This rustic Quebec cottage now has a beautiful, prismatic extension

May 23, 2018 by  
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When a client with a large family reached out to ACDF Architecture for an extension of their rustic country cottage in Quebec , the Montreal studio responded with a modern building that provides a visually arresting contrast to the historic house. Dubbed the Chalet La petite soeur, the addition mirrors the original building’s dimensions with a sharply gabled roof. Unlike the existing cottage, however, the new building is clad in white-painted timber and a sheet metal roof for a crisp and modern appearance. Located on Lake Ouareau near the town of Saint-Donat in Quebec, the charming 1,400-square-foot countryside cottage and its new addition are designed to optimize enjoyment of the outdoors and views of the lake. The architects took inspiration from the surrounding landscape of birch trees when designing the new space, described as a “refined version of the existing house.” The chalet’s smooth, white-painted wood cladding mimics shiny birch bark and recalls the whitewashed walls of rural barns, while providing a sleek contrast to the natural silvery patina on the facade of the existing home. An elevated glass bridge connects the old cottage to the chalet and lies on an axis between the kitchen of the old building and the new living room. Glazed on both sides, the bridge overlooks views of the landscape and garden. The floor and ceiling of the bridge are finished in timber that matches the warmth of the existing home’s old wood planks. Both ends of the bridge are framed in wood, evoking the appearance of large picture frames. Related: Dreamy cabin is the perfect lakeside escape for large families An open-plan family room dominates the ground floor and overlooks spectacular views of the lake through large windows. The minimalist interior is dressed in polished concrete floors and natural wood details, like the central fireplace with a black-slatted wood surround. Hidden storage inside the built-in benches helps reduce visual clutter. The new master bedroom is tucked into the lower level, which is built of concrete. + ACDF Architecture Images by Adrien Williams

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This rustic Quebec cottage now has a beautiful, prismatic extension

Get Unstuck! 7 Nonstick Cookware Alternatives

May 21, 2018 by  
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Unless you’ve been living under a pile of perfluorochemical-coated pots … The post Get Unstuck! 7 Nonstick Cookware Alternatives appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Get Unstuck! 7 Nonstick Cookware Alternatives

The all-natural ‘Wellness Kitchen’ includes a beautiful living herb wall

May 17, 2018 by  
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Kitchens are often the heart of any home, and now an innovative company is giving our beloved cooking space a healthy and sustainable makeover. Interior design company  Finch London recently unveiled its beautiful bespoke rose-colored “Wellness Kitchen” that’s built with various chemical-free and eco-friendly materials  and features a stunning herb wall. The London-based company’s Wellness Kitchen — which recently took home the grand prize at the Grand Designs Live event for its spectacular design — offers a glimpse into the future of eco-friendly kitchen design . The space includes a number of wellness features such as incandescent Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) light bulbs, a doTerra essential oil diffuser, a steam oven, an alkaline water purifier and much more. The countertops are made of Jesmonite, a water-based material that, unlike cast concrete, does not release volatile organic compounds . Related: Artisan Moss ‘plant paintings’ are maintenance-free alternatives to living walls The flooring is made from natural cork  harvested through an environmentally-friendly process. Resistant to dust and toxic absorption, cork is an ideal choice for people who suffer from allergies. It’s also antimicrobial and water-resistant, which helps to combat mold. A major feature of the kitchen is its verdant living herb wall installed on the kitchen island. In addition to various air-purifying plants found hanging throughout the space, the indoor herb garden allows homeowners to grow their own herbs and spices organically. + Finch London Via Household Beautiful Images via Finch London

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The all-natural ‘Wellness Kitchen’ includes a beautiful living herb wall

This whimsical tiny house with its own pizza oven was built for just $15,000

April 25, 2018 by  
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Although some may equate living in a tiny house with austere minimalism, with savvy planning there’s always room for a little whimsy. Take this 221-square-foot tiny home, which, in addition to its homey, light-filled interior, has a full-on pizza oven installed in the kitchen. Recently featured on Zillow , the tiny home was built for just $15,000 – and it’s full of personality. Owners Robert and Rebekah Sofia designed and built this whimsical tiny home in just 20 months. From the beginning, the empty nesters knew they wanted the space to reflect their vibrant lifestyle. Looking to stay within budget, they used as many reclaimed materials as possible. Related: Firefighter’s self-built tiny house is an earthship on wheels The 800-degree wood-fired pizza oven in the home speaks volumes about the couple’s appreciation for the finer things in life. Not many people would consider putting such a hot-burning amenity in a compact space, but the couple achieved temperature control by using multiple layers of plaster and cement, along with a very heavy metal door. In addition to having one of the more intersting features we’ve ever seen in a tiny house, the beautiful home also has an outdoor soaking tub, a formal dining room with a chandelier, and even a music loft. + Zillow Via Apartment Therapy Photography by John Jernigan via Zillow

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This whimsical tiny house with its own pizza oven was built for just $15,000

Japanese home features a bookshelf wall designed to withstand earthquakes

April 4, 2018 by  
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In earthquake-prone Japan , a wall full of books might seem like a disaster waiting to happen. Rather than capitulate to Mother Nature however, the owners of this Yokohama home found a way to safely put their massive library of books on full display without fear of collapse. Shinsuke Fujii Architects designed the Bookshelf House that features angled earthquake-resistant bookshelves easily accessible by children and the elderly without a ladder. Slotted in a dense Yokohama neighborhood, the roughly 930-square-foot Bookshelf House stands out from its neighbors with its black oblique walls clad in standing seam metal and set atop a concrete base. The slanted wall also helps shield the recessed entrance from rain. For privacy, windows are minimized, particularly on the lower levels. In contrast to its dark exterior, the interior is lined in light-colored timber. The front of the home is filled with natural light and features a sunken dining area next to the bookshelf wall, the kitchen, and pantry. The master bedroom and bathroom are placed at the rear of the home. Stairs lead up to a living room and small office space as well as a secondary bedroom and small glass-walled terrace . Related: House in Byoubuguara Uses Curved Floors to Maximize a Small Footprint in Japan “The horizontal shelf functions to prevent buckling of 4 m long pillars,” wrote the architects. “From the viewpoint of a safe bookshelf, a new relationship of housing – structure – bookshelf has been created.” + Shinsuke Fujii Architects Via ArchDaily Images © Tsukui Teruaki

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Japanese home features a bookshelf wall designed to withstand earthquakes

BIG unveils designs for LEED-certified skyscraper in NYC

April 4, 2018 by  
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A new LEED -seeking glass skyscraper is set to rise in Midtown Manhattan, with designs courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group . New York YIMBY got the scoop on the first renderings, showing an immense office tower wrapped in glass curtain wall and landscaped terraces. Located on 3 West 29th Street, the building has been dubbed “29th and 5th” and will replace the old Bancroft Bank Building that was demolished a few years ago. As reported by New York YIMBY, the “29th and 5th” project will target LEED certification and offer generous amenities for office workers. Although the September 2017 Department of Buildings application for the project reportedly specified a 551-foot envelope with 34 stories, the renderings look nearly double that size. Related: BIG unveils designs for bow tie-shaped National Theater of Albania “The building will incorporate a LEED certified design and highly amenitized offering package promoting employee connectivity, communal workspaces, and fitness options that will pioneer a new frontier of wellness and sustainability within the workplace,” says a 29th and 5th project description. “The building is designed with smaller 13,400 square foot floorplates that will attract an underserved market while leaving ample lot area to design a vibrant park surrounding the building.” + Bjarke Ingels Group Via New York YIMBY Images via New York YIMBY , by Bjarke Ingels Group

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BIG unveils designs for LEED-certified skyscraper in NYC

How millennials are changing home design

March 16, 2018 by  
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You won’t be hard-pressed to find an article about the next industry Millennials are killing. As more of them become homeowners, it’s no surprise that their tastes are starting to impact home design as well. As a group, Millennials have huge buying power, and the design world is taking notice of their preferences. Take a look at several home design trends that appeal to this generation, including green-focused fashions, small-space living, and dual-purpose furniture trends. 1. Urban and Size-Conscious It’s true; Millennials haven’t been queuing up to buy large suburban houses. They are more concerned with reasonable energy use, efficiency and of course, saving on the dollars. The importance of being within close proximity to necessary social and professional networks and city resources means this generation is generally found in urban areas , and naturally, this goes hand in hand with smaller properties, too. However, just because they choose to live in smaller quarters, doesn’t mean they’ll be cramped. 2. Open Plan Floor plans are more open and efficient than ever before. Simply put: Millennials just don’t have time for hallways! A big kitchen still remains a prerequisite, but it should flow into the other rooms for easy entertaining. For this reason, almost half of Millennials are keen on luxury kitchens with a preference for lounge furniture that serves more than one purpose. Who says a couch can’t have built-in storage or an end table can’t double as a coffee table during parties? 3. Sleek and Simple Baby boomers preferred rustic décor and plenty of accessories. Luckily for us, Millennials are keen on functionality and minimalistic design to keep a clutter -free home. That’s not to say that rustic and natural materials aren’t found in their homes, they are just limited in number. Part of this is due to the smaller spaces they are occupying , but it’s also because the increased use of technology means many accessories that were once physically found in the home can now be condensed into the palms of their hands. 4. Natural Materials and Features There is a hangover of the baby boomer rustic interior, but the youngest generation of homeowners are switching it up. We’re seeing more natural tones in today’s millennial homes such as reclaimed wood, neutral palates and barn doors. Scandinavian design is contributing to the pro-wood feel, but so is the tendency to bring the outdoors inside. 5. Tiles are Back One of the biggest changes identified as Millennial interior décor is a preference for tiles. Subway tiles are dominating the market ; whether they’re used as backsplashes or flooring, it’s the ultimate trend. Since Millennials have now occupied smaller homes , the financially savvy are more likely to have more room in the budget for the designs they want. That means more money is going into kitchen design and spa-like bathrooms. Tiles on floors will tend to be in natural stones or wood effect patterns, while low maintenance backsplashes dominate the kitchen. 6. Statement Appliances Diner-type restaurants with open plan kitchens and cookery shows may have had an impact here. This generation loves fancy kitchen appliances and probably also benefits from saving the cents with home-cooked meals instead of splashing out on dinner. 7. Green Building Materials Millennials are choosing eco-friendly materials such as non-toxic paint, Energy Star appliances and LEED-compliant light fixtures in and around the home. The EPA recently estimated that homeowners save up to $501 every year with eco-friendly windows, for example, so the trend is fitting in well with this cost-conscious generation. Related: These solar-powered tiny homes are designed just for millennials 8. Low Maintenance Since when could this ever be a bad thing? This generation is more and more conscious of the time, energy and expense that goes into the upkeep of living spaces. This means that Millennials are championing the move to high design at low cost which doesn’t require regular maintenance. 9. Smart Technology It’s reported that Millennials today are more inclined to boast about a home with integrated smart-technology than they are about a brand new kitchen. It’s clear that Wi-Fi-connected technology throughout homes is key for more reasons than one. Lighting, heating, smoke detectors, TVs and speakers can all be monitored from phones or tablets. This removes safety hazards as well as inconveniences such as needing to walk into a room to turn on the music. They also are demanding “technology friendly” spaces which mean lots of outlets and charging stations. 10. Sustainability This generation is the most sustainability-focused generation ever. They’re looking for renewable energy sources within apartment blocks, sharing resources, supporting surrounding independent businesses and using green materials. Almost half of Millennials are interested in solar panels for their homes, and show a keen interest in growing their own food. Gardening is good for the environment and works well with recent healthy living trends. Expect to see more small gardens, window-box gardens, or community gardens where this generation takes up residence. Millennials currently account for 83.1 million people in the United States alone. Their influence on demand and popular trends knows no bounds. The home design of today and tomorrow is all about flexibility, sustainability, minimalism and natural effect interiors – easy to live in, yet stylish and unobtrusive. Most importantly, awareness of environmental challenges we face globally is translating into eco-friendly lifestyles. It’s a change worth celebrating.

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How millennials are changing home design

Less fertilizer, greater crop yields, and more money: China’s agricultural breakthrough

March 16, 2018 by  
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Nearly 21 million farmers in 452 counties across China have adopted recommendations from scientists in a 10-year agriculture sustainability study to reduce fertilizer use. According to a Nature news article , their efforts are paying off: all told, the farmers are now around $12.2 billion better off than they were before. 46 scientists, led by Cui Zhenling of China Agricultural University , were part of the landmark study aiming to cut fertilizer use. Chinese farmers use around four times the global average of nitrogen without lowering yields, which has myriad environmental consequences. The researchers conducted 13,123 field studies between 2005 and 2015 all across China at wheat, rice, and corn farms, testing “how yields varied with different crop varieties, planing times, planing densities, fertilizer, and water use. They also measured sunlight and the effect of the climate on farm production,” according to Nature . Related: China subverts pollution with contained vertical farms — and boosts yield The scientists came up with tailored advice for farmers depending on conditions in their location. Nature gave northeast China rice farms as an example: there the researchers suggested farmers cut overall nitrogen use by around 20 percent. They said farmers could plant seeds closer together and increase nitrogen applied late in a growing season. Between 2006 and 2015, millions of farmers adopted the suggestions, and the scientists held around 14,000 workshops and outreach programs. Cui said, “The [farmers] were skeptical, but we gained their trust, and then they depended on us — that was our greatest reward.” That trust seemed to pay off: according to the China Agricultural University’s press release , the practices “increased grain production by 33 million tons, reduced nitrogen fertilizer use by 1.2 million tons, and increased income by 79.3 billion yuan.” Some researchers think the lessons learned in the $54 million project may not translate easily in other countries. University of Leeds scientist Leslie Firbank told Nature , “It would clearly have benefits across sub-Saharan Africa, but an approach is needed that crosses borders, organizations, and funders.” Nature published the study online earlier in March. + Nature + China Agricultural University Via Nature News Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia Commons

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Less fertilizer, greater crop yields, and more money: China’s agricultural breakthrough

Conservationists rid Florida of invasive iguanas by smashing their heads

March 16, 2018 by  
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Invasive iguana populations have soared in Florida , and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission launched a $63,000 research project to figure out the best way to get rid of the lizards . But the Sun Sentinel and Gizmodo reported some people are taking issue with one method: that of smashing in the iguanas’ heads. Iguanas can impact native wildlife and plants and irritate homeowners, according to commission spokesperson Carli Segelson. Gizmodo said many residents of Florida consider the reptiles pests, akin to rats. A 15-person University of Florida team, whose work is part of the commission’s project, is tackling the problem with methods like a captive bolt gun or bashing the reptiles’ heads against solid objects, including a boat and truck they’re traveling in to track the creatures down, according to the Sun Sentinel. Wildlife biologist Jenny Ketterlin said their methods are compatible with Florida’s anti-cruelty laws, and that destroying the iguanas’ brains rapidly is the most humane method of killing them. The team has taken out 249 iguanas near a canal over three months, and have spurned other extermination techniques on the grounds they’re inefficient, not safe, unproven, or crueler. Related: It’s so cold that frozen iguanas are falling off trees in Florida Some people don’t like the sound of smashing in iguanas’ heads. The Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy executive director Lori Marino described the method as appalling; veterinarian Susan Kelleher said it’s cruel and a kinder method of killing the iguanas would be sedating and euthanizing them. Gizmodo said this is a complicated situation. They spoke with iguana expert Joe Wasilewski who said he did cringe when he heard about iguana heads bashed in, but that this method is one of the better options we have. “In less than a second these lizards go from being cognizant to completely dead. Is that cruel?” he told Gizmodo. “Look, we kill millions upon millions of rats and cockroaches every year. The last thing I want to do is harm one. I’ve spent my whole career trying to improve their island habitats, but the sheer number of iguanas is exploding — it’s a situation that’s not getting better any time soon.” Via the Sun Sentinel and Gizmodo Images via Depositphotos and Skye am i/Wikimedia Commons

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Conservationists rid Florida of invasive iguanas by smashing their heads

Pop-up Befriending Kitchen unites refugees and asylum seekers in London

March 8, 2018 by  
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Merrett Houmøller Architects designed a pop-up kitchen that not only addresses social change, but is also a clever take on modular architecture with wheels. Created for RIBA’s Beyond Borders design competition, Befriending Kitchen was created to bring young asylum seekers and refugees together with weekly meals. Compact enough for mobile travel, the pop-up unit contains kitchen facilities as well as storage for folding tables and benches. Merrett Houmøller Architects’ Befriending Kitchen was born from the Refugees and Befriending Project, run by British Red Cross volunteers and staff. The new pop-up dining facility brings a colorful refresh to the project (previously run out of an office) and is decorated with bright graphics inspired by nautical signal flags. Related: IKEA’s SPACE10 lab is bringing a pop-up vertical farm to London Befriending Kitchen unpacks into two separate units that bookend a dining area made up of folding benches and tables seating up to 30 people. The kitchen facilities include a gas hob, sink, counter space, and trash disposal . The project is currently located in the courtyard of the British Red Cross’ Hackney destitution center in east London . + Merrett Houmøller Architects Via Dezeen Images © Francis Ware 2017

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Pop-up Befriending Kitchen unites refugees and asylum seekers in London

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