A historic hotel is sustainably revamped into a charming alpine village getaway

December 17, 2018 by  
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Bolzano and Berlin-based design practice NOA (network of architecture) recently renovated and expanded the Zallinger Refuge, a holiday guesthouse in the Dolomites that prides itself on its eco-friendly features. Located in Seiser Alm at 2,200 meters with breathtaking mountain views, the updated hotel comprises a cluster of structures that reference the site’s history and South Tyrolean architecture. The project has been certified under Climahotel, a certification program by the Climate House Agency of the Province of Bolzano that recognizes eco-tourism development. The Zallinger Refuge traces its beginnings to the mid-nineteenth century. Seven barns once surrounded the structure, however were later replaced by a single large building near the turn of the century. In a nod to the early site history, the architects constructed seven new chalets arranged in pairs to “bring back the charm of an alpine village.” Crafted to reflect the structure of the ancient barns with a modern twist, the chalets are built using prefabrication methods with stacked wooden blocks and wood shingle roofs to achieve a contemporary “log cabin” appearance. “In this project we have also tried to bring out that strong relationship between architecture and context, which characterizes all our works,” said architect Stefan Rier. “We want to propose new models of life and hospitality that on the one hand recover traditional forms and materials, on the other hand express quality of design, high levels of comfort and sustainability. The alpine environment is a complex and fascinating system that must be understood and respected. We think it’s important to think of new spaces and ways to inhibit it: environments on a human scale, comfortable, welcoming, but above all unique and authentic.” Related: Luxury lakeside hotel promises a return to nature in Italy In addition to the original 13 rooms in the central guesthouse, the Zallinger Refuge has added 24 rooms in the new mini-chalets. Timber lines the interiors for a cozy feel, while an energy-efficient pallet boiler provides the heating and hot water supply. The historic lodge was redesigned to include the reception, the lobby, the lounge and the restaurant. A new metal-clad building introduced to the site houses the wellness area with a sauna overlooking stunning views. + NOA Photography by Alex Filz via NOA

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A historic hotel is sustainably revamped into a charming alpine village getaway

Your guide to natural holiday decorations

December 17, 2018 by  
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The holidays offer the perfect opportunity to gather with family and friends, enjoy good food and create lasting memories. Hosting the party can mean anything from sending a casual invite for game night to creating a 10-course dinner. Whether the season is filled with cozy nights at home watching seasonal movies or nightly entertaining to catch up with friends, a welcoming environment makes you and your guests feel right at home. Fortunately, creating a festive vibe doesn’t require a trip to the commercialized holiday aisle at your nearest department or home improvement store. Instead, look for natural elements that bring a bit of the outdoors in during the otherwise unwelcoming cold season. Here are some ideas to spruce up your space in a sustainable way. Wreaths Wreaths are easy to make and offer a ton of options depending on what you have available in your area. Grab those woody grape vines and form them into a circle. Use gardener’s wire to attach your favorite natural elements , such as berries or dried flowers. Even a single long sprig of eucalyptus makes a quick wreath with a pleasant scent. Evergreen branches are also useful in this endeavor. Attach them to a wire straw wreath frame and add poinsettia leaves and ribbon for a festive door decoration. Smaller wreaths can double as a centerpiece with a pillar candle in the center. Related: Simple DIY upcycled holiday decor Centerpieces Speaking of centerpieces, natural elements make the best appeal for the dining table. Select your favorite glass water pitcher or salad bowl and fill it with colorful citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes or grapefruit. Mix up the look with some added woody herb stems and leaves, such as lavender or mint. Alternately, pick a color theme such as red apples, currants, pomegranate and cranberries. Because candles are always a welcome addition to the table, hollow out apples or gourds and place tea lights inside. Surround them with vines or leaves to incorporate different heights into the look. Another classic centerpiece can be created out of a long piece of bark or driftwood. Simply balance other natural elements on top, such as nuts and colorful berries. Mantles and tabletops Large, flat surfaces naturally draw in the eye, so mantles, sofa tables and similar surfaces provide a great opportunity to introduce natural elements into a space. Begin with pine boughs trimmed from the tree. Add layers of color with holly berries and pinecones. Then, elevate the interest with varied glass bowls, vases or glasses. Fill each with your favorite combination of nuts, spices, herbs, flowers and fruits. For a particularly cozy appeal, weave LED lighting through the display. Scents Although adding visual elements to your decor makes an effective statement, remember to also invite the scents of nature into your home. While your Christmas tree may offer the smell of evergreen, there are many other opportunities to bring in the subtle essence of the outdoors. Go with an old-fashioned potpourri by leaving a combination of citrus, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon in some water to simmer on the stove. Simplicity When it comes to decorating for the holidays, less is more. Keep displays and centerpieces simple and streamlined. Nature is already elegant, so there is no need to overdress her. Instead, combine elements with small touches here and there. Even a simple bowl of walnuts or hazelnuts brings with it a connection to nature. Rather than blanketing a table with a variety of creations, use a colorful runner with a pinecone-filled wooden bowl instead. Take that lemon tree you brought inside for winter and add a few bulbs for a festive touch. Create subtle appeal with drink markers handmade from cork, seashells or pieces of bark. Natural fibers In your efforts to ring in the season with a touch of nature, remember that in addition to the living elements, there are textiles sourced from nature that can have the same effect. For example, natural burlap comes from jute, a plant fiber. The sight and feel of burlap transports the nature-lover to times in the barnyard feeding grain to the farm animals or out on the lake surrounded by the ropes on the sailboat. Use fibers like burlap to make a natural-looking wreath. Make small bags out of the material and use them as a planter for small cuttings or herbs. Hang them from the curtain rod or place them in the windowsill. Similarly, wrap rope around candle holders for a salty-skin, nautical feel. Related: A guide to the best holiday gifts for an eco-friendly home Materials from nature In addition to textiles and rope, other elements from nature bring harmony and calmness to indoor spaces. Clay is a natural element that makes a nice container for earthy additions like shells and colorful rocks. Moss and cork are two other examples that will make your space more inviting for the holidays. Mirroring nature Remember that nature offers seasons of color and flourish. Winter is a time of light growth and a feeling of calm. Bring that sense inside with basic elements and a few punches of color. Also remember other elements of nature, such as sunlight and water. Make a tabletop fountain from a large bowl with a basic pump and tiered rocks. Add moss for a softer effect. Alternately, feed water through a pump to a water feature of terracotta pots stacked on their sides, pouring into each other. Even though winter is a subtle time, plants and flowers still bloom throughout the season. Your holiday decor can be as simple as a single plant or as bold as a decorated live tree in your foyer. Images via Jez Timms , Couleur , Petra and Shutterstock

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Strategically slanted walls squeeze extra space out of a small guesthouse

November 9, 2018 by  
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Strict building restrictions often dictate the design of home additions, but in certain cases, savvy architects know just how to work around them. Case in point is architect Nicole Blair, head of Austin-based Studio 512 , who has just unveiled The Hive guesthouse, a tiny home that expands as it rises upward, evoking the shape of a beehive. Built as a guest house for a residence in Austin, The Hive’s unusual shape is a solution to local building codes that required that the footprint of structure be confined to a maximum of 320 square feet. Not one to be limited by such regulations, architect Nicole Blair found a smart way to abide by the rules while still creating a gorgeous extension. Inspired by the shape of a beehive, Blair simply added a second story using walls that slant upward and outward from the base. This way, the walls expand as they rise, providing extra space to the second floor. Related: This swanky desert guesthouse was fashioned out of a former horse barn Clad in large cedar shake siding  repurposed from old roofing material, the charming tiny home with a very unusual shape is certainly eye-catching. The dramatically slanted walls and large windows framed in white add a touch of fairytale whimsy to the dynamic design. From the tilted kitchen walls to the spacious, angular bathroom to the sloping bedroom, the structure’s geometric character — and quirky personality — is evident. The small, covered entrance features an outdoor shower installed adjacent to the front door. Inside, the living space and kitchen are found on the first floor, where an open layout seamlessly connects the two spaces. In the kitchen, the angled walls also provide more counter space. Between the kitchen and living room, a wall of multiple glass panels bring in  natural light . A set of dark wooden stairs leads up to the second level, which houses the bedroom, bathroom and a small work space. Throughout the tiny home, bright white walls and ample natural light lend to the vibrant, modern aesthetic. The neutral color palette is contrasted nicely with a smart collection of modern furnishings and a mix of unique features such exposed copper pipes, blackened wood flooring and kitchen cabinetry made from  reclaimed longleaf pine . + Studio 512 Via Dezeen Photography by Casey Dunn and Whit Preston via Studio 512

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Strategically slanted walls squeeze extra space out of a small guesthouse

Dreamy cabin harvests rainwater and natural light for a minimal carbon footprint

January 8, 2018 by  
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Nevada-based INCLINEDESIGN proves sustainable design can be beautiful in this dreamy timber cabin on Lopez Island, Washington. Available in the summer as a vacation rental, the Barn Gallery guesthouse is a showcase of eco-friendly design – from its use of reclaimed timber and metal to its elegantly crafted rainwater catchment system. Surrounded by four acres of woodland and private meadow, the guesthouse faces southwest for views of a secluded waterfront bluff. The Barn Gallery project began as a “deconstruction” of a 1970s-era home, with the designers recycling materials where possible while retaining the original building footprint. The new home’s untreated timber siding was reclaimed from the original home’s floor joists, which were milled from trees felled on the property in 1970. Corten steel frames the single-pitched roof and walls and reclaimed metal components compliment the timber palette that will naturally develop a silvery patina over time. The light-filled interior is modern and minimalist with custom artistic touches like the unique sandblasted shower glass and the copper towel warmers plumbed inline with the in-floor hot water pipes. Reclaimed timber can also be seen indoors in the form of new custom furnishings. Per its name, Barn Gallery regularly hosts rotating art exhibits featuring local artists. Related: Rammed-charcoal home is a handsome oasis between the trees To keep energy use to a minimum, the designers installed smart energy monitoring, a structural insulated panel roof, and underfloor radiant heating with heat recovery ventilation and heat pump technologies. A solar array was omitted due to budget. Rainwater is captured and filtered on-site through a rain garden and is also harvested in a large timber-clad rain barrel. + INCLINEDESIGN Via Dwell Images by Steve Horn

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Dreamy cabin harvests rainwater and natural light for a minimal carbon footprint

Salvaged wood clads handsome mountain cabin in Vermont

April 7, 2017 by  
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This handsome timber cabin nestled in the foothills of Vermont’s Green Mountains stands out from the pack with its asymmetrical roofs and weathered, recycled timber cladding. Richmond-based Birdseye Design designed Woodshed, a cabin that infuses contemporary elements into the traditional woodshed vernacular. The cabin’s Douglas fir and pine cladding were repurposed from snow fencing and horse corrals. Set on a clearing on a steeply sloping and heavily wooded site, the Woodshed in Pomfret blends into its forested surroundings with its timber-clad facade. Conceived as a guesthouse and entertainment space for the main residence down the road, the residential project takes cues from the iconic woodshed found in the Vermont landscape. The main building comprises two asymmetric gabled roof volumes connected via a central entryway. A small auxiliary garage sits off to the side. Related: Origami-like alpine cabin brings contemporary style to Chile’s mountains “The western, public elevation presents the continuous, wood textured wall that evokes the expressive, scrim wall of a traditional woodshed,” write the architects. “The project purposefully projects a minimal familiar elevation to the non-view, public street side and an engaging, contemporary open elevation to the private hillside.” Large expanses of glazing wrap around the east facade to frame views of the landscape. Exterior terraces expand the footprint of the home to the outdoors. + Birdseye Design Via ArchDaily Images via Birdseye Design

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Salvaged wood clads handsome mountain cabin in Vermont

Thousands of grafted flowers grow on the entire face of this Milan building

April 7, 2017 by  
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A stunning show for the eyes—and nose—has taken over the facade of a building in Milan . Local design studio Piuarch teamed up with landscape architect Cornelius Gavril to create ‘Flowerprint,’ a gardening facade installation with 2,000 aromatic flowers and herbs grafted onto tubers. The plants, which range from roses and lilies to thyme and lavender, create a multicolored “flower embroidery” exploring a new multi-sensory way of decorating surfaces. Created for Brera Design Week in Milan, Flowerprint is a temporary gardening facade installed on the facade of the building where Piuarch is located in the courtyard of Via Palermo 5. The constellation of flowers comprises 200 vertical lines of 2,000 suspended plants to cover the entirety of the 10-meter-tall and 20-meter-wide building facade from ground to roof. “The flowered wall uses the different varieties in their colour and material condition to create a pattern, a sort of actual floral graphism, in three dimensions: olfactory, material and in constant transformation depending on light and humidity conditions,” writes Piuarch. Related: ‘Kinetic’ rooftop garden uses pallets and plants to create the illusion of movement To extend the lifespan of the cut flowers, the designers grafted the plants onto potato plants using an ancient technique. The potato plants provide a structural basis and nutrients to the flowers. The fragrance of the flowers and aromatic herbs are enhanced with natural outdoor perfumes produced by Adar. Flowerprint is on display from April 4 to April 9, 2017. + Piuarch

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Thousands of grafted flowers grow on the entire face of this Milan building

Walker Workshop Expands a 1940s Barn Into a Contemporary Wood-Clad Guesthouse

November 11, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Walker Workshop Expands a 1940s Barn Into a Contemporary Wood-Clad Guesthouse Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: barn , beverley hills , concert hall , Contemporary Home , converted barn , fire-resistant timber , floor to ceiling glass , floor to ceiling windows , guesthouse , Los Angeles , natural light , Oak Pass Guesthouse , polished concrete , timber planks , Walker Workshop

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Walker Workshop Expands a 1940s Barn Into a Contemporary Wood-Clad Guesthouse

Nomad Living by Studio ArTe is a Colorful Container Guesthouse in Southern Portugal

May 13, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Nomad Living by Studio ArTe is a Colorful Container Guesthouse in Southern Portugal Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: full-length sliding glass doors , green design Portugal , Nomad Living Container Guesthouse by Studio ArTe , Nomad Living guesthouse by Arnold Aarssen , portugal , recycled shipping container , repurposed shipping container , shipping container home , shipping container homes in Portugal

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Nomad Living by Studio ArTe is a Colorful Container Guesthouse in Southern Portugal

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