Inside The Mohicans: an Ohio treehouse empire

May 22, 2019 by  
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Waking up in a tree 30 feet off the ground with no noise but birdsong, you might not think you were halfway between Columbus and Cleveland. But The Mohicans is a collection of treehouses and cabins in the quiet woods of Ohio’s Amish country. The treehouses are situated off the road and far enough apart that you can spend a night or two and never run into your human neighbors. Kevin Mooney began building treehouses on his property in 2012. Now, he’s a treehouse addict— with seven completed and a couple more nearly done. “When I hit 20, I might slow down,” he said. Building a Treehouse Empire Mooney was in junior high school when he first visited this area of woods, Amish farmhouses, rolling hills and the canoe-friendly Mohican River. A friend’s family owned 300 acres and Mooney and his classmates spent many weekends in an old farmhouse . Mooney loved the area at first sight. As an adult, he bought land near his old friend’s house. When he left his work as a banking entrepreneur 15 years ago, Mooney decided to share his land with visitors. He started building cabins. Related: Futuristic treehouse in Arkansas is designed to inspire imagination Then a friend showed Mooney a book by master treehouse builder Pete Nelson. “I looked at the treehouse book and I had one of those ‘ah’ moments.” Immediately he saw treehouses in his future. “I really believed in treehouses. I thought, people are going to come here to stay in treehouses.” Mooney was already working closely with an Amish builder named Roman Hershberger. The two men studied Pete Nelson’s treehouse books and began figuring out how to construct them. Mooney then decided to contact Nelson, who eventually visited Ohio and built a treehouse on Mooney’s property for the first season of his Animal Planet/Discovery Network show,  Treehouse Masters. The show introduced The Mohicans to a worldwide audience. Meet the treehouses The Little Red Treehouse Nelson built for his show is the most immediately striking. Its bright red exterior and gothic faux stained glass windows make it look like a cross between a chapel and a one-room schoolhouse. The neutral colors of the other treehouses blend into the forest . The Old Pine Treehouse was built inside the property’s only pine stand from reclaimed barn siding. Inside, the feel is rustic, with hand hewn beams and vintage touches. White Oak Treehouse, suspended from oak and hickory trees, is the most spacious, with two full bedrooms. The romantic Moonlight Treehouse boasts a crystal chandelier. The Octagonal Nest treehouse, designed by the famous treehouse builder Roderick Romero, includes cathedral windows and is popular with honeymooners. The more modern Tin Shed Treehouse has a corrugated metal exterior, big windows and a rolling garage door that opens onto a deck. Other treehouses are coming soon, including an aerial Airstream trailer. Each treehouse has its own staircase and suspension bridge, which is part of the fun of staying there. How many hotel rooms come with a private bridge? Eco measures  Standing in a cabin at The Mohicans, it seems like the lights are on. But that’s the clever placement of skylights .  Since the Amish don’t use electricity, they are masters at maximizing passive light and energy. They’re firm believers in insulation and even take advantage of the earth’s seasonal tilt. “We built our overhangs about three feet out from the structures,” Mooney said, “so in the wintertime the sun comes in the structure and in the summertime it doesn’t.” Buildings at the Mohicans that sit on the ground, rather than in the trees,  such as the cabins and the wedding venue, are heated through hot water lines on the floor. In summer, these structures are 20 degrees cooler inside than out. “We do a lot of repurposing,” Mooney said. Whether it’s buying two thousand dollars’ worth of repurposed insulation or disassembling four old barns from Toledo, Ohio and Erie, Pennsylvania, it’s likely that parts of Mooney’s treehouses had a previous life. Weddings Mooney soon discovered that brides and grooms were drawn to The Mohicans’ rustic charm and beauty, so he began to dream up a central building. His Amish crew built the grand barn wedding venue without a drawn plan. The builder stood on the site, calling out to his assistant the size of the lumber he needed; the assistant would go cut a tree and saw it to the correct length. The result is a fabulous rustic barn that incorporates 100-year old barn siding, hand hewn beams, re-purposed windows and doors, and endless vintage accents and details such as sliding barn shutters, hay loft ladders and solid pine trusses. Old wagon wheels have been turned into chandeliers. Despite the warnings of friends who told Mooney his rustic weddings would never catch on, lots of couples find treehouses romantic. He’s had many out of state couples, and some from as far as Norway and England. One couple from London got engaged there; the bride insisted they come back this June for the wedding. The Treehouse Experience Like many of the treehouses, the octagonal El Castillo is made from old barn wood. This treehouse is so new it isn’t even on the website yet. Red textiles and wrought iron light fixtures bolster its castle image. Downstairs is one good-sized room— large enough for a person to do yoga or two people to have a restrained dance party— which serves as the sitting area and kitchen, unless you pull down the Murphy bed— which takes up most of the downstairs room. The kitchen is well-stocked with pots, pans, a two-burner hot plate and a microwave. Related: This Costa Rican treehouse is built entirely out of locally sourced teak wood If you don’t want to drive five miles to the nearest restaurant, you need to plan ahead and bring all your food , including spices and cooking oil. This is especially important if you have special dietary restrictions. Vegans , take heed and buy provisions in Columbus before you drive into the woods. Also, bring your own soap. A gorgeous, rustic spiral staircase takes you to El Castillo’s upstairs bedroom. The king-sized bed is comfortable, so plan to sleep in. El Castillo has a small balcony off the bedroom and a larger one off the sitting room. A small bathroom is downstairs. There’s also an outside shower on the lower balcony. The amount of insulation inside these treehouses is surprising. Inside was cool, quiet and bug-free. The treehouses are an interesting combination of remote yet modern. There’s no Wi-Fi and you probably won’t have cell service, but there are tons of outlets for charging all your devices. While El Castillo technically sleeps four, most would find that crowded. however, couples, friends and especially families delight in the treehouse experience. Mooney’s favorite thing about running a treehouse empire? Without hesitation, he says, “Hearing the kids run across the bridge laughing.” Via The Mohicans Images via Inhabitat

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Inside The Mohicans: an Ohio treehouse empire

Old Swedish farm is reborn as a cozy woodland cabin holiday home

March 19, 2019 by  
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Swedish architectural practice Wingårdh Arkitektkontor converted a large old farm in the south of Sweden into a holiday home with a cozy woodland cabin atmosphere. Commissioned by a family who reside in the nearby city of Malmö, the countryside retreat was fashioned as a luxurious escape into nature built predominately with timber and designed to embrace views of the lush forest through floor-to-ceiling glazing. The adaptive reuse project—dubbed Kvarnhuset (The Mill House)—has respected the farm’s traditional gabled forms, while imbuing the interiors with new contemporary flourish. The original farm buildings included a cowshed, stables, hayloft and barn. Wingårdh Arkitektkontor transformed those structures into sleeping quarters, a kitchen, a gym and other additional rooms, while adding a new freestanding wing to the late 19th-century house. The annex consists of a guest bedroom as well as a sauna with a dressing room and bathroom. Since the existing creek onsite was too small for bathing, the architects also built a small bathing pool next to the sauna so that the family can engage in the “Swedish ritual of sauna and bathing.” “The detailing of the annex surpasses all of Wingårdh’s prior work,” the architects explain in their project statement. “The entire building is crafted with the precision of fine cabinetry and the craftsmanship and materials – oak and limestone – infuse the atmosphere with warmth and authenticity. The heavily detailed architecture of the interior is more than a mere background for its contents. By contrast, the simple exterior gives no indication of the care lavished on the inside, particularly the façade towards the courtyard.” Related: Tham & Videgård Arkitekter designs Swedish “vertical village” built from CLT The architects also reference Japan’s traditional teahouse architecture as a major inspiration. However, unlike the straightforward simplicity and austerity of those teahouses, the Mill House offers a more luxurious experience. + Wingårdh Arkitektkontor Images by Åke Eson Lindman

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Old Swedish farm is reborn as a cozy woodland cabin holiday home

Ancient rural hamlet reinterpreted as a solar-powered modern home

July 13, 2018 by  
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Rimini-based GGA Gardini Gibertini Architects  has renovated a cluster of historic buildings into a modernist dwelling set in the lush Italian countryside. Named the AP House, the project comprises three structures with a more streamlined farmhouse aesthetic on the exterior and a light-filled contemporary interior. The striking renovation is located on one of the highest hills in Urbino atop ancient remains that date back to the Medieval Communes. Clad in rustic stonework, AP House consists of three floors constructed with reinforced concrete walls and red concrete floors. To lend the interiors a sense of warmth, GGA Gardini Gibertini Architects inserted custom walnut wall furnishings throughout, from the kitchen storage and dining table to the walnut-lined office and double-height statement wall that rises from the living room. Large openings let in plenty of natural light and views of the picturesque Urbino countryside. “Linked to each other on the hypogeum level, the structures rest on a red concrete platform (38 X 20 mt) dominating the surrounding landscape,” wrote GGA Gardini Gibertini Architects. “The core of the houses, which forms a single housing unit, reestablishes a central role to this site in the landscape, restoring a direct and empathic dialogue between new buildings and historical stratification.” Related: Historic stone stable in Tuscany hides a beautiful contemporary interior To prevent views of any vehicles on the first floor, the architects tucked the main entrance and parking in the basement level. The lower level also comprises a movie room, an exhibition gallery, and a gym with a spa. The ground floor houses the primary living areas including the living room, dining room, kitchen and private studio, while the upper level contains the master suite along with two en-suite bedrooms. All of the systems in the house run on electricity and are powered by a hidden photovoltaic solar system onsite. + GGA Gardini Gibertini Architects Images by Ezio Manciucca

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Ancient rural hamlet reinterpreted as a solar-powered modern home

A Michigan farmhouse is reborn as a beautiful modern vacation retreat

June 20, 2018 by  
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A city-dwelling family in need of rural respite reached out to Von Weise Associates to make their country escape a reality. In response, the Chicago-based architecture firm delivered a stunning modern getaway that fully embraces the rural vernacular with a sensitive renovation of an existing farmhouse and barn. Located in the southeast Michigan township of Sawyer near Lake Michigan, the Retreat House consists of a new single-family house and adjacent studio for the artistic couple. In designing the home’s layout, Von Weise Associates took cues from the layouts of traditional farms , where the different functions were typically located in different buildings. In much the same way, the retreat conceptually places the different living spaces — including the sleeping, cooking and work areas — into separate volumes. Anchoring the home is the kitchen , dining area and living space housed within the refurbished old barn with a striking gambrel roof and soaring arched ceilings. The light-filled great room opens up to an adjacent screened porch. The original farmhouse was gut- renovated into an artist’s painting studio and sleeping loft. Large windows and skylights flood the interiors with natural light, while the reflective whitewashed walls emphasize a bright and airy feel throughout. Modern and unfussy furnishings, natural timber and a rusty-red painted exterior help tie the building to its rustic past. Related: Solar-powered forever home is a modern take on the rustic farmhouse “All portions of the house have a close relationship to the ground, making the landscape a vital part of the program,” Von Weise Architects said. “The orientation of the house creates multiple outdoor living spaces, plus a gardening area. The landscape and the orientation of the structures set up layers of space that moves from the public way to privacy of the house. The most private space beyond the house embraces the expansive wooded site on three sides.” + Von Weise Associates Images by Steve Hall

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A Michigan farmhouse is reborn as a beautiful modern vacation retreat

Solar-powered forever home is a modern take on the rustic farmhouse

December 13, 2017 by  
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‘Waste not want not’ seems to be a motto of Horseshoe Farm Residence, a modern solar-powered farmhouse built with reclaimed materials in North Carolina. The clients, a couple seeking an off-grid forever home, tapped design-build firm Buildsense to craft the two-story home set on land the couple had lived on and used for over 15 years. Modern finishes paired with rustic recycled materials like the brick and barn siding give the home a timeless appeal perfect for aging in place. Located in Creedmoor, the Horseshoe Farm Residence was designed with inspiration from the clients’ grandfather who ran a farm where nothing went to waste. “He would deconstruct older structures when beyond repair, remove every nail, and fastidiously hammer them back to straight form for reuse,” said Buildsense. “New structures were planned for durability, utility, and longevity.” In keeping with these thrifty ways, the architects used recycled materials , from concrete slabs to reclaimed barn siding, and used low-maintenance materials like corrugated steel cladding for durability. Related: Charming Italian farmhouse hides a surprisingly modern interior in Tuscany The Horseshoe Farm Residence also boasts off-grid capability. Solar panels power the home, while the rainwater stored in two large cisterns can be used for flushing toilets. The home’s many windows and orientation on an east-west axis take advantage of passive solar. In contrast to its rugged exterior, the interior features timber, white walls, and bright pops of color for a softer appearance. Large windows bring the outdoors in. + Buildsense Via Dezeen Images via Lissa Gotwals Photography

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Solar-powered forever home is a modern take on the rustic farmhouse

Futuristic solar home hidden inside 18th-century stone ruins

October 20, 2017 by  
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The stone ruins of an 18th-century Scottish farmhouse have been brought back to life as the envelope for a surprisingly modern solar-powered home. Nathanael Dorent Architecture and Lily Jencks Studio crafted Ruin Studio with layers like a palimpsest, from the 200-year-old farmhouse frame to futuristic and tubular interior shell. In addition to the use of photovoltaics, the dwelling was built to near passivhaus standards and boasts a super-insulated envelope. This unusual home located in the remote Scottish countryside retains an outwardly rural appearance with a pitched roof and exterior stone walls. Instead of using timber for the pitched envelope, however, the architects clad the structure in black waterproofing EDPM rubber . Stranger still is the pair of interior curved shells, inserted inside the rubber-clad envelope, made of insulating recycled polystyrene blocks and covered with glass-reinforced plastic. These white futuristic “tubes” serve as hallways connecting the centrally located communal areas with the bedrooms located on either end of the home. “Emphasizing the narrative of time, these three layers also reflect different architectural expressions: the random natural erosion of stone walls, an archetypical minimalist pitched roof, and a free form double curved surface,” wrote the architects. “These three layers are not designed as independent parts, rather, they take on meaning as their relationship evolves through the building’s sections. They separate, come together, and intertwine, creating a series of architectural singularities, revealing simultaneous reading of time and space.” Related: Barn ruins transformed into contemporary home with spa Natural light fills the predominately white interior and large windows frame views of the Scottish countryside. The furnishings are kept minimalist and are mostly built from light-colored wood; gridded timber bookshelves located in the tube adhere to the curved walls. Portions of original stone walls are brought into the home. + Nathanael Dorent Architecture Via ArchDaily

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Solar SILO home uses light to feel much larger than its actual size

October 9, 2017 by  
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Daylight, fresh air, and greenery fill this self-sufficient solar home that feels much larger than its actual size. Students from the Missouri University of Science and Technology designed this net-zero dwelling, named SILO, short for ‘Smart Innovative Living Oasis.’ Inspired by farmhouse architecture, SILO blends a rustic aesthetic with cutting-edge technology to create a homey and completely automated dwelling that ensures stress-free comfort year-round. Home automation is at the heart of SILO. From the HVAC system to lighting, these engineered systems work in tandem to create a comfortable and energy-efficient living space. An energy monitoring system sends feedback to the central control system to improve efficiency and includes the ability to sell excess energy generated by the 8.5-kW rooftop solar array back to the grid. The homeowner can also control all of the home’s systems manually via smartphone or voice commands. Related: The Nest home is a solar-powered prefab made from recycled shipping containers SILO features a flexible open-floor plan that emphasizes views of the outdoors and access to natural light. The light-filled home feels much larger than its actual size thanks to a high-ceiling living area and glazing that wraps both ends of the home. A graywater system feeds into a beautiful water wall, while treated water is reused for irrigation of non-edible landscaping such as the movable green wall. A clay plaster made partly with recycled materials was used as wall paint and boasts air-purifying and humidity-regulating benefits. SILO was designed and built for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017 and will return to Missouri to be part of the university’s eco-village after the competition. + Solar Decathlon Images by Mike Chino

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Solar SILO home uses light to feel much larger than its actual size

Italy is giving away hundreds of historic castles and villas for free

May 17, 2017 by  
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Have you ever wanted to own your own castle – or perhaps an Italian monastery? Here’s your chance. As part of Italy’s Strategist Tourist Plan, the country is giving away 103 historic sites – including old houses, farmhouses, inns, monasteries and even ancient castles. However, only those who intend to renovate and transform the structures into tourist hotspots (such as restaurants and spas) will be granted a plot of historic property. The State Property Agency and Ministry of Cultural Heritage are responsible for spearheading the project, which aims to relieve some of the strain on the country’s most popular and overcrowded areas. In effect, lesser-explored destinations will receive an influx of tourists and local economies will benefit. State property agency employee Roberto Reggi told The Local : “The project will promote and support the development of the slow tourism sector. The goal is for private and public buildings which are no longer used to be transformed into facilities for pilgrims, hikers, tourists, and cyclists.” In total, 103 historic sites are available across the country. Many are located near the famous Appian Way – the Roman road that connects Venice with Brindisi on the southern coast. After the initial properties are claimed and foreigners begin exploring more destinations aside from Venice , 200 more sites will be included in the project over the next two years. This isn’t the first time Italy has relied on the public to restore its historic sites. The “ Lighthouse Project, ” for instance, has resulted in the Italian government auctioning off approximately 30 historic lighthouses to investors over the past two years. The requirement has been the same: transform the ordinary structures into hotels and tourist facilities . Additionally, the country raised €502 million for its “ Kill Public Debt Plan ” by putting 50 of its most prized sites up for action in 2013. Full details of the project can be found (in Italian) on the State Property Agency’s website . + State Property Agency Via The Local Images via Hand Luggage Only , SUWalls , Pinterest

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Italy is giving away hundreds of historic castles and villas for free

Dutch farmhouse renovated as a vibrant meeting space with a hipped roof

January 30, 2017 by  
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An extensive renovation turned this historic farmhouse in the Netherlands into a vibrant meeting place that sources its food from local farms. Architecture firm Eek en Dekkers kept many of the original design features of the 1904 building, accentuating its rustic quality yet offering a series of modern amenities. The farmhouse is located in the Friesian town of Woudsend in the Netherlands . Surrounded by farms and mills, the project retains the rustic qualities of the original structure dominated by handicrafts, hipped wooden roof and brick walls. The architects kept the existing roof structure, removed the mezzanine floor, and created a large atrium that shows off the beauty of the historic roof. Related: Mid-century Dutch farmhouse gets a bold contemporary makeover Currently functioning as a meeting place , the former farmhouse sources all its food locally– the milk and meat come from Frisian cows and the flour is sourced from the village mill. + Eek en Dekkers Via Archdaily Photos by Thomas Mayer

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Dutch farmhouse renovated as a vibrant meeting space with a hipped roof

Dubuc Motors unveils Tomahawk electric sports car with a 370-mile range

January 30, 2017 by  
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Dubuc Motors just unveiled the Tomahawk – a 2+2 electric sports car that can go from 0-60 miles an hour in a zippy three seconds. Even more exciting, the car’s EPA-estimated range is a crazy 370 miles. The Tomahawk is manufactured entirely in North America, and the company reportedly spent 12 years researching and developing clean technology to create the green vehicle. Dubuc Motors ‘ Tomahawk feature sleek scissor doors, a panoramic roof, a built-in WiFi hotspot, hands-free voice commands, and a live 360 degree camera. The car is made of aluminum with a carbon fiber interior. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SFM2YCY3B0&feature=youtu.be Related: The Immortus electric sports car can drive all day using just the power of the sun Dubuc Motors sees themselves as fulfilling a niche market; on their crowdfunding campaign on StartEngine , they describe the Tomahawk as ” Tesla ‘s cousin” and explain, “While Tesla offers a sedan and an SUV, we want to complete their product line with our sports car.” With the electric vehicle (EV) market exploding – demand could exceed 35 million units around the world by 2022 – Dubuc Motors is angling to uniquely position themselves to fulfill demand for luxury EVs. Dubuc Motors has raised over $6 million in reservations . You can’t snag one of the cars quite yet, although you can reserve one for $5,000 on their website . There they offer six colors: green, black, two tone, red, yellow, and orange. The car’s retail price will be $125,000, and the company plans to begin production this year. + Dubuc Motors Images courtesy of Dubuc Motors

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Dubuc Motors unveils Tomahawk electric sports car with a 370-mile range

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