A family builds an impressive, 300-square-foot tiny home to travel the world

December 3, 2019 by  
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It’s the freedom to travel that continues to push the tiny home trend. Families like Bela, Spencer and their young daughter, Escher, are able to enjoy a minimalist lifestyle while also exploring the world whenever they get the urge to get up and go. What’s more, this family’s custom tiny home on wheels , as functional as it is beautiful, features all of the creature comforts of a contemporary home. Bela and Spencer began their love affair with tiny home living on their honeymoon, where they spent a few days off the grid in a quaint cottage in Appalachia. The experience stayed with them for years, even as they found themselves paying a whopping $2,300 a month to rent a studio apartment in Redwood City years later. Related: Newlyweds forgo pricey wedding to embark on an incredible tiny home adventure Wanting a better life that would allow them to travel with their new addition, baby Escher, the couple decided to embark on a DIY tiny home project. Once they located an idyllic spot in the mountains of Santa Cruz, California, they got to work building the tiny home of their dreams. The couple decided to approach each design step by focusing on spatial awareness and functionality instead of the limited square footage. This focus allowed them to create functional, custom spaces that best suited their own needs as a family. The finished tiny home on wheels features an expansive, open-air deck, complete with a comfortable lounge space, dining set and barbecue grill. The family spends quite a bit of time here, enjoying the views and fresh mountain air. The entrance is through a glass garage door that opens vertically and connects the interior to the front deck. Interestingly, the interior layout was designed to have nine distinct living spaces, each one separated from the other by either a difference in level (steps or a ladder) or a soft partition of some sort (glass door, curtain or shoji paper). This strategy allows each section to have a unique purpose. The ground floor features a living room and high-top dining table that looks out a window over the landscape. The fully equipped kitchen, with a striking copper backsplash, is elevated off the ground by a short staircase that slides out of the wall to create storage space . Behind the kitchen is the master bedroom, which, like the rest of the home, benefits from an abundance of natural light. The queen-sized bed is built on hydraulic lids, enabling it to fold up to reveal more storage underneath. On the other side of the home, a spacious bathroom with a composting toilet features a lovely, spa-like shower stall. Above this area is an L-shaped loft accessible by a ladder. This upper level houses two distinct spaces: an extra bedroom and storage. + This X Life Via Living Big in a Tiny House Photography by Bela Fishbeyn; family photos by Ryan Tuttle

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A family builds an impressive, 300-square-foot tiny home to travel the world

Sigurd Larsen completes a luxurious, treetop hotel cabin in a Danish forest

December 2, 2019 by  
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Danish architect Sigurd Larsen has just unveiled a beautiful, angular treehouse  tucked deep into a picturesque Danish forest. Built for the Løvtag hotel group, the tiny treehouse, which is just 333 square feet, is elevated 26 feet in the air and is accessible by a wooden bridge that leads directly into a stunning, luxurious interior. The treehouse cabin is the first of nine to be built in a quaint, remote forest on the Als Odde peninsula. The idyllic location offers guests the opportunity to explore Denmark’s longest fjord, the Mariager, which is adjacent to the site. Related: Sigurd Larsen adds the ultimate grown up playhouse to Berlin’s Hotel Michelberger Elevated 26 feet off the landscape, the cabins will provide stunning views of the natural surroundings. The studio said, “The cabins are located on a small hilltop overlooking a meadow, which gives a wonderful view over the top of the forest and lets the sunshine in during the afternoon.” The entrance is reachable by a wooden bridge that leads up from the forest floor. Clad in light wood and dark metal sidings, the treehouse hotel was built around an existing pine tree, which rises straight through the cabin’s interior and roof. Designed to be an expression of “ Nordic minimalism ,” the cabins are compact but use every inch of space to create a light-filled, luxurious atmosphere. The interior includes a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom with a cantilevered shower room and main living area. Each treehouse can accommodate up to four people thanks to a double bed and a double sofa bed. The interior features a floor-to-ceiling window to let in natural light and provide unobstructed views of the surroundings from morning to night. For a comfortable space where guests can really take in the views, the cabins have rooftop terraces with plenty of seating. + Sigurd Larsen + Løvtag Cabins Via Dezeen Photography by Soeren-Larsen via Sigurd Larsen

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Sigurd Larsen completes a luxurious, treetop hotel cabin in a Danish forest

Eco-friendly subscription boxes to gift this holiday season

December 2, 2019 by  
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The holiday spirit of gift-giving can be enjoyed throughout the year. How? Giving the gift of a subscription box can provide year-round enjoyment for any recipient, especially when delivered via monthly, quarterly or semi-annual subscription plans. For those who are eco-conscious, here are some environmentally friendly subscription boxes to consider. For people striving for zero-waste and plastic-free living The greenUP subscription is curated to minimize dependence on disposable plastic. Even the company’s website emphasizes a plastic-free lifestyle, “so there’s less plastic waste ending up on our beaches and in our oceans.” Each box in this subscription is valued at $70+ and features six to eight sustainable items. Another subscription box conscientious about the planet is EarthLove , a curated box of products “that are ethically and environmentally responsible, including zero-waste packaging, natural ingredients, organic and non-GMO, gluten-free, cruelty-free, beegan/vegan and fair trade.” Then there’s MightyNest , with its MightyFix and Mighty Essentials subscription packages that promote green lifestyles. MightyNest products are free of BPA, lead, parabens, phthalates and PVC. For ethical shoppers As a verified member of the Fair Trade Federation , GlobeIn strives to support healthy working conditions for the artisans who craft the goods included in each subscription box. Thus, each GlobeIn artisan box is filled with ethically handmade products. GlobeIn offers more than five monthly box themes to provide a variety of choices to subscribers. For the skincare-obsessed For those who prefer toxin-free personal care products, the Natural Vegan Body Care subscription is the perfect gift. Goodies on offer in this box are all-natural, cruelty-free and biodegradable. This includes natural balms, deodorants, hair care supplies and hand soaps all free of unwanted synthetics. Bamboo toothbrushes and organic loofahs also complete the packages. For parents and kids The monthly Ecocentric Mom subscription box offers products perfect for motherhood, ensuring green home care from the first trimester to the toddler years. There are often up to six products provided that include organic self-care products, toxin-free baby products, accessories suited for developmental milestones, eco-conscious practical home care items for the growing family and non-GMO snacks. Related: A guide to the best eco-friendly holiday gifts for children Ethical fashion for babies and toddlers can be found in the SmockBox . Each box includes an outfit, an accessory and a toy — all made ethically. Meanwhile, Dyper offers an eco-friendly diaper subscription. These diapers are made with fibers from renewable bamboo and other biodegradable materials. They are also free of “chlorine, latex, alcohol, perfumes, PVC, lotions, TBT and phthalates.” Wipe On Us correspondingly offers bamboo wipes as a family subscription. The wipes have no plastic packaging whatsoever. Kids will rejoice at receiving the eco-friendly Little Pnuts educational toy subscription box. Little Pnuts gives well-curated packages with up to five sustainable toys, which are all handmade from natural materials and non-battery operated. For low-maintenance plant enthusiasts Succulents are quickly becoming a favorite among urban gardeners because of their low-maintenance needs. There are numerous subscription boxes out there for succulents. Gift two unique succulents in biodegradable pots a month from Succulent Studios , three succulents monthly from Leaf & Clay , four succulents with a mystery bonus plant from Mountain Crest Gardens , five hand-picked succulents from the Succulent Source or up to four succulents or one air plant a month from Succulents Box . For gardeners Arcadia Seed Company is a purveyor of seeds, and its box offers four packets of vegetable or herb seeds along with a surprise packet of unusual or exotic seeds. Meanwhile, the Click and Grow subscription provides pre-seeded, biodegradable pods that can be planted in a self-sustaining Smart Garden device that is “100 percent free of GMOs and harmful substances,” with 45 different fruits, vegetables and herbs to choose from. Yet another is SproutBox , with a BPA- and BPS-free sprouting device, which creates natural aeration for sprouts that emerge from the organic, non-GMO seed packs. The highly curated Horti box includes care instructions for the plants delivered to every urban gardener who subscribes. To encourage self-assurance in gardening, the company begins by sending hardy plants as an introduction into taking care of plants. Pet-friendly plants are also available to prevent any mishaps with canine and feline friends. For foodies UrthBox offers natural, non-GMO and organic snacks and beverages, with gluten-free and vegan options, too. For more adventurous palates, there’s a Fermented Farmacy subscription box with flavorful foods packed with probiotics and enzymes to help maintain optimal gut health. Similarly, the Sun Basket subscription box has options for lean-and-clean, Mediterranean, pescatarian , vegetarian and gluten-free diets. Those who prefer raw, plant-based snacks that are also wheat-free, soy-free and refined sugar-free will find RawBox subscription to be a good match. For pet owners Canine parents can subscribe to Ollie for vet-formulated, freshly cooked recipes with zero fillers, byproducts, artificial flavors or preservatives. The Farmer’s Dog similarly offers healthier pet food made fresh then sent directly to subscribers in eco-friendly packaging. Another wonderful subscription box is offered by Nom Nom Now , which caters to both canine and feline palates, with nutrient-rich, easy-to-digest and byproduct-free foods. Related: A guide to the best eco-friendly gifts for pets Pure Earth Pets is “designed with your pet and the Earth in mind,” offering environmentally conscious products like recycled toys and treats made from natural ingredients, all packaged in biodegradable boxes. As for fishkeepers, My Aquarium Box subscribers can select from saltwater, nano tank, freshwater and planted tank offerings. Avian aficionados, meanwhile, can subscribe to the PollyWannaBird box that keeps birds happy with healthy treats, therapeutic perches and bird-safe wood toys for beak conditioning. For outdoor-lovers The Homestead Box offers three options of packages — for the gardener, the backyard chicken raiser and the woodsman — all of which cultivate simple self-sufficiency, subsistence agriculture and a closer bond to what nature has to offer. Children can also connect, interact and engage with nature via the Mud + Bloom or even the Little Hiker subscription boxes. Hiker Crate ’s subscription is for those with hiking proclivities, whereas the KinderBox is a better fit for those with a truly rugged sense of adventure. Images via Good Soul Shop , Natasha Ong , Paul Gaudriault , Y Tanaka , Skyla Design , Eco Warrior Princess , RawBox , NomNomNow and Rudolf Mark

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Eco-friendly subscription boxes to gift this holiday season

Stunning family home in Ecuador offers serenity in an increasingly noisy world

November 26, 2019 by  
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At one time, we were all so eager to stay connected to everything at every moment, but now, architects are fielding demands to create quiet refuges where people can escape the noise. Case in point is the gorgeous House of Silence designed by Ecuadorian firm Natura Futura Arquitectura . Located just out of Quevedo, this unique home has a massive central courtyard that acts as a serene meditation space for a family looking to block out the noise. Located in Quevedo, a province of Los Ríos, Ecuador, the House of Silence was designed for an elderly man who wanted a home where his family could come together to escape the city and a space where his grandchildren could run and play freely throughout the interior and exterior. Related: A playful home built of recycled materials takes in sunrise views in Ecuador The 1,000-square-foot house creates a seamless connection between the indoor and outdoor spaces. Two rectangular volumes house the main living area on one side and the private areas on the other. The interior spaces are connected by a large interior courtyard . This central garden, which opens up to an expansive landscape, is at the heart of the design. The serene space includes a wraparound walkway with a pair of hanging hammocks looking out onto a small garden area. Leading farther out toward the landscape, a concrete platform floats over a shallow pool, a strategic feature meant to bring the inhabitants closer to nature. With an opening above, natural light floods the entire space, creating a flexible area that can be used for either quiet meditation or family gatherings. Additionally, this open area has its practical, energy-efficient uses as well. According to the architects, the green-filled space was designed to provide a “ bioclimatic effectiveness ” that naturally cools the interior living spaces during the summertime and warms them during the winter months. + Natura Futura Arquitectura Via ArchDaily Images via Natura Futura Arquitectura

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Stunning family home in Ecuador offers serenity in an increasingly noisy world

Squirrel Park turns shipping containers into affordable housing units

November 25, 2019 by  
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In recent years, shipping container architecture has been moving forward as a real-world solution for affordable housing. What’s even more impressive is that savvy architects around the globe are finding new ways to create inexpensive, practical living spaces without sacrificing comfort and style. London-based firm Allford Hall Monaghan Morris has done just that with Squirrel Park, a shipping-container housing development in Oklahoma City that combines the best of green building with sophisticated design. The large shipping container complex contains four two-bedroom homes built on a 27,000-square-foot plot of land. The firm used 16 reclaimed steel shipping containers to construct the four homes, which were built on a tight budget of $1.1 million. Related: Striking apartment complex is made of 48 raw shipping containers The individual units feature two containers on the ground floor that house the living room, kitchen and dining areas. Two more containers, for the home’s two bedrooms, were cantilevered over the ground floor to create a sheltered porch below and a first-floor balcony for the master bedroom. Keeping Oklahoma’s extremely hot and humid climate in mind, the team painted the exterior of the shipping containers white to reduce solar heat gain and added mirrored strips to reflect the sun’s glare. The containers were also cut to make way for large windows that provide natural light and air ventilation. The interiors are light and airy to give the living spaces a modern feel. An extremely tight exterior envelope and high degree of insulation will keep the homes energy-efficient and at stable interior temperatures year-round. Residents will be able to enjoy a number of extra amenities, such as the spacious front porches with porch swings, which lend a dose of traditional charm to the otherwise modern structures. Working around the local landscape and weather conditions, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris elevated the houses off the landscape on pile footings to allow for optimal surface draining. The firm also planted the surrounding landscape with specific greenery to catch and absorb rainwater runoff. Because Oklahoma is in the middle of Tornado Alley, the container homes were reinforced to be as resilient as possible by welding steel tubes into plates in the foundations. There is also an eight-person tornado shelter built underground. In addition to its many sustainable features , the project will also help people who are struggling to get back on their feet. The owner of the property, who also plans to live onsite, runs a local restaurant that often hires individuals who have been incarcerated and strives to give back to the local community. As such, the homes will be made available to residents for “competitive market rates.” + Allford Hall Monaghan Morris Via Dezeen Photography by Timothy Soar via Allford Hall Monaghan Morris

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Squirrel Park turns shipping containers into affordable housing units

Prefab alpine shelter boasts phenomenal views and a small footprint

October 31, 2019 by  
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On the border between Italy and France, a new alpine shelter with breathtaking views has been gently placed atop a remote landscape. Paolo Carradini and his family tapped Michele Versaci and Andrea Cassi to craft an all-black mountain hut to honor the memory of their son, Matteo, a passionate mountaineer. Named the Bivacco Matteo Corradini, the sculptural dwelling was prefabricated off-site in modules, transported by helicopter and reassembled on the construction site to minimize site impact. Located a few meters from the Dormillouse summit in the upper Valle di Susa, the Bivacco Matteo Corradini — also known as the black body mountain shelter — is placed at an altitude of nearly 3,000 meters. The hexagonal dwelling is wrapped in a black metal shell engineered to protect the alpine building from extreme weather conditions, shed snow and absorb solar radiation, while insulation ensures comfort in both winter and summer. Its angular form also takes inspiration from the landscape and mimics the shape of a dark boulder. The interior is constructed from Swiss pine , a material valued for its malleability and scent that is typically used in Alpine communities for crafting cradles and surfaces in bedrooms. The compact interior is organized around a central table with three large wooden steps on either side. These steps serve as sleeping platforms at night and function as seating during the day. Two large windows frame views of the outdoors and funnel light into the structure.  Related: This Norwegian alpine cabin fits together like a 3D timber puzzle “The volume rests on the ground for a quarter of its lower surface so as to adapt to the slope, while limiting soil consumption,” explain the designers of the prefab shelter in a press release. “Reversibility and environmental sustainability are key points of the project: a light and low-impact installation. The optimization of weights and shapes made assembly at high altitudes quick and easy and minimized helicopter transport.” + Andrea Cassi + Michele Versaci Images via Andrea Cassi and Michele Versaci

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Prefab alpine shelter boasts phenomenal views and a small footprint

YouTube stars partner up in #TeamTrees campaign to plant 20 million trees

October 30, 2019 by  
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To combat the climate crisis , a coalition of YouTubers has joined together for a mammoth mission to plant 20 million trees beginning in January 2020. Called #TeamTrees, the reforestation campaign has social media all abuzz. They have, so far, raised enough funds to plant more than 8 million trees, and that number is rising. How did it all start? When YouTuber Jimmy Donaldson, or MrBeast, reached the 20 million subscribers milestone on his YouTube channel, which is dedicated to extreme stunts and philanthropic challenges, his subscribers dared him to plant 20 million trees to commemorate the occasion. The campaign quickly went viral. Related: Scientists confirm tree planting is our best solution to climate change “People keep making fun of our generation for retweet activism and not actually doing something … this is your chance to make a difference,” MrBeast said to his supporters. “Just to be clear, we all realize 20 million trees won’t fix climate change . But at the end of the day, 20 million more trees is better than zero! We want to take action because doing nothing is how we got here!” Upward of 600 YouTube creatives have since joined the #TeamTrees initiative, even rallying their subscribers to follow suit with the planting trees endeavor. To date, these social media influencers have a combined total of 650 million subscribers, double the United States population.  Each $1 donation plants a single tree. In the first 48 hours of the #TeamTrees website going live on October 25, the initiative raised more than $5 million — and the funds keep growing. All donations are sent directly to the Arbor Day Foundation, the nonprofit devoted to tree planting . For almost 50 years, the nonprofit has planted 250 million trees worldwide. Trees funded by the #TeamTrees endeavor will be planted across the globe beginning January 2020. The Arbor Day Foundation anticipates a December 2022 completion date; the year 2022 will mark the 150th anniversary of the first Arbor Day. To promote successful tree survival rates, the Arbor Day Foundation will partner with the United State Forest Service, the National Park Service and the National Association of State Foresters to ensure the trees planted will not be invasive species . The trees chosen will be native to the region in which they are planted, many in national forests managed by government agencies. To speed up the process, the #TeamTrees campaign is entertaining a collaboration with DroneSeed, a company that deploys drones to plant trees in a scalable fashion. Small drones first map out the landscape, followed by larger drones that drop seed vessels at locations ideal for growing trees. Additionally, this eco-friendly YouTube collaboration is flooding the platform with tree content. The #TeamTrees coalition hopes to game the algorithm and push for more environmental videos to rank at the top of the recommended playlists. With tree videos trending next to cat videos, Mother Nature would be proud. + #TeamTrees Via The Guardian Image via Shutterstock

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YouTube stars partner up in #TeamTrees campaign to plant 20 million trees

Four alpine apartments rise from a green-roofed complex in the Czech Republic

October 25, 2019 by  
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Czech architecture firm ov-a recently replaced a former 1980s department store in the mountain town of Pec pod Sn?žkou, Czech Republic with Apart-hotel Svatý Vav?inec, a modern mixed-use complex with 90 apartments that celebrate the alpine surroundings. In place of the barrier-like shopping complex that had obstructed views into the village, the architects created a green-roofed commercial plinth topped with four timber-clad apartment towers. Dubbed the “meadow,” the accessible green roof serves as a semi-private open space with room for an outdoor grill with seating, a children’s playground and private terraces for individual suites. Taking inspiration from the local alpine vernacular, the architects created Apart-hotel Svatý Vav?inec with natural materials and simple gabled forms to blend the architecture into the landscape. The commercial plinth is clad in stone and topped with an intensive Optigrün green roof . The four gabled apartment towers on top vary in size and orientation and are clad in cedar and large windows that embrace views of the outdoor landscape. If apartment owners choose to rent out their units, guests can enjoy access to a complete hotel experience with a reception and cleaning services. Related: A new eco-minded neighborhood in Utah ski resort emphasizes land stewardship The commercial plinth also offers new amenities for the greater community, including a supermarket, a pharmacy, a sporting goods store and a ski and bicycle service shop. The commercial spaces can be accessed through the interior of all of the apartments as well. The building has two underground garages on different levels. “The core character of the area is shaped by the individually standing buildings along the main street that are in close contact with the surrounding nature,” the architects explained. “The atmosphere is captured by a road rising through the valley alongside streams and by the openings between houses that allow a view of the further planes of the village and the cabins scattered on the meadows. The design of four apartment buildings continues the thread of these qualities and develops and further elaborates on them.” + ov-a Images via BoysPlayNice

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Four alpine apartments rise from a green-roofed complex in the Czech Republic

Use texture, height and variety to create pizzazz in your small garden this fall

October 18, 2019 by  
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As the crisp, misty mornings of fall greet the day, autumn colors emerge across the landscape. Meanwhile, your garden and flower pots begin to look barren and colorless as annuals die off and perennials go dormant for the upcoming winter. In most areas, though, there is still plenty of life left in the fall, even in the smallest spaces around your home. With a bit of planning, you can bring a new season of life to your porch, patio or balcony, even during the short days of fall. To get started, follow these tips for color, variety, texture and height variation. Color Fall is synonymous with falling leaves and bare trees, leaving a trail of red, orange and yellow along the roads. You can match the colors associated with the season using pumpkin decor, rusty red or gold mums, plants that produce berries, ornamental grasses and plants that retain their colorful leaves until late into the season. Grab a journal and list some plants common to your area that offer complementary colors. Then, add in some accents, like prolific white mums, silver-leaved herbs such as sage and evergreens like boxwood for a stable green color. On that note, remember that evergreens are a delightful option for every season and make a nice backdrop to seasonal plants that you can swap out every few months. This gives you a lot of options year-round, even with limited space. Related: 11 unique edible plants for your garden Variety Along with the plan for color comes a blueprint for variety. Your preference might be to have window boxes full of a single varietal. If so, great! If not, choose plants that contrast each other throughout the space. Include plants with different types of leaves, heights and lifespans. Put some in the window box, but surround it with potted plants, shrubs, trees and even an ever-changing vase of fresh wildflowers. Just be sure to choose options that can be pruned to stay small or are naturally compact. Even your planters can add to the variety in texture and color. Use galvanized buckets or watering cans mixed with colorful ceramic pots and a miniature wheelbarrow. Insert a glass vase with bamboo , surround plants with an old tire or carve out a pumpkin for a naturally-compostable planter. Use bronze, terracotta or copper to add to the fall color palette, and make them really stand out by surrounding them with white rocks. Texture Plants in nature vary from each other as much as the human face or fingerprint. Embrace that diversity to feed the need for visual appeal. After all, your garden space, no matter how small, should bring you pleasure. Mix it up — bring in some spiky leaves and balance those with the dainty Sweet Alyssum. Throw in some curvy-edged flowering kale, and place it next to your Aster that still might be in bloom, attracting bees and butterflies well into the season. Height Nothing adds variety and depth like a display of flowers, plants and shrubs of varying heights. This can be accomplished using supports or props. For example, use a window box. Then, place a table beneath it with potted plants ranging from tiny succulents to larger herbs . On the ground, add another layer of potted or planted options. Mix in small trees and shrubs if your space allows. You can also choose plants that are all planted in the same bed with diverse heights. Just plant the tallest selections in the back, so they don’t obscure the view of the lower-to-the-ground superstars behind them. Depending on how much space you have, you might include a dwarf conifer, Dogwood or slow-growing Japanese Maple. For very small spaces , use pots to contain purple fountain grass, croton and other plants. Also, use those long-lasting summer climbers to your advantage. Create height with the hops over the pergola, grapes covering the arbor or ivy up the pillars in the front of the house. Placement Another planning consideration includes the placement of your plants. For a back patio or areas where you still spend a lot of time outdoors in the fall, create clusters of texture or color along the edges. Plant a tree just off the edge of the deck and surround it with seasonal potted plants that sit on the deck, creating a vignette of eye-catching cohesion. If you spend most of your time next to the window near the front porch, invest in color within the frame of the window. For an upstairs office, load up the window box. If you’re going for curb appeal, make sure to include border plants to pull the look together. A simple display of a few potted chrysanthemums with some decorative gourds can spice up the entrance to your home. Hanging baskets are another option that complement your decor in any season and work in any space, large or small. Small gardens might present some challenges, but with the right plant selections, you can create spaces that bring visual interest and life to your balcony or patio throughout the seasons. Images via Shutterstock

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Use texture, height and variety to create pizzazz in your small garden this fall

Rammed-earth walls make up a beautiful retreat hidden in the Zhejiang mountains

October 10, 2019 by  
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Hidden in the misty mountains of Zhejiang , a new eco-sensitive resort made from local materials entices visitors with spectacular views and laid-back charms. International architecture firm kooo architects designed the Retreat Village, which comprises a cluster of luxury suites, for their client Hangzhou Origin Villa Hotel & Resort in the Dashan Village in Zhejiang, China. Taking inspiration from the local vernacular, the architects used local materials and techniques, such as rammed-earth construction, to create a resort that blends into its surroundings. Completed over the course of two years, the new Retreat Village is located on a remote, rural mountain. Although most of the original village architecture was built from rammed earth walls using local soils, the architects decided to only use rammed earth for a portion of the new construction so as to keep the interior from feeling too dark and constrained. The earthen walls are complemented by a natural material palette of bamboo, red bricks, stone and carbonized wood. To reduce site impact, the architects used locally produced as well as recycled materials and carefully sited the buildings to follow the natural contours of the mountain. Each of the buildings point in different directions to preserve privacy and to maximize views. An indoor- outdoor living experience is also emphasized in the design. Moreover, the use of natural materials and careful siting help make the village disappear into the landscape. Related: MAD’s ethereal Yiwu Grand Theater will “float” on Zhejiang waters “There is no light coming from this lonely village’s surrounding at night, so one can feel sufficient brightness even with a minimum amount of lighting,” adds the firm. “We kept the lights that can illuminate the entire space uniformly, such as downlights, to the minimum, and used all-directional soft umbrella-like lights such as free-standing lamps and table lights throughout the space. These fixtures project soft arches of light and shadow, illuminating the seamless finish and rounded edges of the walls and ceilings. Wrapped with the warmth of light, the rooms feel more calming and comfortable.” + kooo architects Images by Keishin Horikoshi / SS

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Rammed-earth walls make up a beautiful retreat hidden in the Zhejiang mountains

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