This family tiny home is built from recycled materials and reclaimed wood

July 25, 2018 by  
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Tiny homes have been in the limelight for several years, but what makes Margo and Eric Puffenberger’s custom-built tiny house unique is the many recycled materials that were sourced from their family members. Throughout the Puffenberger tiny home, you’ll find wood from Margo’s grandparents and sister, shelves made from her great-great-grandmother’s buffet and windows and a door from her old, demolished elementary school. Building the nearly 190-square-foot house was prompted by a casual car conversation. The 4- and 6-year-old kids, Avery and Bennett, loved the idea, and the rest is history. First, the couple bought a used 16-foot trailer with a 10,000-pound towing capacity. Margo sketched out the floor plans, and construction for the tiny home began. The couple chose cedar siding  for the exterior based on its light-weight and low-maintenance qualities as well as how lovely it ages. A durable standing seam roof complements the cedar. Plenty of windows provide natural ventilation and light — some windows were retrieved from the now-defunct elementary school. The bathroom door was also salvaged from the school and glides like a barn door. The couple designed screened window systems that hook open from the inside encourage air flow while discouraging bugs from coming into the home. Related: A couple turns a Mercedes Sprinter into a solar-powered home on wheels The tiny home’s walls are covered in white oak and beechwood salvaged from the grandparents’ corn crib. This wood was also used to build sleeping and storage lofts as well as kitchen counters, the shower basin cabinet, trim and half of the floors — the remainder is tongue-and-groove maple flooring salvaged from Margo’s sister’s old farmhouse . The kitchen cupboards are crafted from her great-great-grandmother’s buffet. Eric designed and built a couch with a fold-out bed and window seat that converts into a dining table. The Puffenbergers hit their goal of completing the project in less than two years. Just this month, the family traveled from Ohio to Colorado with their home in tow, and it was a family adventure they’ll cherish for a lifetime. Via Tiny House Talk Images via Margo Puffenberger

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This family tiny home is built from recycled materials and reclaimed wood

A former ski lift station takes on new life as a bold mountain lodge

July 12, 2018 by  
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A small mountain lodge has replaced an old ski lift station on the Krkonoše mountains in the Czech Republic. Czech studio ADR designed the ?erná Voda, named after a nearby stream, to serve as a place of respite for short-term guests of a nearby lodge’s owner. The isolated retreat stands in a meadow apart from the Horní Malá Úpa village, among tall trees and lush shrubbery that shroud the cabin in serenity. Stepping inside the ?erná Voda, guests will find a bright, minimalist design. Light timber, which covers the walls, floors and ceilings, creates an open, airy feel. The kitchen space offers a sharp contrast with blackened wood cabinetry. The simple interior draws focus to the large windows and their picturesque views of the mountains , including Sn?žka, the highest mountain peak in the country. One window opens to the outdoors and allows a breath of fresh air into the cabin. Upstairs, a sleeping loft outfitted with protective netting offers a quiet space for visitors to rest. As natural light filters into the ground floor at daybreak, the loft benefits from the pitched ceiling and retains some darkness for guests who prefer to sleep in. During cooler months, a small wood-burning stove keeps the cabin toasty and inviting after a long day of exploring the outdoors. The mountain lodge blends into its forested surroundings in the summer with its dark metal and blackened wood cladding. When the landscape becomes blanketed in snow, the gabled cabin stands out boldly in its environment. On the west end of the home, a deck extends the living areas to the outdoors. The ?erná Voda mountain lodge has been nominated for a 2018 Czech Architecture Award , which promotes projects that embrace the public and the environment by both new and seasoned architects. + ADR Images via Jakub Skokan and Martin T?ma / BoysPlayNice

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A former ski lift station takes on new life as a bold mountain lodge

This off-grid, lunar lander-inspired tiny home is out of this world

July 12, 2018 by  
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If you’ve ever dreamed of going to outer space, prepare to swoon over this spacecraft-inspired tiny home  perched on the edge of the Columbia River in Central Washington. The holiday home — named the Lunar Lander — was designed and built by Kurt Hughes, a naval architect of Kurt Hughes Sailing Designs , who applied boat-building techniques to make the unique structure habitable, comfortable and environmentally friendly. Elevated off the ground on steel pillars, the off-grid, geometric abode measures only 250 square feet and weighs 3,000 pounds. Inspired by the image of the Apollo 11 spacecraft, Hughes sought to create a tiny house with futuristic features, both in appearance and in function. Drawing on his years-long experience with boat- and home-building, Hughes used the latest marine composite technology to construct the dwelling, which is waterproof, airtight  and resistant to vermin, mold and insects. An air-to-air heat exchanger provides comfort and ventilation. The Lunar Lander has neither roofing nor siding, and it is primarily built of plywood, epoxy and fiberglass . Related: Subterranean fridge pod: keep food cold without electricity “The Lunar Lander is not only an interesting configuration, but an homage to a time when people did new things,” explained Hughes of his desire to push the envelope. “Innovators were prized, not feared. And what’s more, the actual Apollo astronauts trained some 25 miles from where this project is sited. The Lunar Lander can rest comfortably on drastic, uneven terrain, with virtually no environmental footprint .” Related: Sail your worries away on this solar-powered floating tiny home Topped with a transparent geodesic dome that fills the tiny home with natural light, the interior features external modules for the bathroom, galley, dining space and storage. A stairway leads down to the sleeping space. Solar panels are affixed to the top of the structure, and the unit is optimized for minimal maintenance. Hughes has also expressed the possibility of making larger models of the Lunar Lander in the future. + Kurt Hughes Sailing Designs Images via Kurt Hughes

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This off-grid, lunar lander-inspired tiny home is out of this world

Lego-like kindergarten sparks creativity with a playful brick facade

May 17, 2018 by  
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Brick may often be seen as boring and traditional, but that’s not the case when the material falls into the hands of KIENTRUC O . The Vietnamese architecture studio creatively used the ancient building block to breathe life into Ho Chi Minh City’s new Chuon Chuon Kim 2 Kindergarten located in the city’s District 2. The building is made entirely from bare brick arranged in patterns to form an eye-catching and playful facade that also promotes natural ventilation. Likened to a “giant Lego building,” the Chuon Chuon Kim 2 Kindergarten features perforated brick walls with sections painted vibrant yellow for a spectacular effect. While a playful atmosphere conducive to exploration was crucial in the design, the architects also wanted to create a space that felt calm and relaxed. To that end, the building is organized around a central active core that branches out to serene  classroom settings. “Instilled within the school is an openness with a spark of curiosity that allows people of all ages to venture and explore the space in a relaxing and calming atmosphere,” the architects wrote. “As we have engaged in numerous educational projects, we recognize that these experiences are equally as important as the responsibility of nurturing the kids. It invokes a sense of pride, and interests within the teacher and the staffs. It inspires and embraces them, for they have chosen to dedicate their life for the education and the well-being of the children on a daily basis.” Related: This stunning brick “cave house” in Vietnam is open to the elements Each floor features alternating patterns that encourages children to become more attuned to their surroundings. The walls are punctuated by large windows for continuous views inside and out. Access to daylight , cross breezes and a natural material palette help promote a healthful environment. A rooftop garden tops the building with panoramic views of the Saigon River. + KIENTRUC O Via ArchDaily Images by Hiroyuki Oki

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Lego-like kindergarten sparks creativity with a playful brick facade

The all-natural ‘Wellness Kitchen’ includes a beautiful living herb wall

May 17, 2018 by  
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Kitchens are often the heart of any home, and now an innovative company is giving our beloved cooking space a healthy and sustainable makeover. Interior design company  Finch London recently unveiled its beautiful bespoke rose-colored “Wellness Kitchen” that’s built with various chemical-free and eco-friendly materials  and features a stunning herb wall. The London-based company’s Wellness Kitchen — which recently took home the grand prize at the Grand Designs Live event for its spectacular design — offers a glimpse into the future of eco-friendly kitchen design . The space includes a number of wellness features such as incandescent Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) light bulbs, a doTerra essential oil diffuser, a steam oven, an alkaline water purifier and much more. The countertops are made of Jesmonite, a water-based material that, unlike cast concrete, does not release volatile organic compounds . Related: Artisan Moss ‘plant paintings’ are maintenance-free alternatives to living walls The flooring is made from natural cork  harvested through an environmentally-friendly process. Resistant to dust and toxic absorption, cork is an ideal choice for people who suffer from allergies. It’s also antimicrobial and water-resistant, which helps to combat mold. A major feature of the kitchen is its verdant living herb wall installed on the kitchen island. In addition to various air-purifying plants found hanging throughout the space, the indoor herb garden allows homeowners to grow their own herbs and spices organically. + Finch London Via Household Beautiful Images via Finch London

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The all-natural ‘Wellness Kitchen’ includes a beautiful living herb wall

Yale architecture students designed and built this handsome home for the homeless

May 17, 2018 by  
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Since 1967, first-year Yale architecture students have designed and built buildings to better the community — and last year’s project was a stellar showing in affordable housing. For the 2017 Jim Vlock First Year Building Project , students completed a 1,000-square-foot home that explores cost-efficient and flexible design. Constructed in New Haven’s Upper Hill neighborhood, the dwelling was created to provide shelter for the homeless. The 1,000-square-foot house for the homeless is a handsome prefabricated structure clad in cedar and topped with a standing-seam metal gable roof. According to the project statement, students were “challenged to develop a cost-efficient, flexible design that tackles replicability in material, means, and method of construction.” The house comprises two separate dwellings: one is a studio, while the other is a two-bedroom apartment with built-in storage. Related: Washington D.C. architect wants to shelter the homeless in decommissioned subway cars The project also marked the first partnership between the Yale School of Architecture and the non-profit Columbus House , an organization that has been providing solutions to homelessness in the New Haven area since 1982. The house was the 50th Jim Vlock First Year Building. For the 2018 Jim Vlock First Year Building Project, the Yale School of Architecture will partner with SmartLam , the first manufacturer of cross-laminated timber in the U.S., which will provide CLT panels for the construction of a two-family home for the homeless. + Jim Vlock First Year Building Project Images by Haylie Chan and Zelig Fok

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Yale architecture students designed and built this handsome home for the homeless

Ecobricks transform plastic trash into reusable building blocks

May 9, 2018 by  
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People are getting creative with plastic waste around the world, and now Ecobricks wants to utilize plastic for building. They encourage people to pack soft plastic garbage into plastic bottles to make blocks that can create buildings, walls, or modular furniture . The group says ecobricks offer a zero-cost solution to plastics pollution that allows people to take action right now. According to the Ecobricks website, “Ecobricks are designed to leverage the longevity and durability of plastic to create an indefinitely reusable, cradle to cradle, building block.” People create these blocks by packing cleaned plastic into drinking bottles, then connecting them with “tire bands, silicone, cob, and cement,” although the group advises against using concrete. “No special skills, machinery, funding, NGOs, or politicians are needed,” the group said in a YouTube video . Related: Cameroon student nonprofit recycles plastic bottles into boats Ecobricks describes itself not as an NGO, but as a people-powered movement . Designer Russell Maier, one of the people behind the movement,  said in an interview  that he discovered ecobricking while living in Sabangan in the Northern Philippines. Currently based in Indonesia, Maier was a lead author of the Vision Ecobricks Guide, originally created for schools in the Northern Philippines. According to the Ecobricks website, the guide is now part of the curriculum in over 8,000 schools in the Philippines, and Maier has “overseen the construction of hundreds of ecobrick playgrounds, gardens, and buildings.” People in the United States, South America, and Africa have gotten involved in ecobricking as well, creating projects that include an eco-restaurant in the Ecuadorean Amazon. You can find more information about ecobricking on the group’s  website . + Ecobricks Images via Ecobricks

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Ecobricks transform plastic trash into reusable building blocks

Elon Musk’s Boring Company to sell life-size ‘LEGO-like’ bricks dug from the earth

March 27, 2018 by  
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People signed up in droves to buy hats and flamethrowers from The Boring Company , and founder Elon Musk isn’t stopping there. He just announced his latest idea on Twitter : kits of massive interlocking bricks made from tunneling rock . The first kit will be inspired by ancient Egypt — think pyramids or a Sphinx. New Boring Company merch coming soon. Lifesize LEGO-like interlocking bricks made from tunneling rock that you can use to create sculptures & buildings. Rated for California seismic loads, so super strong, but bored in the middle, like an aircraft wing spar, so not heavy. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 26, 2018 LEGO -like bricks could be the next merchandise out of The Boring Company . Musk said the life-size building materials would be strong enough to stand up to a California earthquake, but not heavy, as they’ll be “bored in the middle.” Ever wanted a Temple of Horus in your backyard? Maybe The Boring Company’s kits could make that possible. First kit set will be ancient Egypt — pyramids, Sphinx, temple of Horus, etc — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 26, 2018 Related: You can now buy your own Elon Musk ‘Boring Company’ flamethrower Musk didn’t specify the dimensions of the bricks or structures created with the kits on Twitter. But when asked if these bricks could be utilized for affordable housing , he said the bricks feature “a precise surface finish” and two people could erect a small house’s outer walls in around one day with the materials. When asked about environmental impact, Musk said , “Uhh, it’s literally made of rock.” Further details are still thin — like price or when the kits might be available for purchase — but Musk did say they plan to ship them around the world. And they said I’d never be a rock star … — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 27, 2018 The Verge pointed out The Boring Company has been considering what do to with excavated dirt for a while — the company’s Frequently Asked Questions page said they are “investigating technologies that will recycle the earth into useful bricks to be used to build structures.” They even cited the pyramids as inspiration. Musk has raked in millions of dollars from Boring Company merchandise already. If the flamethrowers and hats were any indication, he could sell thousands of these kit sets as well. + Elon Musk Twitter Via The Verge Images via The Boring Company and Wikimedia Commons

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Elon Musk’s Boring Company to sell life-size ‘LEGO-like’ bricks dug from the earth

New nanowood insulation is more environmentally friendly than Styrofoam

March 14, 2018 by  
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Scientists have created a new insulating material from wood that bests Styrofoam : it’s “stronger and much more environmentally friendly,” according to the University of Maryland (UMD). Their material , called nanowood, can come in thin, flexible pieces or in blocks — take a closer look after the jump. The UMD -led team created nanowood by removing lignin, a substance in wood that keeps it rigid and brown. They also took out some short fibers “that tangle themselves in with the cellulose fibers that make up the scaffolding-like base structure of the wood,” according to the university. “The aligned cellulose fibers then bond with each other and results in a high mechanical strength.” Related: Incredible new “super wood” is as strong as steel When the team attempted to crush the nanowood, they discovered in one direction the material was 30 times stronger than thermal insulation materials like Styrofoam or aerogel. When testing how well nanowood insulates, they found it blocked a minimum of 10 degrees more heat than a Guinness World Record honoree for best insulator, silica aerogel, as well as Styrofoam. And while wool or glass insulators can irritate lung tissues or incite allergic reactions, according to UMD, nanowood’s fibers don’t cause those issues. UMD postdoctoral student Tian Li said of nanowood in the statement, “This can insulate better than most other current thermal insulators, including Styrofoam. It is extremely promising to be used as energy efficient building materials.” The journal Science Advances published the research earlier this month. Scientists from the University of Colorado Boulder and KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden contributed. UMD said Inventwood , a spinoff company from the research group of Liangbing Hu, UMD associate professor involved in this research, is commercializing wood-based nanotechnologies. Hu said in the statement his research program “experiments with nature’s nanotechnology that we see in wood.” Inventwood’s website lists transparent wood and clear paper among their technologies. + University of Maryland + Science Advances Images via the University of Maryland

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New nanowood insulation is more environmentally friendly than Styrofoam

Amazing new biodegradable insulation only burns after one-hour of fire exposure

February 27, 2018 by  
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100 percent natural insulation from Chilean company Rootman is also resistant to flames, according to ArchDaily . Rootman’s product, Thermoroot, absorbs sound and provides optimal thermal performance — and, according to its designers, the sustainable insulation only starts burning 60 minutes of fire exposure. That’s in contrast to polystyrene , fiberglass, or polyurethane, which will start burning in three seconds, 15 seconds, or one minute, respectively. With the goal of insulating buildings more efficiently, Rootman created Thermoroot, which they say is biodegradable , comprised of 100 percent natural fiber, and won’t harm the environment . They basically grow what they call a Radicular Mattress; in isolated chambers, they hydroponically cultivate oat or barley grain seeds in trays that, according to ArchDaily, “define the required thickness of the roots ” to create the mattress. The process takes between 10 and 15 days, and Rootman doesn’t employ chemical additives or draw on genetic modifications. Related: Hemp-based insulation makes a comeback in Belgium The germination process can happen in any geographical location or climate, according to ArchDaily. It boasts a low water and carbon footprint, doesn’t pollute, and trees don’t need to be cut down for the process. And in case of a fire, the green insulation offers a one-hour window before it burns. Thermoroot can entirely replace conventional insulators like Mineral Wool, Expanded Polystyrene, or Polyurethane, according to ArchDaily, thermally and acoustically insulating floors, ceilings, or walls. The publication said Rootman is working to offer an effective alternative for expensive natural insulators and synthetic insulators that are harmful for health and the environment. If you’d like more information, Rootman includes links to a technical information PDF, certification of sound absorption, a thermal conductivity certification, and a firefighters’ technical report on their website; you can find those here . The company also says their technology could serve as “a soil improver for the garden and agriculture .” + Rootman Via ArchDaily Images via Rootman SpA/ArchDaily

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