Architecture graduate celebrates her first year living in a tiny home she built herself

April 5, 2017 by  
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Most architecture graduates daydream about creating larger-than-life buildings – but 27-year-old Stephanie Henschen is celebrating her first year living in a tiny home she designed and built herself. The University of South Florida grad student spent 10 months building the home for her thesis project. Not only did she get an A for her work, but she’s become a fully-fledged member of the tiny home revolution. Henschen began the project with little experience in construction. After buying a building plan at a tiny home workshop, she began to build the design in her grandmother’s backyard in St. Petersburg, Florida with some help from her family. Once finished, she hauled it to the USF campus to present as her thesis project, and she received a glowing review. Initially, she had plans to sell the home to pay off her debt, but she became so attached to the project that she decided to live in it. She eventually moved the home to a RV resort where she has lived comfortably for the last year. Related: How this photographer escaped the grid with her tiny Teardrop Trailer Although the project wasn’t necessarily driven by the need to minimalize her life, Henschen says that sustainability and minimalism came easily as soon as she began designing the compact space. The timber home measures 210 square feet and it’s loaded on a trailer for easy transportation. On the interior, multi-colored wooden panels give the space a nice cabin feel, which is enhanced with personal touches such as white curtains. The bedroom sits up on an elevated loft-like space reached by ladder, and a honeycomb-shaped window floods the interior with natural light. Although she’s become quite attached to her first tiny home, she has recently put it on sale for $30,000. She hopes to use the money to build two more tiny homes – one to live in and one to sell. + Searching for Hamlet Photo courtesy of Stephanie Henschen

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Architecture graduate celebrates her first year living in a tiny home she built herself

MINIs tiny innovative home for three purifies the air in Milan

April 5, 2017 by  
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How do we cope with the increasing shortage of attractive housing in today’s cities? Car manufacturer MINI teamed up with New York architects SO – IL to tackle this challenge by producing an innovative solution: MINI LIVING — Breathe. Unveiled at the Milan Salone del Mobile 2017, the tiny housing prototype reinvents urban living and offers owners a refreshing garden-like environment and the freedom to move and adapt their home. Located on a previously unused 50-square-meter urban plot, the MINI LIVING — Breathe installation comprises six compact living spaces and a roof garden for three people inside a five-meter-wide microhome. Built with a modular metal frame, the home can be easily disassembled, moved, and reassembled or expanded upon in a new location. A flexible and light-permeable outer skin wraps around the metal skeleton instead of opaque walls. The light-filled housing prototype follows MINI’s principles “Creative use of space” and “Minimal footprint.” MINI Living — Breathe’s forward-thinking design is centered on the idea of a house as an active ecosystem. The translucent outer skin, which can be replaced with different fabrics depending on the urban climate, features a special coating that filters and neutralizes the air. The ten-meter-tall home acts as a giant air filter and helps improve the surrounding microclimate with its lush rooftop garden with plants that help clean toxins from the air. “The approach we took with MINI LIVING – Breathe extends far beyond purely a living concept,” says Oke Hauser, Creative Lead of MINI LIVING. “We view the installation as an active ecosystem, which makes a positive contribution to the lives and experiences of the people who live there and to the urban microclimate , depicted here by the intelligent use of resources essential to life – i.e. air, water and light.” The kitchen, located on the ground floor, serves as the main entry area and social gathering point of the home. Living spaces are located in the above three levels, while the sleeping areas, a potential wet area, and a roof garden are placed in the uppermost floors. Textile walls divide the living areas and allow for privacy while still permitting light to seep through. A water catchment system on the roof harvests rainwater for reuse in the tap. Related: A rolling garden on wheels recently popped up in the middle of Milan SO – IL writes: “By making living an active experience, the installation shines a spotlight on environmental awareness and encourages visitors to confront our tendency to take resources for granted. Instead of a traditional organization with rooms dedicated to specific functions, this house is composed as a loose stack of porous realms. A variety of atmospheres and spatial experiences are generated through the manipulation of light, air and water.” MINI Living — Breathe is open to visitors of the Salone del Mobile on Via Tortona 32 in Milan, Italy from April 4 to April 9, 2017. + SO – IL Architects Images © Laurian Ghinitoiu

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Timber Chimney House gives farmhouse vernacular a modern twist

April 3, 2017 by  
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Although the Chimney House is a thoroughly contemporary design, the home’s aesthetic pays homage to the area’s traditional farmhouse vernacular . Designed by Dekleva Gregoric Architects , the home in Logatec, Slovenia is clad in dark timber panels and it features a striking gabled roof . However, the heart of the design is a massive chimney that runs from the bottom floor to the roof, defining the home’s playful shape. The Chimney House is located on the edge of town and it’s designed to blend into the rustic area. The home is clad in traditional dark larch boards , and it draws inspiration from the traditional barns found throughout the area. However, the home’s monolithic shape gives it a strong modern character. Related: Three-storey chimneys funnel geothermal energy into award-winning Perth home A massive chimney with a wooden stove is located in the kitchen, which holds court as the center of the homeowners’ private and social life. The position of the chimney was central to the design, determining the layout of the interior spaces. The interior design is also a mix of old and new, with oiled oak paneling used for almost all of the surfaces. The slanted ceilings , which are covered in reinforced concrete, enhance the playful shape of the home. The large chimney reaches up through the interior to “break open” a linear skylight that runs the length of the roof’s apex, allowing optimal natural light to flood the home. + Dekleva Gregoric Architects Photography by Flavio Coddou

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The Farallon is a tiny farmhouse-style home you can take wherever you go

April 3, 2017 by  
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We’ve written before about Tumbleweed Tiny House Company , which handcrafts tiny dwellings for people interested in exploring low-impact living. One of our favorite designs is the new Farallon RV with a classic farmhouse aesthetic. Not only is this tiny home a beauty to behold, but it can also connect to standard RV water and electric hookups, making it a breeze to set up. The Farallon comes in several different styles with multiple floor plans, ranging from 218 to 292 square feet of usable space. Up to six people can sleep comfortably in the home, depending on the options a customer selects—most floor plans include a loft large enough for a queen-sized bed and an option to include an additional bedroom or second loft. All of the designs include the standard appliances you’d expect in a home, like a fridge, stove, heater and air conditioner, washer and dryer, water heater and shower. The RV can be set up to function off the grid or to use propane, while the bathroom can be equipped with a composting toilet or low-flush toilet to reduce waste. Related: 7 Teensy Tiny Tumbleweed Homes for Small-Space Living But perhaps the best part of the Farallon is how it’s modeled after standard RVs, allowing it to be towed by most trucks. Tumbleweed is making it easier than ever for tiny home lovers to easily pick up and move anywhere recreational vehicles are allowed. If you’ve ever taken a long-distance road trip and found yourself pining for your own bed, you can now take your home with you. The Farallon starts at $62,950 for the 20-foot floor plan or $72,950 for the 26-foot plan (and yes, Tumbleweed does offer payment plans). For an additional fee, you can customize it with added skylights, a sliding screen, and a variety of interior finishes. Additional lighting, ceiling fans, a media center, or built-in desk can all be customized when you place your order, among many other options. If you’re the work at home type, you can even set up a room to use as an office . No matter what design you choose, everything is beautifully finished in the hardwood. + Farallon Tiny Home

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The Farallon is a tiny farmhouse-style home you can take wherever you go

Architects transform an old hay barn into a stunning minimalist home

February 28, 2017 by  
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OFIS Architects have converted an old hay barn in Slovenia into a gorgeous living space. The barn was originally used to house cattle on the first floor and store hay on the upper level, but had been left empty for years. To convert the space into a comfortable loft space without sacrificing the building’s local vernacular, the architects were determined to use as much as the existing structure as possible. The Slovenian countryside is full of decrepit barns that serve as symbols of the country’s rural lifestyle. To pay respects to the local vernacular, the architects made impressive strides to use what they could of the barn’s original materials . Related: Architects transform 18th century barn with seamless contemporary extension Surprisingly, the renovation team was able to maintain almost all of the external wooden cladding and concrete roof slates. A few strategic renovations were made to include windows and an opening for the front porch to let in natural light to the home, and a ramp that previously led animals into the barn was also fixed to serve the same purpose for the new, human inhabitant. https://youtu.be/cBDAeyO7WC0 Inside, the home has an open floor plan with minimal furnishings and exposed wooden beams. The interior floors, walls and furniture are covered in locally-sourced spruce panels, resulting in a homey cabin feel. The open living and dining area make up the main volume, and a raised bedroom was installed in the back. The kitchen, sauna, fireplace and bathroom are all strategically placed out of sight behind a wall of sliding vertical planks to further open the living space. + OFIS Architects Via Ambienti TV Photography by Tomaž Gregori?

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Architects transform an old hay barn into a stunning minimalist home

Famous swimming pigs in Bahamas found dead after consuming ‘wrong food’

February 28, 2017 by  
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A pod of swimming pigs has delighted tourists in the Bahamas for decades, but several of them were recently found dead. Wayde Nixon, who owns some of the pigs, said they appear to have eaten food they aren’t accustomed to. The tragedy has drawn criticism of irresponsible tourists who often feed the animals human food, including alcohol like rum or beer. About 20 swimming pigs once frolicked in the Exuma Cays, according to the Bahamas’ tourism website . Swimming alongside the animals and photographing them may be harmless, but Nixon said people have also tried to ride on top of the pigs or give them alcohol. He told The Nassau Guardian, “We had them pigs there almost 30 years, and never has this happened before, but now we are going to have to regulate it. Right now it’s blowing out of proportion with people, anybody bringing food there, anybody doing what they [want to] do.” Related: Yoda the Piglet Escapes Slaughterhouse, Finds Love and Safety He blamed their deaths on someone giving them bad food, but Bahamas Humane Society president Kim Aranha said it could have been an accident, and the animals could have consumed something poisonous. She told The Independent, “It could be malicious but I don’t really see why anyone would go out of their way to hurt those lovely animals. I know there are a lot of silly sailors that go and feed them alcohol to try and get them drunk but that’s not to mistake them with the tour operators based out of Nassau who have treated them with excellent care.” Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources V. Alfred Gray said the government will work to prevent tourists from feeding the pigs, such as through a boundary line so visitors could still see the pigs but wouldn’t be able to feed them. He said his department is working with the Ministry of Tourism to implement a safeguard for the remaining 15 or so pigs. Via The Nassau Guardian and The Independent Images via Pixabay and cdorobek on Flickr

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Circular garden walkway cuts straight through Japanese timber home

January 31, 2017 by  
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Serious gardeners love to have their green space as close to their home as possible, but one Japanese couple’s love for gardening has literally come “full circle”. Designed by Fujiwaramuro Architects , the House in Mukainada has a continuous concrete garden promenade that cuts straight through the couple’s tiny timber clad home . Located in Hiroshima, the home was designed to integrate the garden into the design, making it easier for the elderly couple to enjoy their greenery. The home’s compact volume stems from wanting to protect the existing Japanese dogwood trees found on the lot. As part of the design, the architects built an earthquake-resistant wall around the perimeter that pulls double duty as a privacy fence. Related: Beautiful Greenhouse from Bangkok is a miniature garden you can bring inside Once the cedar-clad structure was designed, the architects began to build a circular earthen floor that lined up with the home’s two entrances. This round pathway was then was covered in concrete, leaving space for various planting holes. The garden design is meant to grow with the homeowners, so that eventually, they will be able to stroll through a verdant walkway without having to get their feet dirty. On the interior, the walls and flooring are also covered in oak, with a wide path of paler wood leading from the outdoor walkway through the home and back out again. The compact 800-square-foot space has one bedroom, an office space and a kitchen and bathroom. For now the home serves as a place for the family to socialize, but it was designed to be adaptable for various future uses, such as a community center or gallery space. + Fujiwaramuro Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Toshiyuki Yano

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3 ways to clear your space for Lunar New Year using Feng Shui

January 27, 2017 by  
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The Lunar New Year, fondly known as Chinese New Year , falls on Saturday, January 28th   in 2017. The year of the fire monkey will come to a close and the year of the fire rooster will begin. According to the lunar calendar, this occasion marks the beginning of spring. Similar to the solar new year, it is a time to celebrate new beginnings and start fresh. In feng shui tradition, we don’t look backwards so much as forwards. How can we welcome the best energy at this time? The best way to do this is to do a little new year space clearing. Here I’ll share with you three steps to clear your space and make room for some positive chi! 1. Open all your windows and doors I know it might still be really cold, but the first step to clear your space is to open up all the outside windows and doors at the same time. Walk around your home starting at the front door, and go clockwise. Open all the windows and doors to the outside as you go around, then wait for 9 minutes. While the windows and doors are open, visualize that all the old stagnant energy in your space is being swept out with the breeze and into the outside air. Then go back around the same way and close them all. All the stuck energy from all the dark corners and hidden areas in your home and life have exited your space and being. Picture bright white sunlight filling your home with positive and fresh, clean life affirming energy. 2. Get some oranges The most traditional feng shui method for space clearing uses oranges. Oranges are very auspicious in Asian cultures because they represent prosperity and luck. In ancient times, fruit was very precious and not so easy to obtain. Fortunately, in modern times fruit, including oranges, are readily available. In feng shui, oranges are yang; bright and strong energetically. This means that the scent of oranges, especially the peels have the power to clear spaces.  That’s why you see so many non-toxic green cleaning products with orange essential oil as an ingredient. It has the energetic and physical properties to really clean. The smell is also uplifting and bright—it just makes you happy! There a few ways you can use oranges to clear your space. First you can simply get some oranges and peel them. Nine is a good feng shui number, so get nine oranges. You can keep the orange peels in bowls around your home for a few days. When they start to dry out you can toss them into your compost pile . Another option is to use some organic orange essential oil and use an aromatherapy diffuser or make your own spray with water and a few drops of oil in a spray bottle. Try 27 drops of essential oil.  Orange essential oil spray is also easy to find at the store, just make sure they use pure orange essential oil, and it’s not an artificial fragrance. Be sure to get the orange essence all around your home, in the dark corners as well as the center of each room. An easy way to make sure you get every area is to walk around clockwise then to the center of each room. 3. Re-dedicate your space Finally, the third step to clear your space is to formally rededicate your intention for it. What exactly does this have to do with clearing space, you ask? Once you have cleared your space with oranges and fresh air, you have a blank slate to start with. How wonderful to be able to start over with new beginnings! I recommend you sit down at a table and write down 9 wishes for this new lunar year. Dedicate these wishes to your space, so that your space can help you manifest these intentions. I encourage each of you take these three simple steps based on feng shui principles to celebrate Chinese new year ! Make some space in your life to welcome all the new and fantastic things that the year of the wood horse has to offer! Anjie Cho is the founder of  Holistic Spaces and Anjie Cho Architect, integrating beauty, spirituality and green design.  She creates and enhances balance and harmony by designing spaces with an understanding of sustainability and informed by the ancient practice of feng shui.  Her focus is to create a nurturing and supportive environment for each of her clients. Anjie is a registered New York State Architect, Interior Designer, LEED Accredited Professional, and certified Feng Shui consultant.  For over 14 years, she has been creating beautiful and nourishing environments. A graduate in Architecture from the University of California at Berkeley, Anjie is a sought-after expert in the fields of feng shui and green design. You can follow her on twitter @HolisticSpaces

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Apple design director perfects a prefab home into an ultra-minimal, modern dwelling

January 26, 2017 by  
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It should come as no surprise that when Apple’s Director of Store Design was in the market for a new house, he wanted a home that would be as modern and streamlined as his employer’s impeccable shopfronts. He, along with the team at Alchemy, tweaked the original designs of the Alchemy weeHouse to create the Sonoma weeHouse, a prefabricated home made up of two elevated open-sided boxes. The ultra-minimal home was swiftly assembled onsite between gnarled oaks and boasts fantastic views of the Santa Rosa valley in California. The 970-square-foot Sonoma weeHouse is based on Alchemy’s original weeHouse modified with several customizations and finishing requirements by the San Francisco-based client, who is also an architect. While the home’s design was finalized in Minnesota by the Alchemy team, the structure was mostly prefabricated in Oregon before it was shipped, 90 percent complete, to its California site. The steel accessories, which include stairs, porch railings, and lasercut trim, were prefabricated in and shipped out from Minnesota. The Sonoma weeHouse comprises two main modules—a 640-square-foot main house and a 330-square-foot accompanying guesthouse—set atop horizontally banded, board-formed concrete plinths . Both modules feature steel frames, nine-foot-tall sliding glass walls, custom corrugated weathering steel cladding, and ipe interiors with oiled oak cabinetry. The low-maintenance oxidized steel facade helps blend the home into the landscape of gnarled coastal oaks and seasonal grasses. Related: Alchemy Architects Build Tiny Prefab weeHouses that Connect with Nature The main house contains a whitewashed oak box in the middle that houses the bedroom and divides the open kitchen, dining room, and living room on one end of the box from the toilet and shower on the other. Sliding glass doors connect the interior to an outdoor bolt-on porch that cantilevers into the dramatic landscape valley of Santa Rosa. A rear walkway connects the main house to the small guesthouse. Doors, privacy screens, and insect screens are recessed to minimize visual clutter. + Alchemy Via ArchDaily Images © Geoffrey Warner

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Apple design director perfects a prefab home into an ultra-minimal, modern dwelling

Architects transform 18th century barn with seamless contemporary extension

January 20, 2017 by  
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Bringing historic structures back to life is a challenge for any architect, but when the building goes back to 1792, the task is incredibly delicate. Adam Knibb Architects were recently charged with adding a contemporary extension to a protected and locally-adored historic barn in Alresford, Hampshire, UK. Working with local preservation organizations, the architects managed to maintain the original structure while seamlessly incorporating a new luminous living space within the aptly-named Hurdle House. Having been used for the original sheep fairs as far back as 1792, the structure is a beloved landmark for the small town and considered “a gem of Industrial Archaeology”. As such, the renovation process would be a delicate one of finding a secure way of adding contemporary additions without harming the original barn structure . Related: 6 barns converted into beautiful new homes The home is set into a large detached barn with a front and back garden, affording incredible views of the surrounding greenery. To blend the new extension into the original barn structure, a pre-fabricated CLT timber frame was chosen for the exterior cladding. This decision was also key in cutting down construction time. As for the design itself, the architects focused on the home’s natural-setting as a key element in the renovation process . Working with the Winchester Conservation department, they were granted permission to remove a rear bay window to connect the home to a new extension, which would become the primary living space of the home. To open the connection, but create a sense of boundary, a frameless glass partition was used to connect the old structure to the new. The new extension houses the large kitchen and dining area, along with a small living space and study. To separate the distinctive uses of the public areas from the private spaces, the designers used a series of visual barriers in lieu of doors or other physical obstacles. Large glass windows and doors flood the interior with natural light. + Adam Knibb Architects Via Archdaily Images via James Morris

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