The Edge of the Rainforest holiday home stands true to its name

August 28, 2018 by  
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First constructed in 2003, the RLC Residence was simply known as a holiday home , a place for family and friends to gather for leisurely vacations in the lush greenery of Noosa National Park on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia . It was lovely and luxurious but lacked a connection with its idyllic surroundings. MIM Design of Melbourne recently renovated the house, also called the Edge of the Rainforest, to bond it with the forest and sea, creating a sublime sanctuary in a magnificent tropical setting. In order to strengthen the holiday home’s bond with nature, the remodel centered around making the outdoors meld with the indoors, creating an entity that inspires tranquility. “The residence’s existing floor plan lacked connection to the rainforest and ocean , missing the sentiments of relaxation from nature’s surrounding abundance,” Miriam Fanning, principal at MIM Design, said. “Through clever planning and reconfiguration of each room, a sanctuary has been created.” Related: Australia’s Glasshouse blends minimalism with a tropical resort-like twist The interior lets the vibrant surrounding greenery take center stage, with navy blue accents, stark white woodwork, silky marble surfaces and calming smoked oak floors. What were once conventionally defined rooms have been remodeled to create a breezy flow through all the levels of the home. The kitchen is now much larger, and the basement was transformed into an entertainment space to be enjoyed by both kids and adults. The icing on the proverbial cake of the upgrade is a breathtaking floor devoted to an enchanting master bedroom and en suite. A freestanding tub in the bathroom inspires long baths for mental and physical relaxation and contemplation. The glass-enclosed shower maintains the theme of transparency, and the vertical pattern of the bathroom’s subway tiling references the impressive height of the adjacent palm trees . To further celebrate the incredible foliage that envelops the house, the glass kitchen backsplash provides a clear, exhilarating view of the forest . Throughout the home, all the windows are bordered in black, making each pane appear like a prize-winning photograph of palm branches, plant life and the sea. Shutters filter light from outside and let breezes flow through the house. A refined boardwalk leads directly from the home into the nearby rainforest . All in all, this 6,997-square-foot holiday home is an inspirational haven that stirs Utopian fantasies. + MIM Design Via Dwell Images via Andrew Richey

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The Edge of the Rainforest holiday home stands true to its name

A budget-friendly bamboo house was completed in just 10 months

August 2, 2018 by  
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Brazilian architecture firm Vilela Florez designed Casa Bambu (Bamboo House), a breezy, contemporary home in northeast Brazil that takes its name from its striking use of bamboo for herringbone-patterned exterior paneling. Covering an area of nearly 2,000 square feet, this holiday home was built on a limited budget of 80,000 euros (approximately $93,140 USD) with a tight design and construction deadline of ten months for a couple who spends most of the year on a sailboat traveling through the Mediterranean Sea. The house takes cues from the clients’ travels with its Mediterranean-inspired blue hues and Portuguese mosaic stone floors found in the outdoor living areas. Located outside of a small village near Pipa Beach, Casa Bambu includes three bedrooms and bathrooms placed separately from the outdoor communal living areas. The architects built a two-story volume for the private rooms out of concrete masonry blocks that they then clad in panels of bamboo arranged in a herringbone pattern. In contrast, the primary living areas — including the dining room, kitchen and living space — are located in an adjacent open-air structure that overlooks the pool. Related: How to install bamboo paneling “Given the limited time granted for design and construction, a simple volume with the rooms is proposed and connected by bridges to an outdoor living area, paved in stone as the traditional Portuguese sidewalks,” the architects explained in a project statement. “This living area is protected laterally by two local stone walls and shaded by a wooden roof. Besides the natural color palette, spanning from wood, to bamboo and natural stone , the bedroom volume is painted in Mediterranean blue, a color so familiar to the clients from their many boat trips.” Related: This breezy bamboo amphitheater pops up in just 25 days The house is also oriented to take advantage of cooling cross ventilation . The prevailing winds are cooled when they pass over the outdoor pool and are passed into the living spaces and the bedrooms, which open up through sliding doors. + Vilela Florez Images by Mariana Vilela and Daniel F. Flórez

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A budget-friendly bamboo house was completed in just 10 months

A massive gabled roof protects this minimalist timber home from the snow

July 24, 2018 by  
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Linz-based architecture practice mia2/ Architektur has completed a charming minimalist home defined by a massive gabled roof in Pyhrn-Priel Holiday Region, an alpine region in Upper Austria. Located on a sloped site, the timber home — dubbed Haus L — was designed to embrace the outdoors with full-height operable glazing that frames beautiful rural views. The dwelling also has an eco-friendly focus with its limited footprint and use of natural materials, including cellulose insulation. Split into two levels covering 1,679 square feet, Haus L was commissioned by a young family that desired “a calm, clear architecture made of wood, concrete and glass.” Its simple yet modern design harmonizes with the rural landscape and vernacular. The top-heavy home features a concrete base and is mostly clad in light-colored timber inside and out, save for the gabled portion that is clad in stained timber . The architects partly embedded the ground floor into the earth; the master bedroom, living room and entrance can be found on this lowest level. A short set of steps to the left of the entrance leads up to a slightly elevated terrace-like space housing the kitchen and dining room. Here, sliding glass doors and the double-height ceiling create a spacious, indoor-outdoor experience. The dining room also connects to an outdoor terrace . Three additional bedrooms can be found upstairs. Skylights and a large round window let daylight into the upper floor. Related: Minimalist timber home gracefully blends into the Austrian landscape “The solid timber house with its precisely chosen elements is simple and complex at once,” explained mia2/ Architektur in a project statement. “Simplicity comes from the clear structure and proportion of base, ground floor and roof. Complexity comes from spatial variety. At the high part of the slope, the ground floor is located half a meter below terrain level, which creates a living space embedded by grassland. Downward, the kitchen and living room is given enough space to unfold up to the ridge.” + mia2/ Architektur Via ArchDaily Images by Kurt Hörbst

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A massive gabled roof protects this minimalist timber home from the snow

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo: Make Your Own Upcycled Piñata

May 3, 2018 by  
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Cinco de Mayo is almost here, and I’m going to … The post Celebrate Cinco de Mayo: Make Your Own Upcycled Piñata appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Celebrate Cinco de Mayo: Make Your Own Upcycled Piñata

Eco-Friendly Stocking Stuffers

December 15, 2017 by  
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Whether you’ve got all your holiday shopping done or are … The post Eco-Friendly Stocking Stuffers appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Real vs. Artificial Christmas Trees

December 13, 2017 by  
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Santa and the ‘Shrooms: The real story behind the "design" of Christmas

December 8, 2017 by  
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When we think of Christmas in the United States, we invariably think of Santa Claus — a man in a red suit and pointy hat with white furry trim and tall black boots, and his accessories, a bag of goodies in a sleigh pulled through the sky by a team of eight flying reindeer. And it’s a clear case of the clothes making the man, for a Santa in any other outfit would most definitely not still be Santa. (Does a fat, bearded, white-haired guy in cargo shorts and a Metallica t-shirt make you think of Christmas?) But when you think about it, it’s a pretty special outfit, no? Santa’s pretty much the only one who wears anything like it — a baggy suit with fur trim isn’t exactly stylish these days, and it wasn’t when Santa made his first appearance, either. His last known precursor, Father Christmas, wore a long red robe, sometimes with trim and sometimes without, like a cardinal — reflecting the link drawn between him and the historic Saint Nicholas, a Turkish cardinal in the 14th century who was known for his kindness to children. But the pants? And the hat? And the boots? They’re nowhere to be found on him. Popular legend has it that Santa himself, not to mention his outfit, was designed by Coca Cola, making his first appearance in their early-20th century ads and defining him for the ages by sheer force of commercial might. There’s a grain of truth in this: His generous shape and rosy cheeks came at the whimsy of Haddon Sundblom, the illustrator of so many of Coke’s well-loved ads from that period. Before Sundblom’s illustrations, Santa was commonly depicted as more of a gnome-like little man (editorial cartoonist Thomas Nast drew some of the best-known early dedications of him), often skinny and a little scary — but even then, wearing the same clothes he wears now. So the question is, where did that outfit come from? Where did Santa get such a unique sense of sartorial élan? The answer, according to anthropological research from recent decades, lies way further back than even Coke can be found. The roots of Santa’s style, and his bag of goodies, sleigh, reindeer, bizarre midnight flight, distinctive chimney-based means of entry into the home, and even the way we decorate our houses at Christmas, seem to lead all the way back to the ancestral traditions of a number of indigenous arctic circle dwellers — the Kamchadales and the Koryaks of Siberia, specifically. (So it’s true — Santa really does come from the North Pole!) And like so many other fantastical tales, it all originated with some really intense ‘shrooms. On the night of the winter solstice, a Koryak shaman would gather several hallucinogenic mushrooms called amanita muscaria, or fly agaric in English, and them to launch himself into a spiritual journey to the tree of life (a large pine), which lived by the North Star and held the answer to all the village’s problems from the previous year. Fly agaric is the red mushroom with white spots that we see in fairy tale illustrations, old Disney movies, and (if you’re old enough to remember) Super Mario Brothers video games and all the Smurfs cartoons. They are seriously toxic, but they become less lethal when dried out. Conveniently, they grow most commonly under pine trees (because their spores travel exclusively on pine seeds), so the shaman would often hang them on lower branches of the pine they were growing under to dry out before taking them back to the village. As an alternative, he would put them in a sock and hang them over his fire to dry. Is this starting to sound familiar? Another way to remove the fatal toxins from the ‘shrooms was to feed them to reindeer, who would only get high from them — and then pee, with their digestive systems having filtered out most of the toxins, making their urine safe for humans to drink and get a safer high that way. Reindeer happen to love fly agarics and eat them whenever they can, so a good supply of magic pee was usually ready and waiting all winter. In fact, the reindeer like fly agarics so much that they would eat any snow where a human who had drank ‘shroom-laced urine had relieved himself, and thus the circle would continue. When the shaman went out to gather the mushrooms, he would wear an red outfit with either white trim or white dots, in honor of the mushroom’s colors. And because at that time of year the whole region was usually covered in deep snow, he, like everyone, wore tall boots of reindeer skin that would by then be blackened from exposure. He’d gather the tree-dried fly agarics and some reindeer urine in a large sack, then return home to his yurt (the traditional form of housing for people of this region at that time), where some of the higher-ups of the village would have gathered to join in the solstice ceremony. But how would he get into a yurt whose door was blocked by several feet of snow? He’d climb up to the roof with his bag of goodies, go to the hole in the center of the roof that acted as a chimney, and slide down the central pole that held the yurt up over the fireplace. Then he’d pass out a few ‘shrooms to each guest, and some might even partake of some of the ones that had been hung over the fire. Clearly, this idea of using the chimney to get in and pass out the magic mushrooms (and other goodies) had sticking power. Interestingly, even as late as Victorian times in England, the traditional symbol of chimney sweeps was a fly agaric mushroom — and many early Christmas cards featured chimney sweeps with fly agarics, though no explanation of why was offered. Interestingly, in addition to inducing hallucinations, the mushrooms stimulate the muscular system so strongly that those who eat them take on temporarily superhuman strength, in the same way we might be affected by a surge of adrenaline in a life-or-death situation. And the effect is the same for animals. So any reindeer who’d had a tasty mushroom snack or a little yellow snow would become literally high and mighty, prancing around and often jumping so high they looked like they were flying. And at the same time, the high would make humans feel like they were flying, too, and the reindeer were flying through space. So by now you can see where this is going: The legend had it that the shaman and the reindeer would fly to the north star (which sits directly over the north pole) to retrieve the gifts of knowledge, which they would then distribute to the rest of the village. It seems that these traditions were carried down into Great Britain by way of the ancient druids, whose spiritual practices had taken on elements that had originated much farther north. Then, in the inevitable way that different cultures influence one another due to migration and intermarriage, these stories got mixed with certain Germanic and Nordic myths involving Wotan (the most powerful Germanic god), Odin (his Nordic counterpart) or another great god going on a midnight winter solstice ride, chased by devils, on an eight-legged horse. The exertion of the chase would make flecks of red and white blood and foam fall from the horse’s mouth to the ground, where the next year amanita mushrooms would appear. Apparently over time, this European story of a horse with eight legs, united with the ancient Arctic circle story of reindeer prancing and flying around on the same night, melted together into eight prancing, flying reindeer. That story then crossed the pond to the New World with the early English settlers, and got an injection of Dutch traditions involving the Turkish St. Nicholas (who came to be called Sinterklaas by small Dutch children) from the Dutch colonialists — and found immortality in its current form in early 20th-century America, with Clement Clark Moore’s famous poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” Before this poem hit the press, different immigrant groups around the U.S. each had their own different versions of the Santa Claus legend. Then in the 1930s, Coca Cola’s ad campaign gave Santa his sizable girth and sent him back around the world. And so in that spirit, a merry Christmas to all who celebrate it! + Fly Agaric

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Gorgeous Handmade Gifts Using Mason Jars

December 7, 2017 by  
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The 3 Holiday Plants That Clean the Air

December 1, 2017 by  
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The 3 Holiday Plants You Have to Have

November 30, 2017 by  
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