, they ended up constructing a big a part of the home themselves. They estimate they saved as much as $156,400 by doing every part from making use of the facade’s Siberian larch cladding to placing up their very own doorways.

The eating room has entry to the terrace.


Marino Thorlacius

Building began in 2015, and the house was accomplished in summer time 2020.

Iceland, with its quickly reducing glaciers and rising sea ranges, is on the entrance traces of local weather change, and there’s no larger story for the nation, says Mr. Jonsson.

The Langjökull ice cap, whose peak is seen from the household lounge, is getting smaller, like so a lot of Iceland’s glaciers. Mr. Jonsson compares it to the present state of a glacier in southeast Iceland, the place he took childhood hikes. “It used to take 10 minutes to get to the sting of that glacier,” he says. “Now it takes an hour.”

Points associated to sustainability and the mission’s carbon footprint have been on the couple’s minds after they deliberate the home.

Tina Dico and her husband, Helgi Jonsson, at a 2019 live performance in Berlin.




What are your favourite options of the couple’s Iceland dwelling? Be part of the dialog beneath.

As a substitute of simply tearing down the unique A-frame, which was in good situation, the couple gave it away. It’s now getting used as a guesthouse by the daddy of considered one of their contractors, who had it lifted by crane after which transported by flatbed truck.

In addition they opted for an environmentally pleasant sod roof, which, says their architect, KRADS founding accomplice Kristján Eggertsson, is costlier to construct. The packed soil, he says, “filters impurities out of the rain water earlier than it returns to the bottom.”

The home is shut sufficient to their most important dwelling—a 5,000-square-foot four-bedroom geared up with a recording studio—for a fast day journey, however gives a radical change of surroundings.

In the summertime, lush moss provides to the realm’s otherworldly greenness. “Nevertheless it’s much more wonderful within the wintertime,” says Ms. Dico, when there’s extra snow than within the coastal area the place they reside.

The icy nation roads and deep snow could make it troublesome to get to, she says, however the household doesn’t hesitate to make the journey to get pleasure from atmospheric nesting.

When the youngsters are older, Ms. Dico says, she plans to make the most of their entry to Skjaldbreidur—which she calls “the outdated volcano throughout the lake”—and take up cross-country snowboarding and winter mountaineering.

For now, “We do lots of sleighing and consuming scorching cocoa, whereas having fun with the view, the peace and the fireside,” she says.

For now, “We do lots of sleighing and consuming scorching cocoa, whereas having fun with the view, the peace and the fireside,” she says.

This fall, the couple is recording an album—their first since constructing the holiday home—and they’re taking inventory of the way it might have an effect on their creativity. Ms. Dico says the drive to the home goes by way of a usually treeless stretch of panorama, which she likens to being on the moon, then ends at what she describes as the house’s fairy-tale setting. “It’s all simply extremely inspiring,” she says.

KRADS, the couple’s architects, gave the home an environmentally pleasant sod roof, usual from two layers of native turf.


Marino Thorlacius

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