Custom camper van lets nomads immerse themselves in infinite adventures

July 17, 2019 by  
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Although Calgary-based Yama Nomad  claims that its cool camper vans are “Not your mom and dad’s RV,” its custom-made tiny homes on wheels are perfect for anyone needing a little adventure in their lives. The latest model, the Christopher Wallace, is a 2018 Mercedes Sprinter van with a sleek black facade and an amazingly functional and comfortable interior. Yama Nomad builds custom van homes to rent or buy, but if you have the dough, splashing out on their incredible Christoper “land yacht” model would just about guarantee a lifetime of adventure. Related: This camper van features not just one, but two sleeping pods in its cozy interior The 2018 Mercedes Sprinter van conversion features a 170” wheelbase that provides enough room for smooth and comfy tiny home living while the 4X4 is tough enough to take on or off the road. The cab area has two handmade leather seats that make those long journeys comfortable from the get-go. The main living space is comprised of a lounge/dining area, sofa area, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. Tiled floors, all-white walls, large windows and skylights create a modern, light-filled atmosphere . In the living area, a small sofa bench with a swivel table pulls triple duty for eating, working or simply lounging about and enjoying the views. Overhead cabinets and shelving allow for plenty of storage. The kitchen is equipped with all of the customary amenities, including a farmhouse sink with a pull-down faucet, a dual burner cook top and a refrigerator and freezer combo. Across the aisle, the compact bathroom features a shower with a removable showerhead and a composting toilet along with a small skylight. The bedroom is located at the back of the van and features a custom platform bed accessible via removable ladder. This small space is outfitted with plenty of storage as well as dimmable LED reading lights, and once again, a lovely overhead skylight. Of course, no adventure vehicle would be complete without storage for equipment. The back of the Christopher features a gear garage with enough space for two bicycles, snowboards, fishing gear, crash mats and more. A rooftop rack offers extra space for larger pieces, such as kayaks. The space also holds the 91-liter fresh and gray water tanks so that the converted RV is adventure-ready at every moment. + Yama Nomad Via Curbed Images via Yama Nomad

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Custom camper van lets nomads immerse themselves in infinite adventures

This tiny home allows a family of 3 to go off the grid in Maui

April 1, 2019 by  
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DIY home building is always an ambitious aspiration, but when it comes to building your own tiny home, it can be an entirely different beast. But that didn’t stop Maui natives Zeena and Shane Fontanilla from taking on the task to unbelievable results. The Fontanilla tiny home is 360 square feet of an incredible blend of beautiful design mixed with some impressive off-grid features such as solar power and a water catchment system that allows the family to use all of the rainwater that falls on the property to meet their water needs. After getting engaged, the couple decided to forgo buying a large family home that would lead to decades of debt, instead opting to built their own tiny home that would allow them to lead the life that they had dreamed of. They kicked off the project around 2014, doing most of the work themselves along with a little help from family, friends … and the television. Zeena told Design*Sponge , “Binge-watching Tiny House Nation on HGTV helped us hone in our ideal design.” Related: Serene off-grid tiny home sits tucked away in a Hawaiian rainforest The first step of the DIY home build for Zeena and Shane was designing their dream layout. The next step was finding a trailer that would suit their desired floor plan, which is where they hit their first obstacle. After searching Craiglist and other sites, they couldn’t locate a trailer that would fit what they had in mind. Instead of changing their plans, they decided to build a customized trailer. From there, they cut their own timber to create the frame of the home. The couple took about two years of working nights and weekends to build the off-grid tiny home of their dreams. Located on an expansive lot of idyllic farmland, the final result is 360 square feet of customized living space, complete with a spacious living room and double sleeping lofts. The interior is light-filled with high ceilings. Plenty of windows, all-white walls and dark timber accents, such as exposed ceiling beams, make the home bright and modern. In addition to its beautiful aesthetic, the tiny home operates completely off the grid. A solar array generates enough power for the family’s electricity needs. Additionally, a custom-made, 3,000-gallon water catchment system allows the family to use the water that falls on the property to fulfill the family’s water usage. To reduce energy use, the home is also equipped with energy-efficient appliances and a waterless composting toilet. You can keep up with the Fontanilla family’s tiny home living adventures on their Instagram page . + The Reveal Via Design*Sponge Photography by Stephanie Betsill via Zeena Fontanilla

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This tiny home allows a family of 3 to go off the grid in Maui

Green school in Bali shows students how to live sustainably

March 7, 2019 by  
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The goals of the Green School are anything but small, yet they are simple: take care of the local community and teach children to be stewards of our planet and leaders of sustainability in the future. The baby of John and Cynthia Hardy, the Green School was inspired after the retired couple viewed the Al Gore film The Inconvenient Truth . With four children of their own, the couple decided to make a difference and, in 2006, broke ground on a new type of school — an educational campus focused on using a holistic teaching approach and a natural canvas as classrooms. Related: Modscape installs a prefab school building that stays comfortable year-round The Green School is located on 20 acres in south central Bali, where the Hardys lived and ran a jewelry store for decades. Using local architects and materials, mainly bamboo , they spent two years constructing an open-air campus, which now houses several hundred students and teachers. In fact, the local area is becoming a community with families building green homes nearby, so their children can walk to school. Those that don’t walk board a bio-bus, fueled by oils collected at the community level and processed into biofuel locally. In addition to eliminating a reliance on fossil fuels and reducing the carbon footprint, the process of making biofuel produces glycerine as a natural by-product that is then turned into soaps to use on campus. This earth-friendly alternative to traditional palm oil-based soaps reduces the chemicals that would otherwise end up in the water system. Electricity to the school comes from solar panels and a water vortex system, which diverts water from the river that flows through campus and turns it into energy. Waste is an issue at any school, and the designers of the Green School have taken special consideration to create a closed circuit. The composting toilets produce waste that can be amended back into the adjacent soil, feeding the bamboo that grows rampant on the campus. Local Balinese woman use wood-fired stoves instead of gas and traditional cooking techniques to minimize resource usage. Food waste from feeding over 400 people each day is either fed to the school’s pigs or added to the on-site composting pile. Speaking of food, most of the meals provided are grown on campus, giving the students a full understanding of how to plant, nurture, maintain and cook vegetables and rice. The students also help raise the pigs, cows and even the buffalo that roam the campus, enclosed only by organic , natural fencing made from branches and leaves. Mostly tapioca root, the students recognize the fencing is edible for grazing animals as well as themselves. The eco-friendly design continues all the way down to where the footprints go by eliminating any pavement and the petroleum-based chemicals that come with it. Instead, all pathways are paved with hand-laid volcanic rocks. Drinking water comes from a nearby well after traveling through a reverse osmosis system to filter it. Water is used other ways on campus, too, with an aquaponics system that combines aquaculture (raising fish) with hydroponics (raising crops with little to no soil). These systems work in conjunction with each other, so the fish waste feeds the plants while the plants provide much-needed water filtration for the fish. While the goal to be sustainable and local may seem simplistic, the objective of teaching the next generation how to work with students from 25 other countries to solve problems on campus and eventually in the world means the potential for a better future for the entire planet — and that’s no small feat. + Green School Images via Green School Bali

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Green school in Bali shows students how to live sustainably

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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This couch made from recycled water bottles is built to last a lifetime

December 7, 2018 by  
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In recent years, companies have started to repurpose the massive amounts of used-once-then-trashed plastic in new and exciting ways. For example, REPREVE, a sustainable fiber created from 100 percent food-quality and BPA-free plastic, is being used in a variety of products from clothing to couches. Lovesac is a green furniture company using the recycled fabric to cover sofa cushions. While the eco-friendly material is a huge component of the design, it’s just a sample of an entire furniture line aimed at sustainability. In a world of disposables, the company’s goals push back with a focus on design for a lifetime. It’s a concept that not only includes durability in its couches, called sactionals, but also caters to the ever-changing needs of seating demands. Related: Repreve — sustainable multi-use fiber made from recycled water bottles The sactional is a versatile, modular design that you can easily customize to fit your space. Simply choose from the many ottoman, seat and side arrangements for the look and seating capacity that suits your needs. Then, arrange and rearrange any way you like. With a lifetime guarantee on the sactional, the company estimates that this grow-with-your-demands product will replace the purchase of four couches during its lifetime. With the introduction of the the Sactional, Lovesac has continued its theme of lifetime products with removable, washable and replaceable covers. Dirty covers can be washed. Torn covers can be replaced. When the now-trendy slate twill color becomes a throwback, you can update it without the cost or waste of replacing the entire couch. Even better, the upholstery fabric for the couches is made from hundreds of tossed single-use water bottles, which are given new life through REPREVE fabric. Depending on the components chosen, between 600-1200 water bottles are used in the production of each Sactional. For 2018 alone, Lovesac expects to repurpose around 11 million water bottles through its efforts. Related: How to recycle a sweater into a cuddly pillow for your couch True to the overarching goal of creating an environmentally-friendly couch, the Sactional is neatly packaged and shipped in bleach and dye-free  recyclable  kraft cardboard. Unlike the traditional sofa set that requires two heavy lifters for transport, when it’s time to relocate to a different level of the house or new home altogether, the entire sectional can be broken down into manageable pieces for the move. + Lovesac Images via Lovesac

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This couch made from recycled water bottles is built to last a lifetime

This charming, solar-powered tiny home is handcrafted from reclaimed wood

October 5, 2018 by  
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The Ojai-based tiny home builders of  Humble Hand Craft  have unveiled a beautiful off-grid tiny home made almost entirely of reclaimed wood. The Shark Arch, also called Los Padres, is a wonderful example of a sustainable tiny house that exudes a charming, rustic design. Running completely on solar power, the eco-friendly home on wheels has a cozy cabin feel. The Shark Arch tiny home is 28-feet long, which is rather large for a tiny home on wheels . However, by fitting the home on a gooseneck trailer, a truck bed fits about 8 feet under the structure. Additionally, the team designed the home to be aerodynamic on the road. The front end has a V-nose shape that breaks the wind, and the roof has a “shark fin” that adds stability to the building when it is mobile. A welcoming wooden deck that leads to the entrance can be folded up when the residents are on the go. The strategic, sustainable design carries through the the interior of the tiny home. According to the designers, they do whatever they can to create eco-friendly homes using reclaimed materials. “Given the exploitation of resources in the world today, we are partaking in the new wave of conscious building and business practices,” the team said. “By salvaging reclaimed materials and harnessing solar energy, we minimize our carbon footprint while still providing artisan homes of the highest quality.” Related: These Australian tiny cabins are designed to help us disconnect Accordingly, the Shark Arch is made with reclaimed wood inside and out. The exterior cladding and trim is made with western red cedar finished with an eco-friendly hemp shield. Walking through the double redwood door with dual pane glass, visitors are met with an all-wood interior that resembles the feel — and smell — of a cabin. The team used reclaimed redwood from old water tank staves to clad the walls. The western cedar boards on the ceiling were left untreated, giving off a woodsy cedar smell that connects the tiny home to nature. The compact living space is divided into a living room and adjacent kitchen, which is installed with electric appliances that run on solar power . The bathroom, which is actually quite large for a tiny home, was outfitted with a repurposed copper tub and composting toilet. Storage was placed wherever possible throughout the living space: under the sofa, behind the stairs and so on. Located just under the “shark fin,” a sleeping loft is surprisingly spacious and well lit by a large skylight. On the other side of the trailer, another loft is hidden above the kitchen and can be used as an office, a guest room or extra storage. + Humble Hand Craft Photography by Luke Williams via Humble Hand Craft

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This charming, solar-powered tiny home is handcrafted from reclaimed wood

These Australian tiny cabins are designed to help us disconnect

September 10, 2018 by  
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We all need a little digital detox once in a while, and these beautiful off-grid cabins are the ideal answer to getting away from it all. Scattered around South Australia’s most breathtaking landscapes, the CABN s are completely self-sustainable and eco-friendly tiny cabins that are designed to offer a serenity-focused retreat. The first CABN, named “Jude” after the founder’s mother, is located in a remote area in Adelaide Hills , just under an hour drive from Adelaide. Surrounded by 180 acres of sprawling natural grassland, guests will be just steps away from walking trails, creeks, dams and stunning scenery. Related: This off-grid, lunar lander-inspired tiny home is out of this world The tiny cabins are designed to offer guests a place where they can truly reconnect with nature. Although the cabins are completely off-grid, they don’t sacrifice comfort. Inspired by Scandinavian design, the compact structures are made out of natural timber . Inside, the minimalist interiors are geared toward relaxation. The tiny retreats’ front walls are almost entirely glazed, flooding the living space with natural light. Jude sleeps two guests in a king-sized bed, and the bathroom comes with an indoor shower and composting toilet . Guests will enjoy a kitchen equipped with all of the basic necessities. To completely relax, the CABN rules strictly forbid ironing of any sort. According to CABN creator Michael Lamprell, the inspiration for the retreat came from a personal experience while he was studying both minimalism and tiny home design . “For someone that has lived and worked within the excesses of consumerism, the concept of minimalism was a revelation,” Lamprell said. “I was at a point where stress and anxiety were affecting all areas of my life — something had to change. At the same time, I was introduced to the concept of tiny homes, and the opportunity to create stunning cabins in unique locations, allowing you to switch off your mobile phone and truly relax. Set in isolated spots, the aim is to help the terminally busy disconnect and recharge.” + CABN Via ArchDaily Images via CABN

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Compact floating cabin pops up on water in extreme remote locations

August 11, 2017 by  
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Russian firm BIO-architects recently unveiled their latest modern modular cabin—and this one floats on water. Prefabricated offsite, the DD16 house was dropped on a lake near Moscow and is lightweight and durable enough to float and withstand harsh winter extremes. Designed for remote locations, the off-grid cabin uses solar energy for electricity, draws fresh water from the lake, and uses a composting toilet for waste. The 16-square-meter DD16 cabin is a prototype that is being tested through rentals under the DublDomClub organization. The house comprises two modules prefabricated at a factory and constructed with a laminated timber frame with milled ports. “The prototype was designed and made as a tourist equipment where the weight of every detail is taken into account so it can be used in very harsh conditions,” wrote the architects. “All the constructive elements were subject to change as well as the interior finishing compared to the regular houses.” The milled ports help reduce the structure’s weight and minimize cold bridges and gaps. Lightweight polyurethane foam is used for insulation, while the facade is clad in lightweight composite aluminum sheets for a seamless finish from top to bottom. The cabin was also constructed with modular pontoons that are used to support the floating structure and can be disassembled and stored inside the cabin during transport. DD16 can be easily put in place with a crane or helicopter thanks to beam releases that make it easy for just one person to do the rigging work. Related: Beautiful cabin pops up in ten days with minimal landscape disturbance The customizable interior features a double bed, bathroom with shower, dining table, and living room where a wood-burning stove can be installed. Despite the compact size, the cabin feels surprisingly spacious thanks to the glazed end wall that lets in a great amount of natural light and blurs the distinction between indoor and outdoor living. Hidden storage and transforming furniture also help reduce visual clutter. The DD16 prototype is currently being rented out to clients seeking a unique retreat in wilderness. The team plans to test the house is different extreme conditions. + BIO-architects Images © Vlad Mitrichev and Ivan Ovchinnikov

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Compact floating cabin pops up on water in extreme remote locations

Swanky laneway house in Melbourne is built of recycled red brick

August 11, 2017 by  
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Austin Maynard Architects continues their valiant fight against the cookie-cutter McMansions of Australia with a beautiful new project built of recycled red brick. Located in Richmond, Melbourne within a laneway, the Brickface is a compact house addition at the end of the existing building’s rear yard. The modern and playful extension includes a garage on the ground level, studio living/guest suite above, and a roof deck. Brickface stands out from its laneway neighbors thanks to its recycled red brick facade, large round windows, sculptural form, and garage doors that are painted black instead of white to recede into the building face. The side of the extension facing the main house features an eye-catching outdoor spiral staircase, as well as a playful extruded pattern of red and blue glazed brick from the PGH Vibrant range. A new entertaining space with a pool and terrace was built between the existing home’s main living area and Brickface. “Melbourne’s property market is so inflated, that we’re now seeing a generation that are not only unable to buy a home, but also struggling to find affordable places to rent close to their work, school and community,” wrote Austin Maynard Architects. “ Melbourne does have one trick up its sleeve that many parents are increasingly exploring. Melbourne is strewn with under-utilised laneways and many home owners are creating a second residence in their backyard with frontage to the laneway, where their adult children can live during university and early employment. These second residences are becoming fully independent studio homes for adult children, allowing them to save and plan, whilst continuing to contribute to the essence of Melbourne’s most vibrant and cultural suburbs.” Related: Austin Maynard Architects restores a beach shack in their crusade against McMansions Flexibility was built into Brickface’s design. The ground-floor garage can be easily adapted into a large living space or even an office. The high-ceilinged contemporary interiors are filled with natural light and the walls painted a bright light blue. The accessible roof terrace can be used for entertaining and as garden space. + Austin Maynard Architects Images by Tess Kelly

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Swanky laneway house in Melbourne is built of recycled red brick

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