Do people in tiny houses live more sustainably?

August 2, 2019 by  
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Minimalist living is as old as time, but the tiny house trend sweeping across North America and Europe has influenced many people to downsize, declutter and live simply. A new investigation into the habits of tiny house residents reveals that living in smaller houses encourages people to adopt more sustainable habits across the board. What are tiny houses? The unofficial definition of a tiny house is typically any single housing unit under 500 square feet. Many tiny houses are on wheels to get around state and federal government laws that limit the minimum habitable dwelling size. Because of this restriction, tiny house owners often own the transportable housing unit but not necessarily the land that it is on. Related: Is a tiny home right for you? The media and tiny house designers market the micro-dwellings as environmentally friendly alternatives to large family homes. Sellers encourage prospective buyers to downsize their possessions and kiss their mortgages goodbye in exchange for experiential riches like travel and financial freedom. Though they take up less space and store less junk, few studies exist that actually prove that living in tiny houses is more sustainable. Little house habits Maria Saxton, an environmental design and planning PhD candidate, studied the impact that downsizing into a tiny house had on inhabitants’ sustainable behaviors. She conducted surveys and in-depth interviews of 80 downsizers who had been living in their new tiny homes for at least a year. She calculated their individual ecological footprints before and after the move and examined which behaviors changed for the better and which changed for the worse. Her research discovered that on average, residents reduced their individual footprints by 45 percent after they settled into a tiny home, which is a huge reduction. She also found that the move and new lifestyle impacted other aspects and behaviors even without the inhabitants realizing it. Ecological footprint is usually calculated by determining the amount of land that it would take every year to support an individual’s consumption. The average American’s footprint is 8.4 hectares per person per year. That’s about the equivalent of eight football fields per person. Among those who downsized to tiny houses, the average footprint was approximately 3.87 hectares per person compared to a per-person average of 7 hectares before the move. How tiny houses encourage sustainable living Remarkably, housing-related behaviors and consumption patterns weren’t the only changes that the residents experienced. Of more than 100 individual behaviors examined, about 86 percent changed to become more environmentally friendly. For example, tiny house residents tended to shop and buy significantly less than the average American and less than they themselves did previously. Without room to store additional items, tiny house inhabitants simply could not support their old consumption habits. While 86 percent of behaviors changed for the better, about 13 percent changed for the worse. For example, tiny house residents tended to eat out more to avoid the frustration of cooking in a cramped kitchen. These residents recycled less because they had limited space for sorting and storing recyclable materials. They also tended to travel more, including both adventure trips and traveling further for basic items, likely because many tiny houses are located in more rural areas than where the owners previously lived. According to a separate investigation into the habits and motivations of tiny house dwellers, the majority of downsizers simply kept a storage unit. So, while they had fewer items within an arm’s reach, they hadn’t really committed to a minimalist lifestyle, and they could still support the overflow of their overconsumption. Smarter designs to support sustainability According to Saxton, the results of this study are critical for tiny house designers as well as to influence archaic laws that restrict tiny houses. If tiny house inhabitants truly do live more sustainably, towns and cities should be encouraging residents to make the move. Related: 7 tips for decorating a tiny home Architects and designers of the little abodes can also use the results of the research to integrate designs that address the prohibitive factors causing that 13 percent shift to less sustainable behaviors. For example — how can the kitchens be larger and more functional? How can trash and recycling storage be expanded to accommodate proper sorting of recyclable materials? Despite the tiny trend, housing is growing in size and destruction In 1973, the average house was 1,660 square feet, but by 2017, the average house sold was 2,631 square feet . This represents a 63 percent increase in the average size of a house in just 45 years. Although the tiny house trend skyrocketed among a niche corner of the population in over-industrialized countries, the majority of people still think bigger is better, which comes at a cost to the environment . The construction of oversized houses means loss of natural habitat and biodiversity , including the fragmentation of ecosystems to clear the way for new housing developments. In addition, the carbon footprint of the materials and construction industry is enormous. Commercial and residential buildings together contribute 39 percent of the U.S.’s total carbon emissions. This includes the transportation and sourcing of the building materials, the energy needed for construction and the environmental cost of maintenance. Maybe they are just another trend, but maybe tiny houses can be a small solution to global warming on an individual and community level. At the very least, the research concludes that cities and towns should re-examine existing laws that discourage tiny house dwellers from owning land or remove the wheels to at least allow residents to feel a sense of permanence. One town, Spur, Texas, adjusted its laws and sells itself as the first tiny home town in America. As the trend continues, other towns and cities would be wise to follow suit. Via The Conversation Images via Paul VanDerWerf , Christoph Scholz and Nicolás Boullosa ( 1 , 2 )

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Do people in tiny houses live more sustainably?

Energy-efficient greenhouses surround the new French Open tennis court

August 2, 2019 by  
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Plants from around the world are flourishing in four curved greenhouses in an unexpected place — directly behind the spectator stands of the new Simonne Mathieu tennis court at Roland-Garros, home of the French Open. Designed by the Paris-based studio Marc Mimram Architecture & Associés , the 5,000-seat sunken tennis court not only offers a strikingly modern space for the annual tournament but also offers a visual extension of the Jardin des Serres d’Auteuil botanical garden, where the stadium is located. The steel-and-glass greenhouses were built to reference the historical hothouses of the 19th century but feature a modern, energy-efficient design built to the highest technical specifications. Named after the famous tennis player who played at the Roland-Garros in the 1930s, the Simonne Mathieu tennis court is a new venue for hosting the international tennis championships hosted every year in Paris. Taking inspiration from Auteuil’s greenhouses designed by Jean Camille Formige in 1898, Marc Mimram Architecture & Associés introduced new public space around the partially sunken tennis court in the form of four modern, steel-and-glass greenhouses that are visible from the spectator stands. Related: Solar-powered aquaponic greenhouses grow up to 880 lbs of produce each year “These new greenhouses form a glass backdrop, a case within which plants from four continents can flourish,” the architects explained. “They refer to the design of the nearby hothouses and are inspired by, without imitating, architecture in metal that, since the construction of the Crystal Palace in London in 1851, still stands, with its delicate relationship between light and structure, as the perfect model of airiness and economy.” Sheathed in double-pane glass for superior insulation, these curved greenhouses feature flora from the Americas, Asia, Africa and Oceania. A meandering paved pathway traverses each greenhouse. Because the greenhouses are a new addition of public space, they will be accessible to visitors throughout the year, even outside of the two-week French Open tournament. + Marc Mimram Architecture & Associés Via ArchDaily Photography by Erieta Attali via Marc Mimram Architecture & Associés

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Energy-efficient greenhouses surround the new French Open tennis court

California partners with UN on climate insurance

July 31, 2019 by  
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California is the first state to work directly with the United Nations on a natural infrastructure insurance program that could help protect communities from wildfires and other disasters. The California Department of Insurance is working on a year long initiative with the United Nation’s Environment Program to develop insurance practices that manage and reduce risks, specifically related to wetlands and forests. Related: Every year, humanity ‘overshoots’ the natural resources earth can replenish “We have a historic opportunity to utilize insurance markets to protect Californians from the threat of climate change, including rising sea levels, extreme heat and wildfires,” says Insurance Commissioner for California Ricardo Lara. “Working with the United Nations, we can keep California at the forefront of reducing risks while promoting sustainable investments.” In 2018, California experienced the state’s deadliest wildfire, which cost $12 billion in insurable losses and killed 85 people. According to experts, the increased severity of wildfires is likely due to climate change . Insurance services can offer compensation for risk reduction strategies, such as effective forest management or protecting utility infrastructure from possible disasters. “A sustainable insurance road map will enable California to harness risk reduction measures, insurance solutions and investments by the insurance industry in order to build safer, disaster-resilient communities, and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon, sustainable economy,” said the U.N. lead, Butch Bacani. Other countries have initiated similar natural infrastructure insurance programs, including protections for coral reefs and mangroves, which reduce coastal flooding and erosion. Via LA Times Iamge via Flickr

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California partners with UN on climate insurance

The ultimate guide to eco-friendly period products

July 31, 2019 by  
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If you’re a person who is serious about protecting the environment, you’re probably conscious of how much trash you generate every time you have a period. In addition to being chock-full of plastics sent straight to landfills, pads and tampons also contain harsh chemicals that are toxic . Yet most people continue exposing their bodies to these products month after month. Luckily, there are better options out there for both you and the planet — here’s a guide to help you find what might work best for you. “Anything coming in constant contact with your skin will land in your bloodstream for distribution throughout your body,” Dr. Joseph Mercola wrote in an alarming Huffington Post article about the dangers of menstrual products. Despite the potential dangers, the chemical ingredients in tampons and pads are an industry secret, protected by nondisclosure policies that favor corporations, manufacturers and innovators but put consumers at serious risk. So if you want to cut down on polluting nature and your body, consider this comprehensive guide on more sustainable product options available right now. As always, be sure to consult with your healthcare provider to help determine the best options for you. Menstrual cups Menstrual cups are one of the most eco-friendly options out there. If you can get over the initial learning curve, they are easy and convenient to use. Why we love them Although the up-front sticker price is higher, when you calculate how much you spend every month on tampons or pads, the savings are obvious. The cups are comfortable and barely noticeable once they have been inserted — the same way you might get used to a tampon and hardly realize it is there. They are especially easy for travelers who want to save precious space in their luggage and say goodbye to last-minute, emergency trips to the convenience store. Most cup brands come in multiple sizes and some even come in varying levels of firmness, depending on your preference, flow, age and whether or not you have had a vaginal birth. The cups are capable of handling even heavy flow days, with most users reporting minimal — if any — leaks. Below is a brief review of a few popular brands. Diva Cup ($35) The Diva Cup is the most recognized and popular brand. It has three sizes (including one for teens), lasts up to 12 hours and is made from medical-grade silicone. Sustain Natural Period Cup ($39) These cups are flexible, compact and made entirely of medical-grade silicone . They claim to hold three tampons-worth of liquid and are available in two sizes. This is also the only brand that currently offers a microwave case for cleaning the cup. Peachlife Menstrual Cup ($22) Also made of medical-grade silicone, this cup uniquely comes in a variety of firmness levels (soft, medium-firm and extra-firm). Unlike other brands that come to a point, the Peachlife cup has a silicone ring at the bottom for easy removal (but remember, you still have to break the suction of the cup; you cannot just tug on the ring!). Cups are not without challenges Menstrual cups cannot be recycled at the end of their lifecycles, but when you calculate how many pads and tampons you averted from landfills, this product is worth it. The cups can also be difficult to maneuver at first. Once you have practiced and get the hang of folding the cup, inserting it and then breaking the seal to remove, it’s just as easy as any other option. It typically takes about three periods to fully adapt to using a menstrual cup. Because of cultural and religious beliefs, some people do have objections or hesitations to using a cup. Related: Study shows menstrual cups are safe and just as effective as tampons, pads A new spin on ‘period underwear’ Absorbent underwear brands like THINX and Lunapads are increasing in popularity and market share. They are simply underwear that you wear during your period that are specially manufactured to absorb menstrual blood. Why they’re so easy If you know how to put on your undies, then you know how to use these — they have all other products beat in terms of ease of use. They are also eco-friendly, because you wash and reuse them each time you have your period. That means they do not produce landfill trash every month. The downside of absorbent underwear Period underwear is more expensive than your typical pair of underwear because of their patented absorption technology . You will also need a few pairs depending on the length and flow of your period and how often you’re able to wash and dry them. Like the cups though, when you tally the cost of underwear against lifetime tampon expenses, they’re a smart economic choice. The horrors of tampons and better options “The average American woman uses 16,800 tampons in her lifetime — or up to 24,360 if she’s on estrogen replacement therapy,” said Dr. Mercola. That’s a lot of trash , but it is also a lot of time that your body is exposed to toxic chemicals. Cotton is better; organic cotton is best You may have heard health experts say that cotton underwear is best for promoting vaginal health — the same goes for tampons. Look for brands that specifically say they are made from organic cotton, but assume that most conventional brands are now made from plastics and synthetic materials. These materials are not breathable, can get fragmented and left behind and might encourage health problems like yeast and bacterial growth. Most tampons are also bleached with substances linked to abnormal tissue growth, abnormal cell growth and immune system suppression. Americans use 7 billion tampon applicators every year; the chemicals in the applicator, phthalates, have been generally linked to organ damage, lower I.Q. and asthma. What to try instead Using tampons without applicators will significantly cut down the plastic waste you generate. Brands like o.b. offer tampons that can be inserted with just your finger. Seventh Generation offers a chlorine-free, organic cotton tampon that reduces your exposure to chemicals. Organyc also offers a 100 percent organic cotton tampon. What about pads? Many people prefer pads for comfort or cultural reasons; however, the average sanitary pad contains “the equivalent of about four plastic bags, and this doesn’t include the other chemicals like BPA , BPS, phthalates and toxic dioxin created by the bleaching process.” Even though they have plastic in them, pads are never recyclable because they have been contaminated with bodily fluid. Because pads have a bigger volume than tampons, they produce even more waste. The average person throws away between 250 and 300 pounds of pads or tampons in their lifetime. What to use if you prefer pads There are reusable sanitary pads online that significantly reduce the amount of trash produced. Simply place the pad in your underwear; when it is dirty, rinse it with cold water and then add it to the laundry. You can buy reusable pads from Gladrags or find cute designs via Etsy. You can also try your hand at sewing your own . Disposable tampons and pads dominate the menstrual care market, but it doesn’t have to be that way. With small personal changes, you can protect your health, wallet and the planet. Images via Shutterstock

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This gorgeous tiny home features a greenhouse and wooden pergola

July 24, 2019 by  
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From climbing walls to a baker’s kitchen , tiny homes nowadays can be outfitted with any number of bespoke features. Now, those with a green thumb can enjoy a cabin-style tiny home with a detachable greenhouse. Designed by Olive Nest Tiny Homes , the Elsa is a gorgeous, pitched-roof home with an interior that opens up to a spacious greenhouse via a breezy pergola with a porch swing. The Elsa is a tiny home on wheels with an enviable design on its own. The exterior is clad in warm cedar shiplap siding and topped with an attractive dark gray standing seam metal pitched roof. Fourteen large windows and a glass front door provide plenty of natural light for the interior living space. Related: Dunkin’ Donuts unveils a tiny home powered by recycled coffee grounds The entrance to the home is via a wooden pergola, complete with a charming porch swing. Walking into the interior, guests will find the living space to be incredibly bright with modern decor. White shiplap walls , light-hued wooden trim and recessed lighting open up the space. Measuring just 323 square feet, the home includes a quaint living room that opens up to the full-sized kitchen with a dining counter. A narrow staircase, which pulls double duty as storage, leads up to the sleeping loft . Opposed to the oppressive loft spaces often seen in tiny homes, the bedroom is made larger thanks to the vaulted ceiling. In fact, there’s not only enough space for a queen-sized bed, but there is more than enough room for residents to stand up. The loft features original artwork by MSusan. Of course, at heart of this tiny home is the fabulous greenhouse that mounts onto the tiny home, both of which are built on trailers. Connected to the residence by the pergola, the greenhouse is surprisingly spacious with enough room to grow all kinds of fruits, herbs and veggies. + Olive Nest Tiny Homes Via Good Home Design Photography by Calvin Hanson via Olive Nest Tiny Homes

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This gorgeous tiny home features a greenhouse and wooden pergola

Climate anxiety: Is hopelessness preventing us from confronting our biggest challenge?

July 24, 2019 by  
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Every day, news reporters circulate the latest climate studies that seem to prove the world is ending. The reports appear to be working — if the goal of environmental journalists is to inform people of our existential crisis and create panic. Amidst the current fervor of political discontent, scores of people hit the streets for climate protests and evidence suggests that the marches are working — again, to inform and worry people. Since the release of a U.N. report claiming we have just 12 years to address climate change before it’s too late, hundreds of people have showed up in therapists’ offices with palpable symptoms of what practitioners are now calling “eco-anxiety” or “climate anxiety.” What is eco-anxiety? The term eco-anxiety entered the lexicon after Psychology Today described the phenomena as “a fairly recent psychological disorder afflicting an increasing number of individuals who worry about the environmental crisis.” In 2017, a report by the American Psychological Society went viral and described the term as a “chronic fear of environmental doom.” Climate or eco-anxiety are new terms and no licensed doctor will explicitly diagnose you with it, but it is increasingly discussed with patients, especially among younger patients. As a result, the American Psychological Association published a lengthy manual about climate change to help practitioners guide patients through their anxiety surrounding the climate crisis. Anxiety doesn’t discriminate Overwhelming feelings of hopelessness in the face of environmental threats around the world and at your doorstep are not specific to any one kind of person. It is not, though it may seem, only for those with enough time to read all the doomsday news, nor only for those who can afford therapists and college counselors. Those directly impacted by climate-related disasters, which are happening every week , experience “profound negative impacts” on their mental health. Disaster survivors have increased risk of depression, anxiety, anger issues, grief, post-traumatic stress disorders and even suicide. Related: Climate change will push 120 million into poverty Young people are panicking Youth in particular are stressed out about climate change, so much so that students in more than 70 countries across the world walked out of their classrooms and participated in Youth Climate Marches . Bombarded with messages about climate catastrophes for the entirety of their short lives, the youngest generation has only experienced a world where global warming is a known fact, yet adults don’t seem to be taking it seriously. Young people overwhelmingly feel despair that they will be left with a dysfunctional world, inherited from careless generations before them. This year, Harvard reported that 46 percent of people between the ages of 18 to 24 believe climate change is a crisis that requires urgent action, and this conviction is simply not mirrored by those in power. This discrepancy leads young people to feel hopeless and powerless in the face of such a large and impending catastrophe. The American Psychological Association reported that 58 percent of people born after 1995 feel stressed when they see news coverage about climate change. Is anxiety useful, though? How much is climate anxiety is “normal” or at least inevitable? After all, shouldn’t we be enraged by injustice? Shouldn’t we be sickened by the declining health of the planet? Aren’t these visceral reactions part of the process and a catalyst for change? The answer, experts say, depends on how debilitating the emotions are. The difference is between letting your anxiety prevent you from taking action or even living your daily life versus using it to fuel personal and political changes . Doctor’s orders: how to use your climate anxiety for good Below are a few tips for finding meaning, hope and progress despite what might seem like an overwhelming and unsolvable crisis. Start with yourself Even when you feel powerless, you still have the authority to make your own choices and adjust your personal behaviors. Audit your own energy and consumption patterns, and make small changes that help you feel more in control and more sustainable. Consider following a vegan diet , biking to work, refusing single-use plastics or selecting more sustainable shipping options when shopping online. Related: The pros and cons of online versus in-store shopping “Firstly, make climate change a factor in the decisions you make around what you eat, how you travel and what you buy,” said Duncan Greere , editor of the American Psychological Society report on eco-anxiety. “Secondly, talk about climate change with your friends, family and colleagues. Finally, demand that politicians and companies make it easier and cheaper to do the right thing for the climate.” Join a climate action group There are environmental and climate action groups everywhere. Research those in your areas and attend a meeting. Not only will you find solace among others who are similarly concerned, but together you can take small steps that contribute to a larger push toward sustainability. Not all groups are on the front lines protesting; there is diversity in the work that needs to be done, including contacting your representatives, planting trees , organizing beach clean-ups, advocating for plastic bans and much more. Participate in a clean-up activity Plastic pollution is one of the biggest environmental issues of our time, but there is something you can do about it now. Seeing the change you’ve made by way of a hefty trash pile properly sorted, recycled and sent to the right place can help calm your anxiety, even if just temporarily. Beach and river clean-ups are often organized by neighborhood and community groups or nature conservation groups and can be fun social activities that encourage people to get outside. Focus on local policy If you are feeling hopeless because the national government isn’t doing enough — and sometimes is doing more harm — focus on making changes at the state or local level. Oftentimes, home-grown legislators are better able to understand the local environment and can make more effective policies. For example, while the Green New Deal proposal was causing a ruckus at the national level, New York City passed its own Green New Deal. City and state governments have a better idea about specifically what ecosystems need to be protected, which infrastructure needs to become more resilient and how to pass plastic foam bans without hurting local businesses. Stay informed about solutions It’s great to stay informed and up-to-date with the news, but learn to step away from your computer, TV or newspaper when you start to feel overwhelmed or depressed. Seek out sources that provide positive news about people working toward solutions. See a therapist If your anxiety or depression is disrupting your life and mental health , don’t hesitate to seek out professional help. No, climate-anxiety cannot be diagnosed, but it manifests similarly as general anxiety, and therapists are well-equipped with tools to help you cope and overcome. Via The Washington Post Images via Pixabay , Jonathan Kemper , Jaymantri and Rika C

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Luxury condo in Budapest will bring residents closer to nature

July 24, 2019 by  
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Hungarian architect István Benyei’s design studio has created a new luxury condo for Budapest that will immerse residents in nature. Conceived as a tranquil getaway from the hustle and bustle of city living, the proposed Budapest condo will comprise four apartments that boast views of the forest, gardens and water. To reduce impact on the environment, the construction will follow passive house principles and preserve existing trees. Nestled in Budapest’s forested hills, the planned condo takes advantage of its lush surroundings with full-height glazing on all floors and covered balconies. The building’s location on a steep plot allows it to be almost completely hidden from view; the top floor will be level with the street. To minimize visual interference with the landscape, the architects have tucked the parking garage underground so that the entrance will be accessed via a footbridge. Rather than fencing, subtle architectural and landscaping solutions were used to mark property lines. “As our lives become increasingly metropolitan, many of us are seeking to be closer to nature,” the architecture studio explained in a project statement. “The pace of urban life can be exhausting as we lose ourselves to our mobile phones and the digital age, which can make the importance of connections with our fellow humans all the more significant. Restoring our connection with both nature and personal relationships is crucial for a harmonious lifestyle, and that’s the overriding thought behind Benyei’s architecture studio’s latest plan. The modern-day sense of a luxury residential space goes beyond quality of design or premium construction materials; the true luxury is a building’s ability to unite family, friends and the silence of nature.” Related: Solar-powered POP-UP Park takes over underused Budapest square The four apartments vary in size from 130 to 290 square meters, and each will have a private terrace and a private garden with water features that help reflect light into the living spaces. The building will be topped with an undulating roof that echoes the surrounding hilly topography. The building is slated for completion in 2020. + István Bényei -B13 architect Ltd. Images via István Bényei -B13 architect Ltd.

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Luxury condo in Budapest will bring residents closer to nature

Newlyweds forgo pricey wedding to embark on an incredible tiny home adventure

July 9, 2019 by  
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When Alexandra Steltzer and her partner Jon were planning their wedding, they decided to spend the money they would have spent on a lavish, one-day ceremony on a three-month adventure traveling around the U.S. in a 19-foot-long renovated camper instead. After their wonderful trip, their love of tiny homes on wheels was sealed, and the crafty couple went on to renovate their own permanent tiny home, converting the old RV into a bohemian oasis. After Alexandra and Jon returned from their three-month adventure traveling around the United States, they felt pressured to put down roots and buy a “conventional” home. But soon after moving into a four-bedroom house, the adventurous couple began to feel trapped in the large space. They they decided to make a change, opting instead to downsize to a minimalist lifestyle . Related: Young couple build their own tiny home to avoid sky-high housing prices in the Bay Area The daring duo decided to rent their house out and move into a tiny home on wheels. After purchasing the old camper on Craigslist for just $3,000, Alexandra and Jon went to work doing much of the renovation themselves . The camper is just 240-square-feet of living space , but the savvy interior design makes it feel much larger. In the living room, a cozy L-shaped sofa sits next to the dining/working table that can be pulled away from the wall to make room for dinner guests. The kitchen is also a modern space, with a few vibrant, retro touches, such as the black and white backsplash. The kitchen comes with all of the basic amenities, such as a butcher block countertops and storage. There is also a four-burner stove. The rest of the home is just the right size for the couple, with a small bedroom tucked into the back end of the renovated camper . As for the interior design, Alexandra says that she and Jon have sourced most of the home’s decorations and furnishings secondhand. + Alexandra Steltzer Via Apartment Therapy Images via Alexandra Steltzer

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Newlyweds forgo pricey wedding to embark on an incredible tiny home adventure

7 tips for decorating a tiny home

July 8, 2019 by  
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Tiny homes mean less room for items of all kinds, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add decor that fits your personality and lifestyle. Decor includes furniture but also those little touches that gel your interior design style, whether that be eclectic, zen or cultural. With a few tips in mind, you’ll be able to pull together a look while adding function and flair. Pick a theme Your tiny home doesn’t have to fall into one category of interior design, but take the time to think about what makes you happy. Do you want to be surrounded by images of waterfalls or native objects from your travels? Is it more important to have a vase of flowers, a jar of paint brushes or a fruit bowl? The easiest way to funnel down the myriad decor options you face is to choose a theme of sorts. Select certain colors, fabrics or styles that appeal to that theme, at least in a general way. If you’re aiming for a beach-y feel, incorporate shells, sand and the natural tans and blues of the coastline. If southwestern appeal is your thing, opt for cacti, rock art and tribal prints. For a retro vibe, add in some old records, classic small appliances and a vinyl cover for the sofa. Related: Is a tiny home right for you? Think multipurpose With exceedingly limited space, every item in a tiny home should serve dual functions — especially those related to decor . There are endless ways to achieve this goal, so aim to source decor items that serve multiple functions. For example, that adorable small trunk you just have to have for the bookcase can hold candles, office supplies, paperwork, medicine or any number of other needed household items. Any bench, bed or table should allow for storage, too, so while it’s functional on its own as furniture, it also doubles as a storage cabinet. Be selective If you’ve begun your tiny living lifestyle, you’ve already whittled down the kitchen accessories, clothing options and bathroom clutter. The same process applies to decor. Be selective so that each item you choose has the impact you want without adding clutter. Don’t keep any items out of guilt, say those you feel obligated to keep because it was a family heirloom or a gift. Items kept out of guilt will not bring joy to your space. Let it go, and replace it with an item that brings positive feelings of contentment, satisfaction or inspiration. Choose versatile pieces With minimalism and tiny living becoming increasingly more popular, modern designs aim to offer two or more products in one. Look for wall art or tapestries that have a different design on each side. This offers an easy way to change your decor by simply flipping it over. For the kitchen, tile art in a frame can be swapped out with different tiles to freshen the look or welcome a new season. You can even use this idea at the front door with rubber mats that allow you to switch out the carpet in the center to accommodate different holidays without replacing the mat altogether. Go big In a small space, one large item creates a cleaner look than several smaller items grouped together. Plus, that larger ottoman on the floor or stainless steel canister on the counter can provide a storage option that small items cannot. This is an idea that also allows you to display larger items that you may not have cupboard space for, such as a colorful water pitcher or an appealing serving platter on a stand. Embrace the light Tiny spaces can mean less windows and natural light . Take advantage of the windows you do have by making sure the light isn’t blocked out by furniture or bulky window coverings. Counterbalance the dark with light colors throughout your decor theme. From sand to white walls to soft textiles, create a foundation of neutral colors for a brightening effect on the entire space. You can fulfill your desire for color with a sprinkle here and there throughout the home. Your color splashes will have a bigger impact against a muted background than in a bold space. While we’re on the topic of light, make sure to add plenty of lighting options to your decor, too. LED strip lighting on stairs and ladders adds a cozy touch and a safety measure. Task lighting in the kitchen and bathroom will aid in your daily activities, and efficient overhead lighting will provide a general glow to the home. Use wall space While attempting to find adequate storage in your tiny space, remember the walls go all the way to the ceiling. Use that vertical space to your advantage, but make sure you keep it from becoming overly cluttered. Attach hooks for your more attractive shopping bags, umbrellas, canes and coats. Add shelving and line it with attractive baskets that discreetly hide hats, gloves and scarves. Also use wall space to mount hanging plants so that you don’t have to rely on the limited surfaces available in the living area. Save the kitchen counter and tables for daily activities instead of decor. Mount canning jars filled with herbs to the wall, and provide a hanger for a hot pad and kitchen towel. Tiny living doesn’t have to equal tiny decor. In fact, streamlining your selections with a focus on the overall design can easily provide a homier feel than a large house crammed with clutter. Images via B&C Productions , Tiny Home Builders , Perch & Nest , Modern Tiny Living , A Tiny House Resort , Mint Tiny Homes , Borealis Tiny Homes and Tiny Heirloom

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This rustic tiny home on wheels spans just 90 square feet

July 3, 2019 by  
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When it comes to tiny home design, sometimes it’s the itsy-bitsy spaces that show us how to live big. The Vancouver-based designers at Backcountry Tiny Homes have proved just that with a gorgeous tiny home on wheels that measures merely 16 feet long. Although incredibly compact, savvy design strategies, including oversized windows and a charming front porch, give The Acorn a certain character that overcomes its small stature. The Acorn tiny house, part of the company’s Mountain Series, is designed for the adventurer in us all. Perfect for either a weekend cabin in the mountains or an off-grid home near the beach, this tiny home is a great fit for just about any lifestyle. Related: Basecamp tiny home boasts a large rooftop deck for mountain-climbing couple and 3 dogs The tiny home ‘s exterior is clad in a honey-toned knotty cedar with a bit of black metal siding. A charming front porch gives the residence a welcoming vibe. The cabin’s interior is just 90 square feet but manages to pack a lot of punch into the space. A major factor in its sophisticated design is the multiple oversized windows that let in ample natural light and connect the living space with the outdoors. Adding to the rustic charm is the wooden interior with Alpine Backwoods flooring and tongue and groove spruce paneling on the walls. The home boasts a small living room with a comfy sofa that folds out into a queen-sized mattress. On the opposite wall, a small table that can be used for dining or working folds up when it is not in use. High up on the walls, just under the ceiling, is a wrap-around shelf for storage . Additional storage is found in the nooks and crannies throughout the home. The bathroom is more than big enough for such a small space and comes with a full-sized shower, toilet and a vanity cabinet. The kitchen is a tight squeeze but offers all of the basic amenities as well as one major surprise. Hooked up to the kitchen is a built-in Sweepovac vacuum system that is the perfect amenity for keeping the tiny space tidy. According to the designers, the Acorn comes with tight insulation that makes it feasible for almost any climate. Additionally, the tiny home can be custom-designed with additional features such as off-grid capabilities . + Backcountry Tiny Homes Via Tiny House Talk Images via Backcountry Tiny Homes

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This rustic tiny home on wheels spans just 90 square feet

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