Cable railing expand the view in your favorite spaces

January 31, 2018 by  
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When you picture your dream home, what comes to mind? Lots of open, connected spaces, tons of natural light, a gorgeous view from your deck? If so, then you should think about incorporating cable railing into your exterior and interior spaces. Not only is cable railing an excellent sustainable product option – it’s made with eco-friendly stainless steel – but it also has a minimalist vibe that makes any space feel welcoming and more expansive. Seeing Between the Lines Traditional railings can make a room feel closed and separate from adjacent spaces, creating a visual barrier. That’s not the case with cable railings. For outdoor applications, cable railing is perfect for framing an eye-catching panoramic view or stunning landscape. It’s a popular choice for decks, terraces and backyard settings because it optimizes the view – especially important for homeowners, since their families and guests are frequently seated on the patio or deck. Cable railings use slender horizontal (or vertical) stainless steel cables in place of bulky spindles and pickets for infill to create nearly unimpeded views and a very open, clean-lined aesthetic that preserves the intrinsic beauty of a space. In fact, the cables “trick the eye” and virtually disappear as your field of vision focuses beyond the cable rail toward the view. Natural Connections Because of its sleek, streamlined appearance, cable railing enables spaces to seamlessly flow into one another for a sense of continuity that is difficult to achieve with other types of railing infill. For outdoor applications , cable railing is perfect for framing an eye-catching panoramic view or stunning landscape. It’s a popular choice for decks, terraces and backyard settings because it optimizes the view – especially important for homeowners, since their families and guests are frequently seated on the patio or deck. When used indoors , rather than visually breaking up spaces, cable railing helps to subtly connect them and make them appear larger. And, in the case of stair railings, it beautifully showcases the different levels within a home without calling too much attention to itself. The ultimate effect is a look that is at once understated and modern with just the right touch of elegance. Durable, Low-Maintenance Beauty In addition to being an aesthetically-appealing design option, cable railing has lots of other things going for it. In the case of exterior applications, it’s rugged enough to stand up to corrosive coastal environments and other harsh conditions. Its minimal footprint allows full airflow across a deck or balcony area, minimizing wind exposure and the stress it can inflict on an outdoor railing system, and maintenance requirements are minimal. Only a periodic treatment with a stainless steel cleaner and protectant is recommended along with occasional cable tightening. Unmatched Versatility Compatible with most architectural styles – from rustic to transitional to contemporary, to name just a few – cable railing is easy to install and can be used with existing wood, metal or composite railings to achieve the desired look. In addition to these options, Oakland, California-based cable railing provider Feeney, Inc., offers its CableRail stainless cable rail infill in both standard and low profile options for maximum design flexibility. The brand also offers convenient kits that make it easy to install its CableRail products – even for newly minted weekend warriors and DIYers. Sustainable Style Thanks to its durable steel construction, cable railing can last a lifetime – making it a sustainable option, too. It’s reusable and can be recycled at the end of its useful life, reducing the use of non-renewable resources and helping to limit the waste stream. Companies like Feeney take sustainability one step further, producing their cable railing products out of post- and pre-consumer waste. Feeney also powers its California production facility using a 5,000-square-foot solar array. When it’s time to build or remodel, check out cable railing for its longevity, versatility, sustainability, and ability to open up the view – both indoors and out. No matter what size or style your home is, cable railing has the power to transform your spaces from bland to breathtaking. + Feeney, Inc.

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Cable railing expand the view in your favorite spaces

The Earth’s poles may be about to flip – and the consequences could be ‘dire’

January 31, 2018 by  
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Over the past 200 years, the Earth’s magnetic field has been getting weaker . Researchers believe that this could be a sign that the poles are about to flip – and the consequences could be “dire,” according to some scientists. If a flip happens, it could knock out power grids, alter the climate, and expose us to solar winds that could puncture the ozone layer. The poles have switched regularly throughout Earth’s history. The last time they flipped was 780,000 years ago. Since the poles normally switch every 200,000 – 300,000 years – according to NASA – we are well overdue for a change. Over the last two centuries, the magnetic field generated by the Earth’s molten core has weakened 15 percent, lending further evidence to the fact that the poles are getting restless. Related: The Earth’s magnetic field is weakening ten times faster than expected If the poles flip, it could confuse animals that rely on magnetic fields for migration, and it could lead to more radiation from the sun reaching life on the planet, according to studies . This would lead to an increase in the incidence of cancer – or at least require us to protect ourselves better from the sun. In a worst-case scenario, the flipping poles could wipe out power grids by damaging satellites that control grid infrastructure and could impact the climate by changing cloud cover. According to researcher Daniel Baker , we don’t know for sure when the poles could flip. The poles have been known to shift and move, ultimately snapping back into place. And while it certainly wouldn’t be a doomsday scenario for the planet, it would be wise to prepare for the event, so that the impact isn’t challenging for humanity. Via Undark Images via NOAA,   NASA and Deposit Photos

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The Earth’s poles may be about to flip – and the consequences could be ‘dire’

This $1.4 million Somerset cottage could be yours for just $14

January 22, 2018 by  
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Feeling lucky? For under $14 you could win this stunning 17-room cottage outside of Bristol. The English manor belongs to UK hat maker Tricia Hamilton , and she’s raffling it off to one lucky winner. The 19th century home measures 8,250 square feet and has a whopping 17 rooms, including 4 bedrooms, spread out over three stories. The picturesque cottage sits on a half-acre plot of land with a vegetable garden and fruit orchard. Hamilton has lived on the property for 20 years and has restored its historic fixtures over the years. As for the odd way of selling such a real estate gem, Hamilton says that the home has been on the market for more than a year. Even after cutting 300,000 from the original listing, she still couldn’t find a buyer. Although the unconventional system of selling the home by raffle may be a little risky (she needs to sell 500,000 tickets to break even), she hopes to use the money to reinvest in her business and move to be closer to family. Related: Magical Cape Cod-style cottage perched on NYC rooftop goes on sale for $3.5M The drawing is scheduled for the 15th of February. The lucky winner will have stamp duty and fees paid for them, and a portion of the proceeds from the drawing will be donated to charity. + Win My House Via The Spaces Images via Win My House

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This $1.4 million Somerset cottage could be yours for just $14

Melbourne architects turn an old terrace house into a gorgeous light-filled home

January 17, 2018 by  
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Melbourne-based Ben Callery Architects converted a compact terrace house with limited square footage into a contemporary, light-filled home by going upwards and outwards. The renovation introduced a large rooftop deck, and natural light floods the interior, providing a strong connection with the outdoors. The Beyond House also takes advantage of a number of sustainable features including passive heating and cooling, solar power , water harvesting, and repurposed materials. The old row home was previously cramped in between two walls with little light, but by bringing the home design upwards, the architects were able to outfit the top level with a gorgeous open-air deck that allows the homeowners to enjoy a private outdoor space. Although adding this indoor/outdoor connection to the home was imperative to the renovation, the owners were also focused on creating a strong sustainability portfolio for their new home. Related: Low-impact Abbotsford Eco House uses recycled materials wherever possible in Melbourne “The owners are serious about sustainability and wanted the new addition to be naturally comfortable, using the sun for heating, breezes for cooling, water harvesting, solar power, recycled materials (even re-using the old kitchen),” the architects said. “We looked beyond the site constraints and beyond the typical spatial boundaries within a terrace house’s rooms and levels.” The strong connection to the outdoors continues throughout the interior, which was outfitted with strategically placed windows to bring in as much natural light to the living space as possible. In fact, every room in the house has a floor-to-ceiling glass door that provides optimal light, further fusing the indoor with the outdoor. + Ben Callery Architects Via Freshome Photography by Peter Bennetts via Ben Callery Architects

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Melbourne architects turn an old terrace house into a gorgeous light-filled home

These Adidas sneakers double as subway passes in Berlin

January 17, 2018 by  
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No ticket? No problem. If you’re wearing Adidas’s limited-edition EQT Support 93 sneaker , you’ll be able to hitch a free ride on Berlin’s metro through most of 2018. To satisfy the conductor, simply kick up your heels. An unlikely partnership between the footwear giant and Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe —a.k.a. BVG, the German capital’s main public transport operator—each shoe incorporates an annual pass that’s been rendered in fabric and stitched into the tongue. Such passes typically go for €730 ($895), which means that the shoe itself, at €180 ($220), is a comparative steal. Unsurprisingly, some newspapers noted that hundreds of people camped outside shoe stores in the snow (a few of them over the weekend) for a chance to snap up one of just 500 pairs. As far as train-hopping is concerned, the shoe is certainly dressed for the occasion. It features camouflage-like squiggles that recall the design of the subway system’s upholstered seats, plus black-and-yellow sneakers that echo the colors of the trains’ facades. Related: San Francisco’s rapid transit to run on 100% renewable energy And BVG, which is ringing in its 90th year, demonstrates that you’re never to old to be a fashion icon. “How cool is that? Now we have an exclusive sneaker with our popular BVG seat pattern. We are sure that this shoe is a very special highlight for Berlin,” Sigrid Evelyn Nikutta, CEO of BVG, said in a statement. “It’s great that the BVG, which is celebrating its 90th birthday this year, is now becoming a cult object itself.” + Adidas Photos by Overkill

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These Adidas sneakers double as subway passes in Berlin

Smart Home targets affordability and eco-friendly design in Australia

January 10, 2018 by  
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Green Sheep Collective aimed to create an affordable and highly energy efficient home with the design of Smart Home, a renovation and extension in Melbourne , Australia. Built for approximately $200 per square foot, the home is by no means a low-cost home but the price is impressive given the inclusion of high-level environmentally sustainable principles and components. In contrast to Melbourne’s many McMansions, the Smart Home is a site-specific compact home that boasts low to zero emissions, recycled materials, and connection to the outdoors. Smart Home is an expansion and renovation of a two-bedroom single-fronted Victorian cottage in inner Melbourne. Passive solar design principles guided the design and the home’s openings and room layout are optimized for natural light and ventilation. Recycled materials were used wherever possible as was ethically sourced materials like the radially sawn timbers and Flexo recycled rubber flooring. Water saving impacts were addressed with EcoVerta water saving units. Careful design and clever storage solutions with built-in furniture created 20% more usable indoor space within the 140-square-foot addition. Related: Beautiful Northcote Solar Home shows off modern energy-efficient family living “This project faced a number of critical challenges that had to be overcome in order to meet these sustainability and design targets,” wrote the architects. “The constraints included overshadowing, poor orientation, and a small 7.5 metre wide east-west block built close to the boundary. The existing home was dark and leaky with a lean-to at the rear.” The architects demolished the lean-to and added a mezzanine . “Our response creates interesting volumes for architectural beauty, and minimises idle space by ensuring the floor plan is utilised to its full capacity through clever storage solutions and split level living. The single storey addition includes open plan living, dining and kitchen opening via large openable glazed doors to an outdoor deck.” + Green Sheep Collective Images by Shae Parker McCashen

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Smart Home targets affordability and eco-friendly design in Australia

Exquisite Japanese house wraps around a generations-old tree

January 1, 2018 by  
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The line between nature and architecture is often blurred in Japan to beautiful effect. Japanese architect Takashi Okuno practices this kind of nature-fused architecture with Hiiragi’s House, a modern Japanese-style residence built around a courtyard and old tree that the client’s family has tended to for generations. Located in the Ehime Prefecture, the house is minimally decorated and built with large expanses of glass to focus the eye on the use of simple, natural materials and courtyard views. Named after the venerated generations-old tree, Hiiragi’s House was built to wrap around a mature hiiragi (Japanese for ‘holly osmanthus’ that’s not seen in the photographs due the tree’s “recuperation”). The architect highlighted the importance of the tree by making the courtyard visible from nearly every room in the home, including the entrance hallway. Floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding doors frame views of the courtyard from the open-plan living room, where a wood-burning stove visually delineates the lounge from the kitchen and dining area. Related: Beautiful cedar home stands high on stilts to accommodate heavy snowfall in Japan Environmentally friendly practices were also put into place. Rather than solely rely on fans for cooling, natural ventilation is optimized, as is the stack effect, where cool outside air is pulled into the double-height living room and hot air exits through clerestory windows on the second floor. Rain chains collect rainwater runoff from the roof, while cellulose fiber is used for heat insulation. The architect also stressed the use of natural materials throughout the building to create a healthy and welcoming environment, seen from the solid timber framing and straw-floor tatami mats to washi-paper screens and diatomaceous earth used as a finishing material. + Takashi Okuno Via Dezeen Images by Shigeo Ogawa

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Exquisite Japanese house wraps around a generations-old tree

6 ways to make your life more "Hygge" – the Danish secret to happiness

December 26, 2017 by  
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Unless you are from Denmark or Norway, the concept of “hygge” (pronounced hoo-gah) was likely foreign to you until the past few years when this idea of “cozying around” began gaining serious traction. In this big, loud, harsh world, many of us desire a return to good company, simple pleasures, and mindfulness in the moment, and hygge embodies these ideas and more. We’re sharing six ways to help you create this restorative state of mind beloved for centuries in Denmark (by way of Norway ). Image © @quizzically_yours 1. Host a low-key and intimate get-together Small hang-outs with friends are an ideal hygge-promoting gathering. Hygge get-togethers aren’t pretentious: think board game night , card night, or a bagel brunch in the comfort of your own home. The focus of these gatherings is on togetherness, not on spending five hours baking fussy hors d’oeuvres or desserts, so they are perfect for throwing together at a moment’s notice and are super potluck-friendly . An event that gets people absorbed in each other’s company and a low-tech activity that encourages them to detach from their phones is definitely high on the hygge scale. Linked to the concept of hygge is an appreciation of the outdoors, and Danes are known for prizing their open-air time from a young age: babies in Denmark and all over Scandinavia even take their naps outside . Take your gathering outdoors (weather permitting) to bring together the best of both worlds: huddling around an outdoor fire pit definitely fits the bill as does taking a dip in a hot tub. Image © Maria via Unsplash 2. Or make your own solo hygge experience Although hygge is often associated with cozy, candlelit get-togethers with dear friends, you can create your own hygge vibe when you are by yourself. Fredagsmys , a word from Denmark’s Nordic neighbor Sweden , is an actual term used for curling up indoors on a Friday night. So watch a movie, sit on the sofa, or make yourself some hot chocolate or tea and relax with a book (perhaps in front of a fire). Hygge is focused on the idea of enjoying and being aware of simple moments and experiences, so everything doesn’t have to be “just so”: partaking in a free flowing  yoga  practice or a nourishing  soup making  session applies. Image © Alisa Anton via Unsplash 3. Create hygge-friendly spaces in your home While it may be tempting to get caught up in the hygge-buying fever and feel the desire to suddenly possess a plethora of knit throws, cushy pillows, an array of scented candles, and more items, there’s no financial obligation required for creating a warm, comfortable, friendly space. Putting your favorite vintage and reclaimed  knickknacks on display creates a sociable, lived-in vibe. Ditto for items picked up during memorable vacations and roadtrips. If you have a home with large open spaces, consider arranging the furniture that you already own in configurations that encourage intimate tête à têtes. Even a small side table or an ottoman can be a place to gather around, set down your mug, or put your feet up. Interior designer Dani Arps for TaskRabbit suggests, “Texture and natural materials always add warmth; think chunky or nubby blankets stored in a mesh basket that sits next to a reclaimed coffee table.” Related: DIY Meditation Temple Built from Salvaged Materials Photo © Aaron Burden via Unsplash 4. Make space for quiet/meditation Mindfulness and gratitude are definitely components of a hygge mentality, and they dovetail nicely with many people’s goals of having a regular meditation practice. If sitting cross-legged and reciting a mantra isn’t your cup of tea, then consider making your cup of tea the meditation itself. Give yourself permission to really savor and enjoy your morning beverage  without feeling the need to check social media. Or take an invigorating walk with your dog by your side, soak in the tub , journal or even make a phone call to a friend or family member who you can’t connect with in person-these all align with the idea of creating a soothing and reflective practice. Since mindfulness is the goal, avoid multitasking while you are doing whatever activity you choose. Image via Inhabitots 5. Make comforting and nourishing food and drink If you were to scan Instagram, many of the images hashtagged with hygge would start to resemble each other: hands around a warm mug of something, a table laid out with humble but hearty fare, like this mushroom quinoa risotto , a bowl of oatmeal, or fruit and nut-studded granola. Another central tenet in Danish culture is spending time with family , so pulling out a favorite recipe that has been shared over generations for a family gathering is a great way to honor tradition (not to mention the fact that commonly beloved food seems to have a way of smoothing over many family riffs). A super hygge-friendly activity: create an intimate  multigenerational family cooking class with a matriarch or patriarch of the family teaching the younger set how to make a traditional family dish. A few other ideas to get you started include apple cider served in apple cups , a homemade vegan nutella-like spread , one pot sun-dried tomato and basil pasta , and a decadent vegan chocolate cake made with veggies . Image © Antonia Bukowska via Unsplash 6. Put hygge concepts to work year-round Although the idea of cozying around a fire or snuggled up on the couch with our favorites makes winter the season most associated with hygge, the concept of hygge can be employed throughout the year. After all, hygge is a mindset for making “ essential and mundane tasks dignified, joyful, and beautiful ”. To that end, going for a midsummer midnight swim, having a backyard BBQ with a few friends, taking a hike in the spring rain, or organizing a pumpkin picking and carving session could all embody this mind/body/soul-nourishing concept. Lead image ©  Worthy of Elegance via Unsplash

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6 ways to make your life more "Hygge" – the Danish secret to happiness

How to Reuse Cardboard Boxes Around the Home

December 26, 2017 by  
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By Barry Tabor A staggering amount of cardboard is thrown … The post How to Reuse Cardboard Boxes Around the Home appeared first on Earth911.com.

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How to Reuse Cardboard Boxes Around the Home

The farmers growing food across frigid northern latitudes

December 22, 2017 by  
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Although frost has arrived in most subtropical regions of the Northern Hemisphere, farmers still carry on even in the most extreme cold climates with the help of innovative technology and thoughtful design. Polar Permaculture Solutions of Norway  and the Inuvik Community Greenhouse of Canada are outstanding examples of defiant, determined agriculture in the Arctic. With features such as hydroponic systems, insulated greenhouses, and compost-warmed geodesic domes, these farms are far from frozen despite their high latitude locations. Benjamin Vidmar, founder of Polar Permaculture Solutions , was inspired to make a change through observations of his home, Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, the Svalbard archipelago’s largest island. “This whole island is about extraction: whales, coal, animals, fish, gas, oil,” Vidmar told Mic . “Everything here is based on taking things from the Earth . I feel like I have to do something for this town.” Vidmar, a chef, began researching methods for growing food in harsh, frigid climates and started growing microgreens for home and restaurant use in an insulated geodesic dome. Since then, Polar Permaculture Solutions has opened its doors for tours and classes for those interested in the challenge. Vidmar hopes to acquire a biodigester, which would create heat and fertilizer from food waste and quail droppings. Related: New Antarctic farm will grow produce despite temperatures of -100 d Across the Atlantic, then again across the most northern regions of North America, communities in Canada’s Northwest Territories are also implementing innovative systems to grow food despite the short season. In the small town of Inuvik, the Inuvik Community Greenhouse , which was converted from an old hockey rink, is now a cherished community space for all ages. The Greenhouse has 250 members, 149 community garden beds, and 24 smaller beds that grow a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and flowers. During the growing season, which lasts from May to September in the greenhouse, community members donate 100 pounds of food to the local food bank. The Greenhouse also offers a compost collection service for town residents, which reduces local food waste, helps to build greenhouse soil, and financially supports the greenhouse’s growth. Via Mic Images via Polar Permaculture Solutions and Inuvik Greenhouse

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The farmers growing food across frigid northern latitudes

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