Not many families would volunteer to move into the Arctic Circle, where winters are long, temperatures are low, and snow is never-ending. Yet since 2013, not only has the Hjertefølger family lived in the Arctic (more than 1,000 kilometres north of Oslo, Norway), but they’ve thrived there, living in peace and comfort, and even tending an outdoor garden!
They’ve achieved this seemingly impossible feat with the help of a geodesic dome known as the Solardome Pro. Within the 25-foot-high dome, they’ve built a three-story house, and because the dome traps heat and shields its interior from wind, they can live in comfort despite sub-zero temperatures and harsh snow and wind. They can even grow tomatoes, apples, and peppers—plants not typically found at such northerly latitudes.
The Hjertefølgers built their eco-friendly home after careful planning. It’s a cob house, meaning it’s built from organic material mixed with soil. Cob is inexpensive, environmentally friendly, and a good insulator, and its popularity as a building material has been growing in recent years. The home also has an irrigation system for the garden, large windows for passive heating, and a sunny platform near the ceiling of the dome.
Living sustainably and growing much of their own food frees the family to spend time exploring the nearby woods, picking Arctic flowers from surrounding fields, and relaxing in their bright and beautiful home. The family has chosen to live simply and make themselves happy, and judging from their home, they’ve created an oasis of tranquility in a stressful world. “There are so many things that [are] wrong with the world,” Ingrid Hjertefølger says in Heart Followers, a short documentary about the family. “The only thing I can do is change myself and my way of life.”
Check out these photos of the Hjertefølger family’s beautiful space, and you’re sure to be inspired to try to live a simpler, happier life.