Affordable low-maintenance home embraces the Brazilian landscape in style

December 18, 2018 by  
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Simple and low-cost materials combine in the Itaipu House, a contemporary family home that doesn’t compromise on looks despite its relatively modest construction budget. Architect Samuel Lamas, of the Brasilia-based architecture firm Equipe Lamas, designed the four-bedroom home within a condominium complex near Lago Sul, Brazil. Completed this year for a construction cost of approximately $189,000, the modern dwelling minimizes its energy bills through solar water heaters and passive solar design. Spanning an area of nearly 3,800 square feet, the spacious single-story home is centered on an open-plan living area, dining room and kitchen that open up to a large, south-facing covered terrace that looks towards the pool. The master bedroom and two secondary bedrooms are located to the east of the living spaces while the flex guest bedroom, service areas, storage and garage are to the west. Existing site conditions as well as the desire to preserve native trees informed the orientation of the house and the interior layout, which are also optimized for natural light and ventilation thanks to full-height operable glazing that promote indoor/outdoor living. The landscape also inspired the neutral color palette for the furnishings, from reddish suede upholstering referencing the local earth to the grass-inspired selection of the green Santa Helena rug. Architect Samuel Lamas designed many pieces, such as the iron-framed sofas and armchairs, to create a sense of continuity throughout the home. Related: This tiny timber cabin was built from construction waste for under $30K The furnishings are set against a neutral material palette of low-cost materials elegantly fitted together for an aesthetically pleasing appearance. The floors throughout are polished concrete while the masonry walls have been painted white to serve as a clean backdrop for the colorful, contemporary artworks that punctuate the home. Plywood paneling was installed for the ceiling and the cabinetry to lend a sense of warmth. + Equipe Lamas Via ArchDaily Images by Haruo Mikami

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Affordable low-maintenance home embraces the Brazilian landscape in style

Couple builds tiny A-frame cabin in three weeks for only $700

October 2, 2017 by  
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If you’ve ever dreamed of building your own affordable tiny house you’ve gotta check out this cozy solar-powered cabin in Missoula, Montana that cost just $700 to build. Photographer Alla Ponomareva and her husband Garrett bought plans for the A-frame cabin from well-known tiny house enthusiast Derek Diedricksen and customized the design to fit their needs. The couple built the 80-foot cabin by themselves in only three weeks. They slightly modified the original plan and relied heavily on reused and upcycled elements – including window frames, boards, nails, and roofing. Related: Author Builds Tiny Solar-Powered Off Grid Cabin for Under $2,000! They transformed an aged log into a rustic countertop. Plastic sheeting covers a portion of a wall to provide additional natural light . It can be lifted upwards to provide a connection to the surroundings. The cabin is perfect size for two people, and it includes two single beds, shelving and a camping stove. A solar panel mounted on the roof can provide enough electricity to power smartphones and other small devices. + Derek Diedricksen + Alla Ponomareva Via New Atlas Photos by Alla Ponomareva

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Couple builds tiny A-frame cabin in three weeks for only $700

Nestl pays $200 per year to bottle water near Flint, Michigan – while residents go without

October 2, 2017 by  
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For three years, residents of Flint, Michigan, have had to rely on sub-par bottled water to meet their daily needs. Though the crisis attracted national attention and inspired cities elsewhere to check their own water supplies for lead, little has changed in Flint in terms of the poor water supply. Adding insult to injury, The Guardian reports that just two hours away, Nestlé pumps nearly 100,000 times what the average Michigan resident uses into bottles that are later sold for $1 each. And the cost? A measly $200 per year. In 2014, Flint switched water sources to save funds. While a new pipeline connecting Flint with Lake Huron was under construction, the city began to rely on the Flint River as a water source during the two-year transition. The issue was, the water in the Flint River is of poor quality. Because the state Department of Environmental Quality was not treating the Flint River water with an anti-corrosive agent — which violated federal law, the river was 19 times more corrosive than water from Detroit, according to a study by Virginia Tech. The corrosiveness of the water resulted in lead leaching from service lines to homes. To this day, the crisis has yet to be resolved. And to make matters worse, Nestle now wants to pump more water from Michigan. The Guardian reports that in a recent permit application, Nestlé asked to pump 210 million gallons per year from Evart, the small town two hours away from Flint where residents don’t live in fear of their water supply. Within the next few months, the state will decide whether or not to grant Nestlé this permit. Understandably, residents in Flint are infuriated — and confused — by this recent development. Some are asking, “Why do we get undrinkable , unaffordable tap water, when the world’s largest food and beverage company, Nestlé , bottles the state’s most precious resource for next to nothing?” Chuck Wolverton, a resident of Flint, told The Guardian bottled water “is a necessity of life right now.” Every night, he drives 15 miles outside of town to his brother’s residence where he showers and washes clothes. “Don’t seem right, because they’re making profits off of it,” said Wolverton. He says of the Flint water he pays $180/month for, “I don’t even give it to my dogs.” As Gina Luster, a mom who lives in Flint with her family, told the paper, “With the money they make, they could come and fix Flint – and I mean the water plants and our pipes. Me and you wouldn’t even be having this conversation.” Related: Michigan health department head charged with involuntary manslaughter over Flint crisis Though bottled water is a detriment to the environment, it became the most highly-consumed beverage in North America this year, largely due to fears of lead-tainted water. Nestlé is but one corporation profiting from the lead-water crisis. In 2016, the company had $92bn  in sales in 2016 and $7.4bn from water alone. Yet, all it pays to harvest water in the town two hours away from Flint , Michigan, is $200 a year. It’s an unfair reality, one Flint residents and activists demand to see changed. “We’re not saying give everyone a new car, a new home. We’re just asking for our water treatment,” Luster said. “That’s a no-brainer.” Via The Guardian Images via  EcoWatch ,  The Overlook Journal ,  CNBC

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Nestl pays $200 per year to bottle water near Flint, Michigan – while residents go without

Affordable Main Stay House in Austin keeps occupants cool without air conditioning

May 27, 2016 by  
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As anyone who has spent time in Texas during the summer knows, air conditioning can be your best friend. But MF Architecture wanted to create a home that didn’t need all that energy-sucking AC, but could still keep dwellers cool. To achieve this, they focused on the home’s site orientation, thermal bridge-free connections and airtightness. All of the openings were placed to welcome in plenty of light without bringing in the hot western sun. The pool was situated so that breezes could flow over the water and carry the cool relief indoors. Trees provide dappled light, and a large roof overhang keeps direct sunlight out of the home. The result is plenty of light without the heat. The house was designed with minimal amount of surfaces and openings and a sheltered entry and staircase clad in iron spot masonry. This entry volume demarcates the line between public, common and private spaces, which gives in inhabitants plenty of privacy, but also provides for ample entertaining space. The living room freely opens into the yard, and is devoid of visual and spatial obstacles. This is achieved by placing the service core along the east facade. Related: Four couples create a rustic cabin compound on a communal plot in Texas The open-plan layout allows natural light to fill the interior and reduce reliance on artificial lighting. Cross ventilation is enable by double-glazed operable windows and low-E coating. Advanced insulation helps keep the house cool in the summer. Despite its sleek, energy-efficient design features, the house was relatively cheap to construct-only $250 per square foot. + Matt Fajkus Architecture Photos by Charles Davis Smith , Allison Cartwright , Bryant Hill , Matt Fajkus

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Affordable Main Stay House in Austin keeps occupants cool without air conditioning

Tatiana Bilbao tackles Mexico’s affordable housing shortage with a flexible modular prototype

October 23, 2015 by  
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