NY man spends 6 years building this incredible, energy-efficient hobbit home

September 13, 2018 by  
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A lot of lives have been touched by the Lord of the Rings films, but super fan Jim Costigan took it one step further by building his own Bag End-inspired hobbit home . The New York construction supervisor and his family spent more than six years building the energy-efficient cottage with a curved shape and lush green roof that would even make Bilbo Baggins a little bit envious. Like millions of people, Jim Costigan was enthralled by The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Specifically, though, he was drawn to the home of Bilbo Baggins, Bag End. The curved home enveloped in greenery spoke to Costigan’s love of design.  “I thought that was the coolest house I’d ever seen,” Costigan said. “Architecturally, I thought that that house in the movie was just really well-done, that it was really original. The curvatures, everything about it was unique.” Although Costigan had spent most of his career working on skyscrapers in Manhattan, he decided to re-create the charming design in his own backyard, with a cottage he now calls Hobbit Hollow. Related: This earth-sheltered Australian hobbit home stays cozy all year More than just a fan’s whimsy, the ambitious builder set about to not only recreate the famed hobbit home, but to make it an earth-sheltered passive house . From the start, the entire project was integrated with energy-efficient details, including thermal bridge-free construction that provides a tightly insulated shell, as well as triple-pane thermal windows and a heat recovery ventilator. Starting with a concrete foundation, the 1,500-square-foot home was built with various creative features that showed off his attention to hobbit detail as well as his commitment to sustainability . Just like Bag End, the exterior of the house is clad in natural stone. However, when it came to putting in the signature round door, there was a bit of a snag, because it didn’t meet Passive House standards. Working around the problem, Costigan built a circular red frame that hides the rectangular door. And of course, no hobbit home would be complete without a lush green roof that follows the curve of the design, blending it deep into the landscape. On the inside of the home, a high barrel-vaulted ceiling gives the tiny space character and depth. The abundance of windows and skylights in every room, except the guest bathroom, flood the interior with natural light . Adding to the charm is the various geometric shapes and patterns that the family imprinted into the concrete ceiling and skylight borders themselves. As an extra nod to the beloved films, a replica sword hangs over the electric stone fireplace, a gift to Costigan from his sons. Located in Pawling, New York, the two-bedroom, two-bathroom hobbit home sits on 1.7 acres of natural forestscape with an open-air bluestone patio in the back. From there, the family and visitors enjoy the sounds of a babbling stream that leads to an idyllic Shire-like waterfall and pond. + My Hobbit Shed Via Houzz Images via Jim Costigan

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NY man spends 6 years building this incredible, energy-efficient hobbit home

This tiny Victorian cottage on a wildflower meadow belongs in a fairytale

August 9, 2018 by  
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Living in a tiny home doesn’t have to mean sacrificing style. Case in point: this beautiful Victorian tiny cottage located in Monroe, Maine . The home is less than 430 square feet but big on character. Not only is the two-story tiny home gorgeous and elegant, but it also sits on four acres of an open meadow covered in wild flowers and lined with orchards. The best news is that this charming cottage can be yours for just $125,000 . The magical cottage, which was built in 1986, is truly an outstanding example of tiny home design done right. The Victorian-style exterior, complete with a corner turret, is clad in light blue siding with white trim and nicely contrasted by dark shingled roofs. A stone path leads up to the home’s front door, which is shaded by a large tree. Related: Kettal and Patricia Urquiola create Kettal Cottage: a part tiny house, part tent escape The tiny cottage is two floors, with the living space, bathroom and kitchen on the ground floor and the bedroom on the second floor. The interior is flooded with natural light  thanks to an abundance of large windows, which also provide stunning views of the expansive greenery that surrounds the home. Although the home is compact, its beautiful setting adds a lot of value. The Victorian  cottage sits on a natural lot of land that includes flower gardens, stone walls and fruit trees and is just steps away from a waterfall that feeds into a nearby stream. The waterfall is so close that the future residents will be able to listen to the sounds of the water as they drift off to sleep. As an added bonus, there is also another small cottage, complete with a  composting toilet , on the land. It would need a little bit of work, but this additional tiny cottage could be a perfect space for an artist studio or guest quarters. + Berkshire Hathaway Via Tiny House Talk Images via Berkshire Hathaway

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This tiny Victorian cottage on a wildflower meadow belongs in a fairytale

An updated Scandinavian summer cottage weaves Japanese influences throughout

July 18, 2018 by  
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There are few better places to spend a Scandinavian summer than in a breezy cottage by the water. One stellar example is the Summer House completed by Swedish architecture firm Kod Arkitekter in the northern Stockholm archipelago. Located on an island and surrounded by the forest and sea, this home makes the most of its idyllic surroundings with a design that maximizes indoor-outdoor living and combines Scandinavian cottage traditions with Japanese minimalism. Built of timber to reference the surrounding forest, the Summer House comprises a renovated old cottage and a new addition. The clients asked Kod Arkitekter to save and update the cottage — a 65-square-meter structure — and seamlessly integrate it into the extension , a long volume that stretches perpendicular to the existing building. To connect the two buildings, the architects clad both volumes in vertical stained strips of lumber and also topped the house with a dark roofing material. The roof extends over the outdoor patio so that it can be enjoyed rain or shine. Related: Timber-clad waterfront house in Norway epitomizes modern Scandinavian design “With its elongated shape, window setting and the location of the rooms and the patios , the design maximizes the outlook on the water and the unspoiled nature,” explained Kod Arkitekter of the 210-square-meter cottage. “In addition to the Scandinavian traditions, the house draws inspiration from Japan , in an interpretation where simplicity, wood and the relationship with the surrounding nature are at the heart of the architecture.” To mitigate the sloping site, the west end of the T-shaped house is partially elevated on steel posts. The private rooms can be found in the home’s north and south wings. The common areas are located in the west wing, which faces views of the water. Framed by large windows, the communal spaces connect to the outdoors for an indoor-outdoor living experience. + Kod Arkitekter Images via Måns Berg

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An updated Scandinavian summer cottage weaves Japanese influences throughout

This passive-energy lake house unites multiple generations under one roof

June 14, 2018 by  
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Located on a peninsula on Ossippee Lake, New Hampshire, the Anker Jordan Residence is a lakeside cottage that offers multi-generational living with a spectacular view. Designed by New York City-based Scalar Architecture , the New England home was created with passive energy performance, privacy, and aging in mind. The dwelling’s relatively compact footprint and its unusual geometric form were informed by passive solar studies as well as surrounding views of the lake, forests, and White Mountains range beyond. Although one of the undeniable charms of the Anker Jordan Residence is the beautiful view, the site also proved one of the project’s most challenging aspects. The property’s main views lie to the north and it receives little southern solar exposure; neighbors on the south and east also posed privacy concerns. In addition to site considerations, Scalar Architecture had to develop a design that allowed for comfortable intermingling between three generations and protected the building against the region’s harsh winter weather. Through adaptive computation design, the 3,000-square-foot Anker Jordan Residence takes on the shape of two conjoined prisms clad in Everest roofing standing seam metal siding and insulated with high-density spray foam insulation. The folded roof mitigates southern exposure, northern views, and snow shed. The orientation of the building allows for the summer westerly winds but deflects northwestern winter winds. Large KasKel windows punctuate the metal-clad envelope to let in views and natural light from all directions. The home also opens up to a 700-square-foot deck. Related: Atmospheric 1950s home renovated as a school facilitates self-guided education “The interior of the prism is articulated as interconnected cells that afford a complex landscape of social interaction,” explain the architects. “The process is then reiterated in a fractal fashion to address a multi-generational dwelling program: A conjoined second prism – evolved from the first one, provides a discreet yet connected realm for the young adults occupying the middle level. Below it, the ground floor is given over to the grandparents’ quarters.” + Scalar Architecture Images by Miguel de Guzman, Imagen Subliminal

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This passive-energy lake house unites multiple generations under one roof

Light-filled Lake Cottage with a zigzagging roof is embedded into the hillside

June 1, 2018 by  
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Architecture firm artek created a site-specific holiday home lodged into the hillside by a lake in El Peñol, a Colombian town renowned for its massive 650-foot-tall monolith. In a nod to the hilly environment (and perhaps the town’s famous monolith), the Lake Cottage is topped with a series of steep gables joined together to create a dramatic zigzagging roofline. Large sliding doors and windows as well as an outdoor stone patio blur the boundaries between indoor and outdoor living. Completed in 2016, the Lake Cottage covers two floors with an area of 1,076 square feet. The home is oriented northeast to face the Guatape Reservoir and the fjords, peninsulas and islands beyond. The cottage consists of five interconnected gabled structures, with the rightmost structure serving as the entrance. The entrance is marked by a fully glazed gabled end wall, however only the left halves of the four other end walls are glazed. The zigzagging roofline extends slightly outward to shade the home from unwanted solar heat gain. “The composition of the construction elements (Tekton) are arranged in an ideal order, the stereotomic constraints make up the platforms, the interior walls are emptied monolithic concrete with EPS soul that allow achieving the asymmetric trapezoidal silhouettes in a rhythm of full and empty,” the architects wrote. “This as a cloak protects the house from the ‘natural antagonist phenomenon.’” Related: Kengo Kuma’s new community center hides a hilly indoor landscape under its zigzag-roof The interior is finished in light-colored wood. The large glazed openings, in addition to the row of clerestory windows in the rear, let in natural light. The home comprises an open-plan living area, dining room and kitchen to the north and also includes three ensuite bathrooms, one of which is located on the smaller lower level. The upper level opens up to an outdoor terrace that connects to the boat dock and rear parking pad via a stepping-stone path. + artek Via ArchDaily Images by Sergio Gómez

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Light-filled Lake Cottage with a zigzagging roof is embedded into the hillside

Beautifully renovated Norwegian cottage combines old and new under one pitched roof

December 20, 2017 by  
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This fifty-year-old cottage designed by architect Atle Sørby was renovated entirely by Local craftsmen in Time, Norway. Norwegian design studio bark arkitekter redesigned the home while taking care to balance modern functional requirements with the original architecture. The Selestranda House occupies a relatively flat site surrounded by long sloping fields, dunes and beaches, separated only by narrow roads and old drystone walls . It features a pitched roof with pulled-down gables which the original architect used to reinterpret the traditional housing typology of the region, which is designed to withstand harsh weather conditions . Related: Snøhetta Turns Old Wooden Boathouse into a Sweet Camping Retreat in Norway The renovated cottage comprises two volumes–a new annex that contains a bedroom, a bathroom and a storage room, and the main volume that houses a large common room, a shared kitchen, and eating and living areas. Local craftsmen carried out every part of the renovation process. The roof tiles, created by local brick-factories in Sandnes, were carefully taken down, stored and put up again, one by one. In order to create an open-plan layout, the architects decided to take down the walls and ceiling in the common area. This also provided enough space for a ribbon window that offers panoramic views of the landscape. + bark arkitekter Via Archdaily Photos by Lise Bjelland

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Beautifully renovated Norwegian cottage combines old and new under one pitched roof

This Frank Lloyd Wright house on a heart-shaped island could be yours – for a cool $15 million

August 8, 2017 by  
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Do you dream of island living and Frank Lloyd Wright homes? We’ve found the perfect property for you. Located on the 11-acre, heart-shaped Petra Island in New York’s Putnam County is a six bedroom, three-and-a-half bathroom abode designed by the famous architect himself. Chilton & Chadwick just listed the incredible property with a price tag of $14.92 million. Every aspect of the triangular home bears Wright’s signature design. Even modern improvements made by Joe Massaro, who purchased the house in 1995, don’t take away from the Wright’s initial vision; rather, they add to it. Apartment Therapy reports that Massaro spent several years upgrading the property, and part of his efforts included expanding the main residence as Wright outlined in blueprints. Throughout his renovations, Massaro felt compelled to stay true to Wright’s design aesthetic. In fact, he claims an interest in architectural detail was inspired by his time on the island. A tour through the home reveals boulder stones decorating the concrete walls, a 1950s retro kitchen and a geometric skylight, designed like a maze of triangles, hovering near the center of the home. Related: Frank Lloyd Wright architecture school grad built this beautiful desert shelter for $2K There’s more to be dazzled by than the interior; the cottage also offers stunning views of Lake Mahopac. With a guest house, tea house and a dock on the premise, it’s the perfect family vacation spot. Thanks to a wraparound patio and huge windows, it’s easy to forget one is just a short flight away from Manhattan . If leaving in a hurry, residents can take advantage of the rooftop helipad (helicopter not included) and make it to the Westchester County Airport in just 4.5-minutes. In an interview with Mansion Global , Massaro revealed that some of his inspiration was received while he was sleeping. In fact, he claims Wright visited him in a dream and shared the idea for custom-colored lighting. “I said, ‘Well Frank told me to do it,’” said Massaro. ”Detail was not is in my DNA until I stepped out on that island.” Whatever inspired the renovations in line with Wright’s work, we’re glad, for it’s an absolutely breathtaking property. + Chilton & Chadwick Via Apartment Therapy Images via Chilton & Chadwick

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This Frank Lloyd Wright house on a heart-shaped island could be yours – for a cool $15 million

Stunning treehouse retreat in Rwanda sets a new standard for ecotourism

August 8, 2017 by  
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Rwanda’s unbelievable Bisate Lodge is a stunning example of how to build in a natural landscape without causing harm. Constructed into an eroded volcanic cone, the pod-like villas, which were designed by Johannesburg-based architect Nick Plewman , are surrounded by lush forest with views of the volcanic landscape. The lodge is part of an effort to honor the local culture while restoring the indigenous forest. Designed to pay homage to the Rwandan culture and natural landscape, the eco-retreat is located near the Volcanoes National Park Headquarters and is part of a pioneering onsite indigenous reforestation project. Only six thatched-roof villas are located on the expansive 103-acre resort, which was built into a natural cavernous space in an overgrown volcanic cone. Related: 7 eco-friendly and conservation-minded safari lodges across Africa Wanting to create an authentic Rwandan style, the resort’s overall design was inspired by indigenous tradition. Much of the interior design includes an abundance of colorful prints and varying textures that were chosen to represent the local style. In fact, Teta Isibo, local fashion entrepreneur and founder of Inzuki Designs and one of Africa’s 30 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs for 2017 collaborated on the design process. Various sustainable features – such as chandeliers made of recycled glass and volcanic stone fireplaces – are found throughout the eco retreat. Local touches such as the traditional ibyansi milk jug motif are used throughout the space, and cow hides were used as rugs to represent the rural life in local villages. Additionally, items made from the traditional art process called Imigongo , where cow dung is mixed with soils of different colors and painted into geometric shapes, are also found in the interior. Operated by sustainable ecotourism operator, Wilderness Safaris, construction of the Bisante Lodge was an ecological process throughout. According to the COO Grant Woodrow, the company put strategic care into building something that would enhance the area rather than harm it, “We wanted to ensure that our brand of responsible ecotourism made a real difference to both rural Rwandan people and biodiversity conservation.” Reservations for this amazing eco lodge can be made through Thousand Hills Africa. + Nick Plewman + Wilderness Safaris Via Dwell

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Stunning treehouse retreat in Rwanda sets a new standard for ecotourism

700 Indian villagers waded through their filthy, dying river and brought it back to life

August 8, 2017 by  
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“Don’t waste your time,” doubters reportedly told a self-organized group of villagers in South Kerala who wanted to resurrect their once-teeming river. According to local Indian press, years of industrial seepage transformed the Kuttemperoor River into a giant cesspool that produced nothing but disease and devastation. Located in Alappuzha district, the river’s width reportedly shrunk from 120 feet to 20 feet, and all traces of aquatic biodiversity vanished. But earlier this year, 700 people felt they simply had to try. They had to try to bring their river back to life. “When water scarcity turned unbearable, we decided to revive the river. Initially many discouraged us saying it was a mere waste of money and energy. But we proved them all wrong,” Budhanoor panchayat president P Viswambhara Panicker told Hindustan Timees. The panchayat, a self-organized group of locals, planned the mammoth cleanup effort, which involved wading through the filthy water and dislodging weeds, plastic and other debris from the river bed. It took more than two months to ply the river’s 7-mile length, often at great risk to volunteers’ personal health. One woman, P Geetha, told the paper she fell ill during cleanup operations. “I was down with dengue for two weeks but I returned to digging the day I was out of my bed,” she said. Related: The Ocean Cleanup finds 1.15 to 2.41 million metric tons of plastic enter oceans from rivers And their hard work paid off. “Once we removed all waste river started recharging on its own and on 45th day flow started. For women folk, it was not just a work for money but it was gargantuan task to revive a lifeline,” Sanal Kumar, a volunteer with the National Rural Jobs Guarantee Scheme, told Hindustan Times . After 70 days of cleaning the river, full flow was reportedly restored. Via Hindustan Times Images via YouTube screengrab

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700 Indian villagers waded through their filthy, dying river and brought it back to life

Tesla Model S reaches record 670 miles on a single charge

August 8, 2017 by  
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The Tesla Model S has set a new record in Italy! The Tesla Owners Italia club recently traveled 669.83 miles in a Model S 100D on a single charge with a team of five drivers. The team was careful to use as little energy as possible to beat a previous record set in Belgium last June. The team drove across southern Italy at an average speed of 25 mph without the air conditioning on. Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently estimated that the Model S would be able to drive at least 621 miles with low rolling-resistance tires. The team not only used the more efficient tires, but also used “hypermilling” techniques to squeeze out as much driving range as they could. Related: Tesla to TRIPLE number of Superchargers by end of 2018 “To complete the 1,078km record distance, we used 98.4 kW/h of electricity, which is equivalent to eight liters of gas,” said Luca Del Bo, president of the club. Upon announcing the news, Elon Musk congratulated the club for their new record. Rosario Pingaro, one of the five drivers, added: “The driving was made simply by the semi-autonomous driving system, which helped us to keep a constant speed in the middle of the lane.” + Tesla Owners Italia Via The Guardian Images @Tesla Owners Italia

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Tesla Model S reaches record 670 miles on a single charge

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