Quaint Turf House in Iceland Looks Like It’s Rising Up from the Earth

Lindarbakki House Icelandic Turf House

Photographer Luke Gram recently embarked on a 12-day road trip across Iceland with old university buddies and took advantage of the voyage to capture some stunning images. We couldn't help but fall in love with his shots of the Lindarbakki House, a small cottage made of brick, wood, and natural turf.

The quaint, red house is located in the small fishing town on the island of Borgarfjörður Eystri. Gram shared with us via email that parts of the house date back to 1899, with the majority of the woodworking done in 1934. The shed, also made with turf construction, was added later by the current owner. It's a shining example of an Icelandic turf house, a traditional dwelling born from the hardships of the environment.

Turf was abundant in Iceland, making it a readily available resource that provided superior insulation from the harsh temperature. Most people abandoned their turf houses in the 1960s, but the Lindarbakki House is unique in that it is still privately owned and inhabited during the summer months.

The owner, Elísabet Sveinsdóttir, bought the house with her husband in 1979 and resides there from mid-May until the end of August. Lucky visitors during that time might knock on the door and receive a warm welcome and tour of the home. Now in her 80s, Stella, as she's more commonly known, receives help from locals in maintaining the property—including mowing the roof!

Turf houses are the traditional earth dwellings found in Iceland. Most were abandoned in the 1960s.

Lindarbakki House Icelandic Turf HouseLindarbakki House Icelandic Turf HouseLindarbakki House Icelandic Turf House

Photographer Luke Gram spent 12 days traveling the country. Check out some of his Iceland travel photography.

Luke Gram Iceland Travel Photography

“The country is one of the wildest, rawest places that is devoid of human population and has about every amazing natural feature crammed into it.”

Luke Gram Iceland Travel PhotographyLuke Gram Iceland Travel Photography

“It has volcanos, mountains, glaciers, icebergs, oceans, lakes, rivers, grasslands, waterfalls, wild animals, rugged ocean cliffs—everything.”

Luke Gram Iceland Travel PhotographyLuke Gram Iceland Travel Photography

“It’s truly a surreal, beautiful little spot in the middle of the ocean, and just going there it becomes so evident as to how rare and unique it is.”

Luke Gram Iceland Travel PhotographyLuke Gram Iceland Travel PhotographyLuke Gram: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Society6

My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Luke Gram.

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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