Stunning ‘beach shack’ on remote Australian beach is 100% self-sufficient

April 23, 2019 by  
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Sydney-based firm  Casey Brown Architecture  has unveiled a gorgeous home in Great Mackerel Beach, a remote coastal area in South Wales. Conceived as a modern beach shack, the Hart House is tucked deep into a steep cliffside looking out over the ocean. Only accessible by boat, the home, which is covered in an aluminum shell, is completely off-grid thanks to solar panels on the roof, a water collection system and an onsite waste system. According to the architects, the home’s simple box volume is a “contemporary interpretation of the quintessential one-room Australian beach shack.” The house sits back from the shoreline and is tucked into a rising cliffside covered in natural vegetation. Using the incredible landscape as additional inspiration, the architects focused on creating an  energy-efficient home that would be both resilient and self-sustaining. Related: Circular, solar-powered beach house is a sustainable holiday retreat Because of its remote location, the home is only accessible by water, which meant that the structure had to not only be resilient but self-sufficient. A rooftop array of solar panels generates enough energy to meet the needs of the residents. Additionally, the design has an integrated rainwater collection system, and waste is processed on-site. Clad in a corrugated aluminum shell, the beach house is well-protected from the local climate , such as the harsh salt environment, cold winds and even bushfires. Only the front of the home is left exposed with a large glass wall made up of several floor-to-ceiling panels that provide an abundance of natural light and stunning views of the ocean. The home’s corrugated aluminum shell is punctuated with small openings, framed in large Corten Steel frames, which allow for optimal cross ventilation. The interior design of the three-story home creates a harmonious connection with the surrounding natural environment. Lined in birch plywood with timber flooring and large windows, the top floor living space is a warm, light-filled oasis. Spotted gum was chosen to build the front deck as well as the doors and windows because of its sustainable profile as well as its natural fire resistance. Under the living space is a bedroom that leads out to a terrace constructed from  sandstone  harvested onsite. The terrace sits on a base, also made of sandstone, that cascades down toward the beach through various stepped retaining walls. + Casey Brown Architecture Via Wallpaper Photography by Rhys Holland via Casey Brown Architects

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Stunning ‘beach shack’ on remote Australian beach is 100% self-sufficient

This futuristic, solar-powered travel trailer can be pulled by small cars

April 22, 2019 by  
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There’s no dispute that travel trailers are gaining popularity among those looking to get off the grid and use fewer natural resources, especially while enjoying activities such as camping and road tripping. At 760 pounds and just over 12 feet in length, the Polydrop trailer is an impressive option for your next adventure. Created by architectural designer Kyung-Hyun Lew, this travel trailer has a lightweight frame and sleeps two people comfortably. For the minimalist traveler, it has pretty much all the essentials. The 2017 prototype was so lightweight that the designer was able to travel for an entire year with the personal trailer hitched to a small 4-cylinder car. The attention gained from Lew’s initial 2017 trip influenced the newer 2019 version with improved parts. Inside the wooden cabin bolted to the aluminum frame, there is a three-quarter-sized mattress, three sections of storage cubbies, two USB outlets and a vented roof. The interior is lit with recessed  LED lighting , and thick insulation protects inhabitants from all sorts of weather while saving energy. Heating (controlled by a thermostat), lighting and the electronic system are all powered by a solar panel. Related: Lume Traveler offers panoramic sky views from an open roof There is also a kitchenette with cabinets for electric hookups as well as two storage drawers in the rear. Unlike other travel trailers , the Polydrop doesn’t leave much room for the kitchen space, but the makers insisted that it has all the essentials for a camping trip at a site with separate facilities, like restrooms and benches, available. This isn’t your grandfather’s travel trailer — the Polydrop makes use of a polygonized teardrop shape with a super modern design and a futuristic feel. Safety wise, Timbren Independent suspension and hydraulic disk brakes get the job done for safe driveability. For the unfussy traveler who just needs a place to rest and some storage, the Polydrop certainly offers a successful approach to camping and road-tripping. The simplicity with a sleek, modern design is perfect for those looking for something not quite as bulky as a traditional travel trailer but more comfortable than a tent. + Polydrop Via Curbed Images via Polydrop

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This futuristic, solar-powered travel trailer can be pulled by small cars

This elevated prefab home in Chile takes in striking volcano views

April 18, 2019 by  
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In the Chilean city of Pucón, Santiago architect Alejandro Soffia has recently completed a prefab home that visually pops against its wooded surroundings. Fittingly named the Yellow House after its bright yellow facade, the modular residence is elevated off the ground for reduced site impact and to create a treehouse-like feel. The home’s modules were strategically connected with wooden joints and punctuated by full-height glazing to frame views of Lake Villarrica on one side and the Villarrica volcano on the other. Built from a series of SIP modules that Soffia designed himself, the prefabricated Yellow House spans just under 1,100 square feet and consists of a long hallway that connects an open-plan living room, kitchen, library and dining area on one end of the house to the two bedrooms on the other side. The house also opens up to an outdoor terrace built from wood. “The hypothesis is, that if you create a prefabricated system which has a good architectural design, then you can reproduce this quality as much as you need it, within the laws of short/long production series,” explains Soffia, who adds that he prefers prefabrication due to its reduced site impact and speed of construction without compromising quality. “And if in the serial industrial production of buildings you get bored, you can also customize form and function through the system. More benefits when you fasten the building process and have more control over quality and cost.” Related: A modular classroom for environmental education pops up in a Barcelona park Full-height glazing fills the interior with light and creates an indoor/ outdoor living experience that immerses the owner in the forest. In contrast to the bright yellow corrugated facade, the interiors are lined in wood, with some sections left unpainted and others painted black. Minimalist decor keeps the focus on the outdoors. + Alejandro Soffia Via ArchDaily Images by Juan Durán Sierralta, Mathias Jacobs

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This elevated prefab home in Chile takes in striking volcano views

Ioncell technology creates eco-textile clothing fibers from birch trees

April 9, 2019 by  
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With clothing production leading the world as one of the highest-polluting industries, a new fiber contradicts the earth-damaging qualities of traditional materials. Ioncell technology , developed at Aalto University and the University of Helsinki, uses a range of materials, including wood, recycled newspaper, cardboard and old cotton to make fabric. This is good news for an environment scarred by cotton production and the development of synthetic fibers. The new and improved material can also be recycled at the end of its life cycle, significantly reducing clothing waste . In a country already acutely aware of sustainable practices in forest management, the trees sourced from Finland offer a much lower carbon footprint than traditional clothing. Ioncell materials also protect the water supply by using ionic liquid in place of harsh chemicals. Related: The convenience of “highway fitting” your clothes is hurting the planet While the designers focus on sustainable sourcing and manufacturing, the clothing also avoids contributing to a massive post-consumer waste problem. That’s because the fibers are biodegradable. Additionally, the fibers do not contain any harmful microfibers now associated with massive ocean pollution and damage to sea life. Sourced from birch trees , the wood is responsibly harvested as part of a forest management program that grows more trees than they harvest. Once cut into smaller logs, the wood is sent through a machine that turns it into large chips. At this phase, the chips are sent to the cooker and then turned into sheets of pulp. The pulp is then mixed with the ionic liquid that results in a cellulose material. Fibers are then spun into yarn and turned into fabric. Designers and researchers involved in the project report that the resulting material is soft and drapes naturally, making it a good choice for formalwear, coats, scarves, gloves and other products. It also accepts dye well. The process for making Ioncell fibers is still in the research and development phase and they currently only produce it on a small scale, but they are hoping to unveil a preliminary product line as early as 2020. + Aalto University Via World Economic Forum Images via Aalto University

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Ioncell technology creates eco-textile clothing fibers from birch trees

Contemporary A-frame home soaks up lakeside views in Mexico

April 8, 2019 by  
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On the edge of Lake Avándaro in the Mexican town of Valle de Bravo is House A, a beautiful, contemporary home that’s designed by Mexico City-based architectural firm Metodo in collaboration with Ingeniería Orca to embrace views of the lake. Named after its sharply pitched A-frame construction, the three-story home is built with walls of glass and folding glazed doors to create a seamless connection with the outdoors. A palette of natural materials complement steel and glass elements to create a modern and warm ambiance. Spread out over three floors with an area of 3,523 square feet, House A was created with large gatherings and entertaining in mind. The ground level, which opens up through folding glazed doors to an outdoor patio and lawn, comprises an open-plan living area, dining room and kitchen; a TV room; service rooms; and a guest suite. The main entrance and parking pad are located on the second floor, where the first master suite and children’s room can be found. The small third floor features a second master suite, a yoga terrace and a secondary children’s room. “The intention of House A is precisely to be able to appropriate its surroundings and give its inhabitants a way to ‘live’ the lake,” the architects said in a project statement.” The ‘ A-frame ’ shape is used to its fullest potential to make this possible. Therefore, it was very important that the structure was present in every space of the house. Additionally, we wanted the structure to be a coherent element with the house’s functionality.” Related: Ruins of Sweden’s oldest church sheltered by a new A-frame building The architects built the dwelling with a contemporary steel structure along with local construction techniques and materials . The house is oriented toward the north for views of the lake while lateral balconies, inspired by boat decks, let in solar radiation in mornings and evenings. + Metodo + Ingeniería Orca Photography by Tatiana Mestre via Metodo

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Contemporary A-frame home soaks up lakeside views in Mexico

Eco-friendly "treehouse" in a French pine forest boasts surprisingly chic interiors

April 3, 2019 by  
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Architectural firm Atelier Victoria Migliore may have left its home base of Paris to design a beautiful treehouse-inspired family home in northwestern France, but the company made sure to bring its Parisian sense of style with it. Tucked into an idyllic forest landscape, the rustic, sophisticated home, which features a surprisingly modern interior design, was built on stilts to reduce the home’s impact on the landscape. No trees were felled during the construction process. Located in Fréhel, in the Brittany region of northwestern France, the “ treehouse ” sits on a sloped landscape in the middle of a pine forest. As the construction began, the architects aimed to protect the idyllic natural state of the surroundings; therefore, not one tree was felled. To reduce the home’s footprint, the structure was raised between 3 feet and 9 feet off the landscape using deep screw piles. Related: A treehouse made from sustainable wood hides a luxurious interior Following the natural topography, a long, roped wooden walkway leads from a lower ground level and wraps around the home’s edge, slowly rising up to the entrance. The home is comprised of several rectangular volumes, all clad in charred timber , arranged with wide spaces in between to create several open-air terraces. Punctuated by extra-large windows, the volumes were also oriented to provide stunning views from virtually any angle inside the home. The angular windows frame incredible views but also provide a strong harmony between the living spaces and the outside world. Throughout the interior, large trees feature prominently, even up through an interior courtyard ‘s wooden flooring. In addition to its connection to nature, the home’s 900-square-footage includes any number of surprising features. In the center of the home is a central walkway that stands out with blue-and-white zigzag tiling. When the homeowners are feeling the need to truly immerse themselves in the outdoors, there is a hammock that is hung between the rooftops of two of the home’s volumes, creating a serene spot for reading, napping or just breathing in the fresh air. + Atelier Victoria Migliore Via ArchDaily Photography by Cyril Folliot via Atelier Victoria Migliore

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Eco-friendly "treehouse" in a French pine forest boasts surprisingly chic interiors

New York vows to ban plastic bags statewide in 2020

April 3, 2019 by  
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Lawmakers in New York just agreed to ban plastic bags across the state. The law is a part of a larger budget agreement and makes New York the second state in the United States to join the fight against single-use plastics . “I am proud to announce that together, we got it done,” Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, stated. The ban on plastic bags will officially start on March 1 of next year. In addition to ditching plastic bags, businesses within the state will be allowed to charge up to five cents for every paper bag. Two cents from that charge will go into a fund that enables low-income families to purchase reusable bags, while the remainder will go towards an environment fund. Related: EU moves forward with its plastic ban The only other state in the union to pass such a law is California, which initiated a ban back in 2016. Hawaii has also gone to great lengths to discourage the use of plastic bags, with most counties in the state prohibiting them. This is not the first time New York has attempted to ban plastic bags . Two years ago, politicians tried to pass a law that would force companies to charge customers five cents per bag. That initiative was blocked by Cuomo. In 2018, Republicans in the state blocked a similar plan, though Democrats picked up a few seats in the state legislature, making the most recent ban possible. While the new law is a big step towards curbing plastic waste, not all residents in New York are happy about it. In fact, a few people have expressed their concerns about the ban and claim they use the plastic bags at home. Environmentalists also believe that customers should not be allowed to buy paper bags instead of purchasing reusable ones. There has also been some backlash from grocery stores in New York. While some owners are in favor of the ban, they think a portion of the five-cent charge should go back to the stores to help with costs associated with banning plastic bags. Via Eco Watch Image via  cocoparisienne

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Black charred-timber home embraces forest views in Zrich

April 2, 2019 by  
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In the midst of a centuries-old forest sits the Two Family House, an aptly named project that houses a pair of maisonette apartments for two families at the edge of Zürich, Switzerland. Local architecture firm Hajnoczky.Zanchetta Architekten collaborated with architect Angela Waibel on the design, which takes advantage of its wooded location with full-height windows that capture views of the changing landscape. Due to regulations that enforce minimal disturbance to the landscape, the building’s unusual triangular shape is dictated by the forest, which diagonally divided the parcel. To fit two homes onto the constrained space without compromising space and comfort, the architects used the slope of property to vertically separate the two apartments. Each of the four levels has a slightly different floor plan and size; the upper floors, for instance, have cantilevered elements, such as projecting windows, that increase floor space. The larger of the two maisonette apartments occupies the ground floor, which comprises the bedrooms, and the first floor, where the communal spaces are located. Since the building is set into the existing slope, both the ground floor and first floor have direct access to the gardens. The second apartment occupies the uppermost two floors. To make up for the smaller footprint, the upper apartment has access to three rooftop terraces. The building is primarily a timber-clad concrete structure, aside for the topmost level, which is built of timber construction. Related: Massive tree-like sculpture takes over Switzerland’s largest train station “To enhance the distinctiveness of the building, we have chosen a black timber facade to elegantly contrast with the surrounding nature,” the architects explain in a statement. “The tree grove is part of a forest arm that permeates through the city. From dense foliage in summer, the location metamorphoses in winter into a snowy scenery with a beautiful creek that flows to the lake of Zürich .” + Hajnoczky.Zanchetta Architekten Images © Lucas Peters

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Black charred-timber home embraces forest views in Zrich

15 fresh ideas for leftover fruit that will reduce your food waste

March 26, 2019 by  
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With 40 percent of America’s food going to the trash each year, food waste has become a major factor in climate change , because most of it ends up in landfills and then releases methane , a major greenhouse gas . If you are looking for some creative ways to use the random leftover fruit sitting in your kitchen, try some of these recipes. We all have the best intentions when we make trips to the grocery store, and the plan is never for the food to end up in the trash. But many of us still find ourselves trying to figure out what to do with food that is on the verge of spoiling, because life got in the way and you didn’t have a chance to eat it. This is especially true when it comes to fruit. You can make everything from healthy drinks to delicious pies with your leftover fruit, so there is no reason for it to end up in the trash ever again. Fruit-infused water One of the best and easiest ways to use leftover fruit is to infuse water with it. You can use any kind of fruit you have sitting in the kitchen to create all kinds of flavor combinations. Pure fruit ice pops You can use your spoiling or overripe fruit to make ice pops or fruit cubes with this recipe from Food Meanderings . The great thing about this idea is that you can use any type of fruit, then add some frozen berries and puree it all together before freezing. Related: 8 of the best fruits and vegetables you can eat in their entirety Candied orange peels Make your very own orange candy with this recipe for candied orange peels from Complete Recipes . All you need is sugar, water and a few oranges, and they take just an hour to make. Raspberry and pear smoothie Don’t throw those ripe pears away! Instead, use them to make a smoothie with this recipe from Neil’s Healthy Meals . Mix some yogurt, frozen raspberries, cranberry juice and chopped pears together in a blender for this quick and healthy breakfast or snack. Mango orange banana sunrise smoothie Do you have a mango, clementine and banana taking up space in your kitchen? Then try this smoothie recipe from Gimme Delicious . Just add some yogurt and honey to your fruit , and blend it for a couple of minutes to get a delicious breakfast. Creamy strawberry salad dressing All you need are five ingredients to make this delicious, creamy strawberry salad dressing from Montana Happy . Salad and strawberries are a match made in heaven, and a blender, some strawberries, raspberry vinegar, brown sugar, olive oil and lemon juice will help you make it happen. Berry fruit salad If you have a bunch of leftover berries, then try this recipe from Gimme Some Oven and make a delicious fruit salad. This berry fruit salad is quick and easy to make, and the honey, mint and lemon juice give it a nice, refreshing taste. Related: The Seasonal Food Guide helps you store, cook and enjoy seasonal produce Apple pie for one Turn a lonely apple into a scrumptious dessert with this recipe from One Dish Kitchen . You don’t need to bake an entire pie to use up your leftover fruit, just try an apple pie for one. Boozy peach-blackberry pie Are you trying to figure out what do with your leftover peaches and blackberries? Obviously, pie is the answer with this recipe from My Modern Cookery . Pressure cooker blueberry jam Try making some homemade jam with leftover blueberries by using this recipe from Simply Happy Foodie . Not only does it taste better than store-bought jam, but it’s also cheaper. Plum jam Need to use up some plums before they go bad? Try making some plum jam with this recipe from A Baker’s House . You won’t usually find plum jam in stores, so making your own at home will be a sweet treat that you can add to vanilla ice cream or as a compliment to pork. Of course, it is also fantastic on a piece of bread. Mixed-berry dessert sauce Give your pound cake, cheesecake or ice cream a little kick with this mixed-berry dessert sauce recipe from The Spruce Eats . This is a great way to use up leftover raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. Banana bread One of the best ways to use up ripe bananas is to make banana bread. This recipe from Tastes Better From Scratch takes just a handful of ingredients and about an hour to bake. Related: 12 delicious and crowd-pleasing vegan brunch ideas Apple cinnamon bread All you need is one apple for this recipe from The Happier Homemaker . Just peel and finely chop the apple before adding some cinnamon, sugar and a few other pantry staples. In about an hour, you will have delicious apple cinnamon bread. Leftover fruit bread This is a great recipe for ripe bananas and peaches, plus a few blueberries. It comes from The Food Network , and you can opt to bake an entire loaf or make muffins. Either way, it will be delicious. Next time you are thinking about throwing out some leftover fruit, try one of these simple recipes instead and know that you are helping the environment by reducing your food waste . Images via Shanna Trim , Silviarita ( 1 , 2 ), Jodi Michelle , Ponce Photography , Imoflow , Nile , Sabine van Erp , Marke1996 , Alan Levine , Marco Verch and Shutterstock

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15 fresh ideas for leftover fruit that will reduce your food waste

Keep your pantry stocked with these staples for a plant-based diet

March 22, 2019 by  
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Switching to a plant-based diet is a lifestyle change that requires a lot of meal prep and planning. In a world of convenient, pre-packaged food, stocking your pantry with healthy, plant-based products isn’t easy. It takes time to figure out the right pantry staples, and it takes even more time to figure out how to use those items when preparing snacks and meals. If you are new to the vegan lifestyle and are looking for some help with setting up your kitchen, here are some pantry staples that everyone needs for a plant-based diet. Legumes When you are eating a plant-based diet, you will need to find ways to get your protein . A great way to do that is from legumes. They also contain fiber, essential fatty acids and complex carbohydrates. You will find recipes from all over the world in every style of cuisine that feature beans. Not only are they incredibly filling, but they are also good for your digestive health. You can buy beans in bulk, or you can opt for canned and dry versions. Here are some legumes that should be part of your pantry: Black beans Butter beans Chickpeas Edamame Black-eyed peas Lentils Lima beans Pinto beans Soy beans Split peas Kidney beans Whole grains You want to keep plenty of minimally processed whole grains on hand, so you can get fiber, B vitamins and good, energizing carbs in your diet. Some of the best products include: Brown rice and wild rice Oats Quinoa Corn (polenta, popcorn kernels) Whole grain bread Whole grain flour Whole grain crackers Whole grain pasta If you want to really dive into plant-based cooking, other great whole grains to have in your kitchen are: Barley Amaranth Buckwheat Rye Millet Whole wheat couscous Sorghum Teff Kamut The most versatile whole grains on this list are brown rice, oats and quinoa, because you can use them in a ton of different recipes. Also, don’t skip the freezer section, because you can find microwavable and steamable whole grain products that you can prepare in just minutes if you don’t have time to cook from scratch. Seeds Seeds are great for sprinkling on salads, soups and sandwiches. Ground seeds are also a great addition to dough when you are baking or when you are making smoothies. Flax and chia seeds are full of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and antioxidants, and hemp seeds are an excellent source of protein, fiber and multiple vitamins and minerals. The health benefits of seeds are endless, and you should always have a few kinds in your pantry. Related: Is the flexitarian diet right for you? In addition to flax, chia and hemp seeds, other seeds that are great for a plant-based diet include: Sesame seeds Sunflower seeds Pumpkin seeds Nuts When you are eating a plant-based diet, nuts will be your go-to snack option. They are loaded with healthy fats, protein and fiber; just make sure to pick nuts that are minimally processed and have zero added salt. You want to keep plenty of these nuts in your kitchen: Almonds Cashews Hazelnuts Walnuts Peanuts (technically a legume) Not only can you eat these raw for a snack, but you can also chop them up and add them to salads, cereals, batters and dough. If you want to get really creative, trying making your own nut butter. Oils and fats To make sure you absorb all of the vitamins and minerals in your plant-based foods, some believe that you need to include healthy fats. However, there is some debate about including oils and fats in a plant-based diet, and many recipes will not call for them. Extra-virgin olive oil Coconut oil Earth Balance or other buttery spread You can opt for fats from avocados, nuts, seeds and bananas if you want to keep your plant-based diet oil-free. Seasonings and condiments Load up on the seasonings and condiments, so your plant-based meals have plenty of flavor. This is an important section in the pantry, so you want to make sure your spice rack is fully loaded and your condiment shelf is stocked. Cumin Cinnamon Turmeric Paprika Oregano Thyme Apple cider vinegar Balsamic vinegar Mustard Sriracha Ketchup Barbecue sauce Vegetable stock The one thing that you want to look for when buying seasonings and condiments is salt content. You want to choose the no-salt-added or low-sodium versions. You can also grow fresh herbs at home, or visit your local health food store to get the ground and whole-seed versions of things like cumin, celery and fennel seeds. Miscellaneous Other items that you may want to have on hand include milk alternatives , like soy or almond milk, and sweeteners, like maple syrup or molasses. Nutritional yeast, cocoa powder, baking powder, vanilla extract, tomato paste and diced tomatoes are also found in many plant-based recipes, so you can’t go wrong when you have those items in your pantry. Images via Monicore , U. Leone , Conger Design , Petra , Piviso ( 1 , 2 ), Steve Buissinne  and  Westerper

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