Stunning carbon-neutral home uses traditional materials to create a synergy with its natural setting

November 28, 2018 by  
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London-based practice Foster Lomas , has unveiled a stunning carbon-neutral home on the Island of Man. The Sartfell Retreat is a private home built by local craftsman using locally-sourced drystone walls. The home boasts plenty of sustainable features, including an off-grid water system for fresh water and a plush green roof, covered in carbon-capturing hay and native wildflowers, further creating a strong connection with the home’s breathtaking natural setting. Located near Sartfell Mountain, the home is tucked into seven acres of restored hillside. The retreat is actually part of an ambitious plan by the homeowners, a retired scientist and teacher, who set out with the goal of restoring the existing landscape and protecting the existing biodiversity . In collaboration with Foster Lomas and the local charity, Manx Wildlife Trust, the project is part of a master plan which will eventually have a Vistor’s Center that will be used as an educational platform to showcase the area’s biodiversity. Related: Portuguese stone ruins rise anew as a minimalist dream home Before breaking ground on the modern home, the homeowners and the architects conducted various studies on the local climate and topography. First and foremost, the project was focused on fully restoring the land , which included removing nitrates from the soil in order to allow native plants to grow on site. Additionally, a year before the project was due to start, the architects installed a weather station on the site to gather important data, which was ultimately used to guide the design of the home. Crafted by local builders, the home’s volume follows the natural slope of the land. Locally-sourced drystone was used to create ultra-thick walls in order to provide a tight thermal mass. Large ribbon windows were embedded into the drystone exterior to provide unobstructed views from virtually anywhere in the home. The triple-paned windows were placed into protruding frames of corten steel, which helps prevent solar gain. While the exterior of the home seamlessly blends into the incredible rural landscape, the interior design is quite contemporary. Polished concrete was used for the flooring and walls throughout the home. Minimal, modern furnishings create an open, uncluttered space that puts the focus on the surrounding nature. At the heart of the modern home is a large staircase, made out of perforated metal, that winds up through the home’s three levels. On each level, the stairs are flanked by what the homeowners call the “Knowledge Centre”, a soaring three-level library, stocked with books. Although certainly an eye-catcher, the stairs actually double as a ventilation stack, enabling the home to achieve its zero-carbon classification . + Foster Lomas Via Wallpaper Photography by Edmund Sumner via Foster Lomas

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Stunning carbon-neutral home uses traditional materials to create a synergy with its natural setting

This rammed earth home in India uses recycled materials throughout

October 26, 2018 by  
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When a family of six approached Indian architectural practice Wallmakers for a low-cost home, the architects saw the limited budget as an opportunity to innovate and experiment rather than as a drawback. To keep costs low, recycled and natural materials were prioritized in the design of the Debris House, an approximately 2,000-square-foot dwelling that makes the most of its compact site. In addition to locally sourced materials, the environmentally sensitive home includes a rainwater harvesting and recycling system as well as passive air circulation. Located in Pathanamthitta of Kerala in the south of India, the Debris House derives its name from the site that was peppered with the remnants of many demolished buildings, elements of which were recycled into the new construction. Although smaller towns like Pathanamthitta have increasingly looked to building homes out of glass, concrete and steel in an attempt to mirror their urban neighbors, the architects resisted those trends in hopes that their site-specific design could inspire “the towns to find their own language.” As a result, the architects built the home’s rammed earth walls using soil that was excavated onsite. Recycled materials, also salvaged from the immediate area, were used to form a spiraled wall — dubbed the Debris Wall — that serves as a focal point defining the central courtyard, which allows cooling cross-winds into the home. Furniture was also built from reclaimed wood, specifically from the client’s storage boxes. To protect against unwanted solar gain, the windows are protected with meter boxes sourced from a local scrapyard. The concrete roof and slab were mixed with coconut shells, thus reducing the amount of cement used. Related: Rammed earth walls tie this modern home to the Arizona desert landscape “While the house uses numerous alternate technologies, there is a certain whimsy and playfulness in its design,” the architects said. “Looking at the local context, the project strikes out, humbly maintaining its commitment to the society and the environment .” + Wallmakers Photography by Anand Jaju via Wallmakers

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This rammed earth home in India uses recycled materials throughout

An off-grid home in South Africa features a conservatory for fully enjoying nature

October 26, 2018 by  
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South African architect  Nadine Engelbrecht has unveiled a stunning family home in her hometown of Pretoria. The design was a result of working directly with the homeowners, who wanted a peaceful off-grid retreat where they could escape their hectic urban lifestyle. Connecting design with the gorgeous surroundings, the house’s best feature is a massive conservatory that brings in a wealth of natural light and acts as a passive heating and cooling feature for the solar-powered home. At 6,400 square feet, the Conservatory is a sprawling family home located on a 35-hectare farm outside of Pretoria. Cement washed bricks were used for the main volume of the house, which is attached to the large glass conservatory framed in black steel. The volume of the home was created to meet the needs of the homeowners, who requested a very spacious, one-story living area for two. This space is contained in the conservatory and adjacent living space. The rest of the structure houses guest suites that can be effortlessly separated from or integrated with the main home. Related: Glass elements dramatically open up a solar-powered Sydney home Besides the homeowner’s layout requirements, the surrounding environment drove the project’s design. The home was built into the sloped landscape, which is covered in natural grass. The lower portion of the home is partially submerged into the hill, allowing veld grasses to cover a portion of the roof  for a seamless connection to nature. This connection with the landscape continues through the interior thanks to the huge conservatory built into the core of the brick home. The glass structure, which is topped with translucent roof sheeting, provides spectacular views and also allows for passive temperature control . In the colder months, the glass panels allow solar penetration to warm the space. The area beyond the conservatory was built with glass partitions, which can be opened to allow warm air to flow throughout. In the warm summer months, the automated glass facade opens up completely to allow natural cross ventilation to flow. In addition to the passive temperature control features, the stunning home was built to operate off the grid. Solar panels on the roof generate clean energy, and the water installations are designed to conserve water and reuse any gray water. + Nadine Engelbrecht Via Archdaily Photography by Marsel Roothman via Nadine Engelbrecht

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An off-grid home in South Africa features a conservatory for fully enjoying nature

This geometric cabin in Slovenia is a perfect romantic getaway for nature-lovers

October 23, 2018 by  
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For those looking to enjoy a serene glamping retreat, this tiny geometric cabin in Slovenia is a dream getaway. Located near the region of Maribor, the itsy-bitsy wooden hut is designed to blend seamlessly into the natural landscape thanks to a large glazed front wall that looks out over the expansive rolling hills. Guests can enjoy the fresh air while swinging from a hammock on the wooden deck or soaking in the hot tub. Guests of the tiny cabin , which starts around $170 per night, will enjoy the modern simplicity of the design. A geometric volume expands the space of the compact interior while adding character to the overall aesthetic. The floor-to-ceiling windows on the front facade were used to connect the interior with the exterior. Of course, the swinging hammock on the front deck is the best way to enjoy the panoramic views of the rolling green hills, mountains and valleys that surround the cabin. Related: This itsy-bitsy treehouse in Norway offers the ultimate off-grid escape The cabin comes with everything needed for a romantic getaway for two. The interior is small with just a queen-sized bed, but it is flooded with natural light . There are also a few tables and shelves for personal belongings. The bathroom is located just a few steps away, and linens and towels as well as bathrobes and slippers are all provided. The best part of the tiny cabin is the wooden deck that has a hammock as well as a small sitting area to enjoy the views. This deck is perfect for a morning cup of coffee or a glass of wine in the evening. Guests can also enjoy a community fire pit onsite as well as a large fireplace for barbecues. As an extra bonus, the hosts provide a breakfast basket every morning, filled with products from local farms . + Glamping Hub Via Apartment Therapy Images via Glamping Hub

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This geometric cabin in Slovenia is a perfect romantic getaway for nature-lovers

Retro-inspired beach hut rotates to catch the sun’s rays all day long

September 14, 2018 by  
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London-based JaK Studio has just unveiled a retro beach hut that rotates to follow the position of the sun. Located on the popular Eastbourne Beach, The Spy Glass is an egg-like pavilion striped in bright colors with an all-glass facade on one side and two port hole windows on the other. Once inside, visitors can enjoy beautiful 180-degree views of the beach and the promenade without moving an inch, because the structure is set on a rotating turntable. The design concept was inspired by the classic, colorful beach huts that were once an iconic symbol of the British seaside as well as the common coin-operated binoculars found at many tourist sites. Currently located at Eastbourne’s beach and pier, JaK Studio’s Spy Glass design puts a fun, modern spin on the classic huts by incorporating movement. Related: SPARK designs solar-powered beach huts made from discarded ocean trash “We wanted to pay homage to the traditional beach hut whilst creating a modern concept for a design classic,” Jacob Low, founding partner of JaK Studio, explained. “A big inspiration to our project was the coin slot binoculars which allow one to gaze out to sea . As you can move these binoculars, users can also move our Spy Glass to interact with the sun or coastline. It will hopefully bring a bit of nostalgia to local residents and those visiting on days out.” The brightly-painted orange and blue wooden shingles on the front door of the precast concrete pavilion achieve a nautical feel. The front door opens up to a compact space with an upholstered bench that allows people to relax and enjoy the views through the large glazed wall. A loft rests above the front door, and visitors can climb up into this area and enjoy vistas from two port hole windows. There is also a shower and ample storage, both installed to provide the basic amenities of a private beach hut. Both the large window and the port hole windows allow visitors to effortlessly enjoy views of the beach, the pier or even the promenade. The views change as the hut rotates, which is made possible by a recessed turntable. Operated by a remote control, the structure can be turned 180 degrees to provide the best views at every moment of the day. The Spy Glass hut design was one of the winning entries of an international competition hosted by Eastbourne Borough Council, which sought designs for iconic beach huts with a modern-day twist. + JaK Studio Via Dezeen Photography by Francesco Russo  and Nick Kane via JaK Studio

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Retro-inspired beach hut rotates to catch the sun’s rays all day long

The luxurious Pohutukawa tiny home on wheels lets you live large in style

July 13, 2018 by  
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The notion of living large in small spaces is perfectly captured in the Pohutukawa, a tiny home on wheels that fits up to six people and boasts a double mezzanine. Designed by New Zealand-based firm Tiny House Builders , the contemporary Pohutukawa is a luxury tiny house that comes with a fully outfitted interior and all the necessary hookups. Keep scrolling to take a peek inside the surprisingly spacious tiny home. Outfitted with all the modern comforts of home, the Pohutukawa measures nearly 10 feet in width and 27 feet in height with an 11.5-foot-tall ceiling. The Pohutukawa, which takes its name from the New Zealand Christmas Tree, is handsomely clad in board and batten siding painted black, which contrasts sharply with its light-filled interior and white walls. With a footprint of approximately 270 square feet, the abode also embraces indoor-outdoor living for an even more spacious feel thanks to aluminum-framed French doors, while clerestory windows and other wide windows — all double-glazed — let in additional natural light. The mono-pitched roof is topped with corrugated iron. The home rests on a custom-made triple-axle tiny house trailer. At the heart of the home, there is a large living and dining area with a mezzanine on either side. Beneath the first mezzanine , which fits a queen-size bed, the full kitchen includes a dish drawer, an oven/microwave, hob, range hood, sink, fridge/freezer and plenty of storage. On the other side of the tiny home is the more compact mezzanine that can hold a double bed or serve as an entertainment lounge and is accessible via ladder. Beneath that elevated space is the bathroom with a standing shower, vanity, toilet and heated towel rail. The washing machine and extra storage can also be found on this side of the house. Related: This cedar-clad tiny home radiates true southern charm The price of the Pohutukawa tiny house ranges between $55,000 USD to more than $90,000 USD. The structure typically takes three to four months to construct from start to finish. The Pohutukawa includes appliances, but clients can also purchase optional upgrades, from a custom corner fold-out couch with built-in storage to an off-grid solar setup. + Tiny House Builders Images via Tiny House Builders

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The luxurious Pohutukawa tiny home on wheels lets you live large in style

Interrobang transforms historic Art Deco factory into luxury apartments in London

April 2, 2018 by  
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In west London, an iconic Art Deco landmark has been converted into 66 apartments courtesy of UK studio Interrobang . This latest renovation of the historic Hoover Building carefully preserves many period features along with a comprehensive restoration of the grand facade. Designed by Wallis, Gilbert & Partners and built in 1933, the Hoover Building is a Grade II* listed building that’s seen its fair share of renovations , from its original role as a wartime factory to later use as a Tesco supermarket . After the main structure sat unused for over a decade, IDM Properties purchased the building in 2015 with the aim of transforming the property into high-end apartments. “Key to converting the building to residential accommodation is adding additional levels between the existing floor slabs,” wrote Interrobang. “In order to achieve this, the existing and proposed loads were carefully balanced with a timber framed solution designed to shift the additional weight to locations that could support it.” Related: Flanagan Lawrence Architects transform a crumbling 1923 building into a four-star London hotel Prefabricated timber trusses were inserted to maximize space and support new floors, such as the new third level that comprises 12 loft apartments, each with its own spiral staircase. While many original features were preserved, such as the terrazzo flooring and the staircases finished in the original color scheme, the refreshed interiors are undeniably modern. Among the most eye-catching features of the loft apartments are the immense skylights installed on the sloped ceilings above the living areas and bedrooms. + Interrobang Via Dezeen Images by Morley von Sternberg

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Interrobang transforms historic Art Deco factory into luxury apartments in London

Tetra is a brilliant see-through dishwasher that fits in even the tiniest apartments

January 11, 2018 by  
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Most people living in tiny apartments are resigned to the fact that their kitchens will never have space for a dishwasher – but that’s no longer the case. Heatworks just unveiled Tetra – a new compact, tankless dishwasher that’s sure to make apartment dwellers jump for joy. According to the Heatworks team, if a two-person household were to switch from handwashing to the Tetra, they could save a whopping 1500 gallons of water every year. The Tetra, which will cost under $300, is the size of a small microwave, and it not only reduces water waste , but in fact, requires no plumbing connection at all. Since there are no faucet connections, water is loaded by hand. This simple design is a big asset, because it lets users know exactly how much water is being used. A typical Tetra load lasts just a few minutes and it uses about half a gallon of water. Detergent use is also reduced with small loads – the internal detergent reservoir will last dozens of cycles. Another cool feature is the machine’s transparency, which lets you keep track of the wash cycle. Related: Hand-powered Circo dishwasher saves time, space, money and water Standard dishwashers are designed to fit up to 13 place settings, which is great for large families. By contrast, the Tetra is designed for small households of two or three people who lack space for a full-size dishwasher and are looking to conserve water . Although compact, the Tetra can fit up to 2 place settings or 10 plates or 10 pint glass. Jerry Callahan, CEO and founder of Heatworks, revealed that the Tetra was inspired by the need to provide more efficient options to smaller households: “Our research indicates that although the average household is comprised of 2.58 people, the modern dishwasher holds place settings for 13 or more. This makes people believe that they either need to handwash their few dirty dishes — which wastes 10 times more water than using a dishwasher — or wait for a fill load to run a cycle. With Tetra, we hope to change people’s mindset.” + Heatworks Images via Heatworks

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Tetra is a brilliant see-through dishwasher that fits in even the tiniest apartments

Amazon patents network-based ‘gardening service’

December 6, 2017 by  
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As if Whole Foods  isn’t enough, Amazon is looking beyond your shopping list, and right into your backyard. As first spotted by The Modern Farmer , the tech giant has just received a patent for a network-based “gardening service” that would provide users with the ability to get personalized recommendations for everything from ideal plantings based on location to recipes, required tools, and much more, by simply snapping a photo of their yard. The service, which is essentially a smartphone app for the gardening-challenged, uses algorithms and image recognition software to evaluate conditions and make recommendations. While the tool at first seems a bit perfunctory, it is a lot more specific and personal than a simple Google search. Related: You can now buy tiny shipping container homes on Amazon For example, the patent tells a hypothetical story of a woman named Evelyn who just moved to Seattle and would like to cook a meal with the “unfamiliar” veggies growing in her garden. To get started, she snaps a photo of her yard and the gardening service determines she has mint, tomatoes, and cucumbers growing in one corner. As such, it recommends she makes a Greek salad. At the same time, the service may also see that she has a “large brick pizza oven structure [that] may shade the south-end of the backyard.” Knowing that, it might suggest Evelyn plant some wild ginger—”available at the electronic marketplace” for purchase (of course), as it is a low-shade plant that would do well in those conditions. More broadly, the service is also able to provide recommendations on based on specific geo-location. So as long as one inputs their garden’s coordinates correctly, it can develop a personalized plotting plan, or “virtual garden,” detailing what plants would thrive. The feature would also allow one to see how their garden would look as it transitions through the seasons, and to be sure, what exactly you’d need to buy on Amazon to make it happen. Via Modern Farmer Images via Amazon’s U.S. patent and Pixbay

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Amazon patents network-based ‘gardening service’

7 Laundry Hacks That Save Time, Money and the Planet

December 6, 2017 by  
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Laundry is a drain on the modern green household. It … The post 7 Laundry Hacks That Save Time, Money and the Planet appeared first on Earth911.com.

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7 Laundry Hacks That Save Time, Money and the Planet

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