Twin live and work cubes demonstrate superior material and spatial economy

December 8, 2016 by  
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If you’ve ever dreamed of shortening your commute to mere steps, take a look at this brilliant project in the Czech Republic. Petr Stolin was commissioned to design two identical buildings using structural insulated panels (SIPs) – one for living, and one for working. The corresponding design, called Zen Houses, demonstrates a flair for spatial and material economy without compromising on style. Located in a rural landscape outside Liberec, the double-story cubes, which are just 10 meters wide, are clad in transparent acrylic sheets that reveal simple timber framing and surprisingly voluminous interiors. The two buildings, which lie side-by-side, were constructed with a variety of low-budget materials that give them something of a shabby chic aesthetic, including chipboard, plywood, wooden beams, raw metal and rubber. The cubic buildings are connected by a simple walkway and create a series of public, semi-public and private areas between them. They are carefully designed to frame views of the surrounding landscape, while ensuring plenty of natural light reaches the interiors. Related: Green live / work space is a modern update to the vernacular barn The interior of the studio half of the duplex is finished in white, while the residential building is finished in black – providing a subtle distinction between the two. Each building has a half-mezzanine, which increases the interior volume and living space. Its minimalism was inspired by Japanese design . “The experimental character of the houses was the conceptual starting point,” the architects write in their design brief. “Yet the deliberate austerity of the achieved forms definitely brings new lifestyle qualities to an environment built in this way.” + Petr Stolin Architekt

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Twin live and work cubes demonstrate superior material and spatial economy

Gorgeous net-zero energy home offers luxury living in Washington, D.C.

December 8, 2016 by  
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A leafy and sought-after neighborhood in Northwest Washington, D.C. hides a luxurious gem of a home with a net-zero energy footprint. The local architecture office of Robert M. Gurney designed the contemporary residence, named the Brandywine House, with light-filled interiors and a natural palette that includes high-end materials like zebra wood, granite, and Santos mahogany. Despite its large size, the carefully constructed home is respectful of the scale of its neighboring homes and is incredibly energy efficient. Located just a stone’s throw away from the Smithsonian National Zoo and the high-end shops of Connecticut Avenue, the three-story Brandywine House enjoys the conveniences and benefits of city living, while still preserving privacy and a tranquil environment. The architects retained the majority of mature trees on site and installed a lush planting plan that separates the home from the street. The building’s boxy exterior is composed of traditional and natural materials , like stone, wood, and stucco, to help the building recede into its green surroundings. Carefully placed windows on the street-facing facade ensure privacy. Related: Stunning energy-smart home near D.C. looks like a super swanky Tetris ensemble While the street-facing facade is mostly closed off, floor-to-ceiling glazing wraps around the other sides of the home to bring in ample amounts of natural light and views of the wooded landscape beyond. Arranged in an “L” shape, the house wraps around outdoor living spaces, a swimming pool, and the large, south-facing rear yard. The light-filled interior is modern and cozy, featuring a diverse palette of different timbers—all forest-certified or reconstituted—and stones like limestone and granites, that complement the white-painted walls. To achieve net-zero energy over a calendar year, the daylit house is equipped with computer-programmed shading devices to mitigate solar gain, a geothermal HVAC system with hydronic heating, solar hot water tubes, and photovoltaic panels. + Robert M. Gurney Architect Images © Anice Hoachlander

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Gorgeous net-zero energy home offers luxury living in Washington, D.C.

This Mexico City home hides a lush paradise behind its tall walls

November 8, 2016 by  
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The design of Casa O unfolds as an intimate landscape that combines vegetation, stone, timber , and minimalist furniture to create a cozy environments while maintaining a functional appearance. The street-facing facade features the main entrance that connects the habitable interior areas with the exterior. Related: Hacienda-style rammed-Earth home in Mexico City radiates stored heat during cool nights The generous interior features thick timber-clad walls that direct the eye, extending visual limits to include a generous garden and other parts of the house. + Despacho Arquitectos HV Via Archdaily Photos by Paul Czitrom

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This Mexico City home hides a lush paradise behind its tall walls

Eyesore garage transformed into a stunning waterfall illusion in Lithuania

September 20, 2016 by  
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The 4th annual Vilnius Street Art Festival in Lithuania is all about changing perceptions of existing city structures. The Vilnius Waterfall project revamps an old, riverside Soviet building from a concrete eyesore into a striking facade of rushing, tumbling waters, thanks to the creativity of street artist Ignas Lukauskas and Studio Vieta . The building belongs to the Lithuanian Parliament, housing and maintaining government-owned cars, yet the plain structure right on the Neris River has never been a dazzling addition to the cityscape. The addition of the lively, crashing waterfall image across the 2000-square-meter-exterior, albeit temporarily, completely changes the view from the river. Related: Street artist makes this Lithuania trolleybus vanish for a fleeting moment every day Artist Ignas Lukauskas based the project on the topic of his Ph.D. thesis that explores how art and architecture can disrupt urban landscapes. Water seems to flow naturally from the descending structures into the river, creating a unique and visually intriguing connection between manmade creation and Earth’s natural splendor. The Vilnius Waterfall is the one of the largest pieces ever curated for the street art festival, where the Vanishing Trolleybus by artist Liudas Parulskis was also featured. +Studio Vieta Images via Studio Vieta

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Eyesore garage transformed into a stunning waterfall illusion in Lithuania

Pine needle eyelashes, petal lipstick and other beauty tools from nature

September 2, 2016 by  
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In addition to flower plant petals, Murphy’s series includes an icicle beard, a thorn “grill”, pine needle eyelashes, and some mushroom body parts. Some images draw straightforward, satirical parallels between beauty products and natural materials, others blur the line between plant/human hybrid, and a mushroom augmentation suggests that if we really take in our consideration for nature, we acknowledge an expanded spectrum of gender, as well. Related: Amazing tree grows 40 different kinds of fruit The photos are fun and funky, celebrating natural forms while ironically commenting on beauty products (hopefully in a cruelty-free manner ). Check out the images for some truly perishable natural cosmetics.

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Pine needle eyelashes, petal lipstick and other beauty tools from nature

Friends give their kitchen a green makeover filled with fun upcycled touches

August 31, 2016 by  
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Tiffany had been planning to eventually overhaul her outdated kitchen anyway, but unexpected flooding caused by burst pipes fast-forwarded the need for renovation. She recruited actor Kat Tingum, a friend and fellow recycling aficionado, to come along on her green makeover adventure. “My job as Chief Design Junkie at TerraCycle fully supports this mentality of reuse and upcycling,” Tiffany told us. “And while my day job (and a lot of my hobbies, too) involve building furniture and accessories, neither Kat nor I had ever done anything involving plumbing, hanging cabinets, or installing large appliances. This was definitely new territory and we both learned a ton!” RELATED: How Kitchen Design Has Evolved Over the Last Century Tiffany says she tackled her kitchen reno with the same mindset she does for all of her projects, carefully considering how to use as many salvaged materials as possible in an attractive and appealing way. “That’s where pennies, red wagons, old wallpaper, a few buckets of cement, and bucket lids all come into play,” she said. “All of these materials became the building supplies for my new kitchen.” The shimmering new backsplash is clad in $30 worth of pennies while old bucket lids and scrap fabric were whipped into new cushions for Tiffany’s wooden stools. Three red wagons were transformed into a playful new minibar. Tiffany and Kat used a cement overlay combined with a natural coffee stain and food safe finish to refurbish her dated countertops. New appliances were sourced from a scratch and dent store, saving Tiffany 30-40% off of retail, and the old cabinets and old but still working appliances were sold through Craigslist. “I am loving my new kitchen and am proud of the fact that it was created from loads of love, sweat, and salvaged materials!” says Tiffany. Don’t forget to check out our full photo gallery for more of the fun details that can be found in Tiffany’s new kitchen. + Tiffany Threadgould + Kat Tingum

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Friends give their kitchen a green makeover filled with fun upcycled touches

Product Review: Inhabitat tests out the Honeywell Lyric WiFi Thermostat

August 31, 2016 by  
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Honeywell’s Lyric Wifi Thermostat is a smartphone-connected device that allows you to regulate the temperature of your home while you’re there or on-the-go. Because you can control it via the Lyric app , it gives you the flexibility to start cooling your place down as you leave the office on a hot day, or to shut the system down from 30,000 feet in the air if you forget to switch it off before leaving to catch your plane. Like other programmable thermostats, it can be set up on a schedule so that it maintains a comfortable temperature during the times you’re usually at home while switching the system off during times you’re not. There’s also a handy geofencing feature that allows you to map off a radius around your home so that the system can detect that you’re nearby using your phone’s GPS system and start heating or cooling your home to your preferred temperature. A thermostat that knows when you’re almost home? That’s pretty cool! RELATED: VIDEO: How to save money and energy with a programmable thermostat Design-wise, the Honeywell Lyric WiFi Thermostat is one of the most visually pleasing models on the market, although you have to admit that its round form factor does look pretty similar to the Nest’s (a competitor that rings in at about $50 more at $249). On the other hand, it should be noted that Honeywell came up with the first round thermostat way back in 1953, so maybe they’re just getting back to their roots. With a pristine white face wrapped in a sliver of silver, the unit is almost like an artpiece or accessory for your wall. The minimal touchscreen buttons light up in a cool blue, giving it an even more soothing appearance. In the box: The unit itself, a battery, two screws and anchors for mounting, instructions and an optional wall plate. Setting the device up was a breeze, although I should note that since I live in an apartment with no existing in-unit thermostat system, I was unable to actually install the thermostat as you would if you were actually going to use it to control your heater and air conditioner. Instead, I simulated the installation process using a wall adapter, so this part of my review is based solely on the ease of setup, rather than how the device actually regulated the temperature in my home. The first steps are downloading the Lyric app and connecting to your WiFi, and after that, your phone guides you through the entire setup and installation process. Although I wasn’t fiddling with any wiring or anything like that, I was still able to appreciate the step-by-step instructions that popped up right on my phone to guide me through the installation process if I was. It even asks you questions along the way so that you can tailor the experience to your particular system, taking the hassle out of fumbling with an instruction manual and leafing through the parts that may or may not apply to you. The whole thing took me about 5 minutes to complete (though you would probably need to spend at least 20 if you were actually following the steps). One thing I did find was that the touchscreen buttons were not quite as responsive as I wanted them to be and I had to press down harder than I’m used to doing on my smartphone. Luckily, there’s not much need to use the buttons on the unit itself after setup since you can just use your phone to make any changes, or simply rotate the face of the unit clockwise or counterclockwise to turn your temps up or down. The Lyric app itself is intuitive, easy-to-use and starts up in a matter of moments. The Lyric WiFi Thermostat is also fully compatible with Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings, Amazon Echo and other home ecosystems. In terms of energy and cost savings, Honeywell’s energy savings calculator estimates that I stand to save about $142 per year on my energy bill (based on my zip code) using the Lyric WiFi Thermostat. That means that in addition to keeping my home comfortable and reducing my power usage, I could also make back the $199 spent on the Lyric Thermostat in a little over a year. To learn more about how the Lyric Wifi Thermostat can help you slash your energy bills, check out the video above or visit Honeywell’s Lyric Connected Home website here . + Honeywell Lyric WiFi Thermostat Editor’s note: The Honeywell Lyric WiFi Thermostat was supplied to this writer free-of-charge by Honeywell in exchange for an unbiased review. Photos: Honeywell and Yuka Yoneda

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Product Review: Inhabitat tests out the Honeywell Lyric WiFi Thermostat

INTERVIEW: Queen of tiny living Felice Cohen on her new guidebook for small spaces

August 30, 2016 by  
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Our story on New Yorker Felice Cohen’s incredibly micro 90-square-foot apartment went viral when we first published it back in 2012, and now the author, organizer and speaker is sharing her tiny living experiences in a new book entitled 90 Lessons for Living Large in 90 Square Feet (…or more) . Felice was kind enough to share some of her tiny living tips with us recently on our NYC site — click through to see what she has to say about making the most of a minuscule abode.

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INTERVIEW: Queen of tiny living Felice Cohen on her new guidebook for small spaces

Photographer upcycles street trash into brilliant home decor

August 11, 2016 by  
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Kaplan always had an eye for upcycling, even before it was a trend. He told Inhabitat, “I travel a lot around the world, and since I was a child I was creative about making things from other things,” he said, “I would walk down the street and find things and think, ‘What can I do with this?’ It could be an abandoned tree limb, a box or even a book.” When Kaplan finally had his own apartment, he realized that all his dreams for creative upcycling could come into fruition. Instead of dropping big bucks at IKEA , he gradually furnished his entire home with found treasures. He fashioned a coffee table from abandoned wood scraps and a piece of glass, replete with draw storage and rope pulls. Wall shelving was achieved with antique army boxes and piles of old books. An abandoned window frame that Kaplan discovered in the garbage was reborn as a spectacular photograph display of a carousel in Dumbo, Brooklyn. And a retired florescent ceiling panel was transformed into artful wall lighting, Kaplan glossing over the lamp with a transparent photographic overlay. RELATED: 10 inspiring upcycled designs that will make you think twice before tossing anything The pièce de ré·sis·tance, however, is Kaplan’s lush green wall . Made from scrap wood, chicken wire, old olive oil cans and a variety of plant species, his rustic statement piece invites magnificent green life indoors. Kaplan went to great lengths to improve his dwelling with minimal use of new objects and materials. He even renovated his own bathroom with vintage tiles and a handmade lamp crafted from wire. The kitchen seating nook was constructed from wood and adorned with kitschy antique signs. This kind of artful repurposing has the power to inspire anyone. The next time you’re strolling down a city street, you may want to keep your eyes open – a treasure trove of endless possibilities awaits. + Or Kaplan + Vibe Israel Images © Or Kaplan

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Photographer upcycles street trash into brilliant home decor

Revamped NYC rooftop is brought to life with tinted resin panels

July 1, 2016 by  
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Evan C. Lai Landscape Design (ECLLD) designed this green rooftop above a gritty East Village townhouse in Manhattan. The 400sf space was maximized with an extensive green roof, neutral stone, and tinted resin panels. In the lounge the green resin transforms a skylight into a glow-in-the-dark daybed; in the foyer it casts a semi-translucent shade over an exterior shower and sauna; by the bar it adds a concentrated brushstroke across walls and benches. The design is topped off with a green roof above the sauna that improves insulation and water runoff. + Evan C. Lai Landscape Design The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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Revamped NYC rooftop is brought to life with tinted resin panels

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