Anderson Architecture revamps a dim heritage home into a modern sun-soaked abode

December 7, 2018 by  
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When Sydney-based design studio Anderson Architecture was asked to improve the livability of an old heritage home in the inner western Sydney suburb of Lewisham, the house suffered from a cold and dark indoor environment. Drawing on their experience on sustainable design, the architects rearranged the home in accordance to passive solar design in a light-filled transformation that earned the project its name, Suntrap. The contemporary renovation has even doubled the thermal efficiency of the living quarters from 3.2 to 6.4 stars. With a growing family and a dog, the clients not only sought more living space, but also improved comfort and a stronger connection with the backyard. To bring much-needed natural light and an indoor/ outdoor living experience to the home, the architects tore down an existing old addition and replaced it with a new extension optimized to meet the clients’ requests. Located on a long and skinny lot, the house is mainly organized along a central corridor that connects to three bedrooms, while the open-plan living spaces are located in the rear where they connect seamlessly with the backyard. The new extension also features an expansive master bedroom suite on the upper floor. “But our key move was to introduce an internal courtyard ,” say the architects. “We opened the heart of the home to the sun, where strategically placed eco-friendly concrete walls and hydronic heated flooring brought much-needed heat gain to cold zones. New awnings let in winter sun and we specified heavily insulated prefabricated wall and roof panels, and double-glazed windows, to help maintain comfortable indoor temperatures.” Related: 76-year-old Funkis home in Norway gets a Passive House makeover To keep costs low and reduce waste, the architects repurposed the spotted gum flooring reclaimed from the old addition into cupboard faces and the timber-lined ceiling above the kitchen. The bricks from the old kitchen were also repurposed into a strategic thermal mass wall in the backyard that doubles as a screen for a 1,400-liter rainwater tank used to irrigate the native landscaping. + Anderson Architecture Via ArchDaily Images by Nic Bower

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Anderson Architecture revamps a dim heritage home into a modern sun-soaked abode

Simple DIY upcycled holiday decor

December 7, 2018 by  
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Traditional Christmas decorations can quickly get expensive and extremely wasteful. But you can change that in your home this Christmas season by turning everyday household items into holiday decor. All you have to do is take a shopping trip through your house and upcycle old stuff into Christmas decorations. With just a little time and creativity, you can create these holiday decorations for just pennies, and keep the waste at a minimum. Pasta Christmas tree All you need for this project is some raw bowtie pasta, cardboard plates, a hot glue gun, and spray paint. Choose a color of paint that will match your holiday decor, like silver, gold, or green, and paint your pasta before gluing the pieces together to make a tree. This is just the beginning. You can also use penne rigate, fusilli, rotelle, radiatori, ditali lisci, or pasta shells to make a variety of different ornaments. When you watch the video tutorial for this craft, it will give you a creative spark. And, the surprising thing is, the holiday decorations and ornaments don’t even look like pasta when you are done. Toilet paper Santas This is a craft idea that you can do with the kids. All you need is some toilet paper rolls, colored paper, a marker, glue, scissors and string. First, measure and cut a piece of red paper that will fit around the toilet paper roll, then use your marker to draw bricks. Glue the red bricks to your toilet paper roll, then use the red paper again to cut out Santa’s legs and part of his hat. You will need white paper for the “fur trim” of Santa’s hat and pants, and black paper for the toy bag, feet and mittens. Sock monkey ornaments If you have some old sock monkeys hiding in the bottom of the closet, or have some sewing skills, you can create some cute sock monkey ornaments to put on the tree. All you need to make your own sock monkey is a pair of socks, two buttons, cotton stuffing or polyester fiber, scissors and some needle and thread. Wine bottle cork Christmas tree Another super easy idea for upcycled holiday decor is a Christmas tree made from wine bottle corks. You can paint the corks or decorate them with buttons, glitter, and textiles before tying them in red ribbon. Or, you can keep it simple and arrange plain corks (possibly with some red wine stains) into the shape of a tree. Then glue them together and add a decorative ribbon. Bottle light tree With some rebar, wine and/or liquor bottles, and a few strings of Christmas lights, you can create your own bottle light tree to light up your front yard. The possibilities are endless with this project, and the bonus is you have to drink some booze to make it happen. Cinnamon stick candle holder All you need for this idea is some cinnamon sticks, hot glue, some ribbon or lace, and a few holiday embellishments that you can find in your yard, like pine cones. And, in just a few short minutes you will have custom candle holders that will make your house smell amazing throughout the holiday season. Recycled Christmas village You can take this idea and run with it any way you like. You can use plastic containers or mason jars to house trees you can make from paper. And, you can use cereal and snack boxes like BettiJo at Paging Super Mom to create your village . Tech lover wreath Do you have some old computer parts, cell phones, and cords taking up space in your home? Well, stop letting them collect dust and turn them into a holiday wreath. All you need is a wreath form and some old tech to create this cute, geeky decoration. Light bulb garland and ornaments This upcycled holiday decor idea uses old light bulbs, paint, and some ornament hangers. You can add them to some garland or hang them on your tree. And, if you want to take this idea to another level  — and you have some art skills — you can turn the light bulbs into reindeer, snowmen, Santas, or even a grinch with the right paint and crafty accessories. Lanterns It doesn’t get much easier (or cheaper) than this. You will want to start by creating a holiday image with vintage angels and stars, or any other Christmas-inspired thing you can think of. Then, print out your design and cut out a piece that will fit around a soup can and another that will fit a box of matches.  Finally, glue or tape the pieces to the can and matchbox, just don’t cover the striking surface on the box! Images via Personal Creations , Elin B , Diana_rajchel , Shutterstock

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Simple DIY upcycled holiday decor

This couch made from recycled water bottles is built to last a lifetime

December 7, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

In recent years, companies have started to repurpose the massive amounts of used-once-then-trashed plastic in new and exciting ways. For example, REPREVE, a sustainable fiber created from 100 percent food-quality and BPA-free plastic, is being used in a variety of products from clothing to couches. Lovesac is a green furniture company using the recycled fabric to cover sofa cushions. While the eco-friendly material is a huge component of the design, it’s just a sample of an entire furniture line aimed at sustainability. In a world of disposables, the company’s goals push back with a focus on design for a lifetime. It’s a concept that not only includes durability in its couches, called sactionals, but also caters to the ever-changing needs of seating demands. Related: Repreve — sustainable multi-use fiber made from recycled water bottles The sactional is a versatile, modular design that you can easily customize to fit your space. Simply choose from the many ottoman, seat and side arrangements for the look and seating capacity that suits your needs. Then, arrange and rearrange any way you like. With a lifetime guarantee on the sactional, the company estimates that this grow-with-your-demands product will replace the purchase of four couches during its lifetime. With the introduction of the the Sactional, Lovesac has continued its theme of lifetime products with removable, washable and replaceable covers. Dirty covers can be washed. Torn covers can be replaced. When the now-trendy slate twill color becomes a throwback, you can update it without the cost or waste of replacing the entire couch. Even better, the upholstery fabric for the couches is made from hundreds of tossed single-use water bottles, which are given new life through REPREVE fabric. Depending on the components chosen, between 600-1200 water bottles are used in the production of each Sactional. For 2018 alone, Lovesac expects to repurpose around 11 million water bottles through its efforts. Related: How to recycle a sweater into a cuddly pillow for your couch True to the overarching goal of creating an environmentally-friendly couch, the Sactional is neatly packaged and shipped in bleach and dye-free  recyclable  kraft cardboard. Unlike the traditional sofa set that requires two heavy lifters for transport, when it’s time to relocate to a different level of the house or new home altogether, the entire sectional can be broken down into manageable pieces for the move. + Lovesac Images via Lovesac

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This couch made from recycled water bottles is built to last a lifetime

Recycling Mystery: Fire Extinguishers

November 21, 2018 by  
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For the few times that you need a fire extinguisher, … The post Recycling Mystery: Fire Extinguishers appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earthling Survey: What Would You Value Most in a Sustainable Economy?

November 21, 2018 by  
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Express your opinion and help drive environmental change. Every week, … The post Earthling Survey: What Would You Value Most in a Sustainable Economy? appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earthling Survey: What Would You Value Most in a Sustainable Economy?

Survey Results: Plastic or Paper Food Packaging?

November 21, 2018 by  
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Thanks to those of you who responded to last week’s … The post Survey Results: Plastic or Paper Food Packaging? appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Survey Results: Plastic or Paper Food Packaging?

Green shoots? Democrats take control of the House of Representatives

November 9, 2018 by  
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Midterms results prompt hope for renewed progress on climate action after gains for progressives in the House and key state governor seats.

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Green shoots? Democrats take control of the House of Representatives

This holiday home in Montauk produces all of its own electricity

November 8, 2018 by  
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East of the Hamptons sits a solar-powered, holiday home that celebrates indoor-outdoor living. Wrapped in exposed concrete and fire-resistant charred timber, the home — dubbed the Montauk House — is the work of Desai Chia Architects , a New York City-based design practice that created the two-story home (with a basement level) for a family with two children. The roof of the house also conceals a large photovoltaic array that harnesses enough energy to power the entire residence, while passive design principles were applied to reduce the overall energy footprint. Located on the tip of Long Island , the two-story Montauk House spans 4,600 square feet on a corner lot edged in with mature landscaping for privacy and shade. The architects located the main living areas and master suite on the upper level, which includes the combined living room, dining area and kitchen, two studies for the parents, a powder room and a master bedroom suite. The two children’s bedrooms and an additional guest bedroom are located on the ground floor along with a shared bathroom and the one-car garage. Walls of operable glass pull the outdoors in, while the open-plan layout facilitates clear sight lines across large sections of the dwelling. Indoor-outdoor living is emphasized with the addition of three outdoor terraces, each protected by deep overhangs to allow for relaxing and dining in the summertime. A ‘garden’ terrace links the ground-floor family room to the outdoors, and a ‘reading’ terrace spills out from the upstairs office spaces. The ‘breezeway’ terrace — the largest of the three — is a south-facing space that runs the length of the home and connects to the open-plan living, dining and kitchen area. Related: Stunning Lake Michigan home is built from dying ash reclaimed onsite In addition to rooftop solar panels, the home embraces green design with the use of low-maintenance materials. The rainscreen of wood was treated with the traditional Japanese process of shou sugi ban to develop resistance against rot, pests and fire. Ample glazing also illuminates the interior with natural light, while the cantilevered roof deflects unwanted solar heat gain. Natural ventilation has also been optimized. + Desai Chia Architects Via ArchDaily Photography by Paul Warchol via Desai Chia Architects

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This holiday home in Montauk produces all of its own electricity

An old school bus is now a solar-powered tiny home with a rooftop deck

November 5, 2018 by  
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Just as he was about to finish college, New Jersey-native Michael Fuehrer took a long road trip where he had a bit of a revelation — he needed to create a home for his “restless mind and wandering soul.” The result? A beautifully renovated 2004 Thomas Freightliner that he converted into his dream home on wheels , complete with a rooftop sun deck. Today, Fuehrer enjoys living life off the grid, traveling whenever and wherever he wants in his solar-powered skoolie, lovingly called  Navigation Nowhere . With a little help from his father and friends, it took Fuehrer about nine months to finish the  bus conversion , which took place in his very patient parents’ driveway. On his blog , where he recounts the process, he said that the first step was the most grueling — gutting the run-down interior. He started with removing the seats by painstakingly grinding out every bolt that held them in place. The next steps were to remove the flooring, ceiling and side panels. Related: Family of five moves from a 2,100-square-foot-house to a beautifully renovated school bus Once the old, rusted interior was cleaned, the next step was to create a livable space out of the compact, 180-square-foot interior. To make maximum use out of the tiny space, Fuehrer decided to install various space-saving features and flexible, custom-made furnishings that serve multiple functions. For instance, two long couches, which were installed on either side of the open-plan living area, provide plenty of seating. When needed, they fold out to create one large bed that meets in the middle, or just one can be folded out into one small bed. Hidden underneath the couches is a large wooden table that can be set up for a dining area for up to eight people. Moving back from the living room, the kitchen is an impressive space that includes extra long counters, a kitchen sink, a full oven with stovetop and a refrigerator. At the far end of the bus is the master bedroom. Also set up to be a flexible space, this area has a sofa that folds out into a bed and two desks that simply click into place when the need to work arises. The ambitious design also features a tiled bathroom with a full shower and a  composting toilet . Throughout the tiny home, there are ample windows and even three skylights (originally the emergency exits) that make the space more welcoming. The exterior of the bus was painted a forest green, with a few wood panels added on to the sides. At first sight, the panels seem decorative, but they serve a dual purpose. A side table made out of reclaimed wood  swings out to become an outdoor dining space. Walking out to the back of the bus, a ladder leads up to the rooftop deck, which shares space with the solar array. Solar panels , as well as propane tanks and a massive 130-gallon water tank, allow Fuehrer to live off the grid for long spans of time. + Navigation Nowhere Via Tiny House Talk Images via Michael Fuehrer

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An old school bus is now a solar-powered tiny home with a rooftop deck

Enjoy a mint julep on this tiny farmhouse’s charming front porch

November 2, 2018 by  
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If there is one thing that typically eludes tiny home design, it’s open-air space. That’s what makes this gorgeous, modern farmhouse so incredible. Designed by Perch & Nest , Roost 36 is a tiny home on wheels with a large front porch, which was built out of 100 percent recycled composite materials. Even better, the house, which is listed on Airbnb , is located on an idyllic 4-acre farm, letting guests enjoy the amazing scenery from one very cozy front porch. Located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Roost 36 was created for a family of four. It boasts non-toxic materials and many energy-efficient features . The exterior is an elongated volume painted white with an A-frame roof, reminiscent of barns and farmhouses found in the area. At one end of the tiny home is a surprisingly large deck, which was built from 100 percent recycled composite. A glass entry wall can be opened completely, blending the interior and exterior spaces. A brilliant system of retractable screens lets residents further open the space or close it off completely while still enjoying fresh air. Related: This tiny farmhouse on wheels starts at 63K On the inside, a comfortable sofa faces a wall with built-in shelving with enough room for the television and various knick-knacks. Large windows and four skylights on the cathedral ceilings naturally brighten the space. There is a fully-equipped kitchen with concrete countertops, a deep farmhouse sink and a very cool, renovated SMEG icebox as a refrigerator. Past the kitchen, a rather spacious bathroom comes installed with a farm-style tub and a composting toilet . There are two sleeping lofts on either side of the tiny home. The master bedroom is reached by steps that double as storage. Underneath the master bedroom is a smaller sleeping nook that can be used as a kids’ room or guest room. On the other side of the home is another sleeping loft, which is 8 feet deep and reached by a library ladder. The tiny home is available for rent on Airbnb , starting around $120 per night. Guests can enjoy the serenity of the area, especially the roaming farm animals and expansive nature found on the site. Hanging Rock and Pilot Mountain state parks are a short drive away and offer tons of hiking and biking trails. + Perch and Nest Via Tiny House Talk Images via Perch and Nest

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Enjoy a mint julep on this tiny farmhouse’s charming front porch

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