This amazing tiny solar-powered cabin can be used as a retreat on land or on water

November 1, 2019 by  
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Many tiny home designers are guided by the principles of flexibility when it comes to being mobile, but rarely have we seen a tiny home creation that can be enjoyed on land and on water. Designed and built by our new hero, Scott Cronk , the Heidi-Ho, is a beautiful solar-powered tiny cabin built on a 30-foot pontoon. According to Scott, the ingenious floating home creation was inspired by his need to explore the world on his own terms, “After wildfires in the Fall of 2017, I sold my home in Santa Rosa, Northern California, and moved to the Palm Springs area, Southern California,” he explained. “This houseboat is a way for me to spend my summers visiting friends in Northern California.” Related: The Tiny Sweet Pea is the First Houseboat to be Certified by Build Green The Heidi-Ho houseboat was built on a 30-foot long pontoon boat that can be pulled by a trailer. In fact, one of the driving forces behind the flexibility of the tiny home design was that it was an acceptable size for legal road transport. Accordingly, the deck is capable of being reduced to just 8.5 feet wide. In addition to being road ready, the entire cabin can also be removed from the boat deck to be used as a camping trailer. And although this may have been considered limiting to some, Scott took on the challenge head on and created a spectacular living space. Although compact, the tiny cabin boasts a comfy living and sleeping area, complete with all of the basics. The interior is light and airy, with wood-paneled walls and plenty of natural light . The interior living space is made up of custom-made bench seating, a removable dining table and a galley kitchen. All in all, the compact cabin can sleep three. The main sleeping area is created by transforming the dining table into a double bed. Then, a bunk bed drops down from the ceiling for additional sleeping space. The kitchen has everything needed to create tasty meals, including a three-burner stove top and oven and a refrigerator. Additionally, there is plenty of storage for kitchenware as well as clothing and equipment found throughout the tiny home. Adding space to the design, the cabin features dual rear doors that can be fully opened. The doors lead out to the pontoon platform , creating a nice open-air space with boat seats to enjoy. To make his home on water eco-friendly, the boat runs on solar power generated by a 175W solar panel. Additionally, the boat’s bathroom features a composting toilet. + Scott Cronk Via Curbed Photography by Granite Peak Photography

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This amazing tiny solar-powered cabin can be used as a retreat on land or on water

Foie gras ban to take effect in New York

November 1, 2019 by  
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Fancy feasters in the Big Apple will have to acquire new tastes because New York will soon follow California’s example in legislating for a foie gras ban. Earlier this week, the New York City Council passed a bill calling for the ban, and Mayor Bill de Blasio will soon sign it into law. Animal activists have been rejoicing, calling the new legislation a win, although it won’t take effect until 2022. Those not in compliance by then will face a $2,000 penalty fine per violation. Foie gras is a rich, extravagant dish that has been appreciated since Ancient Roman times. The French have even defended it via article L654 of France’s 2006 Rural Code, which states, “Foie gras is part of the protected cultural and gastronomic heritage of France.” Related: Foie gras ban in California stands after court battle But foie gras production has met with criticism from animal welfare advocates. Foie gras is produced by forced overfeeding of ducks or geese to fatten and enlarge their livers. Feed volume is in excess of a bird’s normal voluntary intake, making the process unnatural because it overrides a bird’s typical preferences and homeostasis. The Canadian Veterinary Journal , for instance, has documented that this unnatural overfeeding process spans a two-week period and involves “repeated capture, restraint and rapid insertion of the feeding tube” that causes discomfort and increased risks for esophageal injury and associated pain. All of this produces a duck or goose liver that is “seven to 19 times the size of a normal liver with an average weight of 550 to 982 grams and a fat content of 55.8 percent,” while a normal liver is just “76 grams with a fat content of 6.6 percent.” In 1998, The European Commission recognized that these force-fed birds were up to 20 times more likely to reach mortality than their normal counterparts. If the same fatty cell buildup would occur in humans, it would be likened to alcohol abuse or obesity. New York’s ban follows at the heels of California’s foie gras ban. The Golden State’s legislation, however, has met some choppy waters. Initially passed in 2012, it was later overturned in 2015, then upheld by a circuit court judge in 2017, followed by further support earlier this year when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of California’s ban. On the other hand, Chicago’s ban on the delicacy was not so successful. Passed in 2006, it was repealed by 2008 via concerted efforts from foie gras producers, celebrity chefs and high-end restaurants that pushed back to sway public opinion. Their lobby strategies centered around the argument that if the foie gras ban persists, then other delicacies like lobster and veal might be in jeopardy, too. Chicago’s former mayor, Richard Daley, eventually called the ban “the silliest ordinance” his city’s council ever had, making the Windy City “the laughingstock of the nation.” It remains to be seen whether New York’s foie gras ban will succeed like California’s or be overturned like the ban in Chicago. Via Time and Fast Company Image via T.Tseng

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Foie gras ban to take effect in New York

Keystone Pipeline leaks 383,000 gallons of crude oil, renewing debate on its expansion

November 1, 2019 by  
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About 383,000 gallons (1.4 million liters) of oil has leaked out into the environment from the controversial Keystone Pipeline system. It is the second significant Keystone Pipeline leak in the past two years along the line that transports Canadian tar sands oil 2,600 miles from Canada then southward into the United States. This particular oil leak occurred with the Keystone 1 Pipeline that runs in the northeast region of North Dakota. Once the leak was discovered, crews of the Alberta-based company TC Energy, formerly known as TransCanada, shut down the leak to investigate the cause. “Our emergency response team contained the impacted area and oil has not migrated beyond the immediately affected area,” the company said in a statement . Related: Largest nature reserve in Niger threatened by oil development The volume of oil released from this recent spill measured approximately 9,120 barrels, which is roughly half the size of an Olympic-sized swimming pool. No sources of drinking water were affected by the leak, according to North Dakota regulators. The spill affected about 2,500 square yards of land, and its occurrence is once again sparking heated debate about pipeline expansion plans. There has long been debate over the expansion of the Keystone system, particularly from American environmental and indigenous groups. Environmentalists, for instance, have argued against the extraction of crude oil from oil sands. Compared to traditional oil, tar sands oil is more acidic, more corrosive, much thicker and stickier, thereby complicating cleanup efforts should a spill or leak ever occur. Plus, the thicker consistency means this type of oil will have to be combined with other hazardous materials to permit it to be transported via the pipelines, again elevating associated risks. Naturally, these increased risks incited objections from those concerned about environmental impacts should a spill or leak happen, because the pipeline cuts across Native American lands as well as important underground deposits of freshwater. This recent leak in North Dakota was not part of the Keystone XL extension project, which, incidentally, is not yet fully operational. Via Seattle Times Image via Shannon Patrick

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Keystone Pipeline leaks 383,000 gallons of crude oil, renewing debate on its expansion

Beautiful solar-powered minimalist cabins are clad in locally sourced charred timber

June 5, 2019 by  
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Bordeaux-based firm  A6A has unveiled beautiful minimalist cabins designed to be almost completely self-sufficient thanks to solar power and a micro wastewater treatment system. Additionally, the 236-square-foot H-Eva Cabins are prefabricated offsite to reduce construction and impact on the environment. Lightweight, but sturdy, the tiny cabins are clad in locally sourced timber that has been charred through the ancient Japanese technique Shou Sugi Ban. The minimalist cabin design comes in three sizes and can be customized to connect multiple to make a larger structure. All of the cabins are prefabricated in a workshop to reduce the structures’ impact on their intended landscape. Once built, they are delivered to the destination on a flatbed truck and easily installed with a crane. The structures are placed lightly on the land so that they can be disassembled quickly, leaving little-to-no footprint behind. Related: These low-energy prefab cabins are inspired by the Nordic concept of ‘friluftsliv’ In addition to their eco-friendly assembly process, the cabins are designed to go off the grid. A rooftop solar array generates energy to power the cabin’s minimal electricity needs. Heat is provided by a wood-burning stove, and natural light is more than enough to illuminate the interior during the daytime. In addition to the low-flow faucets in the shower and kitchen, the bathrooms are also installed with dry toilets to conserve water. To further add to its sustainability, the cabins have integrated micro wastewater treatment systems. The exterior is clad in locally sourced Douglas fir that has been charred through the ancient Japanese technique  Shou Sugi Ban , which adds resilience to the cabin. The deep black color also helps camouflage the design into nearly any backdrop, letting the residents truly immerse themselves in their surroundings. The rectangular volumes are punctuated by several slender windows and large sliding glass doors. The interior living spaces are clad in natural plywood. The central living rooms are complete with a family-style table that can easily be moved outdoors on the wooden deck, creating the perfect spot for taking in the incredible views while dining. A small kitchenette, although compact, comes with all of the basics. The sleeping space is comprised of two large bunk beds integrated into the walls. + A6A Via Archdaily Photography by Agnès Clotis via A6A

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Beautiful solar-powered minimalist cabins are clad in locally sourced charred timber

Round, minimalist cabins with sliding glass walls take glamping up a notch

May 14, 2019 by  
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Getting closer to nature just became a little easier — and way more luxurious — thanks to these prefab, round cabins with sliding glass walls. Inspired by the tiny cabin concept, LumiPods are contemporary cocoon-like structures with charred wood cladding and a glass facade that slides open to provide a seamless connection between the interior and outdoor spaces. The LumiPods are designed as a new concept within the world of glamping . Envisioned as “cocoons of simplicity,” the round, one-room cabins were created for stressed city dwellers looking to reconnect with nature. At 183 square feet, the tiny cabins contain just a simple bedroom and bathroom. The minimalist configuration was strategic in letting guests truly enjoy nature in a simple way without sacrificing comfort. Related: Solar-powered glass PurePod cabins provide the ultimate connection with nature According to the company, LumiPods can be completely assembled in just two days on virtually any type of landscape. The prefabricated pods are comprised of two modules that are gently set into place on four screw piles. This allows the tiny structures to cause minimal impact on the installation site. Clad in a burned wood exterior, following the shou-sugi-ban Japanese tradition, the pods are rugged enough to withstand most climates. Lined in plywood panels, the interior spaces are well-insulated and come with a minimalist interior design that adds an extra touch of luxury to the glamping experience. However, the design’s most inspired feature is the curved glass wall that slides open, providing unobstructed views from almost anywhere inside the pod . The curved LUMICENE glass panels are set in aluminum frames that slide on two rails, allowing the interior to be transformed into an outdoor space in the blink of an eye. At the moment, LumiPods must be connected to electricity, water and wastewater networks, but the company is currently exploring new technologies in order to offer a totally off-grid version as soon as 2020. + LumiPod Images via LumiPod

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This cabin offers outstanding views of Oaxaca from a massive, cantilevering terrace

March 26, 2019 by  
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Nature-based refuges come in many shapes and forms, but this gorgeous cabin in Oaxaca manages to capture the serenity of its location thanks to a massive, cantilevering terrace in addition to two spacious rooftop terraces. Designed by Mexican firm  LAMZ Arquitectura , the Teitipac Cabin features two interconnecting volumes that were made with reclaimed natural materials , including natural stone found on-site as well as reclaimed steel and wood. Located in the mountainous region of San Sebastián Teitipac in Oaxaca in southwestern Mexico, the beautiful cabin is actually made up of two separate volumes. This was a strategy employed by the architects to build the cabins into the smallest footprint possible without altering the existing natural terrain of oaks and copal trees. Related: Get away from it all in this off-grid concrete cabin just steps away from the Appalachian Trail Spanning a total of just under 2,000 feet, the cube-like volumes were set on a small hilltop to provide stunning views of the surrounding mountain range. According to the architects, the project design centered around providing an abundance of open-air spaces in order to take in these breathtaking views from anywhere on-site. In addition to providing a strong visual connection to the environment, the architects also wanted to create harmony between the man-made and the natural by using as many natural and reclaimed materials as possible. The cabins are tucked partially into the landscape, creating structures with various levels, including a basement embedded into the rocky landscape and two large rooftop terraces. The two structures are connected to a simple staircase that leads from one terrace to another. Several additional walkways wind around the cabin, leading past glass-panel enclosures and various entrances. Both of the volumes are clad in natural stone, which blends the structures into the rocky terrain. The cabin also features expansive glass panels that further drive the connection between the indoors and the outdoors. Additionally, throughout the interior living space, reclaimed wood was used in the flooring and ceilings. The two structures are divided according to their uses: one houses the communal living areas, while the other is home to the bedrooms. Clad in natural stone and wood, the interiors are warm and inviting. While outdoor space is abundant for both volumes, the master bedroom’s  cantilevering terrace is at the heart of the design. + LAMZ Arquitectura Via Archdaily Photography by Lorena Darquea via LAMZ Arquitectura

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This cabin offers outstanding views of Oaxaca from a massive, cantilevering terrace

Minimalist tiny cabin is a secluded retreat in a Brazilian forest

January 30, 2019 by  
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São Paulo-based architect Silvia Acar Arquitetura has unveiled a minimalist tiny cabin tucked into a remote Brazilian forest. Elevated off the ground to reduce environmental impact, Chalet M is one-room cabin with a large glazed facade that connects its humble interior to it stunning surroundings. Located in the heavily forested region of São Lourenço da Serra, the incredible natural setting was the primary inspiration for the design. Wanting to create a refuge that would respectfully blend into the surroundings, the architect decided to create a minimal structure comprised of mainly wood, corrugated metal and glass. Related: One-room tiny cabin is a minimalist refuge deep in the Brazilian forest Although the setting is certainly idyllic, the remote location and rugged landscape provided quite a few challenges for construction. In this area, there is no room for large trucks to pass through. This meant that all building materials had to be lightweight and durable enough to be carried by hand. Accordingly, the entire construction process took place completely on site. Lightly elevated off the ground to reduce its impact on the environment , the tiny cabin is comprised of various thin sections of hardwood and panels of corrugated metal. The dark exterior is virtually camouflaged into the lush forestscape. At the heart of the refuge is the front facade, which is made up of sliding glass panels that open up to a wooden platform, the best place to take in the views of the mountains across the valley. On the interior, the walls are clad in a soothing plywood with thermoacoustic insulation. The simple furnishings, which include a small bed and custom cabinetry, were made out of the same plywood  for a cohesive, minimalist finish. + Silvia Acar Arquitetura Photography by André Scarpa via Silvia Acar Arquitetura

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Minimalist tiny cabin is a secluded retreat in a Brazilian forest

One-room tiny cabin is a minimalist refuge deep in the Brazilian forest

December 20, 2018 by  
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São Paulo-based architect Silvia Acar Arquitetura has unveiled a tiny minimalist cabin tucked into a lush Brazilian forest. Camouflaged in the tree canopy and set off the ground on stilts, the one-room Chalet L is a simple, 67-square-feet one-room cabin, entirely designed to offer the basics while disconnecting from the usual hustle and bustles of life. Located in the most southeastern part of São Paulo, the tiny cabin is located in an idyllic valley, surrounded by a dense forest filled with soaring trees and greenery. The cabin is lifted off the ground to reduce impact on the natural landscape. Being lifted off the ground also gave the architect the opportunity to orientate the cabin’s large glazed facade to face the best views of the mountains across of the valley. Related: Disconnect in these A-frame tiny cabins in the Catskills Chalet L is made out of steel frames and clad in “a cementitious slab on the sides” which were used to insulate the tiny structure to help the interior space maintain a comfortable temperature year round. The roof was built out of metallic layered tiles, which were used to add extra insulation to help keep the interior space cozy. There are no roads or walkways that provide access to the cabin. Instead, a simple walking trail leads to the structure, which is camouflaged into the tree canopy. Inside the cabin is minimalist space with just one room with light plywood cladding used on the walls. At the heart of the design is the large floor-to-ceiling glazed wall that provides unobstructed views of the forest and mountain range in the distance. The furnishings are sparse, just a bed, desk, sink and built-in nightstand provide the basic necessities needed to enjoy the small refuge. + Silvia Acar Arquitetura Via Archdaily Photography by André Scarpa

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Get away from it all in this off-grid concrete cabin just steps away from the Appalachian Trail

December 7, 2018 by  
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For those looking to disconnect from the chaos of life, this off-grid retreat is just the place. Tucked into a rocky ridge along the Appalachian Trail, the 160-square-foot Lost Whiskey Cabin was created by the team at GreenSpur  to be a self-sufficient off-grid getaway – with a edgy twist. Clad in raw concrete with large steel-framed windows, the tiny solar-powered structure eschews the traditional log cabin aesthetic for a contemporary industrial vibe. The stunning cabin is the latest addition to the Lost Whiskey Club, an eco-friendly complex that includes a communal farmhouse, mobile whiskey bar, and various off-grid lodging options . Surrounded by 5,800 acres of incredibly scenic protected public land?, the complex is the perfect location for a low key escape from city life. Related: These Australian tiny cabins are designed to help us disconnect The Lost Whiskey Cabin is a unique design that opts for a tough industrial look. Inspired by Scandinavian minimalism , the structure is designed around its primary use: to reconnect with nature. The walls of the cabin are made out of pre-cast concrete panels manufactured in GreenSpur’s own warehouse and later transported to the site. This method allowed the team to not only reduce construction time, but also reduce impact on the land . In addition to the concrete panels, the cabin was has a series of thick steel window frames that provide stunning views. The same steel was used on the cabin’s chimney. The interior design was kept minimal to put the focus on the amazing surroundings. The living space is comprised of a Murphy bed made out of reclaimed wood . The bed doubles as a dining table when not in use. Two singular chairs face a pair of massive floor-to-ceiling glass doors, which open out to an open-air deck that cantilevers out over the landscape. The heart of the cabin, the concrete platform was installed with a Dutch hot tub that, along with a chair and a hammock, lets guests soak up the breathtaking views in complete tranquility. The rest of the home is equipped with all of the basics, mainly furnishings that have multiple uses and were chosen for their flexibility and durability. “With a crackling fire that heats the hot tub, solar panels, cisterns, Murphy bed, shower and compost toilet, this off-grid structure is virtually maintenance-free, and should look and function the same 100 years from now,” says GreenSpur founder Mark Turner. + GreenSpur Via Dwell Photography by Mitch Allen via GreenSpur

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Get away from it all in this off-grid concrete cabin just steps away from the Appalachian Trail

Simple DIY upcycled holiday decor

December 7, 2018 by  
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Traditional Christmas decorations can quickly get expensive and extremely wasteful. But you can change that in your home this Christmas season by turning everyday household items into holiday decor. All you have to do is take a shopping trip through your house and upcycle old stuff into Christmas decorations. With just a little time and creativity, you can create these holiday decorations for just pennies, and keep the waste at a minimum. Pasta Christmas tree All you need for this project is some raw bowtie pasta, cardboard plates, a hot glue gun, and spray paint. Choose a color of paint that will match your holiday decor, like silver, gold, or green, and paint your pasta before gluing the pieces together to make a tree. This is just the beginning. You can also use penne rigate, fusilli, rotelle, radiatori, ditali lisci, or pasta shells to make a variety of different ornaments. When you watch the video tutorial for this craft, it will give you a creative spark. And, the surprising thing is, the holiday decorations and ornaments don’t even look like pasta when you are done. Toilet paper Santas This is a craft idea that you can do with the kids. All you need is some toilet paper rolls, colored paper, a marker, glue, scissors and string. First, measure and cut a piece of red paper that will fit around the toilet paper roll, then use your marker to draw bricks. Glue the red bricks to your toilet paper roll, then use the red paper again to cut out Santa’s legs and part of his hat. You will need white paper for the “fur trim” of Santa’s hat and pants, and black paper for the toy bag, feet and mittens. Sock monkey ornaments If you have some old sock monkeys hiding in the bottom of the closet, or have some sewing skills, you can create some cute sock monkey ornaments to put on the tree. All you need to make your own sock monkey is a pair of socks, two buttons, cotton stuffing or polyester fiber, scissors and some needle and thread. Wine bottle cork Christmas tree Another super easy idea for upcycled holiday decor is a Christmas tree made from wine bottle corks. You can paint the corks or decorate them with buttons, glitter, and textiles before tying them in red ribbon. Or, you can keep it simple and arrange plain corks (possibly with some red wine stains) into the shape of a tree. Then glue them together and add a decorative ribbon. Bottle light tree With some rebar, wine and/or liquor bottles, and a few strings of Christmas lights, you can create your own bottle light tree to light up your front yard. The possibilities are endless with this project, and the bonus is you have to drink some booze to make it happen. Cinnamon stick candle holder All you need for this idea is some cinnamon sticks, hot glue, some ribbon or lace, and a few holiday embellishments that you can find in your yard, like pine cones. And, in just a few short minutes you will have custom candle holders that will make your house smell amazing throughout the holiday season. Recycled Christmas village You can take this idea and run with it any way you like. You can use plastic containers or mason jars to house trees you can make from paper. And, you can use cereal and snack boxes like BettiJo at Paging Super Mom to create your village . Tech lover wreath Do you have some old computer parts, cell phones, and cords taking up space in your home? Well, stop letting them collect dust and turn them into a holiday wreath. All you need is a wreath form and some old tech to create this cute, geeky decoration. Light bulb garland and ornaments This upcycled holiday decor idea uses old light bulbs, paint, and some ornament hangers. You can add them to some garland or hang them on your tree. And, if you want to take this idea to another level  — and you have some art skills — you can turn the light bulbs into reindeer, snowmen, Santas, or even a grinch with the right paint and crafty accessories. Lanterns It doesn’t get much easier (or cheaper) than this. You will want to start by creating a holiday image with vintage angels and stars, or any other Christmas-inspired thing you can think of. Then, print out your design and cut out a piece that will fit around a soup can and another that will fit a box of matches.  Finally, glue or tape the pieces to the can and matchbox, just don’t cover the striking surface on the box! Images via Personal Creations , Elin B , Diana_rajchel , Shutterstock

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Simple DIY upcycled holiday decor

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