A 1987 International School Bus is converted into a 200-square-foot home for a family of 3

June 19, 2019 by  
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Making a tiny space into a family home is no easy feat, but with a little design savvy, it can produce some seriously amazing results. Pacific Northwest-based artist Quinn Dimitroff and her husband recently converted a 1987 International School Bus into a serene, minimalist tiny home for their family of three. The interior of the tiny home on wheels is a very compact 200 square feet, but thanks to a few smart features, it seems way more spacious. The pale beige walls, white ceiling and wood-laminate flooring give the space a fresh atmosphere, which is enhanced with a few pops of color found throughout the home. Additionally, ample natural light, especially from the extra-large windshield, brightens the entire living space. Related: A 1992 International School Bus gets a second life as an adventure-mobile According to Quinn, the renovations took a full year, with the couple doing most of the work themselves . During that time, they knew that strategic storage would be the key to living clutter-free with a toddler in tow. Accordingly, storage can be found throughout the home, from the bookshelves above the windshield to the storage cabinets hung above the kitchen. The main space is comprised of a sofa that the couple built themselves and a kitchen with a full-size stove and convection oven. Next to this space is a multifunctional table that the couple uses for food prep, working and dining. Past the kitchen is the bathroom, which is surprisingly spacious with enough room for a full-sized tub, a stand-up shower and a composting toilet. At the far end of the converted bus are the bedrooms. For the little one, the couple created a vibrant little nook with enough space for her bed and toys. The master bedroom features a queen-sized bed, which Quinn refers to as her “sanctuary space.” + Quinnarie Via Apartment Therapy Photography by Jessie Bennett

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A 1987 International School Bus is converted into a 200-square-foot home for a family of 3

Tiny house in Tokyo funnels light indoors with a curved roof

June 17, 2019 by  
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After spending a decade commuting to teach at Tokyo’s Waseda University and Art Architecture School, architect Takeshi Hosaka and his wife decided to leave their tiny house in Yokohama for Tokyo, where they would build an even tinier house. Dubbed the Love2 House —the predecessor in Yokohama was called Love House—the micro-home spans just 334 square feet and is topped with a funnel-like roof to bring daylight deep inside the home. The tiny home features a minimalist and industrial aesthetic defined by its reinforced concrete structure, galvanized aluminum panel cladding, and timber accents. Takeshi Hosaka and his wife have long admired tiny homes found across history, from an Edo-period 100-square-foot home for a family of four to Le Corbusier’s 181-square-foot vacation home Cabanon. The couple followed tiny house principles preaching minimalism and a closeness with nature in designing their first micro-home, Love House, and their current home, Love2 House. The tenets for an ideal life in ancient Roman villas—study bath, drama, music and epicurism—also influenced the design of the house, which includes space for a bath, plenty of space for record storage, an old-fashioned earthen pot rice cooker and a library for books. Related: Ultra-Compact “Near House” is a Small Space Marvel in Japan Love2 House’s sculptural funnel-shaped roof was created in response to a solar study that showed that the site would be cast in shadow for three months in winter. Inspired by Scandinavian architectural solutions, Hosaka created a curved rooftop with skylights that funnel in light in winter. The open interior and the use of short concrete wall dividers let light and natural ventilation pass through all parts of the home, which is divided into three primary zones: a dining area, a kitchen area and the bedroom. “When we keep the window facing on the street fully opened, people who walk on the street feel free to talk to me,” says Takeshi Hosaka in a project statement. “It’s like a long-time friend, and children put their hands on the floor and look inside. We even pat strolling dogs from [the] dining [room]. The front street has flower bed so we enjoy it as our garden. In this house we feel the town very close. We are really surprised how pleasant to communicate with the town is!” + Takeshi Hosaka, Photography by Koji Fujii Nacasa and Partners

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Tiny house in Tokyo funnels light indoors with a curved roof

11 unique edible plants for your garden

June 14, 2019 by  
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Part of the joy of gardening is falling in love with the plants you choose to nurture, especially those with a tasty reward. While the traditional carrots and raspberries certainly have their place, you can create a yard full of unique, yummy and eye-catching produce when you select plants that are a little less traditional. The produce department at your local supermarket might have a few dozen choices, there are actually hundreds of fruits and vegetables that you may have never even heard of, let alone considered growing. While some require special adaptations, such as tropical weather, most are just as easy to grow than the mainstream selections. Here are some examples to get you started. Jujube If you’re in USDA zone 5-9, check out the jujube. This is not the beloved candy by the same name, but the candy was inspired by this small, apple-like gem. Jujubes offer a sweet and sour flavor and can be eaten raw, although the sugars intensify when dried. Jujubes like hot, dry environments and tolerate drought quite well. Related: Incredible edible landscape map shows you where to find free food Pawpaw Another heat lover is the pawpaw, similar to tropical fruits like the related cherimoya and custard apple. Happy in zones 5-9, the pawpaw doesn’t do well on a commercial scale, but is a great addition to a backyard garden . The plants itself is a small, uniform tree that produces pleasant foliage. Quince You may have heard of quince jam or seen it on a menu at a restaurant, but few people actually grow quince themselves. At one time, quince trees were as ubiquitous as pear and apples and rightfully so since it is related to both. Quince must be cooked for eating, but the reward is equivalent to apple pie in a single fruit with flavors of vanilla, cinnamon, and a hint of citrus. Quince grows well in zones 4-9. Cattail Did you know cattail is edible? If you have a pond area be sure to include this plant in your design. Young stems can be eaten raw and young flowers can be roasted. In midsummer, the pollen from the cattail can be used as a type of flour in pancakes and breads. It also works as a thickener for soups and sauces. Young shoots on the plant can be cooked like asparagus by roasting or grilling. They can also be added to stir-fry for a distinct flavor. Chocolate Vine Less tropical than other options, the chocolate vine can even tolerate substantial amounts of shade. Best in zones 4-9, it produces sweet-smelling flowers in the spring and long pods later in the summer . The pods can be cooked like a vegetable but should be avoided raw. Before you toss them in the oven though, pop open the pod and scrape out the pulp, which resembles a banana/passionfruit custard that can be eaten directly or mixed with other fruits. Edible Flowers In addition to those traditional and non-traditional fruits and vegetables , remember than many flowers are edible too. This makes for many exciting options for your yard, even outside the designated garden gate. Include nasturtiums, violas, pansies, borage, and calendula in your landscape and you will have a cornucopia of salad greens at your fingertips. Maypop If you love passion fruit, but don’t live in the tropics , try this American cousin instead. Happy in zones 6-10, this vine not only offers a delectable fruit, but also produces large colorful blooms in the form of purple and white blossoms. Haksap More commonly known by a variety of names in the honeysuckle family, haksap produces a delicious sweet-tart berry that tastes like a cross between a blueberry and a raspberry. Almost as great as the tasty treat it produces is the gift it provides with its delicate downward trumpet-shaped blooms. Make sure to plant at least two of the same type of haksap together for effective pollination . Medlar Medlar is an ancient fruit, even though you may have never heard of it. For thousands of years, dating back to at least the Roman era, this small deciduous tree has produced small edible fruits. Related to roses, the one to two-inch fruit resembles large rosehips. The color is a rosy brown. For a commercial product, the medlar is a bit finicky since they have a very small window of the perfect ripeness for consumption. For the backyard gardener, though, your challenge might be picking them at the right time before the animals pluck them for you. Medlars adapt well in climates with hot summers and wintry winters. Red Meat Watermelon Radish While the flavor is similar to the traditional radish, the look is anything but. It’s a bit of a mind game when picking the small radishes off the plant, which look nearly identical to a spotted watermelon at 1/1000 the size. Red meat radishes are a cool weather crop and will bolt if planted when it is too warm. Serviceberry Placed right up next to your garden, trees, or perennials, serviceberries add a lively texture to your landscape and produce a yummy, yet non-commercial, fruit for your backyard enjoyment. Serviceberry grows well in a variety of zones because there are different varietals of trees and shrubs. It is a versatile and durable plant, growing wild in many areas. Plant it right up next to the house or in soggy areas of the yard where other plants are unhappy. Watch for the berries to ripen, which resemble blueberries in size and shape. Images via Shutterstock

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11 unique edible plants for your garden

Upcycled plastic bottles are used to create this durable emergency shelter

June 14, 2019 by  
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Innovative design start-up Six Miles Across London Limited (small.) has just unveiled an emergency shelter made almost entirely out of upcycled plastic bottles . The Recycled BottleHouse is a pyramid-shaped shelter that was constructed from a bamboo frame covered in discarded plastic bottles. Recently debuted at the Clerkenwell Design Week, the innovative shelter is an example of how a truly circular economy is feasible with just a little design know-how. Related: MIT students find a way to make stronger concrete with plastic bottles Designed to be used for emergencies in remote parts of the world, the Recycled BottleHouse shelter is made out of low-cost, lightweight and sustainably sourced materials and built to be thermally comfortable. The frame of the structure is made out of thin bamboo rods joined together in the form of a tipi. The frame is then entirely covered with discarded plastic bottles filled with hay to provide privacy to the interior. For extra stability, the shelter flooring is made out of bottles filled with sand that are burrowed into the landscape. Next, hollow bottles are placed around the main bamboo frame to create four walls with a front door that swings upward. Inside, the space provides protection from both solar radiation and precipitation. The interior also boasts a lantern made from plastic bottles powered by the shelter’s integrated PV panels . According to small. founder Ricky Sandhu, the emergency shelter was inspired by the need to find feasible and sustainable solutions to the world’s growing plastic problem. Sandhu said, “We believe ‘BottleHouse’ provides a new formula for the world’s growing problem of discarded plastic bottles by transforming them into rapidly deployable, protective and valuable shelters in areas of the world that need them the most and, at the same time, setting a new mission for the rest of the world to think about and contribute to — a new circular economy .” + Six Miles Across London Limited Images via Six Miles Across London Limited

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Upcycled plastic bottles are used to create this durable emergency shelter

Architects envision a sustainable future for a Finnish island at risk of rising sea levels

June 13, 2019 by  
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In response to concerns that Luonnonmaa, an island on the Finnish West archipelago coast, could succumb to the destructive effects of climate change, Helsinki-based architectural firm Emmi Keskisarja & Janne Teräsvirta & Company Architects has unveiled a sustainable vision for the island in the year 2070. Named “Emerald Envisioning for Luonnonmaa 2070,” the futuristic vision calls for a utopian scheme where people and nature live in harmony within a sustainable community tapping into renewable energy sources , eco tourism and reforestation. Luonnonmaa makes up the majority of the land area for the city of Naantali; however, the island itself is sparsely populated. Traditionally used for farming , the island is renowned for its clean and idyllic Nordic landscapes. “The way of life on Luonnonmaa is challenged by climate catastrophe and biodiversity loss, just as it is in more population-concentrated locations on the planet,” the architects said. “The island is seemingly empty — or full of immaculate space — but a closer inspection reveals that most of the island area is defined by human activity and its ripple effects. A growing population on the island will need to provide more opportunity for nature, while they develop their way of life, means of transportation, work, as well as food and energy production.” The architects worked together with the City of Naantali’s public, politicians and planners as well as with a multidisciplinary group of local specialists and the Institute of Future Studies at the University of Turku to produce a creative solution to these challenges. The Emerald Envisioning for Luonnonmaa 2070 addresses such questions as “Can the future be both sustainable and desirable?” and “Could we build more to accommodate human needs, while (counter-intuitively) producing more opportunities for nature around us?” Related: Finland plans to complete its coal ban one year early The scheme also considers the future of farming for the island. Because the traditional farming industry is in decline, the proposal suggests more carbon-neutral methods of food production such as seaweed hubs and communal gardening. Meanwhile, the reduction of farmland will allow for the expansion and unification of forest areas to support the island’s unique biodiversity. To future-proof against sea level rise, housing will be built on pylons to mitigate flood concerns while social activity and communal development will be planned around waterways. A network of small-scale glamping units would also be installed to boost the island’s economy. + EETJ Images via EETJ

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Architects envision a sustainable future for a Finnish island at risk of rising sea levels

Innovative micro-house uses digital fabrication on low-cost timber construction

June 6, 2019 by  
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Can digital fabrication unlock a new frontier in low-cost timber construction? All signs point to yes in the IBA Timber Prototype House, a micro-architecture project that’s been playfully described as “a log cabin turned on its side” by its designers at the Institute for Computational Design and Construction at the University of Stuttgart . Designed to meet PassivHaus standards, the airtight and highly sustainable building system was developed as part of the International Building Exhibition (IBA) Thueringen and is currently on show in Apolda until September 29. The IBA Timber Prototype House shows how computational design and fabrication technologies can turn low-cost timber construction into an environmentally friendly, economical and architecturally expressive way to build. The mono-material building consists of a series of staggered upright spruce timber frames with thin slits that serve as stress-relief cuts to prevent splitting and dead-air chambers to increase insulation values without compromising structural capacity. Digital fabrication and five-axis CNC milling also allowed for the creation of precision-cut airtight joints for connecting the timber elements so that no metal fasteners or adhesives were needed in construction. “Conventional building systems have a vast array of different materials embedded in them, which often have very high embedded energy costs and are difficult to separate for recycling ,” explains the ICD team. “In contrast, this research draws on traditional joinery, and a system was developed that relies purely on wood elements for structural connections and airtight enclosure, minimizing system layers and ensuring easy disassembly for end-of-life recycling. Furthermore, the project sources all the wood from within the state of Thueringen, where the demonstrator was built, allowing the team to minimize the embodied energy costs associated with moving materials over transportation networks.” Related: This geometric pod is an ultra-light micro-office on wheels The tiny building’s curving walls and roof are also a result of digital fabrication, while simulations of the home’s energy efficiency—the house achieves a U-value of 0.20 W/(m^2K) without additional insulation—have indicated that the prototype should perform up to PassivHaus standards even during cold German winters. + ICD Photos by Thomas Mueller

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Innovative micro-house uses digital fabrication on low-cost timber construction

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

Repurposed shipping containers turned into solar-powered Cycle Hubs

June 4, 2019 by  
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Bustling urban areas around the world are seeing a major increase in bicyclists cruising through their streets, some of them on very expensive electric bikes. To offer extra security for these pricey rides, savvy company Cyclehoop has come up with the an innovative solar-powered bicycle storage center made out of repurposed shipping containers — Cycle Hub. A leader in the world of bicycle parking solutions and infrastructures, London-based Cyclehoop is constantly working to provide cyclists with secure storage and proper infrastructure. They work in a wide range of products, from locks and racks to solar-powered riding paths. Related: An elegant car center in Thailand is made from 8 repurposed shipping containers The company’s most recent addition is the Container Cycle Hub, a repurposed shipping container that safely stores bicycles. The cube-shaped container is small enough that it just takes up a single car parking space, but is still spacious enough to hold 24 bikes. The interior of the bike hub is installed with “gas assisted two tier racks” that pull out so that the bike can be easily wheeled into place before being elevated up to the top rack. The hub’s sliding doors open and close with a mechanical lock for easy, keyless access. The doors are made out of perforated panels and allow natural light to filter through the interior, but are opaque enough to reduce the visibility from the outside. The containers are also equipped with solar-powered motion-sensor lights for added visibility and security. + Cyclehoop Via Treehugger Images via Cyclehoop

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Repurposed shipping containers turned into solar-powered Cycle Hubs

Escape to the Azores at this charming eco resort by the sea

June 3, 2019 by  
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Looking for a summer getaway that checks the boxes for chic and environmentally friendly style? Meet Lava Homes , a new eco resort  on Azores’ Pico Island that’s a relaxing escape for nature- and yoga-lovers alike. Tucked into a hillside with breathtaking views of the sea, the 14-villa resort was designed by Portuguese architectural firm Diogo Mega Architects to embody nature conservation and sustainable principles as evidenced by its minimized site disturbance, use of renewable energy and locally sourced materials. Completed this year, Lava Homes is located on a steep slope along the north coast of Pico Island in the tiny parish of Santo Amaro, an area with superb views and few tourist lodgings. To respect the island landscape and cultural heritage, the architects preserved elements of existing ruins on site — old houses and animal enclosures — and carefully sited the buildings to minimize site impact and to mimic the layout of a small village. “The project was designed to alter as little as possible the topography of the land, so that the integration of the houses was as harmonious as possible,” the architects explained. “Our positioning is based on the conservation of nature, environmental quality and the safeguarding of the historical-cultural heritage and local identity. All housing units are equipped with photovoltaic panels , heating is done by salamanders to pellets, cooling is done by natural ventilation, water tanks have been kept for use in the irrigation, and the drinking water served is filtered local water by an active carbon system.” Related: Azulik, an eco-paradise in Tulum, celebrates the four natural elements Lava Homes offers three types of villas that range from one to three bedrooms; a glass-walled multipurpose center with a yoga room, meeting areas and a pool; and Magma, an on-site restaurant and bar that features locally sourced fare. The contemporary architecture was built from locally sourced materials, including stone and Cryptomeria wood from the islands. For energy efficiency, all glass openings are double glazed . Renewable energy sources — from heat pumps and photovoltaic panels to pellet stoves — are used throughout. Rainwater is also recycled for irrigation in the gardens that are planted with native and endemic flora. + Diogo Mega Architects Images via Miguel Cardoso e Diogo Mega

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Escape to the Azores at this charming eco resort by the sea

Young couple build their own tiny home to avoid sky-high housing prices in the Bay Area

May 29, 2019 by  
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The San Francisco Bay Area is notoriously expensive for both renters and buyers. But one enterprising young couple has found a way to live in the beautiful city on their own terms by building their very own tiny home . Nicolette and Michael spent just seven months constructing their dream home. Although it is only 300 square feet, it comes complete with a sleeping loft, a full kitchen and a little reading nook for the studious couple. The young couple was inspired to build their own home for a number of reasons. With Michael being a full-time student at CAL, they had to stay in the Bay Area; however, after realizing how expensive the area is, they decided to enjoy the financial freedom that comes with building their own tiny home. Additionally, they were inspired to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle where they could reduce their footprint on the planet. Related: This tiny home allows a family of 3 to go off the grid in Maui As they set out on their tiny home journey, the amateur — but ambitious — builders decided to do most of the work themselves, accepting help from family and friends along they way. Built on a 28-foot long trailer, the home is clad in metal and wood siding with plenty of windows that flood the interior with natural light . According to Nicolette, the interior design was inspired by an industrial farmhouse aesthetic. The home is bright and airy with white walls and high ceilings. To the left, the living room is compact but comfortable with a loveseat that pulls out into a futon. A beautiful silicon-gel fireplace keeps the space warm and cozy during the winter months. The main wall is clad in floor-to-ceiling bookshelves that provide plenty of storage space. At the heart of the couple’s tiny home design is a sweet little reading nook that was built onto the end of the structure, past the main living area. With two large windows that open, this space is perfect for snuggling up with a good book or creating artwork. Between the living space and the kitchen, the couple installed a work/dining space consisting of two desks under a wall of windows. On the other side of the space is a compact metal kitchen area along with an oven with a four-burner stove and even a full-size refrigerator. A barn-yard door separates the living space from the bathroom, which has a full shower and vanity along with a composting toilet . Above the kitchen space is the sleeping loft accessible by a metal ladder. White shiplap walls along with two horizontal windows turn the tiny space into a soothing oasis. + Nicolette Notes Via Apartment Therapy Images via Nicolette and Michael

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Young couple build their own tiny home to avoid sky-high housing prices in the Bay Area

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