House of dreams

Sometimes the house of the future is better built, lighter and larger than all the houses of the past, so that the image of the dream house is opposed to that of the childhood home…. Maybe it is a good things for us to keep a few dreams of a house that we shall live in later, always later, so much later, in fact, that we shall not have time to achieve it. For a house that was final, one that stood in symmetrical relation to the house we were born in, would lead to thoughts—serious, sad thoughts—and not to dreams. It is better to live in a state of impermanence than in one of finality.

— Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space

I’ve been dreaming about this house, on the island of Elliðaey in Iceland, since I saw it here. Apparently the house was a gift from the government of Iceland to singer Bjork for raising the country’s global profile. Then I saw this quote by Bachelard and started to feel a little better about the fact that I don’t live in it. I may never get to live in anything quite as remarkable as this, but I find great joy in the houses of my daydreams, and it makes me wonder if sometimes there isn’t as much joy in desiring as possessing.

Hey, Guess What?

The Aesthetics of Joy is now a book! Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness is now available.

Learn more


  1. This is extraordinary – thanks for bringing it to my attention, and pairing it with such an apt quote.

    Just imagine the mind that was motivated to build a home in such a geographically curvaceous, inaccessible location!

Leave a Comment