Shipping container food halls slated to revitalize Southern California neighborhoods

December 10, 2018 by  
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Californian firm  Studio One Eleven has unveiled a massive new project that includes using various shipping containers to install modern versions of traditional food halls throughout various neighborhoods in Southern California. The food hall project will see a number of shipping containers being converted into vibrant social areas, where locals can enjoy a variety of small-scale food venues, breweries, organic gardens, playgrounds and entertainment spaces. In Orange County, Studio One Eleven — in collaboration with developer Howard CDM — is just about to complete the SteelCraft Garden Grove. Slated to open in 2019, the Garden Grove will be a multi-use complex built out of 10 shipping containers that will house various food and beverage options with ample seating located on a second level. Within the 20,000-square-foot space, a working organic farm will provide fresh produce for the chefs on site. Related: A sustainable campus is built from 22 recycled shipping containers Another project, Leisuretown, is also slated to open next year in Anaheim. In collaboration with developer LAB Holding, the architects are currently building a 32,000-square-foot complex comprised of two levels of shipping containers that will house a Modern Times craft brewery, a coffee roaster and a vegan Mexican food restaurant. LAB Holding Founder Shaheen Sadeghi explained that one of the project’s main goals is to preserve local structures while breathing new life through community-driven urban design . “When communities tear down history and build all new products, it takes away the soul and the heartbeat of the city,” Sadeghi said. “By preserving as many of these buildings as possible and blending with new products built in the area, we hope to create an even better-balanced neighborhood.” Last but not least, downtown Santa Ana will also be getting a vibrant new community area. The Roost is an existing complex made up of several renovated pre-war buildings. By adding shipping containers to the development, the Roost will have a new central beer garden and outdoor dining space. As one of Orange County’s first shipping container complexes, the food hall will serve as a new social center for the area. + Studio One Eleven Images via Studio One Eleven

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Shipping container food halls slated to revitalize Southern California neighborhoods

Throw out your romaine lettuce, CDC declares E.coli outbreak

November 21, 2018 by  
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Romaine lettuce is unsafe to eat … again. The CDC is advising people to throw out and avoid eating all romaine lettuce following an E.coli outbreak that has left 32 people sick and 13 people hospitalized across 11 states in the U.S. so far. The CDC along with public health officials across the U.S. and Canada are investigating another outbreak of E.coli connected to romaine lettuce. The center said that consumers should not eat any romaine lettuce, and restaurants and retailers should not serve this item until the outbreak has been thoroughly investigated. Related: Is your Thanksgiving turkey putting your family’s health at risk? The reported illnesses for this outbreak began on Oct.8, 2018 through Oct. 31, 2018. Thirteen people have been hospitalized, with 32 cases reported altogether at the time of writing. No deaths have been reported. The investigation is still undergoing and no additional information has been reported, but the center advises consumers to throw out all romaine lettuce , even if you have already eaten some and did not get sick. “This advice includes all types or uses of romaine lettuce, such as whole heads of romaine, hearts of romaine and bags and boxes of precut lettuce and salad mixes that contain romaine, including baby romaine, spring mix and Caesar salad,” the CDC said. “If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine or whether a salad mix contains romaine, do not eat it and throw it away. Wash and sanitize drawers or shelves in refrigerators where romaine was stored. Follow these five steps to clean your refrigerator.” Watch: CDC declares romaine lettuce an E. coli risk If you’re worried about the outbreak, here are some symptoms to look for: severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and a slight fever. The illness usually begins about two to eight days after swallowing the germ and lasts about a week, but E.coli can cause kidney failure or become life-threatening. Find out more information here .  The CDC is updating consumers on the outbreak and ongoing investigation. + CDC Image via Shutterstock

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10 ways to use up mushy, overripe bananas

November 20, 2018 by  
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Bananas linger on the counters of many kitchens throughout the world, because they are a perfect snack and a healthy companion to things like yogurt, peanut butter and cereal. But it doesn’t take long for them to move past peak ripeness and start getting covered in brown spots before turning black. Just because they are past their prime doesn’t mean that overripe bananas need to be tossed in the trash. To reduce your food waste , try some of these creative and delicious ideas for overripe bananas instead of throwing them away. Bread and muffins Banana bread and muffins are the perfect options for overripe bananas. Believe it or not, dark and ugly bananas bring a ton of flavor. Simply put your blackened bananas in the fridge, and when you are ready to bake, smash them up and try recipes like flourless peanut butter banana muffins , banana bread  or  chocolate chip and banana muffins . Cakes Bananas add sweetness and a springy texture to cakes, and there are amazing banana cake recipes out there that are surprisingly healthy . This recipe for chocolate chip banana cake with cream cheese frosting  doesn’t have butter or oil, but you would never know it. The bananas and light cream cheese frosting bring amazing flavor, and this sweet treat is still low in calories. Brownies You can make amazing vegan brownies with just four ingredients: overripe bananas, peanut butter, protein powder and cocoa powder. The bananas make these guilt-free brownies sweet and moist. They are also full of protein , making them the perfect, quick breakfast. If you prefer, you can sub almond or cashew butter for the peanut butter. Smoothies and milkshakes When your bananas get ripe and mushy, try adding them to a smoothie or milkshake. Bananas will make your smoothie or milkshake super creamy and add loads of flavor. Try this frozen banana, peanut butter and chocolate chip milkshake for a nice light treat, or you can opt for a smoothie like this banana oatmeal breakfast smoothie . Related: Fight food waste with these 11 ways to use leftover greens before they spoil Pancakes You can either slice some banana onto your pancakes while they cook or smash them up and add the bananas to the batter. Either way, the bananas will make your pancakes so sweet , you will probably have to cut back on the syrup . Cookies Adding bananas won’t necessarily make your cookies healthy, but they do make them delicious. Try this recipe for Mindy Segal’s banana Nilla cookies or these three-ingredient banana chocolate chip cookies from Curls ‘N’ Chard . Banana chips One of the quickest and easiest options for overripe bananas is to make sweet, guilt-free banana chips. This is an extremely healthy snack to have on hand, and all it takes to make this treat is ripe bananas and some fresh lemon juice. Oatmeal Another quick and easy option for your overripe bananas is to add them to oatmeal. Simply smash up an overripe banana, and then stir it into a warm bowl of oatmeal. This will give your oats a naturally sweet flavor, and if you add some cinnamon and chopped walnuts, it will be even more delicious. You can also use overripe bananas for baked oatmeal, like in this recipe from Live Well Bake Often. Banana bread batter This idea from The Big Man’s World is an easy, gooey, healthy treat perfect for any time, day or night. It will take you less than five minutes to make, and it is naturally gluten-free and vegan . It is also full of protein and comes with a paleo and grain-free option. Fro-yo With just three ingredients, you can make amazing banana frozen yogurt . Throw your overripe bananas into the freezer. When you are ready to make this dessert, simply peel two bananas and cut them into chunks. Put them in a food processor, and add a half-cup of plain, 2-percent Greek yogurt and one-and-a-half tablespoons of peanut butter. Puree all the ingredients until they turn into a smooth, fluffy paste. Then, freeze your fro-yo for about 15 minutes before serving. Images via Jeffrey W. , Green Guavas , Marco Verch , Theo Crazzolara , Cara Faus , Ella Olsson and Shutterstock

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10 ways to use up mushy, overripe bananas

Everlane introduces long-lasting outerwear made from recycled water bottles

November 12, 2018 by  
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The ReNew outerwear line, launched in late October by Everlane , has yanked three million water bottles out of the waste stream and turned them into fibers for the venture. The new collection offers cleaner fashion in an industry known for heavy pollution and resource consumption. This first round of renewed clothing includes four fleece pullover options, six puffer jackets and three parkas. While other companies have edged toward the trend of incorporating recycled materials into their production, Everlane is taking it a step further. Everlane has vowed to eliminate all virgin plastic from its manufacturing processes by 2021 and instead will rely 100 percent on recycled materials . Furthermore, the company will eliminate all single-use plastics from corporate offices and retail store locations. It has also committed to the use of recycled bags when shipping merchandise. The commitment is a firm one, as evidenced by the process involved to turn plastic into usable fibers. First, the facility receives large bales of compressed plastic bottles that are sorted using a combination of human and machine efforts. After sorting, the bottles are ground down into tiny flakes and subsequently melted into molten plastic. Next, that plastic is sent through a machine that turns it into long strands and then dices the strands into crystals. Once they arrive at the spinning facility, those crystals are melted down once again, turned into thread and spun into yarn for fabrics. Related: Clothing made from recycled water bottles highlights the ongoing crisis in Flint In addition to the ReNew line aimed at conscientious material sourcing, Everlane offers sustainability with the goal for its products to last for decades. This is in steep contrast to many textile industry business plans that market trendy and disposable clothing to encourage consumers to constantly purchase the newest, flash-in-the-pan item. In addition, the company demands fair trade practices from the factories it works with and believes in ethical treatment of employees. In fact, all Black Friday profits are returned to the employees in some fashion. As a case in point, the 2018 profits are earmarked to build an organic farm on the campus of a facility in Vietnam, a country with otherwise excessive pesticide use that pollutes the food supply. + Everlane Via Treehugger Images via Everlane

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Everlane introduces long-lasting outerwear made from recycled water bottles

How to host Thanksgiving dinner in a tiny home or small apartment

November 9, 2018 by  
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If you live in a tiny home or apartment, the idea of hosting Thanksgiving dinner can seem like a daunting task. A few hundred square feet, no dining furniture, small appliances and limited seating can definitely present some challenges. But if you have a plan, you can throw a successful, delicious feast, even in a tiny house or micro apartment. Here’s how to do it. Make a detailed plan for the menu, and keep it simple The items you need for your Thanksgiving dinner can overwhelm your small space, so you want to plan ahead and develop a strategy for your shopping and cooking . Private chef Amanda Elliott says to keep things simple and stick to four homemade dishes, including the turkey. Make a list of all the ingredients you will need for your menu, and think about your refrigerator and pantry space. If you have a large oven, the turkey is going to take up this space for most of the hours before the meal. Choose side dishes that you can make ahead of time and reheat just before the dinner or ones that you can prepare on the stove. You can also choose menu items that can be served at room temperature, like salad. Related: How to cook and enjoy 10 types of squash other than pumpkin If you have a small oven, you can purchase a prepared turkey from a local restaurant or grocery store to avoid cooking the turkey yourself. There are amazing options out there, just be sure to order it well in advance if that’s the route you want to take. If you have your heart set on making your own turkey, you can cook it outside in a deep fryer or on the barbecue, so you can use your oven for other things. If you would like to have more than four items on your Thanksgiving menu, ask your guests for help. There is no shame in requesting assistance with your menu items. Consider asking one guest to bring a dessert and another to bring an appetizer. Just remember to be specific about what you need, and avoid saying “bring whatever you want.” You don’t want to end up with multiple green bean casseroles or macaroni and cheese dishes. When it comes to serving the food, make your kitchen counters and stove a buffet, and let guests serve themselves. Get creative with seating If you don’t have a large dining table and a lot of seating, don’t panic. A casual dinner where guests can eat wherever they please is just fine. People can sit on the couch and the floor — just be sure to provide guests with trays to hold their plates, cutlery and glasses. Use things like step stools, ottomans, lawn chairs, desk chairs and pillows for extra seating. If you still don’t have enough tables or chairs, you can try renting some from a local party store. Be sure to remove all of the clutter from the space. Clear off all flat surfaces, so people have a place to put their drinks. If you want to do some decorating for the occasion, one statement piece with a couple of decorative elements works well for the festivities without adding clutter. Have a plan for coats and bags. The easiest solution is to keep them all in the bedroom, so your guests aren’t taking up valuable living room space with their bulky outerwear. Have everyone help with the clean-up When you send out invitations, ask guests to bring their own containers to take some food home at the end of the celebration. This will prevent you from getting sick of leftovers, and it keeps food waste to a minimum. Consider asking your guests to help take care of their finished plates. You can do the scrubbing later, but getting help with clearing the tables and throwing away the trash will quickly free up space and give you a little time to make room in your belly for dessert. Experts also agree that the key to keeping your sanity in a tiny home at Thanksgiving is to clean as you go. While you are preparing your food, tidy up the work space throughout the process, and don’t let dishes pile up in the sink. If cleaning as you cook doesn’t work for you, hide the mess by piling all of your dirty dishes in the bathtub and draw the curtain. Then, clean everything after your guests leave. Finally, don’t stress! Sit back, relax and enjoy the day. If you are super stressed, your guests aren’t going to have any fun, either. Put together your plan of attack, and if things don’t go perfectly, it’s okay. Just smile and enjoy some red wine (white wine takes up too much space in the fridge!). Happy Thanksgiving! Images via Shutterstock

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How to host Thanksgiving dinner in a tiny home or small apartment

A third of people in the UK are now eating less or no meat

November 6, 2018 by  
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A new report on food shopping in the U.K. shows that one in eight Britons is now vegetarian or vegan, and another 21 percent identify as flexitarians. This means that about a third of U.K. consumers have deliberately reduced or eliminated meat from their diets, and it underlines a revolution in the eating habits of U.K. citizens. Vegetarians have a diet that eliminates meat, poultry and fish, while vegans eat a plant-based diet and completely avoid all animal products. Flexitarians eat a largely vegetable-based diet and just occasionally supplement it with meat . Related: Look out, meat industry — flexitarianism is on the rise The report comes from the supermarket chain Waitrose, which studied the food choices of Britons across all British supermarket chains. The study shows that people are thinking about how they can individually counter climate change , and avoiding meat and dairy products seems to be the single biggest way that you can reduce your environmental impact on the planet. Waitrose’s report comes from a poll of 2,000 adults who shop a variety of retailers, plus research of millions of transactions in stores and online. The report found the most likely age range to make the switch to veganism is 18 to 34. “It’s extremely encouraging to learn how many Britons are choosing to reduce their consumption of animal products,” Nick Palmer, the head of Compassion in World Farming U.K., told The Guardian . Palmer added that science shows the healthiest diet is plant-heavy, and when you eat less meat, fish, eggs and dairy, you can help animals , people and the planet. The Vegan Society claimed that the number of vegans in the U.K. has increased 400 percent in the last four years, from 150,000 to 600,000. Last May, Waitrose became the first U.K. supermarket to put dedicated vegan sections in its stores, plus it also launched a line of vegan and vegetarian ready-to-eat meals. Vegan dining has also gone mainstream in the U.K., with many chains increasing their non-meat and non-dairy options. Some restaurants have also created menus dedicated to vegans, as more and more people discover just how amazing vegan food can taste. + Waitrose Via The Guardian Image via Mittmac

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A third of people in the UK are now eating less or no meat

A couple builds a fairytale-like rental cabin near a volcano for $30K

November 6, 2018 by  
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When Caroline and Julien traveled across South America in their Volkswagen Kombi, the couple noticed a dearth of quality accommodations and decided to fill that hospitality gap by building a beautifully crafted rental cabin in Chile . After 19 months of construction, the couple realized their dream on the slopes of the Calbuco Volcano in Ensenada. Designed and constructed for an approximate cost of $30,000, the cozy, handcrafted home — dubbed Casa Nido — has been listed on Airbnb starting at $116 a night . Designing and building Casa Nido was a big adventure for the couple, given that they didn’t know anything about construction before starting. Yet all parts of the cabin , from the design and interior finishes to the electrical wiring and water systems, were carried out by the duo without any outside help. “We are offering tourists and travelers high quality, fully handmade accommodation, somewhere to relax and contemplate far away from consumer society,” said Caroline and Julien. “It is also the ideal place to rethink one’s priorities and experiment, for a given time, what is ‘going back to the essential.’” Inspired by images of fairytale cottages , Casa Nido spans two floors, with a ground floor of 290 square feet and a smaller second level of 129 square feet. The curved roof beam is constructed from plywood, and all the other timber materials are locally sourced, native species. For instance, Patagonian Cypress was used for the windows, doors and furnishings while Manio was used for the outside siding, interior lining and flooring. In addition to a bedroom that sleeps two, the cabin comes with a living room overlooking Calbuco Volcano vistas, a fully equipped kitchen that frames views of Osorno Volcano, a ground floor terrace and a wood-fired hot tub. Related: Award-winning glass cabin is nestled inside an Australian rainforest The cabin is powered by a photovoltaic solar system that provides enough electricity to meet daily needs, while the water is sourced from a nearby natural spring higher up in the valley. Wastewater is treated with a photo-purification system. The couple also plans to build a homemade biodigester to replace the use of gas cylinders for the cabin’s gas system. To wake up to volcano views at Casa Nido, check out the listing on Airbnb . + Casa Nido

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A couple builds a fairytale-like rental cabin near a volcano for $30K

Billions of pounds of pumpkin will go to the landfill after Halloween

October 29, 2018 by  
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Over the past few weeks, millions of people have bought nutritious, tasty treats that they won’t eat, and after Halloween, the majority will end up throwing them in the trash. Of course, we are talking about pumpkins. This week, billions of pounds of the delicious, edible and versatile squash will become  food waste instead of being cooked or composted. In the U.K. alone, eight million pumpkins will be in the garbage on November 1. According to The Guardian ,  this would be enough to make pumpkin pies to feed the entire country. Nearly 60 percent of people bought their pumpkins just to hollow out and carve. The #PumpkinRescue campaign said that only one-third of those people will cook the edible insides, and just over half of them will throw away the pumpkin flesh. Related: How to cook a whole pumpkin (seeds, guts and all) More than 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkins will be thrown out in the U.S., adding tons of waste to landfills. When we throw those pumpkins out, they decompose and release methane — a harmful greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change . In Canada, the pumpkin harvest attracts thousands of people to farms all over the country for hayrides and corn mazes. But farmer Rob Galey said that most visitors to his annual Pumpkin Fest won’t take pumpkins home to cook and eat. He explained that the visitors are buying a metaphor, not food. The pumpkin represents an abundant fall harvest and looks good in a photo, but it never makes it to the dinner table. Is our pumpkin waste ruining the environment? It’s certainly an issue, but the U.S. Department of Energy is working on the problem by teaming up with industry experts to develop integrated biorefineries, which are facilities that can efficiently convert plant and waste material into affordable biofuels. As of right now, none of the refineries are in full operation. In the meantime, keep enjoying your pumpkins . Carve them, decorate them and — after October 31 — eat or compost them to reduce the food waste. Via The Guardian , Vice , Pumpkin Rescue  and CBC News Images via Corey Blaz and Marius Ciocirlan

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Billions of pounds of pumpkin will go to the landfill after Halloween

Farmscape helps communities embrace urban farming

October 25, 2018 by  
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The majority of the world’s population lives in cities, and thanks to the rising monetary and environmental costs of transporting food to these areas, interest in urban farming has dramatically increased over the past decade. In cities like Atlanta, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles , it is relatively easy to find food growing in windowsills, on rooftops, in community gardens and even on corporate campuses. Since 2008, Farmscape has helped people, communities and companies across the country embrace sustainable farming practices and local food. Farmscape is the largest urban farming venture in the U.S., and it helps individuals, communities and businesses with their food producing needs by designing, installing and managing raised vegetable beds and gardens in places like residential backyards, building rooftops, multi-acre agrihoods  and commercial properties. Using an organic soil blend and drip irrigation systems, Farmscape has led the urban farm movement by installing more than 700 gardens in California and designing and consulting projects internationally. Related: The LEED Gold-seeking Edible Academy teaches urban farming in NYC Farmscape is a licensed landscape contractor, and according to the company, its setups are 25 percent more cost-effective to run than traditional setups. Another bonus to using Farmscape is that its landscaping can add up to a 28 percent return on investment on property values. Studies also show that homes with lush outdoor areas sell 15 percent faster when they are listed on the real estate market. Corporations like Oracle, North Face, Levi’s Stadium and AT&T Park have famously used Farmscape. Those larger spaces make more produce and fruit easily available to employees, customers and residents. Three small cafes inside of AT&T Park (where the San Francisco Giants play) use the produce grown in a Farmscape garden, which allows the businesses to provide vegan and gluten-free options to people who don’t enjoy “baseball food.” The hydroponic towers near the bullpen sprout berries and greens that different ballpark eateries use for smoothies and salads. The rooftop garden at Levi’s Stadium (where the San Francisco 49ers play) supplies fresh produce to the stadium’s food service vendors. But the Farmscape urban farming venture isn’t just for large corporate clients. It is also perfect for homes, apartment complexes and neighborhoods. Because you don’t have to plant or maintain the farm yourself, you are guaranteed to get a fresh, successful harvest of things like cilantro, arugula, lettuce, parsley and kale each season. Related: 6 urban farms feeding the world Farmscape’s hands-on, local farmers maintain the space each week as part of their contract, but you can also spend some stress-free time outdoors by joining them to do some digging and weeding. People who live in cities are often busy feeding their technology obsession with handheld devices, but Farmscape gives them the opportunity to step outside and work with their neighbors and co-workers to harvest healthy food . However, you don’t have to have any farming or gardening knowledge to find success with Farmscape. Their team takes care of everything from planning to planting to harvest. The setups also include seasonal flowers, herbs and ornamental plants mixed in with the vegetables to give their beds a manicured and attractive look year-round. According to Lara Hermanson, the gardener/farmer who co-founded Farmscape, people love that the gardens look good and also provide fresh, organic food. Being able to harvest your own produce to create a delicious meal — and not having to get your hands dirty (unless you want to, of course) — is an attractive idea for home chefs. Plus, there are mental, emotional and physical benefits to gardening for those who do choose to get involved. Even if it is just a few minutes each day, getting outside can be good for you, and using the food from your garden will lead to a healthier, more plant-based diet. The idea of being able to come home from work and step outside to your garden to pick the ingredients for your salad or picking some fresh fruit for a sweet dessert is an exciting one. Farmscape gives you the option of being surrounded by nature, even if you live in a crowded urban environment. If a Farmscape garden is something that you would like to add to your neighborhood, Hermanson says that is easy to initiate through city councils and homeowners associations. While Farmscape only builds and maintains gardens in California, the team is happy to help design and consult projects around the world. People love the idea of having gardens as landscaping in their neighborhoods, and the benefits of having plenty of healthy food readily available are nearly impossible to turn down. To start Farmscape-ing, visit the website at FarmscapeGardens.com . + Farmscape Images via Farmscape

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This net-zero home is inspired by Iceland’s volcanic landscapes

October 25, 2018 by  
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In sunny Santa Monica, local studio Minarc has unveiled one of its latest projects built from mnmMOD panels , its award-winning and patented prefabricated building system that yields net-zero energy efficiency. Dubbed the Dawnsknoll project, the 2,500-square-foot dwelling champions sustainability beyond just building materials. Positioned for optimal passive solar conditions, the single-family home also boasts repurposed and recycled materials throughout, high-performance energy systems and a healthy living environment. Inspired by the volcanic landscapes of Iceland , Dawnsknoll features a color palette evocative of the country’s dramatic vistas, from the bright, lava-like orange used in the multi-gathering space in the heart of the home to the swimming pool that echoes the color of blue lagoons. Iceland’s rocky landscape is further mimicked with translucent, glacier-inspired light fixtures, the abundance of concrete for the floors and walls and the dark-colored cabinets and shelving. “On the Dawnsknoll project, Minarc focuses on a couple of main concepts: sustainability, color and space,” the designers said in the project statement. “Our green practices and selection of sustainable products do not raise the cost of a house. We believe that building repurposed with recycled and reclaimed material should not be more expensive for our clients. Throughout this house, we recycled, repurposed and reused to its extent.” Related: These prefabricated mnmMOD wall panels could revolutionize the way we build In addition to the prefabricated mnmMOD panels — which are recyclable and resistant to fire and termites — the Dawnsknoll house features 90 percent reused furnishings. The designers aimed to “only use materials in their most organic form,” which meant no paint, tile or carpet. One of many recycled materials used was rubber, seen in the bathroom sinks as well as in the kitchen and juice bar cabinetry, where recycled rubber tires were used. Indoor-outdoor living was emphasized through operable glazed doors that also let in natural ventilation. Radiant floor heating and domestic water heating were installed as well. + Minarc Images by Art Gray

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