A Tight Cockloft in the Heart of Reykjavik Belonging to a Creative Fan of Old Junk with Feminist Views

July 10, 2013
Posted in Apartments

The Hosts:
Ojvur, a journalist
Skohta and Hosa, her kittens

Number of rooms: 2
Metric area: 30.4 m²
Ceiling height: 3 m
Number of levels: 2

Tired of living on her parents, Ojvur was looking for her first apartment in Reykjavik with a few search criteria: downtown location, a few-minute walk from the university and an attic, where she would arrange her bedroom.

The search didn’t break into her time; besides, this offer turned out the cheapest and perfectly situated. Located right behind the windows is a small grocery shop Drekinn, where one can also buy freshly prepared chips and hamburgers. Across the street there is a Kaffismiðja coffee house where one of the best coffees in the city is served. A cheap grocery market is a three-minute walk from here, which is not insignificant for the centre of Reykjavik. And last but not least – windows overlook the ocean and the prime show-place of the city — Hallgrímskirkja church.

Fortunately there was no need for cardinal changes, except for bleaching out and re-painting the wooden lining of the attic. “In order to avoid the country-house spirit”, the hostess explains. As for the furniture, it came from versatile sources: flea markets, second hand shops, grandmother’s and friends’ gifts. Some of the items were hand-made by the owner.

Thus, bookshelves for the lounge were made of wooden boxes for wine bottles, a cabinet for storing records — of wooden panels. A TV-stand was found in the street: it wasn’t even re-painted, just wheeled.

A collage over the sofa is a university graduation gift of an Icelandic artist Ingibjörg Birgisdóttir. The same author made a picture hanging over the record player to the right and a painting over the bed-head in the attic.

Ojvur’s employment sheet features a second-hand-furniture shop Góði Hirðirinn — after Kolaportið flea market this is the mainstream focus of interest for all collectors and lovers of old junk in Reykjavik. That’s where a gramophone, a coffee table and the greater part of vinyl records came from. The rest of them were presented by parents, including a rich collection of Bob Dylan and David Bowie. Icelandic records are usually given by friends-musicians.

A wooden box adorning the windowsill was hand-made and given to Ojvur by her father as a housewarming gift. That’s a special container for keeping a traditional Icelandic Christmas bread Laufabrauð.

An old poster of “Pippi Longstocking” movie was also found in Góði Hirðirinn. A long shelf over the window was nailed by Ojvur herself: “Living in a tight place with limited room for storing numerous useless things makes you sharp-witted in utilizing all the possible spare space”.

The lounge chairs are called Sindrachairs. That’s a real Icelandic vintage by Árni Einarsson. Such arm-chairs were super popular in 1960s. The one upholstered with sheep’s wool came though Grandma, who at that time just moved in a new house and, as Ojvur says, ordered the furniture from a catalogue. The other was fortunately bought on a flea market for 3 bucks.

The adornment of hallway stairs are old Icelandic flea-market photos, maps of favorite cities, souvenirs, cards and versatile pictures. Hanging over the stairs is a faded photo of the icon of Icelandic feminist movement, the ex-president of the republic and the first woman in the world ever elected for presidency – Vigdís Finnbogadóttir.

A bedroom on an attic floor was one of the major search criteria for Ojvur. The walls here were painted by the hostess. Her next project is to arrange here a roof dormer: in winter it’s warm here even with the central heating turned off, but in summer it’s a bit stuffy.

Ojvur is trying to make each centimeter of the kitchen functional, that’s why even a tight opening between the wall and the refrigerator features shelves. Originally the apartment was furnished with just a red-and-pink kitchen set and a stove, which by a coincidence comes from the same series as an old fridge. The most expensive kitchen utensils were given by father. Numerous phials and bottles were gotten from a junkman. The Venus symbol on the wall reflects the owner’s feminist views.

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