Interactive maps show top 10 states for off-grid lifestyles

April 9, 2020 by  
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Homesteading was a way of life for generations while the world developed industrialization and created cities of infrastructure. Over time, modern conveniences and the fast pace of business encouraged an increasing number of people to move into urban areas and/or reduce self-reliance in favor of easily accessible supermarkets and mail-order food. But in recent years, a resurgence of homesteading has shown that uncertain times have resulted in people returning to the basics of gardening , farming, food preservation and finding ways to be off-grid.  A recent data collection report by HomeAdvisor consolidated information from across Instagram to find out how many people are subscribing to a simpler way of life. Interestingly, the results show clusters of communities seemingly sharing common values in certain areas across the United States. Related: Do people in tiny houses live more sustainably? The information was gathered based on three commonly used hashtags (#homesteading, #tinyliving , and #offgridliving ), and then geolocation data identified the hot spots. Each of these lifestyles focuses on some level of self-sufficiency and cost savings. Homesteading is mainly about self-sufficiency. You’ll find homesteaders growing their own food, generating their own power and making their own clothes. Tiny living is a lifestyle that leaves a smaller footprint on the world. Tiny houses and tiny living are about simplification, a lower cost of living and using fewer resources. Living off-grid is a broad category that includes tiny living and homesteading. It also means disappearing from staples of society like the electric grid, schooling and the internet.  The reasons for heading towards a more self-sufficient lifestyle are varied, ranging from a fear of pandemics, an increase in surveillance infringing on privacy and concern for the environment. Regardless of the exact reasons, freedom,  lowering one’s carbon footprint  and a sense of independence seem to be at the core of the movement.  While there are abundant hashtags for any of these lifestyles, the study targeted these three as the best sources of information on the topic. The data was then consolidated and prepared for visual consumption by converting it into interactive maps and infographics . The method of collection eliminated Instagram posts without a location and those outside the United States. “To create these visualizations, we collected data by “scraping” it. Scraping is a technique that gathers large amounts of data from websites. In this case, we wrote a custom script in Python to get the data for each hashtag. The script collected information including the number of likes, number of comments, location, etc. for posts with each of the three lifestyle hashtags. The python script also collects data that human users can’t see, like specific location information about where the post was published from,” HomeAdvisor said on its website. When it comes to the United States and off-grid living as a whole, the interactive map gives a snapshot of the trend with the larger circles showing clusters. Moving into more specific information, homesteading may not be as rural as one might expect. In fact, large numbers of homesteaders are balancing backyard beehives , chickens and crops with a daily commute. One might also think homesteading is associated with life on the west coast. While that’s partly true, there are communities up and down the east coast squashing the idea that high populace and running your own farm don’t go hand-in-hand. As seen on the Top 10 States for #Homesteading map, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York all have active homesteading communities. Austin, Texas and Livermore, Colorado are Insta-proud of their homesteads too. On the west coast, the Seattle area in Washington and larger cities such as L.A. and San Diego in California top the list in the number of homesteaders posting their fresh eggs and veggies. For off-grid living, the map looks a little different. Here we find that numbers might be a bit skewed, considering off-grid technically means off social media, but the images are still there as a basis to understand the trends. By the Insta-numbers, Kimberly, Alabama comes in at the top of the off-grid areas, but since many of the posts are from the same Airbnb location, HomeAdvisor calculates that California takes the prize for the most off-gridders. This isn’t too surprising for a state that just mandated all new home constructions must include  solar panels . The four corners of Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico are all in the top 10 for off-grid living, in addition to New York, Florida, Oregon, Hawaii and Alaska. The  tiny home movement  might be a bit hard to track for the mobile types, but on the road or not, Instagram is full of #tinyliving examples. The resulting map shows all three west coast states (California, Oregon and Washington) taking part in the trend. Florida, North Carolina and New York are active on the east coast, and Utah, Colorado and Arizona house the tiny movement too. Texas rounds out the #tinyliving top 10 list.  In conclusion, an increasing number of #homesteading Americans are going back to their roots of growing crops and raising cattle. Meanwhile, the #tinyliving community looks for ways to minimize their impact on the land, and #offgridliving continues to be difficult to accurately track, at least through the likes of Instagram. + HomeAdvisor  Images via HomeAdvisor

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Interactive maps show top 10 states for off-grid lifestyles

Snazzy garden shed doubles as rainwater runoff solution

April 9, 2020 by  
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When most people think of a garden shed, they more than likely conjure up simple images of utilitarian boxes stored with barely-used tools and oodles of clutter. However, when Maryland-based practice  Gardner Architects  was tasked with installing a small garden shed for homeowners in the community of Bethesda, they came up with a gorgeous  100-square-foot shed  that not only blends in harmoniously with the main home, but actively helps manage stormwater runoff to be re-used as irrigation for the native plants found on the property. Although the task of building a garden shed may seem pretty straightforward at first, in reality, the team from Gardner Architects came up against quite a few challenges before they could get to work on the design. First and foremost, the landscape surrounding the main home is comprised of dense woodland, which the homeowners wanted to protect at all costs, meaning that no trees could be removed to make space for the shed. The solution then was to build the shed just mere steps away from the home, preserving all of the trees  found on the property’s .34 acres. Related: Studio Sprout’s backyard greenhouse combines stylish form with fabulous function As part of a recent  renovation of the main house , the shed design would become part of a larger master plan for managing rainwater on the property. Working with  Jordan Honeyman Landscape Architecture , the resulting shed design was created to be respectful to the ecology of the home’s surroundings. To protect the natural vegetation, for example, the design team hired an arborist to help the construction process avoid damaging any underground tree roots. The structure is set into a small corner just steps away from the main home. Extremely compact at just 100 square feet, the shed is clad in tight-knot board-and-batten siding. Sliding doors made from  cedar boards  were set on metal tracks to open completely, making it easier to access. To embed the design with a proper  rainwater rerouting system , the roof was slightly slanted to allow water to slowly run down the hillside, where it would be re-routed into a drain made out of large stones. The system allows the water to slowly be absorbed into the planting beds located between the shed and the main house. In addition to its rainwater system, the project also centered around protecting the natural setting to attract healthy critters to the area. “Site maintenance is also a component of a natural habitat,” Honeyman said. “We have left tree snags onsite to attract insects and the birds attracted to them. Not clearing the underbrush and leaf litter provides environments for a multitude of insects to overwinter.” Now that the structure is completed, the homeowners will be working with the landscaping team to add a  pollinator garden  to the property. + Gardner Architects + Jordan Honeyman Landscape Architecture Via Houzz Photography by John Cole

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Snazzy garden shed doubles as rainwater runoff solution

Off-grid tiny cabin in Australia is just the place for a digital detox in the new year

January 1, 2020 by  
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Last year, we featured CABN ‘s collection of gorgeous, off-grid cabins that are designed to offer a serene respite away from the stresses of everyday life. Now, the Australian company has just unveiled another beautiful design, the Sadie, which is its first eco-retreat in Victoria. Tucked in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, the solar-powered cabin is the ideal spot for reconnecting with nature in the new year. Like all of CABN’s projects, the Sadie is designed to go completely off the grid while still offering the ultimate in comfort for guests who are looking to immerse themselves in nature. Located on a remote property in Daylesford, the cabin is less than a 1.5 hour drive from Melbourne. Guests staying at the tiny cabin will enjoy the secluded area, which is surrounded by lush forest and unspoiled nature. Related: These Australian tiny cabins are designed to help us disconnect With a master bedroom and a comfy day bed, the cabin can accommodate up to four guests. In addition to the two sleep spaces, there is a main living area complete with the company’s signature, massive window that frames views of the forested landscape. This window is accompanied by a handful more, all of which brighten the space with natural light during the day. Despite its small size, the cabin has more than enough amenities to make guests feel at home. The bathroom sports a simplistic design of unfinished wood and has enough space for a shower and a composting toilet . For meals, there is a fully equipped kitchen and an outdoor grill. Guests can also enjoy a nice glass of wine while lounging around the firepit, provided its not bushfire season, of course. Although the cabin, which starts at $200 per night, is located in a remote forest seemingly at the end of the earth, in reality, the cabin retreat is in Daylesford, which has plenty of restaurants and shops nearby. Additionally, there are plenty of local wineries in the area to tour. + CABN Images via CABN

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Matthew McConaughey unveils tiny eco-retreat in Australia

December 23, 2019 by  
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Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey is jumping on the tiny cabin movement , and it’s “alright, alright, alright” with us. The famous actor has teamed up with Australian travel company Unyoked and Wild Turkey to build The Reserve — a tiny, off-grid cabin that operates on solar power. We already know that McConaughey is a huge fan of the outdoors, and regularly disconnects from the hustle and bustle in places like his beloved, restored Airstream . His latest tiny cabin venture follows his passion for both simple living and eco-friendly design. Located on the Central Coast of New South Wales, The Reserve is a tiny home that was built entirely with sustainable materials. The off-grid cabin, which runs on solar power , was designed to offer guests a serene retreat to rejuvenate in Australia’s incredible landscape. Related: This off-grid tiny cabin in the Australian wilderness is just what you need for a late summer getaway The dark wood-paneled cabin is a rustic, yet sophisticated retreat that offers an off-grid experience without sacrificing comfort. Here, the typical modern amenities of Wi-Fi and flat-screen televisions are replaced by large windows and a firepit. The cabin still includes the basics, such as a queen-sized bed, a gas stove, plates, linens and even a concealed bourbon bar. Working with the team from Unyoked, McConaughey added several personal touches to the tiny cabin . For those struggling to leave their smartphones behind for entertainment, guests can read some of McConaughey’s favorite authors, such as a collection of essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson and works by Og Mandino. For music-lovers, there are cassette tapes of Bob Dylan albums that can be listened to on a vintage stereo. As the sun sets, guests can warm up with a nice, toasty glass of Wild Turkey at the bourbon bar. Built as a part of Wild Turkey’s Thanks initiative, the proceeds from cabin bookings and $1 from every bottle of Longbranch sold in November and December will go to the initiative’s charity partner, the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife. “I’ve always been in awe of Australia’s natural beauty,” McConaughey said in a statement. “My hope now is that The Reserve by Wild Turkey x Unyoked cabin will inspire Australians to reconnect with nature as an antidote to the frenetic pace of life.” + Unyoked Via Apartment Therapy Photography by Getty Images via Unyoked

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Matthew McConaughey unveils tiny eco-retreat in Australia

Ark tiny home blends off-grid capability with elevated design

December 13, 2019 by  
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These days, designing an off-grid tiny home doesn’t have to mean forgoing attractive design. Built by Willowbee Tiny Homes , the Ark was designed to go completely off the grid thanks to a full solar package, a fresh water holding tank, a gray water holding tank and a composting toilet. Furthermore, all of these incredible sustainable design elements are wrapped up in a breathtakingly gorgeous living space. Built on a 26-foot-long wheeled trailer, the Ark is ready to move into virtually any landscape. Constructed with durable materials, the tiny home is capable of withstanding nearly any type of climate. The cedar-clad home has a tight envelope comprised of high-quality insulation that keeps the interior warm and cozy, even in cold weather. Related: This tiny farmhouse features a quaint reading nook The Ark was also designed to be a powerhouse of off-grid living . The pitched roof is equipped with a solar array on each side, which allows the tiny home to generate all of the clean energy it needs to operate. Additionally, the house is installed with both a fresh water holding tank and a gray water holding tank to reduce water waste. Besides its impressive green design elements, the Ark is one of the most attractive tiny homes that we’ve ever seen. With bright white walls and even brighter blue accents, the interior space is unique and contemporary. There’s also no shortage of natural light streaming in from a bounty of windows and skylights. The off-grid tiny home features a roomy living area with storage built into the L-shaped couch, which can be folded out into various configurations . Just steps away, home cooks can whip up impressive meals in the kitchen that includes full-size appliances and electric-blue cabinetry. There are two sleeping lofts on either side of the small building. The master bedroom is accessible via a floating staircase, while the second loft is reachable by a ladder. Downstairs, the bathroom features an enviable, full-size bathtub, a washer and dryer combo and a composting toilet to round out the list of sustainable amenities. + Willowbee Tiny Homes Images via Willowbee Tiny Homes

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Ark tiny home blends off-grid capability with elevated design

Phoenix Earthship features a food garden and jungle in off-grid fashion

May 16, 2019 by  
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An earthship is an accommodation with low environmental impact. The design of an earthship incorporates natural and recycled materials in the architecture and decor. It is built with conservation of natural resources in mind so that it produces its own water, electricity and food. Most earthships reuse discarded tires, cans and bottles for wall construction, and mud is common for wall plaster and floors. The energy savings through self-heating and cooling properties are remarkable. Most earthships rely on solar and wind energy as well as rain and snow harvesting for water needs. The Phoenix Earthship is a prime example, located completely off the grid with its own garden. Available as a short-term rental through Airbnb , the Phoenix sleeps up to eight people in the 5,300-square-foot structure near Tres Piedras, New Mexico, so you can try out earthship living. Like most homes, the Phoenix has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large kitchen and a living room, and then there’s a jungle — inside. Related: Couple builds an ‘Earthship’ tiny home for less than $10K The architectural and decorative details are incomparable with the building creating its own microclimate. That means plants and animals thrive in a space that is basically a greenhouse surrounded by the dry, sage-brush covered mesa surrounding it. The greenhouse and jungle areas feature a fish pond, birds, turtles, a food garden, banana trees and even a chicken coop that can provide fresh eggs during your stay. The water process functions as a semi-closed unit, beginning with water runoff collection . After use, gray water feeds into the indoor plants that both drink and filter it, where it is stored and then pumped to the toilets as needed. From the toilet, the water heads to a traditional sewer where overflow is consumed by outdoor plants. The entire structure looks like it was carved out of a hillside, with rounded walls and alcoves making up each space. Natural glass, clay, wood and rock can be found in every nook and cranny. Dubbed a “work of sustainable art,” the Phoenix Earthship provides plenty of opportunities to enjoy the actual nature outside the glass with a fire pit and seating, views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and spaces for unparalleled stargazing. In contrast to the remote feel and off-grid design, the Phoenix provides solar-powered modern amenities such as Wi-Fi, television and a cozy indoor fireplace with a water fountain feature. + Phoenix Earthship Images via Earthship Media

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Phoenix Earthship features a food garden and jungle in off-grid fashion

Penalties for protesting pipelines increase in 15 states

May 16, 2019 by  
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At least 15 states have passed or proposed bills that further criminalize trespassing on fossil fuel infrastructure, a trend that environmental and free speech advocates argue unnecessarily targets pipeline protesters and indigenous leaders. In 2018, Louisiana passed a bill that makes trespassing on so-called “critical infrastructure” a more serious offense than existing trespassing laws. While trespassing has long been considered a misdemeanor, the law now specifies that the same act on particular private property is now a felony. Throughout the country, trespassing laws have been edited to define ‘critical infrastructure’ as fossil fuel facilities, including proposed pipeline routes where there is no existing infrastructure yet. Related: For the first time in 86 years, environmental activists in the UK sentenced to jail “These are people saying, ‘let’s make sure we have something left for future generations’ … and for that we were charged with felonies, we were beaten, we were stepped on, I was choked,” Cherri Foytlin, a pipeline protester in Louisiana,  told the press . Similar laws have passed in Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Indiana and Iowa. The backlash is largely due to the massive 2017 protest of a pipeline at Standing Rock , led by the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe. Bi-partisan supporters of the states’ new legislation argue that the intent is to dissuade acts of terrorism; however, many opponents feel the existing trespassing laws were sufficient. For many environmental activists, these new laws are further proof of the government’s allegiance to the fossil fuel industry, and they believe threats of felonies, jail time and high fines will discourage other activists from voicing their opinions against pipeline development. Across 15 states, possible consequences include 10 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines. Those who do not trespass themselves but merely support activists verbally or financially are also liable before the law. This month, the Natural Resources Defense Council published an alarming blog post inquiring if merely “liking” a Facebook post about a pipeline protest could be considered illegal under South Dakota’s newest legislation. In Indiana’s Bill 471 , so-called “conspirators” can also be fined up to $100,000. Via Grist Image via Luke Jones

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Penalties for protesting pipelines increase in 15 states

Mobile, off-grid micro home can be configured into 20 different layouts

March 18, 2019 by  
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Architect Beatrice Bonzanigo from Milan-based firm IB Studio has unveiled a stunning, off-grid micro home that is transportable and adaptable to virtually any climate. The tiny structure, called Casa Ojalá, is just shy of 300 square feet but is equipped with a manual mechanical system that allows the space to be configured into as many as 20 different layouts. According to Bonzanigo, the flexible and transportable design of Casa Ojalá was inspired by the need to offer an alternative to the “world of static architecture.” Its versatility opens up a world of opportunity not only in terms of low-impact architecture , but also in offering an off-grid experience that lets occupants completely immerse themselves into the natural world. Related: This off-grid, lunar lander-inspired tiny home is out of this world “Casa Ojalá is a sustainable, minimal, compact and flexible product for a new comfort, away from TV or air conditioning,” explained IB Studio, which is led by Bonzanigo and Isabella Invernizzi. “The boundary between inner and outer space no longer exists. Outdoor is a substantial, fundamental and precious part of it.” The structure is a round volume with a simple layout comprised of two bedrooms, a kitchenette, a living room and a bathroom. A wrap-around, open-air terrace is used to provide a seamless connection between the micro home and its surroundings, no matter where they may be. To create its flexible design , the main structure is equipped with a manual mechanical system made up of ropes, pulleys and cranks that control the sliding wooden walls and fabric partitions. This system allows the structure to be continuously transformed into a fully-customized space, with private rooms or even one large outdoor platform. Built on a track, the house is completely mobile and can be easily assembled on-site. In terms of its sustainability, the structure is made out of eco-friendly materials along with socially-sustainable fabrics and wood features. The design’s footprint is minimal, and the project was also designed to be completely self-sustaining. The design calls for a rainwater collection system and can be installed with photovoltaic panels to generate solar energy. The Casa Ojalá design is slated to be presented during this year’s Milan Design Week. + IB Studio Via Dezeen Images via IB Studio

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Mobile, off-grid micro home can be configured into 20 different layouts

Gorgeous cedar-clad tiny home designed to withstand Ontario’s frigid winters

January 17, 2019 by  
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Canadian tiny home builders, Minimaliste Houses , know a thing or two about creating durable tiny homes that can stand up to extreme temperatures. The  designers are back with another stunning tiny home , the cedar-clad Magnolia. Built to withstand northern Ontario’s weather, the tiny home was designed to be energy-efficient thanks to tight thermal insulation and various sustainable features such as a composting toilet and LED lighting. The exterior of the tiny home reflects most of the tiny home builders’ exteriors. The 10.5 x 34.5 feet structure on wheels is clad with two-tone cedar panels with black steel accents. The black cedar panels were burnt using the Shou Sugi Ban technique, which creates a durable exterior that won’t fade over the years. Additionally, the dark and clear cedar gives the home a modern, yet rustic aesthetic. Related: The off-grid Eucalyptus tiny home radiates cool, Californian vibes The sophisticated look of the design continues throughout the interior where a double-height ceiling painted in all white gives the space a bright, open feel. The living room is a surprisingly large spacious, furnished with a comfy sofa and entertainment center. At the clients’ request, the main bedroom is located on the first floor, but there is an additional sleeping loft installed over the bathroom that can be used as a guest room or storage space. The bathroom is also a fairly large design and was installed with a c omposting toilet . The kitchen in the Magnolia is a perfect space for the home chef. Along with a full range of appliances, there is plenty of storage space with a tall pull-out pantry, tons of cabinets and drawers, A white quartz countertop with space doubles as a kitchen prep space and dining table or work surface with three bar stools. LED backlighting was installed in order to dim the lights when watching TV in the living room or working. To create a comfortable interior temperature throughout the year, the home was installed with a LUNOS heat recovery air exchanger and two ceiling fans to provide air circulation throughout the home. An abundance of windows throughout the home flood the interior with natural light , which also reduces the home’s energy use. + Minimaliste Houses Photos via Minimalist Houses

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Gorgeous cedar-clad tiny home designed to withstand Ontario’s frigid winters

8 cabins that are perfect for a dreamy winter getaway

December 21, 2018 by  
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Are you ready for a winter getaway to a cabin in the woods? From cozy, off-grid abodes to modern, majestic dwellings that pull out all the stops, there’s a serene cabin waiting for you somewhere. If you are dreaming of a little rest and relaxation during these colder months, here are some cabins that offer a little taste of a true winter wonderland to inspire your next winter vacation. Blacktail Cabin Located on the shore of Flathead Lake in Montana, Blacktail Cabin is a beautiful, spacious vacation home that looks like a ski lodge and is filled with amenities. There is a fully-equipped kitchen, a floor-to-ceiling brick fireplace and a dining room featuring a wood-burning stove. During the winter, the Blacktail Mountain Ski Area is nearby, so guests can enjoy some skiing and snowboarding. Gubrandslie Cabin The solitary Gubrandslie Cabin is made from prefabricated solid wood panels and features views of a snow-covered landscape. It is located near Jotunheimen National Park, and the 1,184-square-foot home can withstand the cold weather and elements while leaving minimal impact on the landscape. The architects researched the local climate and geography and used wind studies to come up with the L-shape design that mimics the slope of the landscape. The roofs are slightly slanted, so the wind and snow can blow over the cabin. It is integrated deep into the terrain to protect the structure from the elements. Shangri-la Cabin The first in a series of mountain cabins in Las Trancas, Chile, Shangri-la Cabin is a geometric cabin covered with timber both inside and out and complete with large windows for picturesque views. With the look and feel of a treehouse , this cabin has a sharply pitched roof to shed snow and has high-performance insulation to keep out the cold. The 485 square feet of space spans three split-levels. Cabins By Koto Prefab housing startup Koto has introduced a series of tiny timber cabins that embrace indoor-outdoor living and a connection with nature. They have a minimalist design inspired by the Nordic concept friluftsliv, which means “free air life.” The modular cabins come in different sizes, and the medium-sized option features a folding king-sized bed, a wood burning stove, a small kitchenette and an outdoor shower. Johnathan and Zoe Little founded Koto earlier this year. Koto is a Finnish word that means “cozy at home,” and the company’s goal is to create nature-based retreats out of eco-friendly materials. Malangen Cabins The Norwegian firm Stinessen Arkitektur has built a cluster of wooden cabins that are the perfect weekend retreat for ultimate relaxation. The private vacation home is located on the Malangen Peninsula overlooking a beautiful fjord, and the individual cabins are connected with “in-between” spaces that have concrete floors and wood-slatted ceilings. There is also a central courtyard that connects the main building and annex. The covered courtyard features an outdoor kitchen and a fireplace, and the architects said that it provides an additional layer to the natural ventilation during the summertime as well as on windy and rainy days. Lushna Cabins Located in the Catskills, the Eastwind Hotel is a 1920s bunkhouse that has been converted into a boutique hotel accompanied by tiny cabins . Designed with outdoor enthusiasts in mind, there are tiny A-frame huts on the property to give guests an off-the-grid experience while enjoying the Windham Mountain area. The Lushna Cabins are 14 feet by 14 feet, and they are insulated to withstand the seasons. Each cabin has a single window, so guests can enjoy the natural light and incredible views. They are equipped with a queen-sized bed that has top-of-the-line linens and a wooden chest for storage. The cabins also provide camping kits and grilling equipment for the fire pits. Into the Wild Into the Wild  from Slovakian architecture studio Ark Shelter is an off-grid cabin that embraces the outdoors thanks to the large walls of glass on all sides. It also offers modern comforts like a kitchen, bathroom and bedroom space with a concealed Jacuzzi. It also has solar panels and a rainwater collection system for off-grid living. Kanin Winter Cabin Made from timber and aluminum, the Kanin Winter Cabin is a modern structure perched on a ledge in the Julian Alps on the remote Mount Kanin with stunning 360-degree views of Slovenia and Italy. But you can only access the cabin by air or climbing. The tiny cabin has three main areas: the entrance, a living area and a resting area with three raised surfaces for sleeping. It can accommodate up to nine mountaineers. Images via  Vacasa , Rasmus Norlander and Ragnar Hartvig / Helen & Hard Architects, Magdalena Besomi and Felipe Camus / DRAA,  Joe Laverty  / Koto, Steve King and Terje Arntsen / Stinessen Arkitectur, Eastwind Hotel & Bar, Jakub Skokan and Martin T?ma / Ark Shelter, Janez Martincic and Ales Gregoric / OFIS Arhitekti

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