Hannah Franco and Nancy Taylor celebrate sustainable fashion with poque volution

June 25, 2019 by  
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Friends Nancy Taylor and Hannah Franco were traveling together in Morocco when they got the idea. Nancy couldn’t help but notice that Hannah could fit everything she needed into one backpack, whether they were traveling, trekking or going out to dinner. The result was époque evolution , a sustainable fashion company focused on creating eco-friendly, versatile clothes made from organic, upcycled, deadstock and post-consumer waste recycled fibers. They work with mills and factories that are committed to ethical practices and a smaller collective carbon footprint. To top it all off, the clothes are beautifully low-maintenance (goodbye, dry cleaning and toxic chemicals ). A review of the époque évolution clothing I got a chance to try the best-selling Orion Leggings and the Go To Tank for myself, and let me say I have found my new wardrobe staples. These pants have the power to turn the humble legging from what was previously a simple, lazy solution to a dependable companion for really any activity ( yoga class , traveling, grabbing some dinner and so on). The slit on the bottom gives it an added fashion appeal as well as the ability to show off your footwear in a trendy way. The Go To Tank has a slight opening in the back, which isn’t totally noticeable but provides some much-needed breathability if you’re wearing it to hike or work out. You could easily dress it up, as the merino wool fabric is antimicrobial and thermo-regulating (meaning going straight from the gym to anywhere else is completely doable). Even better, it’s made from deadstock material, meaning the fabric would have otherwise ended up in the landfill . Related: The sustainable wardrobe — it’s more accessible than you think The leggings are crafted from econyl®, a 100 percent recycled nylon fiber made from old fishnets and carpets, and the tank is made from a deadstock wool blend of 80 percent wool merino and 20 percent polyester. Both are machine washable and quick-drying. What’s more, my Orion Leggings and Go To Tank came packaged in a biodegradable mailer from The Better Packaging Co . At $98 and $68 respectively, the leggings and tank may take a chunk out of your paycheck, but once you consider the quality, eco-consciousness and ethical ramifications, you’ll be happy you’ve made the investment. They go with practically everything, so you’ll spend less time choosing what to wear and more time living your life, enjoying the outdoors or exploring. An interview with the founders Check out our interview with the founding members, Nancy Taylor and Hannah Franco, below. Inhabitat: What was the inspiration behind creating a line of clothes using sustainable fabrics? Nancy Taylor: I am incredibly passionate about changing the fashion industry and disrupting its outdated practices. After spending years of my career working in the corporate fashion world and traveling overseas to visit factories, I was hopeful that there was a different model for doing business. Since then, I’ve been focused on trying to be part of the solution, rather than contributing to an already toxic industry. Hannah Franco: It’s time. The industry needs a change, and we wanted to offer a unique take on sustainability. We believe eco can be chic, easy-care and impressively functional. Incorporating these elements, we set out to create products that make shopping sustainably an obvious choice for customers. Inhabitat: What are some of your favorite fabrics that the company works with? Taylor: I’m a huge fan of merino wool in general and am particularly obsessed with our perennial wool fabrication. It’s blended with a recycled poly and it’s also machine washable, which means no dry cleaning! Franco: Nancy took the words out of my mouth — I’m addicted to merino wool. It’s quick-drying and antimicrobial — in other words, it doesn’t stink — and anything that makes my life easier is considered a win in my book. Our new organic cotton is creeping up as a favorite now, as well. Our Oeko-Tex certified Standard 1000-certified finish keeps the cotton looking perfectly crisp all day, and I do love a breezy white shirt. Inhabitat: Fashion is one of the most environmentally damaging industries. Can you talk about the sustainable practices, factories and ethical treatment of workers you implement in your production process? Taylor: It was a big topic of discussion when we first launched — identifying and implementing our parameters for what we have called “responsible” production. This encompasses our raw materials, the factories and the people that produce our clothes, all the way down to our packaging . The hard part was that these choices weren’t always black and white. For example, our evolve soft fabric is not a recycled raw material, but the production mill’s best practices are really amazing and include using state-of-the-art, eco-compatible technologies in a fully solar-powered facility. In the end, it was a better choice than working with a large mill using only recycled raw materials without carefully taking into account their entire environmental footprint. We aim to look at the complete picture and tell that story, educating the customer on why her choices matter. Inhabitat: With fast fashion , another practice negatively impacting the environment, what is the importance of investing in high-quality clothes like your products and moving away from the cheap stuff? Taylor: Investment pieces that last and key staples that women will wear again and again are the focus of our brand. You don’t need more clothes, just the right clothing that functions well. We share this narrative with our customers and show them how to style a piece season after season. Franco: There are already enough clothes out there. We wanted to contribute in an area where we felt the industry could be moved forward — clothing produced more sustainably and offering greater function. When you invest in quality pieces that you wear season after season, you have more time to live your life and focus on better things (e.g., spending time with family and friends, pursuing boss lady career goals) than stressing over a wardrobe. Plus, packing for travel is a breeze when you rock minimalist style. Inhabitat: What is the significance of your clothes being low-maintenance as well? Taylor: We all live incredibly busy lives, and a woman’s clothing should never slow her down. The easier a wardrobe is to care for, the more time this gives her back in her day. Franco: The low-maintenance and versatility of our products go hand in hand. For example, our jet set trouser is a perfect work pant, but it’s also ideal for any travel destination, and you can even hop on the yoga mat in them. Just because a piece of clothing is low-maintenance doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style. You can have both! + époque évolution Images via époque évolution

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Hannah Franco and Nancy Taylor celebrate sustainable fashion with poque volution

One-of-a-kind Wilhelm Lamp is 3D-printed from recycled polycarbonate

April 12, 2019 by  
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Challenged by Milanese design gallerist Rossana Orlandi to “give plastic a second life,” Italian architect Tiziano Vudafieri has created the Wilhelm Lamp, a unique light fixture and tribute to the renowned German industrial designer Wilhelm Wagenfeld. Presented at Rossana Orlandi’s exhibition Guitlessplastic – Master’s Pieces during Milan Design Week, the Wilhelm Lamp reinterprets the Wagenfeld’s modernist glass vase as an enlarged pendant lamp that is 3D-printed from recycled polycarbonate. First launched last year, Rossana Orlandi’s Guitlessplastic project was created to challenge the public discourse around plastic. The initiative has included talks and numerous collaborations between brands, artists and architects invited to showcase responsible uses of plastic through recycling. The Guitlessplastic – Master’s Pieces collection exhibits unique works made out of recycled and recyclable plastic by renowned artists, designers and architects and is currently on show at the Railway Pavilion of the Museum Scienza e Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci in Milan until April 14. As an admirer of Wilhelm Wagenfeld, Tiziano Vudafieri owns a 1935 Wagenfield glass vase as part of his personal collection and used it as the inspiration for the Wilhelm Lamp. Created in collaboration with BAOLAB, LATI and GIMAC, the lamp was 3D-printed into a large, bulbous shape from recycled polycarbonate , a material that boasts high thermal and mechanical resistance. At the exhibition, the translucent pendant lamp is suspended above the 1935 Wagenfeld vase, which is bathed in the lamp’s light. Related: Make your own custom sunglasses from recycled plastic with FOS “Wilhelm Wagenfeld was the only Bauhaus master to apply this movement’s utopia to real life, invading the market after World War II with beautiful everyday objects with innovative designs and affordable prices,” Vudafieri said. “Among his works, I prefer his glass pieces, particularly the vases, with their classic and rigorous, elegant and modern forms. Hence the idea of recycling not only the materials used for the object, but also the design itself, fitting in perfectly with the Guiltless Plastic theme.” + Tiziano Vudafieri Images via Tiziano Vudafieri

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One-of-a-kind Wilhelm Lamp is 3D-printed from recycled polycarbonate

Boxy volumes anchor a beautiful home into a rocky cliffside

March 21, 2019 by  
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When Montreal-based firm YH2 Architecture was tasked with the almost impossible feat of building on an incredibly sloped, rocky landscape, it came up with a solution that goes back to the age of time: building blocks. Using the natural landscape to its advantage, the firm constructed the gorgeous House Dans l’Escarpement out of two concrete “boxes,” one vertical and one horizontal. The ingenious design not only let the project expand vertically but also reduced the footprint of the home on its pristine surroundings. Located in Saint-Faustin-Lac-Carré region of Quebec, the home is tucked into a vast landscape made up of a lush forest and pristine lakes. The particular building location, however, is marked by a very steep cliff that has never been built on because of its rugged topography. Related: “Delightfully surprising” green-roofed island home cascades down a rocky slope When tasked with building on this seemingly impossible site, the architects employed an elementary concept to create an extraordinary home design. The House Dans l’Escarpement’s 3,230 square footage spans over two large blocks. The main entrance to the home is through an elevated metallic gangway that leads into the vertical block, while a horizontal block extends out on the ground floor. Spread out over three levels, the lowest floor of the vertical block houses a sauna and spa area, while the second floor is home to a small office and library. The master suite holds court on the upper level and boasts stunning views of the forest and river below. Connected to the vertical tower on the ground by an all-glass walkway , the horizontal block features an open-plan living and dining area that opens up to the outdoors with an open-air terrace. Driving the inspiration behind the unique design, the connection between the man-made and the natural is felt throughout the interior. Warm mahogany and  Corten steel panels were used to frame the home’s exterior, enhanced in some parts with slabs of exposed concrete, which the architects used to pay homage to the large boulders that make up the home’s setting. Mahogany is also the prevailing material used throughout the interior, giving the home a contemporary cabin feel. Selected for its durable quality as well as rich, warm tones, the wood is used in almost every surface, from the flooring, ceilings and beams to the window frames and kitchen cabinets. The result is a living space that blends in seamlessly with the forestscape that envelopes the home. + YH2 Architecture Via Archdaily Photography by Maxime Brouillet via YH2 Architecture

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Boxy volumes anchor a beautiful home into a rocky cliffside

The FLEXSE tiny house module is built from 100% recyclable materials

March 21, 2019 by  
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A tiny and deliciously cozy prefab  home has popped up in St. Petersburg, courtesy of local architectural practice Smart Architecture Laboratory (SA lab) . The charming compact building—dubbed FLEXSE—is the firm’s first prototype for tiny modular housing and is modeled after a traditional Scandinavian BBQ house. Designed with flexibility in mind, the FLEXSE prototype was prefabricated in a factory, assembled on-site and built entirely of recyclable materials. Defined by its organic elliptical footprint, the FLEXSE was created to accommodate a wide variety of needs. Although the architects decided to use the first prototype as an all-season grill house, they believe the unit could be adapted for use as a guesthouse, a sauna , a cafe, a shop, or for a myriad of other retail uses. Buyers will have the option to customize the building in a variety of finishes and materials. Moreover, the buyer would also have the freedom to place the building in almost any environment, whether on water or on a rooftop, thanks to the wide range of foundations that can be used to support the structure. The recently installed FLEXSE prototype in St. Petersburg measures nearly 330 square feet in size. “During winter or in a cold weather it is cozy and comfortable to cook and chill inside, while in summer the open terrace is a nice place to spend time,” the architects say in their press statement. Related: A modular classroom for environmental education pops up in a Barcelona park Topped with an angled snow-shedding roof, the tiny BBQ house is lined, inside and out, with vertical strips of wood. The minimalist interior is simply furnished with a dining table and chairs that share the space with an open grill that fills the room with a warm orange glow when in use. A large round window and the glazed doors let in natural light . + SA lab Images by Ekaterina Titenko

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The FLEXSE tiny house module is built from 100% recyclable materials

A series of geometric, sustainable treehouses is imagined for the Italian Dolomites

March 5, 2019 by  
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Milan-based design firm Peter Pichler Architecture has unveiled a conceptual design for a series of gorgeous geometrical treehouses for the lush green forests of the Italian Dolomites. The two-story structures are arranged in a modern, vertical design and clad in sustainably-sourced wood. Each treehouse is punctuated with floor-to-ceiling glazed windows to provide breathtaking views of the surrounding forestscape. According to the architects, the stunning treehouses were designed as an addition to an existing hotel . The inspiration came from wanting to create a serene but modern lodging option that would help guests immerse themselves completely in the surrounding nature. Referring to the inspiration as a “slow down” form of tourism, they explained, “We believe that the future of tourism is based on the relationship of the human being with nature. Well integrated, sustainable architecture can amplify this relationship, nothing else is needed.” Related: Stunning wooden Oberholz Mountain Hut branches out of the mountainside like a fallen tree The project includes vertical, diamond-esque volumes with sharp, steep roofs inspired by the soaring trees in the area. The design also calls for using locally-sourced wood for the cladding, which would be painted jet-black to blend in to the nearby fir and larch trees. Large, floor-to-ceiling glass panels that stretch the length of the structure would allow the guests to feel a constant connection to the amazing views. The unique guest homes would vary in size, ranging from 375 square feet to almost 500 square feet in the larger units. Spanning over two levels connected by an internal staircase, the treehouses would hold the living area with a small reading nook that looks out over the forestscape on the bottom level. The sleeping areas and a small bathroom would be on the upper floor, which would also provide breathtaking views. + Peter Pichler Architects Via Archdaily Images via Peter Pichler Architects

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A series of geometric, sustainable treehouses is imagined for the Italian Dolomites

Water pollution inspires the Lake Erie Bill of Rights to improve water quality

March 5, 2019 by  
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Residents of Toledo are fighting back against water pollution in Lake Erie. Residents in the Ohio town voted on a Lake Erie Bill of Rights to help protect the lake from human waste, a move that has been criticized by the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF). The piece of legislation, dubbed LEBOR, basically gives the lake the same rights as humans. If the measure stands up in court, residents will be able to sue individuals and businesses on behalf of the lake. Citizens in Toledo hope this will cut down on water pollution by empowering people to sue anyone who harms the waters of Lake Erie via pollution . Related: 7 ways to conserve water and reduce your water footprint The measure was passed by an overwhelming majority of residents in Lucas County. Over 61 percent of individuals voted in favor of the new law, while only 38 percent voted against it. Poll numbers indicate that only about 9 percent of eligible voters in the county showed up for the special election . While the measure may help improve the water quality in Lake Erie, the OFBF openly criticized the proposal. The organization’s director, Joe Cornely, released a statement after the vote and argued that residents are going to be the ones who end up fitting the bill for the upcoming legal battles. “We were concerned before and remain concerned that farmers , taxpayers and Ohio businesses are now going to spend a lot of time and money fighting legal that eventually are likely to be thrown out of court,” Cornely shared. The bill of rights measure was originally introduced by activists in 2018, but organizers failed to get it on the ballot. The OFBF claims that outside forces are behind the measure and warn that it opens up too many opportunities for lawsuits, especially against farmers in the area. LEBOR is the first bill of its kind to be passed in the United States. Shortly after the measured was voted in, conservationists praised Toledo citizens for sticking up for the environment and fighting water pollution at one of the state’s most iconic sites. Via Ohio’s Country Journal and Vox Image via NOAA and Counselman Collection

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Water pollution inspires the Lake Erie Bill of Rights to improve water quality

UNStudio unveils sustainable vision for The Smartest Neighborhood in the World

March 5, 2019 by  
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In Helmond’s Brandevoort District in the Netherlands, an exciting new development had boldly declared its plans to become “The Smartest Neighborhood in the World.” Known as the Brainport Smart District (BSD), the tech-savvy and sustainable initiative has taken one step closer to reality thanks to the recently unveiled spatial plans created by a design team led by  UNStudio . To be developed in phases across the span of 10 years, the Brainport Smart District will be a one-of-a-kind, mixed-use neighborhood that will adapt to users’ changing demands. Created in collaboration with Felixx Landscape Architects & Planners, Metabolic, Habidatum and UNSense, the masterplan for the Brainport Smart District includes 1,500 new residences and 12 hectares of commercial space. As a “living lab,” the neighborhood will be centered on a central park and promote a symbiotic relationship between the built environment and the landscape; the natural reserves and green space will be sustainably managed to produce food , energy and water while processing waste and providing wildlife habitat. The latest technologies will also be used to ensure the district’s success, from the application of joint digital data management to revolutionary transport systems. One of the most notable differences between the Brainport Smart District and typical developments is the construction timeline. “Design and construction will go hand-in-hand with step-by-step development,” the press release stated. “This new district aims to contribute to the creation of a sustainable and unique living concept, one which embraces experimentation and ‘learning by doing’. Brainport Smart District and the UNStudio team’s ambition is to develop a framework for urban development that will empower and motivate people and innovation.” Related: UNStudio unveils twisting “Green Spine” high-rise proposal for Melbourne The Brainport Smart District includes an area of 155 hectares — larger than 320 football fields — that gives the development ample room to experiment and grow within a flexible grid that can change depending on the users’ needs. The development welcomes both local and international users open to communal ways of life, whether in shared energy generation or land cultivation. The larger goal of the Brainport Smart District will be to raise the bar for mixed-use development, not only with its sustainable approach to materials, energy and climate adaption, but also with regards to improving biodiversity, human health and economic opportunities . + UNStudio Images by Ploomp

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UNStudio unveils sustainable vision for The Smartest Neighborhood in the World

A dilapidated garage transforms into an industrial-chic micro home

February 13, 2019 by  
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Vilnius-based IM Interior has proven once again that great design doesn’t need a lot of space. The architects recently revamped an old garage in the Lithuanian capital into a stunning micro home clad in a weathered steel. The 226-square-foot space was also completely made-over with a warm birch wood interior cladding and recessed lighting to create a modern and comfortable living space. While many critics argue that micro housing is not a feasible solution to soaring real estate prices around the world, the micro home trend continues to grow, much to the delight of minimalists. Regarding IM Interior’s recent project, founder Indr? Mylyt?-Sinkevi?ien? explained that the inspiration behind the micro garage was to demonstrate another way of life. “I wanted to show how little a person needs,” he said. Related: Stunning micro home features reclaimed materials and large garage door for entertaining Located in the Lithuanian capital, the ultra tiny home was really built from nothing but a skeleton structure. Connected to a dilapidated building that had been vacant for years, the corner garage was a forgotten piece of property. To breathe new life into the space, the architects clad the compact structure in weathered steel . They also added new windows and a new door to convert the empty garage into a truly comfortable home. Although the weathered metal exterior gives the design a cool,  industrial vibe on the outside, the interior living space by contrast is bright and airy. The living area, dining room and bedroom are all located in one open layout. Two large narrow windows, one over the bed and the other in the kitchen, frame the urban views. Recessed lighting was installed throughout the home, which is clad in warm birch wood, to create a soothing atmosphere. To maintain a clutter-free interior, custom-made furniture provides plenty of concealed storage space. Sitting under the large window, the bed pulls double duty as a sofa , which is also surrounded by built-in storage. Additional seating is found in the hanging wicker chair, adding a bit of whimsy to the design. Like most of the living space, the kitchen is clean and minimalist  but was built with plenty of counter space. The bathroom, although quite compact, features triangular black and white tiling, further lending to the modern aesthetic. + IM Interior Via Dezeen Images via IM Interior

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A dilapidated garage transforms into an industrial-chic micro home

Zero-waste kit ensures reusable essentials are always nearby

December 13, 2018 by  
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The zero-waste movement has consistently gained momentum over the past ten years with many millennials focusing on minimalist lifestyles and conservation of natural resources. More than any generation in nearly a century, attitudes towards lower consumption, conscientious purchasing and limited waste are a big part of societal discussion and awareness. One advocate who has practiced a zero-waste lifestyle for several years has taken the next step in helping others do the same. Marina Qutab, a San Diego-based entrepreneur, decided to kick start the waste-free idea in her area and across the country with the creation of the Zero Waste Kit. Speaking of kick starting, the  Kickstarter campaign  reached it’s $10,000 goal in the first 24 hours and has continued to gain support (Kickstarter campaign closes Dec. 15, 2018). Related: 10 ideas for zero-waste gift wrapping The Zero Waste kit makes using and transporting commonly-used daily essentials easy and convenient. Neatly packed into a portable multi-purpose glass jar, the kit includes reusable items such as a bamboo utensil that is half spoon and half fork and two reusable produce bags to have at the ready when you swing by the farmer’s market. There is also a stainless steel straw, which is convenient with so many areas jumping onto the #nostraw wagon. The included napkin is sourced from fabric recovered from the manufacturing scrap floor and includes a pouch that holds all the contents of the kit when you need the jar for something else. Not only is each item aimed at eliminating waste, but the products are manufactured with sustainability in mind. Locally-sourced materials and labor exemplify Marina’s overarching goal “to make healthier, more compassionate lifestyle choices that are in alignment with our mother earth.” Equally important, at the end of the life cycle, each of the primary ingredients in the kit can either be recycled or composted so that no part in the process produces more waste. When asked about her inspiration for her zero-waste lifestyle and subsequent efforts to encourage others, Marina replied, “My life changed at the age of 10 when I traveled to my father’s homeland of Pakistan, and was exposed to pollution like I had never seen before. It was one night when I blew my nose and found black soot in my tissue that I made the simple realization that our actions impact our environment. I traveled home to America with a newfound sense of purpose and motivation for being the change I wished to see in the world.” Related: Cities around the world lay the groundwork for a zero-waste future She went on to explain that converting to the zero-waste lifestyle offered many challenges, the main one being that her best intentions were not always in alignment with her end goal. She often found herself wanting to pull out her reusable shopping bag, only to realize it was at home. At the smoothie shop, she wanted to decline the single-use cup, but didn’t have an alternative. Finding that people in her community also struggled to make the zero-waste lifestyle more convenient was the motivation she internalized to create an essentials kit she and others could always have nearby. + {Zero} Waste Kit Photography by Alex Mortenson via {Zero} Waste Kit

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Zero-waste kit ensures reusable essentials are always nearby

A dark, timber home rests peacefully among evergreen pine trees

October 30, 2018 by  
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San Francisco- and Oslo-based firm  Mork Ulnes Architects has unveiled a black  timber home tucked into a forestscape in Norden, California. To connect the home with its stunning scenery, the chalet-inspired Troll Hus was clad in pine tar-treated wood and elevated off the landscape with large concrete pillars for minimal site impact. The massive, 3,300-square-foot family home holds court in the middle of a pine forest , just an hour and a half outside of Sacramento. To blend the home into its pristine natural environment, it was clad in dark wood. The black, timber structure sits high up near the tree canopies, giving off a sense of peaceful solitude among the soaring trees. Related: A cypress tree grows through this hillside home in Los Angeles According to the architects, the inspiration for the design was to create a family home where the residents could reconnect with nature, whether inside or outside the home. They explained, “The design is driven both by the extreme environmental conditions found at a 6,800-foot elevation and a California sensibility of generous indoor-outdoor living.” While the elevation of the home certainly affords stunning views, the pillars are also a strategic feature that provides resilience and passive temperature control . The concrete legs were meant to reduce the impact on the environment and protect the home from snow fall, which can reach up to 800 inches during winter. Additionally, putting extra elevation to the home allows for optimal solar exposure in the winter and shading from direct sun in the summer. The orientation of the house also shields the building from strong winds. On the interior, the living space is clad in light wood paneling, creating a soothing vibe. An abundance of large windows brighten the interior with natural light . The open living and dining layout was designed to offer ample room for entertaining or simply enjoying the views in solitude. A large terrace wraps around one side of the home, further enhancing the design’s strong connection to the outdoors. + Mork Ulnes Architects Via Freshome Photography by  Bruce Damonte

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A dark, timber home rests peacefully among evergreen pine trees

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