Minimalist barn-inspired home was built as a "landscape viewing instrument"

May 18, 2017 by  
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Halifax-based firm MLS Architects has created a minimalist barn-inspired home that pays homage to the local vernacular of Lower Kingsburg, Nova Scotia. The A-frame form of the Muir Craig house takes on the traditional shape of the local barns found in the area , and was built with simplicity in mind using corrugated metal and wood on the exterior, with exposed wood framing on the interior. The entire design for the three-bedroom home with two baths was kept simple to reduce the budget and blend the design into its surroundings. The steep gabled roof is similar to those in the same area. Also in an attempt to keep things subtle, the interior living space was left open and uncomplicated in order to keep the focus on the home’s beautiful natural surroundings. In fact, according to the architects, the home was meant to be purely a “landscape viewing instrument in which every opening is subtly positioned to frame specific landscape features and nearby vernacular precedents.” Related:Barn-inspired contemporary home ages beautifully over time The minimalist design found inside the 1,400-square-foot interior of the home follows what the architects call an “outsulation” strategy. Exposed wood framing with large ceiling beams gives the interior a playful country-home feel. Baltic birch plywood , which was chosen for its durability as well as its affordability, covers the walls of the home, further blending its design into its rural setting. + MLS Architects Images via MLS Architects

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Minimalist barn-inspired home was built as a "landscape viewing instrument"

Savvy seniors are buying tiny homes to enjoy their golden years in off-grid style

May 18, 2017 by  
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There’s no rule that says tiny home living has to be just for the young. In fact, seniors are starting a new trend by investing in smaller spaces so they can live out their golden years off-grid and burden-free. Take a look after the jump at some fearless retirees who are making the most out of retirement in custom-made tiny homes. According to Tumbleweeds Houses , the latest trend in tiny home living is spawned by older adults who are looking to downsize as they grow older. For example, retiree Bette Presley recently took the tiny home leap at age 72. After deciding to minimize her lifestyle, she moved into a 166-square-foot Tumbleweed Elm cabin and hasn’t looked back since. The compact space has all of the comforts of home, but without the hassle of maintaining a larger area. Additionally, living off-grid was important to Presley and her tiny home is RVIA certified and comes equipped for solar power . Related: Genius elevator bed slides vertically on rails to maximize space in Alaskan tiny home Converting herself into a minimalist lifestyle was surprisingly easy for Presley, who told the San Luis Obispo Tribune , “We are consumers. We buy too much. We don’t need all our belongings,” she said. “I just experienced the clutter, to live in excess, and I didn’t find it particularly satisfying.” Presley is far from alone in finding joy when breaking the confines of excess. A disabled widow, Dani, bought a compact Tumbleweed shell cabin after attending a workshop and has spent a number of years building it into the accessible home of her dreams. She has built a custom wheelchair ramp that leads up to the extra-wide front door and even created a custom-made chair lift using a rock climbing harness that lifts her up to the sleeping loft. Nature-loving retiree, Adele, loved the mobile aspect of a tiny home so she invested in a tiny Tumbleweed Cypress on wheels. Not only is the cabin travel-ready, but also has a large outdoor living space, a covered porch and even a hot tub. She was even able to customize the interior with more windows in order to enjoy the beautiful views of the Oregon farm where her tiny home is parked. Tiny homes are also quite convenient for those who are still working in their later years. The famed Sausage Nonnas recently hit the road in three ultra-cute “tiny grandma homes” to deliver their world-famed sausages to lucky families during a campaign called Sausage Sunday. Via Tumbleweed Houses Images via Tumbleweed Houses, Sausage Nonnas and The Tribune

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Savvy seniors are buying tiny homes to enjoy their golden years in off-grid style

Frank Lloyd Wright architecture school grad built this beautiful desert shelter for $2K

May 17, 2017 by  
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Students at The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, Taliesin West have erected small sleeping shelters on the school’s Arizona desert property in for decades, hearkening back to the early days of the school, when young architects resided in tents as they built the permanent building. Chilean architect Jaime Inostroza just raised his own tiny shelter, and – in keeping with the famous architect’s principles – it is meant to “respond to the landscape of the Sonora desert .” Inostroza named his shelter Atalaya, which means the crow’s nest of a ship, wherein crew members can glimpse the horizon. In his design statement, Inostroza said he wanted to build a sleeping shelter that would let him “dwell within the horizon of the Alameda of the Palos Verdes.” Atalaya is 12 feet tall, the same height as many of the surrounding trees. Related: Taliesin West students built protective desert shelters using mostly local materials With just a $2,000 budget from the school – and honoring Wright’s principles of sustainable design – Inostroza incorporated local stones into his shelter, and reused an old concrete pad resting on the site as a plinth for his new structure. Western red-cedar comprises the wooden parts of the shelter, a type Inostroza chose because it can last for 25 years and was more beautiful than another type of wood he could have picked such as pine. A wall-stair provides access to a small sleeping chamber. Fabric panels intended to amplify the surrounding desert colors cover Atalaya. Inostroza also considered light and the way it changes daily in the desert; he said the site of his sleeping shelter “becomes a distiller of the light” at sunset. He went through several designs before he settled on one, which happened to be the simplest. He told azcentral.com, “I’ve learned to always be asking: What is the essence? What is here? You don’t want to impose yourself on the site, you want to exalt what is already there.” Via ArchDaily , Curbed , and azcentral.com Images © Andrew Pielage /via ArchDaily

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Frank Lloyd Wright architecture school grad built this beautiful desert shelter for $2K

Italy is giving away hundreds of historic castles and villas for free

May 17, 2017 by  
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Have you ever wanted to own your own castle – or perhaps an Italian monastery? Here’s your chance. As part of Italy’s Strategist Tourist Plan, the country is giving away 103 historic sites – including old houses, farmhouses, inns, monasteries and even ancient castles. However, only those who intend to renovate and transform the structures into tourist hotspots (such as restaurants and spas) will be granted a plot of historic property. The State Property Agency and Ministry of Cultural Heritage are responsible for spearheading the project, which aims to relieve some of the strain on the country’s most popular and overcrowded areas. In effect, lesser-explored destinations will receive an influx of tourists and local economies will benefit. State property agency employee Roberto Reggi told The Local : “The project will promote and support the development of the slow tourism sector. The goal is for private and public buildings which are no longer used to be transformed into facilities for pilgrims, hikers, tourists, and cyclists.” In total, 103 historic sites are available across the country. Many are located near the famous Appian Way – the Roman road that connects Venice with Brindisi on the southern coast. After the initial properties are claimed and foreigners begin exploring more destinations aside from Venice , 200 more sites will be included in the project over the next two years. This isn’t the first time Italy has relied on the public to restore its historic sites. The “ Lighthouse Project, ” for instance, has resulted in the Italian government auctioning off approximately 30 historic lighthouses to investors over the past two years. The requirement has been the same: transform the ordinary structures into hotels and tourist facilities . Additionally, the country raised €502 million for its “ Kill Public Debt Plan ” by putting 50 of its most prized sites up for action in 2013. Full details of the project can be found (in Italian) on the State Property Agency’s website . + State Property Agency Via The Local Images via Hand Luggage Only , SUWalls , Pinterest

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Italy is giving away hundreds of historic castles and villas for free

The 60k tiny house of the future can be controlled with a smartphone

May 16, 2017 by  
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Most tiny homes are built with the simple life in mind, so what to do if you love technology as much as you love tiny living? Fear not, tech fans, your ship – er, trailer – has come in. Oregon-based Covo Tiny House Co just released the Covo Mio, a super-compact 60k dwelling packed to the rafters in smart home gadgets. Covo Mio is pretty much the smartest tiny house around. It comes with smart lighting, door locks, and a Bluetooth sound system, all controlled via your smartphone. It also has USB charging outlets, a TV, a sit-stand desk, a smart Nest thermostat and, of course, an Amazon Echo. There’s also a huge awning window, giving the space the feel of a luxury home in a compact footprint. Related: Cover’s $50k algorithmic tiny houses are 80% more efficient than conventional homes   Of course, the Mio also includes the essentials, like a cooktop, oven, shower, sofa, AC/heat, and eating bar. It comes with a standard RV-hookup toilet, but you can upgrade to a compost toilet. There are two lofts: one for sleeping and one that is about the right size for storage. Outside, there is a nice-sized storage locker and it can be outfitted with solar panels for off-grid living.   All told, the home offers about 330 square feet of living space in a 26-foot long trailer and starts at $60,000. Of course, depending on how many gadgets and upgraded finishes you pack into your techie tiny home, you can end up closer to $100,000. If you prefer design over technology, Covo also offers the Amica model, which is as stylish as the Mio is smart. + Covo Tiny House Co

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The 60k tiny house of the future can be controlled with a smartphone

Gorgeous solar-powered Colorado home produces almost all its own energy

May 16, 2017 by  
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Sustainability and a love for nature inspired Colorado-based CCY Architects’ design of the gorgeous Starwood Residence. Set on a ridge line, this luxury mountain home with floor-to-ceiling glazing overlooks the Roaring Fork Valley and Elk Mountains. Solar energy powers the energy-efficient Starwood Residence, which is capable of producing 70% of the energy that it consumes. The Starwood Residence lies low on the landscape with a series of sloping rooflines that appear to echo the surrounding mountain landscape. Weathered steel wraps the home to blend the building into the natural backdrop, while exterior sunshades maximize access to natural light and minimize solar heat gain in summer. In contrast to the steel-clad facade, the interior is richly layered with warm textures, from stone accent walls to Clear Vertical Grain (CVG) Douglas Fir siding. Large panoramic windows appear to extend the living areas outdoors. Related: Black Magic home sits lightly in a mountain oasis In addition to daylighting , the architects improved the home’s energy efficiency with exposed concrete floors—used almost exclusively throughout the home—that provide thermal mass to absorb and release passive solar heat in cold months. The nearly energy-sufficient home draws power from a 7-kw solar array , 12 evacuated tubes for solar thermal, and a ground source heat pump for radiant cooling and heating. The weathered steel siding contains a high percentage of recycled material and all the concrete used includes a minimum of 20 percent fly ash. + CCY Architects

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Gorgeous solar-powered Colorado home produces almost all its own energy

Milan’s striking wooden UniCredit building is powered by the sun

May 12, 2017 by  
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You wouldn’t expect it, but this radical solar-powered building in Milan is actually owned by a bank. aMDL Michele De Lucchi Studio designed the LEED-certified UniCredit building to house the bank’s general meetings, but also to enrich public life with multipurpose community spaces. Its open structure of curved laminated wood ribs gives it a sense of accessibility and protection. The pavilion has no foundations–it was constructed on a reinforced concrete podium above a parking facility. Inspired by the shape of a seed, the design of the building combines lamellar larch beams with glass. The open structure accentuates accessibility, strengthened by two large wings equipped with monitors for events open to the general public. Related: Floating timber pavilion transforms a Swiss lake into an exciting new public square A 700-seat, multipurpose auditorium situated on the ground floor adapts to different configurations and events, while the overhead walkways that runs along the outer edge of the building can function as a temporary exhibition space . The first floor houses a nursery for 50 toddlers, while the top level features a lounge used for corporate events. Thanks to its strong focus on environmental sustainability and environmental sustainability, the LEED Gold-certified project has won first prize at this year’s WT SmartCity Award competition. + aMDL Michele De Lucchi Studio Via WT SmartCity Award Photos by Tom Vack

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Milan’s striking wooden UniCredit building is powered by the sun

This charred wood cabin can be rearranged in an infinite number of ways

May 12, 2017 by  
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This beautiful prefab house by Antony Gibbon Designs is made up of six modules that can be configured in an endless number of ways. Each unit has one or more open sides that can be attached together, providing the opportunity to build an incredible variety of layouts. The closed sides of each module are clad in charred wood siding for an elegant, low-maintenance facade. Called the Moduu House, it is comprised of six different variations of a single staggered form. Each module measures 2.5 x 2.5 meters with one or more sides ‘open’ to allow each unit to be connected onto another increasing the interior space. The structures can be connected in a wide variety of spatial sequences to create the house you want. Related: These gorgeous glass homes can pop up in 8 hours for under $50k Traditional Japanese charred wood cladding known as Shou Sugi Ban cover the exterior of the house, giving it a natural appearance. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow ample natural light into each structure, with the option of adding sliding doors for direct access to the terraces, also available as modules. + Antony Gibbon Designs

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This charred wood cabin can be rearranged in an infinite number of ways

This modern log home in Finland is heated by the earth

May 11, 2017 by  
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This may look like a traditional log home, but unlike other homes, it can withstand harsh winters and freezing temperatures down to -30°C (-22°F) without a huge impact on the environment. Finnish architecture firm Pluspuu Oy designed the Log Villa house in Finland as an energy efficient modern residence for cold climates that offers optimal living conditions thanks to a well-insulated envelope and the use of geothermal energy. The Log Villa sits near a beautiful lake in Central Finland and offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Thick laminated timber logs constitute the envelope and features three-layer glued pine as the outer layer. This allows the structure to withstand extremely low temperatures. Although the design references traditional log buildings of the region, the villa’s envelope has no overlaps or visible cross corners. Related: Four-Cornered Villa is an Off-Grid Minimalist Retreat in Finland Geothermal energy is the main source of heat, which is pumped out of a well drilled in the ground. During the summer, when temperatures can go up to 30°C, cool air is pumped from the ground into the building. Triple-glazed thermal glass and blown-in wood fiber insulation make the envelope airtight and contributes to the ecological construction approach. + Pluspuu Oy Via Archdaily Photos by Samuli Miettinen

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This modern log home in Finland is heated by the earth

The world’s largest vertical garden blooms with 85,000 plants in the heart of Bogota

May 11, 2017 by  
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Behold: the largest vertical garden in the world. Located in Bogota, Colombia, the Santalaia building is completely covered with a lush layer of 85,000 plants that span 3,100 square meters (33,368 square feet). A vertical garden of this size can produce enough oxygen for more than 3,100 people every year, process 1,708 pounds of heavy metals, filter more than 2,000 tons of harmful gases and catch more than 881 pounds of dust. The record-setting vertical garden in Bogota was completed in 2015 after over a year of planning. Paisajismo Urbano ‘s Colombia-based franchise Groncol designed and installed the vertical garden using the innovative F+P system, patented by Ignacio Solano. Related: Posh new Vietnamese hotel with a lush green facade brings guests closer to nature This system is based on a series of pillars – each with its own vegetal cover – installed vertically over the facade . Various endemic species were included in the design of the vertical garden to boost biodiversity . + Paisajismo Urbano + Groncol

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The world’s largest vertical garden blooms with 85,000 plants in the heart of Bogota

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