When Iceland was settled in the 870´s the settlers needed houses to live in and they used turf to build the houses. In the beginning all the houses were built totally with turf and the roof with branches of trees or bushes to hold up the roof. Later on turf houses were built with wooden front, wooden floor and even on two stores where animals like cows were kept in the basement to warm up the house with their body heat. It must have smelled great to have the cows stall underneath a simple wooden floor.
On the second floor was the baðstofa. It served as a living room and a bedroom.. In there people slept, usually two in one bed, ate and in the evenings there was so called “kvöldvaka”. In the dark winter evenings people worked with knitting, fixing small things, working with wool and one family member read for the others.
These houses needed a lot of maintenance, so through the last century, most of them got ruined. Still there are a few that are well preserved and some of them are now a museum, like at Skogar museum, Árbæjarsafn, Glaumbær in Skagafjörður and Sögualdarbærinn á Stöng in Þjórsárdal.