These charming timber cabins in South India are a retreat for nature lovers

May 22, 2018 by  
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If your dream getaway involves nature excursions in a tropical environment, prepare to fall in love with the Cardamom Club resort in Thekkady, India. Recently renovated by Bangalore-based Kumar La Noce , this boutique resort features a series of elevated tiny cabins primarily built from sustainably sourced Bangkirai hardwood. Combining contemporary design with traditional elements, each 430-square-foot cabin rests lightly on the landscape and blends in with the verdant surroundings. Set within an eight-acre cardamom plantation, the Cardamom Club resort features a nearly 50-foot-long infinity pool and spa block — both of which are raised on stilts and also built with extremely durable Bangkirai wood. The hardwood’s reddish tones provide a striking contrast to the lush green backdrop. “Our first response upon visiting the spectacularly lush site was to ‘tread gently,’ which led us to imagine the built structures as light-weight volumes floating within a sea of green,” said Bhavana Kumar, the principal architect and co-founder of Kumar La Noce. The cabins have a minimalist interior filled with  natural light that pours through the plentiful windows. Rooms are dressed in handcrafted textiles and furnishings made with natural fibers — such as  rattan chairs and rice-paper light fixtures — that emphasize the resort’s back-to-nature aesthetic. Operable windows, ceiling fans and linen shades allow guests to control the interior microclimate. The bathrooms are fitted with black granite countertops; a small porthole window looks out over the lush landscape. The hotel rooms also extend out to private terraces. Related: Sleep among the treetops in a nomadic hotel with minimal impact In addition to Kumar La Noce’s elevated cabins  — dubbed the ‘Mountain-View Cottages’ — the hotel also offers ‘Garden-View Cottages’ designed to match a Western aesthetic. The retreat offers 13 rooms in total as well as a variety of experience packages, from spa and massage programs to bird watching and visits to an elephant sanctuary. + Kumar La Noce Images via Kumar La Noce , by Kumar La Noce and Vivek Muthuramalingam

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Norway’s breathtaking Infinity House has giant windows instead of walls

May 8, 2017 by  
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This minimalist retreat offers breathtaking views of the gorgeous landscape of Northern Norway . Rotterdam-based architect Vladimir Konovalov designed the Infinity House with huge windows that soak up daylight and offer panoramic views of the mountains and the Norwegian Sea. The house is located in a remote area of Northern Norway, far from busy touristy places. Its main purpose is to complement the existing landscape and create a visceral connection to nature. The predominantly monochrome interiors accentuate the changing light instead of distracting from it. Related: Timber-clad waterfront house in Norway epitomizes modern Scandinavian design The building comprises three main elements– an exterior concrete superstructure that emerges from the rocky site, an infinity pool roof and a black volume housing a bathroom and a secret staircase. + Vladimir Konovalov Via Highsnobiety Images by Omega Render

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These 8 amazing van conversions will inspire you to ditch the grid for the nomadic life

May 8, 2017 by  
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Perhaps it’s the spring weather, but hitting the open road and exploring suddenly seems like a more appealing idea than ever. These 8 van conversions , many of which were crafted by DIYers with little experience yet lots of creativity, persistence, and wanderlust, will motivate you to give the mobile life a try. Images via This Moving House Weekend getaway van for four When Jack Richens and his girlfriend converted a Mercedes Benz Sprinter in 2012, they used boat bunk designs and stacked beds to transform the camper into a weekender on wheels. Complete with storage under stairs and beneath the floor, the space features 4 captains chairs , several of which turn so that his crew can gather around for a meal. A group meal ? In a camper? But of course: the camper includes a sink, two-stove burner, and (more recently) a mini fridge. Little details such as a tiled backsplash and a cheerful curtain with birds to separate the sleeping spaces makes the camper stylish and cozy instead of cramped. Images via The Vanual Traveling filmmaker’s adventure-ready home/office on-the-go Zach Both left a desk job and became a traveling filmmaker; along the way he converted a cargo van that now serves as a dream living space that doubles as a mobile office. A man on the move, Both uses his freedom to travel far and wide and bring everything he needs…except perhaps a shower and toilet. The interior incorporates crisp white bedding, wood-paneled ceiling and cabinet space and even a mini cooking space that becomes concealed by a desktop. The top of the van is outfitted with solar panels. To inspire and inform others, Both created “ The Vanual ”, a DIY guide that covers everything you’d need to convert a camper van . Related| Man quits his job to transform his van into an off grid mobile home Images via Van Dog Traveler Solar-powered DIY van currently touring Europe Another young gent who quit his job for the open road, Mike Hudson converted a van in 2014 and has been on the go ever since; he spent the winter in Sardinia and has traveled throughout Europe and to Morocco. Although previously a novice at camper conversions, Hudson handcrafted the van of his dreams, complete with a water pump, water heater, graywater tank, toilet and shower, solar panels, a burner, and a fridge/freezer. There’s even a fold-down workspace and a few happy plants to make it feel like home. Images via Norbert Juhász Creative couple’s custom-crafted home on wheels Freelance photographer and writer are ideal professions for those with a penchant for wanderlust, and Norbert Juhász and Dora created their home on wheels with the plan to drive from Budapest to Morocco (they are currently in Spain). Breathing life and style into a 16-year-old van, the couple’s space now includes custom-built wood furniture (with green borders), a seat that converts into a bed for two, and a 12-volt electrical system that can be powered via the engine’s generator or roof-mounted solar panels. Small details like a mini bookshelf and a spice rack bring the creature comforts of home into their road-ready version. Images via Pam the Van Dog-friendly and lovingly restored van conversion by a novice DIYer Marina Piro may have been a novice at DIY van conversions, but this hands-on, ambitious traveler ultimately created a homey, comfy dwelling for herself and her rescue pup Odie. Piro restored the van entirely by herself (although we’re sure Odie was there for moral support), laying floor, building a kitchenette and a bed, and finding clever spaces for kitchen utensils and storage.  Her website also includes useful tips and posts on traveling with pets as well as camper van maintenance. Images by Jo Wickham Photography for Studio 106 A minimalist mobile office  A change of scenery will work wonders for your mindset, and the architects at Studio 106 downsized their office and made it mobile to take advantage of the New Zealand weather and scenery. By collaborating with partners including a company that makes foldable cardboard work stations and another that owns semi-converted caravans to rent for events and parties, the Studio 106 crew temporarily set up shop at picturesque stops including beside the harbor. Outdoor tables expanded their possible work space and allowed them to take advantage of the fresh air. After their caravan stint, the architects found that the smaller space had unexpected benefits such as reduction of waste and an atmosphere that promoted idea-sharing more easily. A woodworker’s artfully crafted and surprisingly spacious van Dipa Vasudeva Das took DIY van conversion to a whole different level with his woodworking skills. What started out as a typical van is now a treasure trove of secret compartments, handcrafted storage, and clever multilevel living solutions that makes the space welcoming for Vasudeva Das, his dog, and guests. The van (dubbed the “Earthship”) functions as a living, working, sleeping, entertaining, meditating space. A skylight and wood-burning fireplace (along with a chimney) allow Vasudeva Das to make the most of every weather situation; he also crafted a fold-down outdoor deck that also serves as bike storage. Electric camper van  from Volkswagen Still a little nervous about your own DIY camper conversion capabilities? Get a step ahead when (or maybe if) the Volkswagen Westfalia gets revived as a battery-electric vehicle. The much beloved camper hasn’t been made since 2003, but in 2015, news hit that a new camper  using a small electric motor to power the front wheels was in the concept phase. More recently, VW unveiled an electric-powered microbus named the I.D. Buzz  that has the potential to be fully autonomous , but we’re still crossing our fingers for a version that captures the hippie soul and simplicity of the Westfalia. Lead image via Zach Both

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Sprawling Bracketed Space House frames views of forests and rolling hills in Austin, Texas

November 28, 2016 by  
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The house is located on a sloped site in Austin, Texas. It reaches out to embrace the surrounding landscape and blur the line between the interior and the exterior spaces. The wings of the house are topped with flat roofs and are connected by a glazed volume that establishes a visual connection between the front and rear of the house. Related: Architect Miguel Rivera’s Daylit Residence in Austin is a Renovated 1917 Bungalow Open-plan interior spaces are oriented towards the c ourtyard with an infinity pool that overlooks rolling hills and forests. Cedar , steel, natural stucco , concrete and glass create a mixture of textures and colors. + Matt Fajkus Architecture Via D ezeen Photos by Charles Davis Smith, Spaces & Faces Photography

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Sprawling Bracketed Space House frames views of forests and rolling hills in Austin, Texas

Repaired sinkhole in Japan is sinking again

November 28, 2016 by  
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Earlier in November a sinkhole that ravaged a five-lane intersection in the city of Fukuoka, Japan was rapidly fixed and reopened in just a week. But now part of the repaired street has shown signs of sinking again. Around a 30 square meter, or 322 square foot, area, on the roadhttp://inhabitat.com/tag/road/”> road> sunk seven centimeters, or 2.7 inches. The sinkhole in Japan, which was near the JR Hakata Station, was repaired in around 48 hours , filled in with cement and sand. Only a week after the sinkhole closed the road, officials reopened the street. Fukuoka mayor Soichiro Takashima said the repaired road was 30 times stronger than it had been previously. Experts said new subway construction had likely led to the large sinkhole. Related: Japanese fix massive city sinkhole within 48 hours But over the weekend, officials discovered the road sunk 2.7 inches across 322 square feet. No one was injured by the newly sinking road, nor were there any gas leaks or power outages caused by the new sinking. Officials closed the road at around 1:45 AM local time, but reopened the area almost four hours later at 5:30 AM local time, according to Channel NewsAsia. Authorities determined the small sink wasn’t dangerous for people walking or driving on the road. Officials told CNN they had expected some movement after the sinkhole was fixed, and Takashima apologized on Facebook for not letting locals know that the road could sink once more. He said officials would continue to monitor the area. A government spokesperson told local news that when the cement mixed with special soil compressed, the motion could have caused the small sinking. The original sinkhole was 98 feet long, 88 feet wide, and almost 50 feet deep . No one was seriously hurt, yet the sound of a ” loud boom ” startled locals as the sinkhole opened. Fukuoka is home to around 1.5 million people, and is the fifth biggest city in Japan. Via CNN and Channel NewsAsia Images via Soichiro Takashima Facebook ( 1 , 2 )

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Wild poolside oasis in Spain disguises offensive grey wall

June 29, 2016 by  
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The Spanish architect ’s challenge was deceptively simple on the surface: transform the private garden’s blighted view into a magical retreat. Prior to tapping Ocaña, the homeowners had struggled with a variety of approaches for softening the stark, grey wall, and abandoned each of those projects along the way. Plans for a living green wall had already been tossed aside, as the homeowner wouldn’t be satisfied with a wall of a different color. Something much more spectacular would have to come along in order to salvage the pool’s previous peaceful atmosphere. Once that mission was realized, and embraced, things got decidedly wild. Related: Gorgeous natural swimming pool uses no chlorine Ocaña’s proposal surmounts countless challenges with an out-of-the box approach to creating a new atmosphere around the pool area. As if in memoriam of the lost sunset view, the architect proposes an arrangement of round mirrors positioned at various heights and angles, in order to capture and reflect the sun at different times of the day. Behind the mirror array, diverse vegetation would create a soft, lush barrier to shield the offending grey wall. In order to pull off such an outlandish renovation, Ocaña’s design had to meet some difficult criteria. Because the concrete wall belongs not to the homeowners but to their neighbors, the new design had to stand independent from the wall, rather than rely on it as a building surface. Additionally, there were other considerations to accommodate, such as existing plants, the pool itself, and a stairway leading to the home’s basement. Hilariously, if those challenges were not enough, the entire structure also had to be modular because, in order to get it into the pool area in the first place, the elements had to be carried through a regular-sized door. So, the final design is comprised of 33 individual modules, which will be assembled to create a forked scaffolding that will also support a network of 60 nebulizers, which spray a mist of water into the air, creating ‘clouds.’ The forks allow the plants to overflow the scaffolding where they please, eventually hiding the bones of the structure and lending to the private microclimate created in this backyard oasis. + Manuel Ocaña Via Archdaily Images via Imagen Subliminal for Manuel Ocaña

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Don’t let Monsanto and Whole Foods kill GMO labeling

June 29, 2016 by  
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A first-of-its-kind law requiring foods sold in Vermont to declare whether or not they contain genetically modified crops is set to take effect on July 1st — unless a national law being considered by Congress passes first. The proposed national legislation would effectively override the regulations outlined by Vermont’s law, delaying any labeling changes for another two years and allowing food manufacturers to place QR codes or 800 numbers on their packaging rather than a plain-English disclosure about GM ingredients. Essentially, lawmakers are trying to pass a GMO labeling law that doesn’t require labels . Food Democracy Now is running a petition against the bill, which you can sign here . DON’T LET CONGRESS KILL GMO LABELING > Not only would this law make it more difficult to tell which foods contain GMOs , the new bill is entirely optional for the corporations it targets and there are no penalties for companies that fail to comply. The language of the bill has even been described as so vague that it would exempt about 85% of the GMOs currently on the market, including Roundup Ready crops owned by Monsanto, which are bred specifically to be sprayed with the weedkiller glyphosate , which has been linked to cancer by the World Health Organization . Related: Vermont Set to Make Mandatory GMO Labeling a State Law The fact that Congress is attempting to override Vermont’s new law is troubling enough, but for many grassroots groups, what’s going on behind the scenes is even more disturbing. According to Food Democracy Now , major natural and organic companies have suddenly changed their tune and sided with the new bill rather than supporting Vermont’s much clearer requirements in a last-minute deal. Among those Food Democracy Now names as “selling out” are Whole Foods Market, Stonyfield Farm, and members of the Organic Trade Association. Related: Hawaii’s Big Island Bans All GMO Crops and Biotech Companies Whether or not you personally believe GM crops pose a threat to human health, people who have concerns about how these plants are grown or the business practices of companies like Monsanto have the right to know what’s in their food and make purchasing decisions accordingly. A number of environmental groups around the country and Senator Bernie Sanders are rallying against this last-minute attempt to undermine Vermont’s lawmakers. If you’d like to send a message to the US Senate protesting this legislative deal, sign the petition now. Via Food Democracy Now Images via Pixabay ( 1 , 2 )

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The suites at the spectacular Valentinerhof Hotel make you feel like you are sleeping outside

March 11, 2016 by  
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