This futuristic, solar-powered travel trailer can be pulled by small cars

April 22, 2019 by  
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There’s no dispute that travel trailers are gaining popularity among those looking to get off the grid and use fewer natural resources, especially while enjoying activities such as camping and road tripping. At 760 pounds and just over 12 feet in length, the Polydrop trailer is an impressive option for your next adventure. Created by architectural designer Kyung-Hyun Lew, this travel trailer has a lightweight frame and sleeps two people comfortably. For the minimalist traveler, it has pretty much all the essentials. The 2017 prototype was so lightweight that the designer was able to travel for an entire year with the personal trailer hitched to a small 4-cylinder car. The attention gained from Lew’s initial 2017 trip influenced the newer 2019 version with improved parts. Inside the wooden cabin bolted to the aluminum frame, there is a three-quarter-sized mattress, three sections of storage cubbies, two USB outlets and a vented roof. The interior is lit with recessed  LED lighting , and thick insulation protects inhabitants from all sorts of weather while saving energy. Heating (controlled by a thermostat), lighting and the electronic system are all powered by a solar panel. Related: Lume Traveler offers panoramic sky views from an open roof There is also a kitchenette with cabinets for electric hookups as well as two storage drawers in the rear. Unlike other travel trailers , the Polydrop doesn’t leave much room for the kitchen space, but the makers insisted that it has all the essentials for a camping trip at a site with separate facilities, like restrooms and benches, available. This isn’t your grandfather’s travel trailer — the Polydrop makes use of a polygonized teardrop shape with a super modern design and a futuristic feel. Safety wise, Timbren Independent suspension and hydraulic disk brakes get the job done for safe driveability. For the unfussy traveler who just needs a place to rest and some storage, the Polydrop certainly offers a successful approach to camping and road-tripping. The simplicity with a sleek, modern design is perfect for those looking for something not quite as bulky as a traditional travel trailer but more comfortable than a tent. + Polydrop Via Curbed Images via Polydrop

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This futuristic, solar-powered travel trailer can be pulled by small cars

We tested the GoSun Go solar oven heres what we thought

April 22, 2019 by  
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The idea of cooking a delicious meal just by using the power of the sun is enticing, and GoSun Go is making it happen with its line of solar ovens. We’ve talked about the design before and checked them out at CES , but it wasn’t until recently that we were able to get our hands on one of these bad boys to test it out. From veggie burgers and baked sweet potato to mixed-berry muffins, coffee and oatmeal, we tried cooking a wide variety of foods in this portable, solar-powered oven. Here’s what happened . Setting up the GoSun Go When we removed the GoSun Go from the box, we were a little surprised by how simple it looked. It features a basic fabric case plus a plastic kickstand that admittedly felt a bit flimsy. The glass tube, however, was sturdy, and we liked the small silicone molds that hold food for easy clean-up. Cooking in the cold We scheduled to cook outside on what was supposed to be a warm, sunny day. In a surprising twist, especially for L.A. , we ended up with a chilly breeze and rain. Still, we trekked outside, solar oven tucked under an arm, and set up to boil water to make instant coffee and banana nut oatmeal. The trick to heating liquids in the GoSun Go is to stand the oven up vertically using the plastic kickstand attachment. It is also important to try to line the oven up with the sun, which was of course hard on a mostly cloudy day. During one of our rounds of gently rotating the oven for more light, the kickstand did give out — the plastic attachment is not very sturdy. Related: GoSun unveils solar cooker that lets you serve up some sizzling meals at night After about 100 or so minutes, condensation was visible on the glass and the water was nearly hot. Granted, we did this in cloudy, rainy weather, so it makes sense that it took so long. Still, it did make the water hot enough to make coffee and oatmeal that were both tolerable; the oatmeal was a bit chewy, but it did cook a little bit from the water we had warmed up in the solar cooker. If you were camping, hiking or participating in some other outdoor adventure, the GoSun Go is not your best bet in clouds and rain. While it does work, be ready to set an hour or more aside, as it takes a lot of time. Luckily, in optimal conditions, the GoSun Go is really impressive. Putting the solar oven through the ultimate tests Our next set of tests took place on a warm, sunny SoCal day. We had multiple ovens, so we decided to test as many foods as possible, from fresh and frozen veggies , to savory, plant-based proteins and sweet, berry-flavored muffins. In one oven, we tested a frozen veggie patty in one silicone mold, and fresh sweet potatoes and frozen broccoli and cauliflower in the other. In the second oven, to appease some of the meat-eaters with us, we tested ground beef in one mold and fresh broccoli and canned corn in another. For the last oven, we placed two silicone molds full of instant berry muffin mix (which just required water, an easy treat to make while camping ). Each oven can hold two of the silicone molds at once. After about 25 minutes, the muffins had risen considerably, and there was condensation on the inside of the ovens’ glass tubes. We also noticed around this time that the light breeze was enough to topple the ovens, knocking them away from the sun. Related: How to make a meal out of leftover veggies At the 34-minute mark, the muffins were just about ready to eat. The frozen veggies were done cooking, and the sweet potato was close to being finished. The veggie patty needed a bit longer, and the beef was brown but not finished either. We also rotated the ovens at this point for more direct sunlight. We checked everything again at one hour, and it was all cooked! Some things, of course, were a bit overcooked at this point. There was some charring (the tasty kind), and it all smelled delicious. The gross part, though, is that the beef juices leaked out onto the cloth carrier, which was quite difficult to remove. Taste tests As far as taste goes, we were impressed. The veggies, whether frozen, fresh or canned, were all soft and delicious. Some of the broccoli and potatoes had nice charring for extra flavor, similar to roasting veggies in a standard oven. The veggie patty was a bit dry on the outside, likely from overcooking on our part, but the inside was a little wet. It didn’t seem to cook evenly in this regard. The muffins were pretty yummy despite being a little dry. Many of the items we tested were chosen based on the booklet included with the GoSun Go. This booklet offers expected cook times for many types of food, which we found were a tad optimistic, yet not completely off. Another claim of this solar oven is that it can hold six hot dogs. After getting a look at the GoSun Go, we thought, “No way! Too small!”…So naturally, we put it to the test. Guess what? You really can cook for a crowd, even with this small oven, because we were able to jam six hot dogs into it. It wasn’t easy, but it can be done. We placed the oven under a bright, full sun, and they should have taken 10 minutes to cook. After 30 minutes, they were darker, but our resident meat-eater found that they really could have stayed in for even longer. If you wanted to try just one or two hot dogs, they would probably cook in 10-15 minutes, but jamming six into the tube does require quite a bit more time. Final thoughts All in all, the GoSun Go is pretty impressive. If you have access to a traditional oven or a campfire, we’d recommend cooking through those means. But the solar oven is handy, especially for times when you are hiking, camping or boating and you cannot start a fire. We also plan to take it to the beach! If you need to cook a lot of food, you might try checking out a bigger solar oven, as this model can only make a small batch of food at a time. For $139 a pop, it also might not be practical to purchase multiple. For solo trips, this can cook some pretty complex, flavorful meals that you might not otherwise be able to enjoy. We say — give it a go! + GoSun Images via GoSun

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We tested the GoSun Go solar oven heres what we thought

Go glamping Wild West-style in these Conestoga covered wagons

September 24, 2018 by  
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We’ve seen a lot of unique glamping options , but one resort in Northern California is taking guests back to the Wild West. Guests at the Yosemite Pines RV Resort , just 22 miles from Yosemite National Park, can enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience by sleeping in large Conestoga wagons. Not only do the wagons include luxurious interiors, but they also come with private picnic areas to fully enjoy the natural surroundings. The Yosemite Pines Resort in Northern California is just a 30-minute drive to Yosemite Park. The resort has a number of lodging options , including tents and a cool, retro trailer, but its the six new Conestoga wagons that are becoming the resort’s most popular attraction. Related: Sheep wagons converted into rustic (and adorable) mobile living spaces The large covered wagons, each furnished with a king-sized bed and bunk beds, can accommodate up to six people. Each glamping  wagon is equipped with heating and air conditioning, as well as a small kitchenette with a refrigerator, microwave and coffee pot. The wagons are set up to provide guests with plenty of options to fully immerse themselves in nature. Guests can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner on their own picnic tables just outside the wagons. Additionally, visitors can take a dip in the swimming pool before enjoying an evening making s’mores and small talk around the central fire pit. When guests are not exploring Yosemite Park , the glamping resort offers nature walks and hayrides, as well as fun events such as outdoor movie nights. There are also plenty of local excursions offered daily, including mountain climbing and white water rafting in the summer or snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter months. While there are a lot of activities on offer, there’s a strict ban on gunslinging of any sort. + Yosemite Pines RV Resort Via Apartment Therapy Images via Yosemite Pines RV Resort

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Go glamping Wild West-style in these Conestoga covered wagons

6 tents perfect for camping this summer

June 18, 2018 by  
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Now that summer is here, it’s time to prepare for some  camping trips. But finding a great tent can be tricky. Are you an adventurer who needs a tent that will withstand all types of weather ? Are you looking to stay somewhere unconventional (like in the trees, or on a lake)? Or maybe you need something that can easily be packed away or recycled after use. If you’re on the hunt for a new tent, here are some of our favorite options that are perfect for your summer camping trip. 1. Alfheim by Nordisk Summer is the best time for camping and and enjoying nature. If you’re planning for longer than a day trip, you’re going to need a tent to protect you from the elements. The Alfheim by Nordisk is a teepee-inspired tent that requires only one person to set up. The Alfheim comes in two different sizes: 12.6 meters squared or 19.6 meters squared. The 19.6-square-meter tent also has an organic option. Other custom options include a ground sheet that zips in and mesh dividers to create separate sleeping spaces. 2. Shoal Tent by SmithFly There’s something magical about spending a camping trip next to the water , but with the Shoal Tent , you can camp right on the water . The tent sits on an inflatable raft that can easily be deflated and carried from campsite to campsite — or from lake to lake. The entire structure of the tent inflates along with the raft, making it very lightweight. The tent has an 8’ x 8’ footprint, so it is comfortable and roomy. 3. KarTent Have you ever been so tired after an event that you just can’t be bothered to break down your tent and take it home with you? It happens more often than you think — every year, thousands of festival-goers leave their tents behind. What if the tents were made of cardboard ? Hear us out. The KarTent is a tent made out of recycled cardboard , and once your journey is over, you can choose to either take it home or drop it into the nearest recycling bin. It’s big enough for two people and secures to the ground with recyclable pegs. For larger events, you can buy the tents in bulk; the company will set them up for you when you arrive and break them down once your event is over. 4. Sky-Pod If you want to sleep among the trees , you’re in luck — the Sky-Pod tent allows you to do just that. You can hang a Sky-Pod as high as four feet above the ground, which is ideal for enjoying life in the trees , but it is also a great safety measure if you’re camping in areas that are prone to flash floods. It also reduces your impact on the environment — you don’t have to worry about placing your tent on a game trail or crushing important flora under your tent’s floor. 5. Sierra Shack by Alite Pop-up tents are an easy way to get out of the weather no matter where you are, but they tend to be difficult to set up and awkward to sleep in. The Sierra Shack is a handy, budget-friendly pop-up tent  that unfolds instantly, has enough room for two people and can even be zipped with other Sierra Shacks to create a small chain of tents. Each tent has a built-in rainfly to keep you dry in case of overnight rain . Once you break it down, the tent weighs less than seven pounds, so you can easily carry it from one campsite to the next. 6.  Stingray Tree Tent by Tensile If you like sleeping in a hammock but don’t like getting caught in the rain, Tensile’s Stingray Tree Tent is the tent for you. The tent keeps you off the ground and provides an enclosed environment to protect you from weather, bugs and other outdoor unpleasantness. You can easily string the tent between any two stable items — trees, boulders or even vehicles. This tent has one major benefit over a standard hammock, though — it can hold up to three full-sized adults. In addition to these practical benefits, the company pledges to plant 18 trees for every tent purchased with its partners Arbor Day Foundation, Eden Projects and WeForest. As you can see, you don’t have to stick with a traditional canvas-and-poles tent during your summer camping trip. Hopefully, these tents inspire you to reconnect with nature and start exploring. Happy trails! Images via Anruf Advertising, Nordisk Smith (Alfheim); SmithFly (Fly Shoal Tent); KarTent (KarTent); Sky-Pod, Zak Bentley (Sky-Pod); Alite Designs (Sierra Shack); Taylor Burke, Justin Hartney and Sean Murphy (Stingray Tree Tent)

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6 tents perfect for camping this summer

Animals are becoming nocturnal to avoid humans

June 15, 2018 by  
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Researchers have learned that dozens of species of animals have reacted to increased contact with human beings by shifting their internal clocks to become more nocturnal. “It suggests that animals might be playing it safe around people,” study leader Kaitlyn Gaynor told Phys.org . “We may think that we leave no trace when we’re just hiking in the woods , but our mere presence can have lasting consequences.” In a new study published in the journal Science , Gaynor and her team analyzed data from 76 previous studies on 62 different animal species spread out over six continents and concluded that even relatively low-impact activities can affect animal behavior. Animals featured in this study, many of whom were mammals, include coyotes in California, wild boars in Poland, lions in Tanzania, tigers in Nepal, and otters in Brazil . To determine the effect of human behavior on sleeping patterns, researchers determined how long animals were active at night when affected by different kinds of human activities, such as hunting, hiking , and farming. The team concluded that human presence correlated with a 20 percent increase on average of nocturnal activity among the animals studied. Related: Dutch town helps out rare bat species by installing “bat-friendly” streetlights This research is among the first to explore and quantify how human behavior impacts animal activity and sleep patterns on a broad scale.  “No one else has compiled all this information and analyzed it in such a … robust way,” researcher Ana Benitez Lopez, who reviewed the study, told Phys.org. The study is a reminder that simply being in a wild space can fundamentally change it. “It’s a little bit scary,” ecologist Marlee Tucker, who did not participate in the study, told Phys.org. “Even if people think that we’re not deliberately trying to impact animals, we probably are without knowing it.” While some animals will struggle with adapting to night life, the shift may also provide benefits to animals who hope to share space with humans without ever dealing with them. Armed with new knowledge, I will nonetheless continue to hike and camp , because it helps me sleep. Via Phys.org Images via Depositphotos

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Animals are becoming nocturnal to avoid humans

These ultra-durable camping pods are inspired by Quonset huts

June 14, 2018 by  
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Within the world of glamping, there are plenty of wide-ranging amenities meant to provide luxury and comfort. But one savvy Lithuanian company, Eurodita , is bringing the glory of outdoor living back to basics with its simple, but beautiful, wooden camping pods . Inspired by the shape of Quonset huts, these compact, self-sustaining structures are great options for backyard sheds or mountain retreats. The camping pods are available in a variety of sizes, with the smallest one measuring just 80 square feet and the largest at 185 square feet. The curved shape, which draws inspiration from the design of Quonset huts, offers a sense of spaciousness to the compact interior. Related: Loch Ness Glamping Provides Cozy Eco Camping Pods for Monster Watching & Outdoor Adventure The entryway is a tiny deck that can be used as a sitting space or barbecue area. A set of double doors with double-glazed grid windows flood the interior with an abundance of natural light . The layout depends on the size of the pod, but the smallest of the series can fit a double bed, a small sitting area with table and chairs and a folding bench. Although they do not come equipped with bathrooms or kitchens, washrooms can be installed upon request. Buyers can also order electrical connections. Made from rot-proof Nordic spruce, the tiny wooden cabins are fully insulated thanks to the extra thick logs used in their construction. The pods are weather-resistant, waterproof and built to survive long-term in extreme climates. They are ideal for a variety of uses, from sheds and guest studios to off-grid retreats tucked into remote areas. Additionally, these sweet little cabins can be delivered in flat packs or fully assembled to almost anywhere in the world. + Eurodita Camping Pods Via Apartment Therapy Images via Eurodita

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These ultra-durable camping pods are inspired by Quonset huts

Medicine drum woman builds beautiful earth home village in Joshua Tree, California

October 31, 2017 by  
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If you’ve ever wanted to stay in an earthbag dome home , here’s your chance. When Lisa Starr first purchased land in Joshua Tree, California, she wasn’t thinking about vacation rentals. Instead, the artist and drum medicine woman sought a place not too far from the coast where she could build a sustainable life for herself. After deciding to build in accordance with the Iranian architect Nader Khalili’s affordable and disaster-resilient superadobe methodology, she recruited volunteers and CalEarth alumni to first work on a few practice domes that eventually evolved into the “village” that can be booked through Airbnb. This extra income comes as an unplanned perk, but her real dream – to pursue her work as an artist – required building a couple more domes. After completing the practice homes, Starr and her crew of interns, volunteers and CalEarth alumni worked on her personal space – a 1,360 square foot dome home two connecting hallways. The 18″ thick walls, comprised of 15 percent cement and 85 percent earth, provide the thermal mass to keep the buildings cool in the summer and warm in the winter, according to her Facebook page . Starr told Inhabitat she believes in sticking with “traditional Nader” – focusing on being creative with smaller structures rather than 20- to 30-foot domes. Khalili, who founded CalEarth to share his design and life philosophy with others, promoted sustainable homes that could be built with materials found on site. And that’s exactly what Starr was able to accomplish. She says she sourced 75 percent of the materials used in her dome structure from her own land. Related: Build your own disaster-proof home with materials of war While her home is private, guests have access to a “rustic yet luxurious camp-like experience” in the village. With expansive views and open skies day and night, “star gazing is a must,” says Starr. The village includes two 8-foot “Sleep Pod Earth Dome” structures with storage or a cave-like space for a child to sleep in. Each pod, which comes with a full size mattress, bedding and solar-powered ceiling light, can accommodate up to a family of four. In winter, tea light heaters keep the space warm at night. The communal area includes a shaded outdoor kitchen and kiva fire pits, along with a shower house and outhouse complete with a flushing toilet and sink. Guests are encouraged to bring their own bottles to refill with potable water available on site. Now Starr is working on building another 12-foot dome structure to use as a studio, honing in on her original intention. She has been living at Bonita Domes for four years now, and though it comes with its challenges, she says her dream has catapulted forward. + Bonita Domes on Facebook + Bonita Domes on Airbnb Images via Bonita Domes and Dylan Magaster

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Medicine drum woman builds beautiful earth home village in Joshua Tree, California

Medicine drum woman builds beautiful earth home village in Joshua Tree, California

October 31, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

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If you’ve ever wanted to stay in an earthbag dome home , here’s your chance. When Lisa Starr first purchased land in Joshua Tree, California, she wasn’t thinking about vacation rentals. Instead, the artist and drum medicine woman sought a place not too far from the coast where she could build a sustainable life for herself. After deciding to build in accordance with the Iranian architect Nader Khalili’s affordable and disaster-resilient superadobe methodology, she recruited volunteers and CalEarth alumni to first work on a few practice domes that eventually evolved into the “village” that can be booked through Airbnb. This extra income comes as an unplanned perk, but her real dream – to pursue her work as an artist – required building a couple more domes. After completing the practice homes, Starr and her crew of interns, volunteers and CalEarth alumni worked on her personal space – a 1,360 square foot dome home two connecting hallways. The 18″ thick walls, comprised of 15 percent cement and 85 percent earth, provide the thermal mass to keep the buildings cool in the summer and warm in the winter, according to her Facebook page . Starr told Inhabitat she believes in sticking with “traditional Nader” – focusing on being creative with smaller structures rather than 20- to 30-foot domes. Khalili, who founded CalEarth to share his design and life philosophy with others, promoted sustainable homes that could be built with materials found on site. And that’s exactly what Starr was able to accomplish. She says she sourced 75 percent of the materials used in her dome structure from her own land. Related: Build your own disaster-proof home with materials of war While her home is private, guests have access to a “rustic yet luxurious camp-like experience” in the village. With expansive views and open skies day and night, “star gazing is a must,” says Starr. The village includes two 8-foot “Sleep Pod Earth Dome” structures with storage or a cave-like space for a child to sleep in. Each pod, which comes with a full size mattress, bedding and solar-powered ceiling light, can accommodate up to a family of four. In winter, tea light heaters keep the space warm at night. The communal area includes a shaded outdoor kitchen and kiva fire pits, along with a shower house and outhouse complete with a flushing toilet and sink. Guests are encouraged to bring their own bottles to refill with potable water available on site. Now Starr is working on building another 12-foot dome structure to use as a studio, honing in on her original intention. She has been living at Bonita Domes for four years now, and though it comes with its challenges, she says her dream has catapulted forward. + Bonita Domes on Facebook + Bonita Domes on Airbnb Images via Bonita Domes and Dylan Magaster

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Medicine drum woman builds beautiful earth home village in Joshua Tree, California

Weathering steel wraps around a solar-powered California home

October 31, 2017 by  
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When Faulkner Architects was tasked with building a family home just outside San Francisco, the clients emphasized the importance of the environment. The Truckee-based architecture firm set about creating a striking site-specific dwelling with a small energy footprint. The result is an AIA award-winning three-bedroom home, called Miner Road, that’s wrapped in sheets of Corten Steel—chosen for its low maintenance and the way it “refresh[es] every time it rains, just like the landscape,” says architect Greg Faulkner. Located in Orinda on a sloped eight-acre site with large oak trees, Miner Road takes over the footprint of a former home that once stood on the property. The mature oak trees informed the orientation of the home and provide shade, while glass walls frame the trees’ large gnarled branches. Large cutouts in the weathering steel facade let in ample natural light and views of the landscape. Related: Green-roofed home with rusting walls appears to grow out of a Finnish forest “This bridging between interior and exterior is major feature of the main living space, and an entire wall is devoted to connecting the two visually,” wrote Faulkner Architects. In contrast to the weathering steel facade, the interior is bright and modern, and focuses on a natural materials palette , from the abundant use of white oak to white gypsum walls and basalt floor tiles. The home’s mechanical and electrical systems are designed at a 44.9% improvement over code and include a rainwater harvesting system and solar panels. + Faulkner Architects Via Dezeen

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Weathering steel wraps around a solar-powered California home

Weathering steel wraps around a solar-powered California home

October 31, 2017 by  
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When Faulkner Architects was tasked with building a family home just outside San Francisco, the clients emphasized the importance of the environment. The Truckee-based architecture firm set about creating a striking site-specific dwelling with a small energy footprint. The result is an AIA award-winning three-bedroom home, called Miner Road, that’s wrapped in sheets of Corten Steel—chosen for its low maintenance and the way it “refresh[es] every time it rains, just like the landscape,” says architect Greg Faulkner. Located in Orinda on a sloped eight-acre site with large oak trees, Miner Road takes over the footprint of a former home that once stood on the property. The mature oak trees informed the orientation of the home and provide shade, while glass walls frame the trees’ large gnarled branches. Large cutouts in the weathering steel facade let in ample natural light and views of the landscape. Related: Green-roofed home with rusting walls appears to grow out of a Finnish forest “This bridging between interior and exterior is major feature of the main living space, and an entire wall is devoted to connecting the two visually,” wrote Faulkner Architects. In contrast to the weathering steel facade, the interior is bright and modern, and focuses on a natural materials palette , from the abundant use of white oak to white gypsum walls and basalt floor tiles. The home’s mechanical and electrical systems are designed at a 44.9% improvement over code and include a rainwater harvesting system and solar panels. + Faulkner Architects Via Dezeen

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Weathering steel wraps around a solar-powered California home

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