The Kornsá Governors house is a one of a kind, traditional Icelandic farmhouse originally built in 1879. This is a rare pearl in one of the most beautiful and peaceful valleys in Iceland.
The Kornsá Governors house is a one of a kind, traditional Icelandic farmhouse originally built in 1879. It is a rare pearl in one of the most beautiful and peaceful valleys in Iceland. It is the perfect place for the sophisticated traveler looking for peace, beautiful nature, rich history and modern comforts. The house is located approx. 3 hours drive from the capital Reykjavík and is nested in the beautiful Vatndsalur Valley a stone throw from one of Iceland’s best salmon rivers. The view from the house is across the beautiful valley, to the river and a nearby traditional Icelandic sheep farm. The house is easily accessible throughout the year, close to highway 1 but still in a very private location away from the mainstream and crowded tourist attractions.
The house is equipped with all modern conveniences, such as Wi-Fi, television, a very good kitchen and bathroom, comfortable beds and good heating. Our guests can easily feel the rich history of the house but still enjoy the comforts of modern day living. The house is comfortable for 6 - 8 persons and everyone can enjoy their own private space as well as hanging out in the luxurious dining area or on the couch in the living room. A big fenced in lawn surrounds the house providing privacy from passers by as well as a spacious patio that can be used for barbecues and/or just to enjoy the magnificent northern lights in fall and winter or the beautiful light summer days and nights. Throughout the house the beautiful handiwork of my mother can be found as well as some paintings from our daughter Helga, a fine art painter and my custom built furniture. This gives the house a unique atmosphere, warmth and richness.
The Governors House at Kornsá was built in 1879. It was at the time considered to be one of the largest and most elegant houses in Iceland. The French nature scientist Henry LaBonne claimed it was; “La plus belle maison d’Islande”. Among known inhabitants of the house are Governor Lárus Blöndal, who built the house, Reverend Bjarni Þorsteinsson, a known composer and a collector of Icelandic folk music. In the village of Siglufjörður The Folk Music Centre, has been opened in honor of Reverend Bjarni. Senator Björn Sigfússon also lived in the house and he was devoted to the education of girls and women’s right’s in general. His wife, Ingunn Jónsdóttir, was an author and wrote the remarkable book Old Acquaintances (Gömul kynni in Icelandic). This book is an acclaimed documentary about the lives of Icelanders in the eighteenth century. The Kornsá Governors House also plays a major role in the tragic and dramatic events that led up to the last execution in Iceland where Agnes Magúsdóttir and Friðrik Sigurðsson were beheaded for murder at Þrístapar close to the opening of the Vatnsdalur Valley. Many tales have been told of these dramatic events still remembered by so many in Iceland. The most recent tale can be found in the historic novel Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent, a highly recommended reading. The well know Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur also made the movie Agnes in the year 1995, telling the story of Agnes and Friðrik and the brutal murders at Illaugastaðir in Vatnsnes, also a close by historic location. So there is no lack of history and drama surrounding our beautiful house in northern Iceland.
We bought the house with my parents in the year 2000. Since then the restoration has been an ongoing and never ending process. I am an educated carpenter and one of my many passions is fine woodwork and craft as well as playing my musical instruments some of which I have built myself. My wife Bryndís is an art and craft teacher in Selfoss in southern Iceland where we keep our other home. The house was in a very poor condition and it is safe to say that every stone, wood, window and wall has been touched in the progress of rebuilding the house. Many had ideas to rebuild or even move the house to a different location but we were the people that finally made things happen! Our goal in the restoration process has always been to be true to the origins of the architecture and building style and to keep the soul and old charm of the house as well as elegantly fitting in the comforts of modern life. All doors are original, most of the framework, and a large portion of the floors, and the wall panels. We even went into the mountains to fetch the big flat stones that cover the basement walls. Piece by piece and room-by-room we have rebuilt and refined every nook and cranny of the old house. The big dining room table and chairs I built myself as well as tables and chairs scattered around the house. The old piano in the dining area was saved from the local community center and fishing lodge. We have had many happy moments with family and friends throughout the restoration progress and our hope is that our guests will feel welcome and comfortable in our home away from home.
Our guests have a private access to the whole house and all facilities.
We guarantee the privacy and comfort of our guests.
Since the house is old and invaluable we kindly request our guests will not smoke inside the house. Please be VERY careful with fire. Well behaved pets are welcome.