An airy multigenerational home shows adaptive reuse done right

April 12, 2021 by  
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Vienna-based architecture firm OEOOO has transformed and expanded a disused farmhouse into the Hehl Tenne House, a warm and inviting multigenerational home wrapped in timber inside and out. Located in the rural outskirts of the Lower Bregenzerwald (Bregenz Forest) village of Lingenau, the original agricultural building had sat empty after the family farm shut down decades ago. The adaptive reuse project presented the perfect opportunity to not only revive the underutilized site for the next generation but also celebrate the region’s agricultural history. Designed as a home for living and working, the Hehl Tenne House has repurposed the ground floor of the former barn into a joint workshop that shares space with the building service equipment. Work areas are also integrated into the other parts of the home, from the first-floor living/dining area to the sleeping zones on the top floor. The common areas, located where hay was once stored, feature tall ceilings and seamlessly connect to the outdoors via a covered terrace to the southwest. Related: An old farmhouse becomes a hotel focused on indoor-outdoor living “The aim was to take up the unused spatial qualities of the former economic tract of a typical Bregenzerwald farmhouse and to identify the building in the sense of a multi-generational house,” the architects explained in a project statement. “In the generous cubature of the former threshing floor of the house, a compact, comfortable living space was created by means of replacement construction, which is closely related to the exterior space and the local building tradition.” The “replacement construction” was built with a single-shell exposed concrete base and timber-frame construction insulated with wood wool . The environmental footprint of the home is reduced with the use of a wood log heating system that heats the entire home and is supplied with timber felled on the property. The roof is equipped with a solar hot water system. + OEOOO Photography by Lukas Gaechter Photography via OEOOO

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An airy multigenerational home shows adaptive reuse done right

Abandoned farmhouse becomes sleek, modern eco-home

December 23, 2020 by  
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Imagine walking around Basque Country, strolling past a historic farmhouse . You might see the ruins of an old building with a collapsed roof, but one architectural firm saw tons of possibilities. Collectif Encore transformed this Labastide-Villefranche building into a sleek, modern home full of amazing features. The architects call this project Hourre House. They kept the roof open in a dazzling, creative design concept. Above the dining room table and living room area, the open roof adds to a light and airy space full of industrial-inspired light fixtures. A safety net over the roof allows it to function as a hammock, play area or place to lay back and look at the stars. Meanwhile, the former farmhouse’s large doors become sliding windows that disappear once open. Occupants can enjoy spectacular views of the sunset through this opening. Want those great views while you shower, too? Perhaps the most unique feature of the home is the outdoor bathroom. Walls on three sides provide this area with its own microclimate, perfect for outdoor bathing under the stars. Inside the old stable, you can now find a large workspace and the old hayloft, now an open-air dining area with a long table. Surrounded by natural vegetation, the whole house enjoys gorgeous plants and flowers that fill the landscape with color. During winter, the design captures and uses sunlight to heat the stone walls. An air/water pump keeps the ground heated, too. The house also includes an area known as the south shelter, a lovely covered terrace sheltered from the wind. The house uses no insulation for the walls, allowing it to breathe and stay naturally ventilated. This air circulation keeps the house cool even on the hottest days of summer. This incredible renovated French farmhouse shows how innovative design can foster a lifestyle influenced by and in harmony with the natural world. + Collectif Encore Via ArchDaily Images © Collectif Encore and Michel Bonvin

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Abandoned farmhouse becomes sleek, modern eco-home

British wind farms have a record-breaking day

December 23, 2020 by  
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Not everybody loves extremely windy days. But if you’re trying to generate more power via wind farms, there’s nothing like a blustery day in the winter. Last Friday, the wintry weather set a record in Britain as more than 40% of that day’s electricity was generated on wind farms. The 17.3 gigawatts (GW) generated by wind turbines just beat the former record, which was set in January of this year. High winds kept the 40% figure going through Saturday. Less than one-fifth of the day’s electricity came from coal plants and gas. “It’s great to see our onshore and offshore wind farms have smashed another record, generating more power on a cold December day than ever before, just when we need it most,” said Melanie Onn, the deputy chief executive of Renewable U.K., as reported in The Guardian . Related: UK plans to be powered entirely by offshore wind turbines by 2030 While the worldwide consensus is that 2020 has left a lot to be desired, it was a good year for green energy in Britain. Renewable energy was up, while energy demand in general fell due to lockdowns. Schools, office buildings and many businesses stayed dark. In April, solar power dominated with a record of 9.6 GW. That helped set the stage for Britain’s longest-ever coal-free streak, which lasted 1,629 consecutive hours and ended in June. Thanks to all this clean energy, electricity-related carbon emissions were way down. In March, they fell to an all-time low of 143 g carbon dioxide per kilowatt hour. To put this in perspective, Energy UK gives the following usual breakdown of electricity sources, based on 2016 figures: 42% natural gas, 9% coal, 3.1% other fossil fuels , 21% nuclear and 24.5% renewable energy, including wind, wave, marine, hydro, biomass and solar power combined. Onn said, “We expect to see many more records set in the years ahead, as the government has made wind energy one of the most important pillars of its energy strategy for reaching net-zero emissions as fast and as cheaply as possible.” Via The Guardian Image via Ed White

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This tiny home on wheels features white shiplap walls

June 11, 2020 by  
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The Heritage  tiny home  by Summit doesn’t sacrifice style for convenience. It features a spacious loft bedroom, a bay window bump out of the living room and a galley kitchen with white shiplap walls. This tiny house is designed for full-time living and comes in two sizes, the 24-foot Heritage and the 28-foot Heritage. Each model comes move-in ready with $6,000 to $8,000 worth of built-in upgrades, coming to a total of $69,999 and $78,500 respectively. The models are built on a trailer with a two-foot bay window that extends over the edge, two large  skylights  over the bedroom loft and a living room filled with windows to allow ample natural light. Related: A tiny home on wheels with brilliant interiors and two lofts can be yours for $56K The kitchen comes with a 24″  farmhouse  sink, gas stove, quartz counters, a full-size refrigerator, shelving units for a pantry and an off-grid 20″ propane range hood. Since the tiny homes are made-to-order, buyers can customize everything from the exterior color and storage options to updated kitchen appliances and washer/dryer combinations. The 24-foot Heritage provides 220 square feet of living space, while the 28-foot Heritage offers 250 square feet. Designers offer upgraded premium options for sustainability features as well, such as  solar panels , rainwater collection and a composting toilet. Stylistically, the Heritage features a modern-meets-rustic aesthetic, with its bright white shiplap and numerous windows that capture the feel of a larger family home on a smaller scale. The kitchen’s butcher block countertops, soft close shaker cabinets, 24″ fridge-freezer combination and the potential for a washer/dryer combo provide modern creature comforts with all the convenience of a  home on wheels . For storage, the staircase comes with built-in compartments, and there is a 28″ storage closet with rod and shelf (34″ in the larger model). The bathroom has a built-in vanity and shelving, with either a 48″ shower with glass door for the smaller model, or a 60″ tub and shower combo in the larger model. There is also a standard flushing toilet below the bathroom window and upgraded black fixtures throughout. + Summit Tiny Homes

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This tiny home on wheels features white shiplap walls

Off-grid home is inspired by the iconic Australian Akubra hat

January 22, 2020 by  
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The Australian Akubra hat is one of the many symbols of the country, and one architectural team has used the hat’s recognizable form as inspiration for a spectacular off-grid home in the small NSW town of Nundle. Designed by architect Alexander Symes, the Upside Down Akubra House, which is located on a bull farm, features a massive flat roof that is about 2.5 times the size of the building’s footprint. But the unique volume isn’t all about whimsy. In fact, the structure is actually a powerhouse of passive and active design features that allow it to operate completely off the grid . Throughout the design process, the architect worked closely with the homeowners, who are bull farmers. Set in a large grove of eucalyptus trees, the owners requested that their new house not only provide unobstructed, 360-degree views of the stunning landscape but also offer them the off-grid lifestyle required by the remote location. Related: Off-grid farmhouse on Australia’s remote French Island runs on solar energy Accordingly, the resulting home features wide windows and sliding glass doors that lead out to a wrap-around deck, allowing the interior to have a strong connection to the outdoors. Additionally, this outdoor space is shaded by the oversized roof. This shading strategy provides a lovely open-air place to hang out with friends and family and keeps the house nice and cool during the searing-hot summers. The interior of the three-bedroom home boasts sleek concrete flooring and walls that contrast nicely with natural wood accents. The main living area has a spacious layout that opens up to the decks, which feature ample room for dining and lounging. A cozy fire pit welcomes the homeowners and their guests to gather together at the end of the day. The beautiful design lets the residents take full advantage of its breathtaking setting and enjoy the perks that come with living off the grid. An adjacent 800-square-foot carport is covered with solar panels , which allow the house to generate and store all of its own energy. Additionally, the rooftop also has a catchment system to reroute rain into water tanks for reuse. + Alexander Symes Architect Via ArchDaily Images via Alexander Symes Architect

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Off-grid home is inspired by the iconic Australian Akubra hat

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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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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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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