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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8 cabins that are perfect for a dreamy winter getaway

Modern, self-sustaining home blends into a rocky landscape

November 13, 2018 by  
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Zagreb-based architectural office PROARH completed Issa Megaron, a family retreat in Croatia that’s disguised inside a rocky hillside with a zigzagging road. Due to its remote location and lack of surrounding infrastructure, the modern home operates off the grid by necessity and includes self-sustaining technologies from rainwater collection tanks to solar photovoltaic panels. Going off grid, however, hasn’t compromised the architect’s pursuit of luxurious living, made evident by the contemporary interior design, large pool and spacious footprint of 420 square meters. Completed in 2016, Issa Megaron began with the conceptual combination of a cave, a megaron (a great hall in ancient Greek palaces) and stone dry walls. “The house is envisioned as a dug in volume, a residential pocket between the stretches of space forming walls, an artificial grotto, a memory of a primitive shelter,” explained the architects, who split the house into two floors. The upper floor contains six bedrooms and bathrooms organized around a central living room and book-ended by two offices. The master bedroom and bath, the  open-plan dining room, lounge and kitchen, the game room, the gym and storage are located on the lower floor, which opens up to the pool and outdoor terrace. The traditional stone dry walls have been reinterpreted as reinforced concrete retaining walls topped with rocky green roofs . When viewed from above, Issa Megaron appears to blend into the steep terrain. “The design that emerges from such conditions is subtle, creates a symbiosis with the new/old stonewall topography,” the firm noted. “The newly built structure is man-made but unobtrusive in intent, material and ultimate appearance.” Related: Croatian freshwater aquarium by 3LHD is built right into the hillside In addition to green roofs and solar panels, the house minimizes its energy footprint by following passive solar design principles that promote natural cooling. A concentrating solar power system is used for heating, while harvested rainwater is filtered and reused in the house and for the pool. + PROARH Via ArchDaily Photography by Damir Fabijani? and Miljenko Bernfest via PROARH

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Modern, self-sustaining home blends into a rocky landscape

Eco-resort in Tulum features luxury beach huts made of natural materials

October 5, 2018 by  
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Getting away from the hustle and bustle of daily life is much easier thanks to gorgeous boutique hotels in stunning locations all over the world. For a Mexican getaway, Habitas Tulum offers guests a truly serene experience with thatched-roof luxury huts located just steps away from the Caribbean Sea. The eco-resort was built with locally-sourced traditional building materials such as wood, reeds and grass, and a modern glass tower was installed at the heart of the complex to house the resort’s lounge and dining areas. The hotel, which offers five ocean-front rooms and 27 jungle rooms, integrates its natural surroundings into the design and was built to be as eco-friendly as possible. The structures were ecologically built with indigenous materials such as palapa roofs made out of dried palm leaves. Many of the structures are raised on platforms to reduce the impact on the landscape. The design of the eco-hotel was inspired by the serene nature of its surroundings. The luxury suites are decorated with handmade furniture made from locally-sourced wood. In fact, local artisan traditions, craftsmanship and textiles are found throughout the property. Related: Mexico’s thatched-roof CocoCabañas Resort is powered entirely by solar energy Guest rooms come with private outdoor rain showers, along with plush robes and bathroom products made from all-natural ingredients. Private open-air decks with ample seating offer the perfect setting to enjoy the stunning scenery. For a bit of exploration, there are various winding paths that lead to the jungle-like surroundings of the complex. For pure relaxation, there is an outdoor swimming pool and a wellness center with spa services. At the center of the beautiful resort is a three-story glass tower framed in black steel, which serves as a hub for socializing. A Moorish-style restaurant serves delicious meals that guests can enjoy from a rooftop deck. The “yoga mezzanine” is scattered with seating areas, hammocks and colorful pillows. Multiple long tables made out of reclaimed wood are perfect for dining, card games or just reading a good book. + Habitas Tulum Via Dezeen Photography by Adrian Gaut via Habitas Tulum

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Eco-resort in Tulum features luxury beach huts made of natural materials

The off-grid Eucalyptus tiny home radiates cool, Californian vibes

September 26, 2018 by  
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Canada-based  Minimaliste Houses knows a thing or two about building tiny homes that stand up to harsh winters, but even when charged with building a home for the California coast, the designers used many of the same principles to create an energy-efficient and durable structure. The 28 foot-long Eucalyptus tiny home is completely off-grid , relying on roof-top solar panels, tight thermal insulation and natural light to make the home completely self-sustaining. When the builders were approached by a client who wanted a tiny home to live on the California coast, there’s no doubt that they felt it would be an easy project. However, the client also requested a structure that would have a strong resell value years down the line for potential buyers looking to live in a colder climate. This meant that the tiny house had to be durable to withstand various climates for years to come. The result is a gorgeous, custom tiny home that boasts a timeless design for virtually any location. Completely off the grid, the structure generates its own power thanks to a large grid of 260-watt solar panels on the roof. The energy hub of the home is comprised of eight batteries and a 4,000-watt inverter to power the home’s electrical needs, including all of the kitchen appliances. Related: 8 tiny homes built tough for off-grid living In addition to its energy efficiency, the tiny home has a fresh, modern aesthetic. The exterior is clad in white cedar panels, creating a contemporary cabin-like feel that continues through the interior. Inside, ultra high-ceilings add more space for the dual sleeping lofts and create room for people of above-average heigh t. The floors and ceiling are also clad in wood panels that contrast nicely with the all-white walls. The design is open and airy, with an abundance of natural light thanks to various large windows around the home. From the living room, a stairwell with hidden storage leads up to the main bedroom. A unique hand rail made of steel pipes adds an industrial touch to the design. On the other side of the living room is a loft area, which can be used as a reading space or guest room. The bathroom is compact, but there’s enough space for a large stand-up shower, combo washer and dryer and composting toilet . At the heart of the home is the kitchen. Typically an area that is cramped and dark, the Eucalyptus’ kitchen is anything but. The U-shaped kitchen is lined with bamboo countertops that add extra space for the client, who loves to cook. There’s a large sink, propane oven and even a floor-to-ceiling pantry that slides out to provide plenty of storage for culinary staples. + Minimaliste Houses Photography by JP Marquis via Minimaliste

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The off-grid Eucalyptus tiny home radiates cool, Californian vibes

Two design students build a charming, off-grid summer cabin in a remote Finnish forest

September 12, 2018 by  
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Design students Timm Bergmann and Jonas Becker (now Studio Politaire ) decided to put their learned knowledge to the test by building an off-grid cabin in a remote area of Finland. Not only did they build the stunning 280-square-feet cabin from scratch with their own hands, but they stuck to a modest budget of just $14,000, proving once again that great design can be affordable. Bergmann and Becker were both halfway through their studies when they decided to build the off-grid cabin as a project for their dissertations. The determined duo found the perfect building location on an undeveloped forest plot in Finland. Before construction on the project started, they carefully studied the area and its terrain. “There was no electricity or water. No path led to the plot,” Bergmann explained. “We carried out a soil analysis and drew up a design based on the results, under the supervision of architect Jan Kampshoff.” The students scraped together just $14,000 to complete the project, obligating them to do 100 percent of the work — with a little help from their friends. Although the modest budget was seen as an obstacle at first, they soon realized that by doing the labor themselves , they were able to enjoy a certain flexibility when it came to making changes quickly. “As we built everything ourselves, we not only cut costs, but we were also able to make changes along the way,” Bergmann said. “As a result, we extended the terrace, built the roof ourselves after all — contrary to the initial plan — and made the stovepipes ourselves.” Because of the remote location, the young designers spent the first weeks building an elevated wooden walkway that stretched 650 feet in length. Building supplies were delivered from their base camp via tractor before carrying the rest of the materials by hand on the walkway. Related: Norwegian cabin weathers a harsh climate for breathtaking views The frame of the home was placed on a foundation of galvanized water pipes that a local contractor welded together. Apart from the pipes, the rest of the home was built using as many  natural materials as possible, keeping non-essentials to a minimum. The modular frame was built out of local lumber pieces, with walls built from plywood boards. Although it gives off a purely minimalist aesthetic at first glance, the design behind the 280-square-foot cabin is quite complex. The structure is comprised of four staggered volumes, strategically placed to provide distinct views from every angle. According to Becker, the cabin’s windows are double-paned and installed in solid wood frames to insulate the home during Finland’s harsh winters. Inside, the rooms are arranged for efficiency. The layout includes a small kitchen and living space with a bedroom and sauna in the back. Although the duo built many of the home’s features themselves, such as the bedroom cabinetry, most of the furnishings were taken from Bergmann’s grandparents’ home, giving an extra personal touch to the design. The house is 100 percent off-grid and has no electricity. A small, metal wood-burning stove and a sauna stove manage to heat the interior, and there is a detached outhouse with a composting toilet just steps away. Currently, the home is also without running water, but the ambitious builders are working on building a water filtration system that would use water from the nearby lake. + Studio Politaire Via Houzz Photography by Andre Boettcher Photography

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Two design students build a charming, off-grid summer cabin in a remote Finnish forest

This solar-powered, off-grid California guesthouse is 100% self-sustaining

August 16, 2018 by  
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Set in one of the last remaining undeveloped coastal areas in California, the Off-Grid Guest House, designed by architect Dan Weber of Anacapa and designer Steven Willson of Willson Design , is a stunning showcase of sustainable and low-impact design. The contemporary home is nestled into a steep hillside in a wildlife preserve and perfectly perched to offer breathtaking, nearly 360-degree views of the Pacific Ocean and the surrounding landscape of rolling hills and rocky outcroppings. Due to its remote location, the guest house—and the owner’s nearby main residence—are completely self-sufficient by necessity and powered with a rooftop solar panel system. Topped with a lush green roof planted with native grasses, the Off-Grid Guest House is built from durable and resilient materials including steel, concrete and glass. Full-height glazing surrounds the home, as does a wraparound outdoor balcony that’s cantilevered over the landscape and is partly sheltered by overhanging eaves. The abundance of glazing—including the glass balustrades—blurs the boundaries between inside and out and welcomes sweeping panoramic landscape views into the living spaces. “At the heart of the Owner’s objectives for this project, is preservation and protection of the natural environment,” reads the project statement on Anacapa’s website. “As such, this modern guest house is nestled into the hillside and situated on a spectacular site with ocean views. This healthy home is the pinnacle of environmentally-conscious, low-impact design and construction.” Related: A net-zero modern farmhouse kicks off a sustainable community in Texas The home operates off the grid with a photovoltaic energy system, on-site water supply and sewage treatment system that directs wastewater to a septic tank and dry well. The interior is fitted out with LEDs and low-energy appliances. Jessica Helgerson Interior Design furnished the interior with rich walnut accents and custom fixtures and furnishings. The house also includes a detached garage discreetly built into the hillside. + Anacapa + Willson Design Images via Erin Feinblatt

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This solar-powered, off-grid California guesthouse is 100% self-sustaining

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