These minimalist prefab cabins are designed for human "recharging"

May 22, 2017 by  
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Innovative charging stations for cars or electronics are a dime a dozen these days, but finally, one savvy Danish company has created a place where people can go to recharge their own batteries. Known for their simplistic metal and ceramic homeware line, Danish retailer Vipp is now venturing into the minimalistic dwellings sector with Shelter, a prefabricated monochromatic cabin designed to serve as an escape from urban chaos. The 600-square-foot cabins, which retail for approximately $543,00, were designed to be nature retreats and serve as a “battery-charging station for humans”, said Kasper Egelund, head of VIPP. Much like the company’s simple, but sturdy housewares, the cabin design is elegant and minimalistic. The monochromatic metal and glass cabin easily blends into any natural setting. The rectangular structure is set on piers to reduce its impact on its location. Related: MUJI to sell eagerly awaited $27k minimalist tiny homes this fall On the interior, a simple open layout gives the space a quiet, serene feel. The main level houses a kitchen, a dining area, a bathroom and a small bedroom with a fireplace. A sleeping loft with a glass ceiling is reached by ladder. Floor-to-ceiling glass panels cover one full side of the structure, which not only connects the interior to the exterior, but provides optimal natural light to the living space. The steel-framed Shelter cabins are prefabricated just north of Copenhagen and take just six months to construct and only three to five days to install. The cabins even come furnished with Vipp products such as shelving, lighting, lines, soap dispensers, etc. + Vipp Via Dezeen Images via Vipp

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These minimalist prefab cabins are designed for human "recharging"

Terrifying cliffside ‘nests’ let you live on the edge in style

May 19, 2017 by  
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A new type of cliffside dwelling, Nestinbox , is taking the vertical housing trend to new and terrifying heights. The tiny cliffside homes – inspired by birds nests – are efficient wooden “nesting boxes” that can be mounted on cliff walls as a way to bring more affordable housing into crowded areas. But the question is: would you be brave enough to live in one? The Nestinbox design was created by architects from the Swedish firm Manofactory as a solution to the skyrocketing cost of real estate around the world. Additionally, the design offers an affordable, viable alternative for growing cities that lack buildable land. According to the team of architects behind the design, Michel Silverstorm, Elisabetta Gabrielli, and Pontus Öhman, the “hanging” home design works around dwindling land issues by doing what the birds have always done since the beginning of time – live above ground. Related: These 6 jaw-dropping cliff homes will take your breath away The Nextinbox design is not only practical, but offers a sophisticated living space with all of the comforts of a traditional “ground-based” home. Steel frames are mounted into the cliff side for optimal stability, but the exterior is clad in an attractive mix of light and dark wood paneling. A simple sloping roof juts out from the cliff wall and a footbridge walkway between the structure and the cliff leads to the entrance of the home. The interior space, although compact, offers a smart floor plan that spans three floors. The living area is less than 50 square meters, but sufficient for 1 or 2 people. Along with the living space, the homes come with a kitchen and dining area, a large bedroom with adjacent studio or office space, which also could be used as a child’s room. A spiral staircase leads to the upper floors, which are flooded with natural light thanks to various windows. One side of the structure is intentionally windowless because multiple boxes can be attached to create a larger home. + Nestinbox Via Archdaily Images via Nestinbox

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Terrifying cliffside ‘nests’ let you live on the edge in style

Georgia couple convert old Blue Bird school bus into a cozy home on wheels

May 10, 2017 by  
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Working under the motto of “Minimal, Mobile, Modern,” Julie and Andrew Puckett shunned their landlord’s attempt at raising their apartment rent and opted to convert a 1990 Blue Bird school bus into a sweet little home on wheels they’ve named House Bus . Currently parked in a green pine forest in Stone Mountain, Georgia, the couple’s beloved bus has all of the comforts of home. Once the couple decided to make the leap into tiny home living , they drove six hours to check out an old bus that was to become their future home. Working within a tight budget and even tighter time frame of just four months, the adventurous duo began to gut the interior. Thankfully, the bus had previously been used as a camper and already had updated plumbing and electric, as well as a basic living layout. Related: Traveling family renovates old school bus as both solar-powered home and hostel To convert the interior into a comfy living space, the couple gave the bus a sophisticated nomadic feel, complete with nautical touches. Of course, along with building out the living and sleeping spaces, the renovation included tons of creative storage solutions and multi-functional elements throughout the home to avoid clutter. Although the couple only had a short four months to restore the bus into their dream home, there were a number of additional challenges along the way, namely downsizing. Julie told Apartment Therapy that the biggest obstacle was “paring down our belongings to just the essentials and our most beloved items. We lived in a 1,000 square foot apartment before, so we had a lot of room to accumulate extraneous stuff. The hard work has been worth it, though. I no longer feel stifled by piles of clutter, and that’s made a tremendous impact on my creative process.” + House Bus Via Apartment Therapy Photography by Selena Kirchhoff and Julie and Andrew Puckett

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Georgia couple convert old Blue Bird school bus into a cozy home on wheels

These gorgeous glass homes can pop up in 8 hours for under $50k

May 10, 2017 by  
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Meet ÖÖD , a gorgeous prefab abode that doesn’t compromise privacy for stellar views. Clad in mirrored glass, this sleek tiny home blends into its surroundings and offers all the living essentials built into a compact 18-square-meter footprint. Designed primarily for use as pop-up hotel rooms, the moveable and modular ÖÖD has far-reaching applications and is even under development for off-grid solutions. Designed and manufactured in Estonia, the ÖÖD houses were specifically developed for hotel usage and holiday housing. Its small footprint allows for easy installation anywhere in Estonia without the need for a building permit. Each unit accommodates two to three people and can be slotted seamlessly into urban and rural landscapes. Built primarily from steel, insulated glass , and thermally treated wood, the ÖÖD home features a studio layout with a large custom-made bed, kitchenette, living area, and bathroom. Home automation is built in as is adjustable floor heating and LED lighting. Homeowners would only need to hook the unit up to an Internet cable, water, sewage, and an electricity supply though off-grid solutions are currently being developed. An LG heat pump with moisture separator provides heating and cooling. Related: Prefab and low-budget CabinCube Hotels can pop up almost anywhere Installation of the ÖÖD only takes eight hours to complete. According to Nordica Flight Magazine, each unit costs 33,000 euros (VAT excluded) and includes custom-built Estonian furniture. ÖÖD homes have only been installed in Estonia thus far—the first unit debuted last fall—but the company plans to expand to international markets. + ÖÖD Images by Maris Tomba and Anton Toomere

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These gorgeous glass homes can pop up in 8 hours for under $50k

Henning Larsen Architects unveils zero energy-targeted civic center for Toronto

May 10, 2017 by  
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Henning Larsen Architects has won a competition for Toronto’s new 500,000-square-foot Etobicoke Civic Centre. Designed in collaboration with Adamson Associates Architects and PMA Landscape Architects , the winning proposal will have a focus on sustainability and feature municipal offices, public gathering spaces, a library branch, recreation center, and a child care center. Build Toronto and the City of Toronto hosted the design competition and evaluated proposals on their environmental sustainability, flexibility, community identity, and pedestrian scale. The competition jury commended the winning team’s proposal for its “flexibility and an iconic design well suited for the community.” The winning design also demonstrates an ability to achieve a net zero target and builds on the context and history of the Etobicoke community. Related: Designers float plan to cover Toronto’s CN Tower with clip-on condos The proposed Etobicoke Civic Centre will break down the development’s large scale using different sized building volumes that help preserve a comfortable pedestrian-friendly scale. Site analysis and local thermal studies also informed building placement to protect against the summer solar heat gain and winter winds. Comfortable microclimates are improved further with green roofs and landscaping, and the total effect will prolong the comfortable outdoor season by up to five weeks, said Henning Larsen Architects. Via ArchDaily Images via Henning Larsen Architects

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Henning Larsen Architects unveils zero energy-targeted civic center for Toronto

Experience the good old days of off-grid living at the El Cosmico vintage trailer park

May 9, 2017 by  
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Although some may think that tiny home design is a relatively new concept, trailer living has been around almost since the dawn of time, or at least since the creation of the iconic Airstream . For those looking to go back to the good old days of simple living, El Cosmico Trailer Park located in Marfa, Texas, is home to 11 restored vintage trailers that have been painstakingly revamped back to their heyday state of “nomadic recreation.” El Cosmico Park is a colorful trailer community that sits in the desert plains of Marfa , an art-loving community known for its incredible landscape. The vintage trailers have been restored to their original glory as much as possible. Most have marine-varnished birch interiors and no-frills amenities geared to those looking for a respite from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Related: The Vintages boasts 15 painstakingly restored trailers in one retro park The 11 vintage trailers – that are available to rent throughout the year – come in a variety of shapes and sizes, all with their own unique character. The 42-feet Imperial Mansion, for example, has its own bathroom and a full kitchen. Its lovely wooden deck is perfect for a smokey bbq dinner under the stars. Little Pinky, on the other hand is a quaint, she shed-esque 13-feet trailer that also comes with a sweet little deck, but shares an outdoor toilet and shower with her neighbor, Amigo. Each trailer has the basic equipment for cooking, dining, sleeping, bathing, etc., and most have open-air decks. All of the trailers are also equipped with heating and cooling for year-round stays. However, in true off-grid fashion, there is limited Internet, which is only available in the lobby. For those looking to go a bit more rustic, the camp also offers yurts and teepees . + El Cosmico Trailer Park Images via El Cosmico Trailer Park

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Experience the good old days of off-grid living at the El Cosmico vintage trailer park

These 8 amazing van conversions will inspire you to ditch the grid for the nomadic life

May 8, 2017 by  
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Perhaps it’s the spring weather, but hitting the open road and exploring suddenly seems like a more appealing idea than ever. These 8 van conversions , many of which were crafted by DIYers with little experience yet lots of creativity, persistence, and wanderlust, will motivate you to give the mobile life a try. Images via This Moving House Weekend getaway van for four When Jack Richens and his girlfriend converted a Mercedes Benz Sprinter in 2012, they used boat bunk designs and stacked beds to transform the camper into a weekender on wheels. Complete with storage under stairs and beneath the floor, the space features 4 captains chairs , several of which turn so that his crew can gather around for a meal. A group meal ? In a camper? But of course: the camper includes a sink, two-stove burner, and (more recently) a mini fridge. Little details such as a tiled backsplash and a cheerful curtain with birds to separate the sleeping spaces makes the camper stylish and cozy instead of cramped. Images via The Vanual Traveling filmmaker’s adventure-ready home/office on-the-go Zach Both left a desk job and became a traveling filmmaker; along the way he converted a cargo van that now serves as a dream living space that doubles as a mobile office. A man on the move, Both uses his freedom to travel far and wide and bring everything he needs…except perhaps a shower and toilet. The interior incorporates crisp white bedding, wood-paneled ceiling and cabinet space and even a mini cooking space that becomes concealed by a desktop. The top of the van is outfitted with solar panels. To inspire and inform others, Both created “ The Vanual ”, a DIY guide that covers everything you’d need to convert a camper van . Related| Man quits his job to transform his van into an off grid mobile home Images via Van Dog Traveler Solar-powered DIY van currently touring Europe Another young gent who quit his job for the open road, Mike Hudson converted a van in 2014 and has been on the go ever since; he spent the winter in Sardinia and has traveled throughout Europe and to Morocco. Although previously a novice at camper conversions, Hudson handcrafted the van of his dreams, complete with a water pump, water heater, graywater tank, toilet and shower, solar panels, a burner, and a fridge/freezer. There’s even a fold-down workspace and a few happy plants to make it feel like home. Images via Norbert Juhász Creative couple’s custom-crafted home on wheels Freelance photographer and writer are ideal professions for those with a penchant for wanderlust, and Norbert Juhász and Dora created their home on wheels with the plan to drive from Budapest to Morocco (they are currently in Spain). Breathing life and style into a 16-year-old van, the couple’s space now includes custom-built wood furniture (with green borders), a seat that converts into a bed for two, and a 12-volt electrical system that can be powered via the engine’s generator or roof-mounted solar panels. Small details like a mini bookshelf and a spice rack bring the creature comforts of home into their road-ready version. Images via Pam the Van Dog-friendly and lovingly restored van conversion by a novice DIYer Marina Piro may have been a novice at DIY van conversions, but this hands-on, ambitious traveler ultimately created a homey, comfy dwelling for herself and her rescue pup Odie. Piro restored the van entirely by herself (although we’re sure Odie was there for moral support), laying floor, building a kitchenette and a bed, and finding clever spaces for kitchen utensils and storage.  Her website also includes useful tips and posts on traveling with pets as well as camper van maintenance. Images by Jo Wickham Photography for Studio 106 A minimalist mobile office  A change of scenery will work wonders for your mindset, and the architects at Studio 106 downsized their office and made it mobile to take advantage of the New Zealand weather and scenery. By collaborating with partners including a company that makes foldable cardboard work stations and another that owns semi-converted caravans to rent for events and parties, the Studio 106 crew temporarily set up shop at picturesque stops including beside the harbor. Outdoor tables expanded their possible work space and allowed them to take advantage of the fresh air. After their caravan stint, the architects found that the smaller space had unexpected benefits such as reduction of waste and an atmosphere that promoted idea-sharing more easily. A woodworker’s artfully crafted and surprisingly spacious van Dipa Vasudeva Das took DIY van conversion to a whole different level with his woodworking skills. What started out as a typical van is now a treasure trove of secret compartments, handcrafted storage, and clever multilevel living solutions that makes the space welcoming for Vasudeva Das, his dog, and guests. The van (dubbed the “Earthship”) functions as a living, working, sleeping, entertaining, meditating space. A skylight and wood-burning fireplace (along with a chimney) allow Vasudeva Das to make the most of every weather situation; he also crafted a fold-down outdoor deck that also serves as bike storage. Electric camper van  from Volkswagen Still a little nervous about your own DIY camper conversion capabilities? Get a step ahead when (or maybe if) the Volkswagen Westfalia gets revived as a battery-electric vehicle. The much beloved camper hasn’t been made since 2003, but in 2015, news hit that a new camper  using a small electric motor to power the front wheels was in the concept phase. More recently, VW unveiled an electric-powered microbus named the I.D. Buzz  that has the potential to be fully autonomous , but we’re still crossing our fingers for a version that captures the hippie soul and simplicity of the Westfalia. Lead image via Zach Both

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These 8 amazing van conversions will inspire you to ditch the grid for the nomadic life

Cover’s $50k algorithmic tiny houses are 80% more efficient than conventional homes

April 26, 2017 by  
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A California-based tech company is looking to bring tiny homes to the masses by streamlining the construction process with the help of computer algorithms. Cover has developed specialized software that creates custom-made, prefabricated tiny houses that are 80% more efficient than conventional homes – all without the help of architects, planning departments, or even contractors. Cover was founded by Alexis Rivas and Jemuel Joseph in 2014. The company seeks to give everyday people the tools to create “thoughtfully designed and well-built homes” for themselves rather than enlisting the help of costly professionals. The innovative process essentially removes the need for architects, planning departments, or even contractors by guiding users through a simple 3-step process: Design, Permit, and Build. Related: Student invents computer program to help Bedouin villages build better homes Although the idea may seem a little farfetched to some, the founders believe that this is the future of DIY home building : “We’re doing for homes what Tesla is doing for the car – using technology to optimize every step of the process, from design and sales, to permitting and manufacturing.” Cover’s process uses generative design technology and algorithms to spec out various design options based on individual needs. In the design phase of the process, which costs just $250, clients fill out a digital survey providing information about their lifestyle and design preferences such as location, style, size, etc. The company then meets with the clients onsite to discuss details. The next step is feeding all of the information into a computer program that generates multiple designs options based on the information. The program is also equipped to account for geospatial data, solar positioning , and zoning requirements. After the clients choose their design, the company develops and sends “photorealistic renderings and plans” and a full quote to the client. Currently, the company’s tiny dwellings range from $50,000 to $350,000, depending on size, location, design, etc. Once the design details are worked out, the second stage is obtaining the necessary building permits, followed by laying the foundation while the prefab structure is built in a factory. Once the permits are approved, most Cover dwellings can be completed in as little as nine weeks. Cover limits material waste by manufacturing each tiny home in a factory. Additionally, using digital technology produces more energy-efficient structures. According to founder Alexis Rivas, “We’re redesigning the details that make up a home to take advantage of the precision possible in a controlled environment. This allows us to build homes that are 80 per cent more energy efficient than the average new home.” Cover homes are currently only available in Los Angeles, but the company has plans to expand to other cities in the future. + Cover Images via Cover

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Cover’s $50k algorithmic tiny houses are 80% more efficient than conventional homes

Apple announces goal to make products from 100% recycled materials

April 26, 2017 by  
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The electronics industry is notoriously harsh on the planet. Around 60 million metric tons of e-waste end up in landfills each year, and children are sometimes put to work to mine necessary rare earth elements. Technology giant Apple aims to fix these issues in their company. They recently announced plans to use 100 percent recycled materials in all of their devices. Apple’s aims are ambitious. In addition to using only recycled materials, the company also wants 100 percent of their supply chain to run entirely on renewable energy . They want their packaging to be made of 100 percent responsibly sourced and recycled paper. And they want to stop mining the earth. Related: Apple just unveiled a blazing fast iPhone recycling robot Apple has already made progress in many areas. Their data centers are 100 percent powered by solar, wind, or hydropower. 96 percent of their worldwide facilities run on renewable energy and over 99 percent of their packaging is already made with recycled and responsibly sourced materials. But they still have a long way to go. Apple didn’t offer a specific timeline for their mining goal. “It sounds crazy, but we’re working on it,” the company writes on their website. “We’re moving toward a closed-loop supply chain.” In their 2017 Progress Report , they said they’re challenging themselves to “one day end our reliance on mining” but that will require many years. They pointed to recycling programs and their recycling robots as evidence of progress. Apple Vice President of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives Lisa Jackson told Vice , “We’re actually doing something we rarely do, which is announce a goal before we’ve completely figured out how to do it. So we’re a little nervous, but we also think it’s really important, because as a sector we believe it’s where technology should be going.” Greenpeace Senior IT Analyst Gary Cook said in a statement Apple’s goal “highlights the need for greater urgency across the sector to reduce resource consumption and e-waste that are causing significant impacts on the environment and human health …While transitioning to 100 percent recycled materials is critical to reducing the sector’s footprint, it is also fundamental for Apple and other major IT companies to design products that last, are easy to repair, and recyclable at the end of their life.” Via Apple and 9to5Mac Images via Maurizio Pesce on Flickr and screenshot

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MUJI to sell eagerly awaited $27k minimalist tiny homes this fall

April 25, 2017 by  
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If you’ve ever walked into a MUJI store and wished you could spend the night, here’s the next best thing. The minimalist Japanese home goods store just announced plans to sell a lovely line tiny homes later this year. The first model available for purchase will be a tiny timber cabin wrapped in “shou sugi ban” charred timber – and it’ll cost just $27,500. Muji’s tiny timber huts measure just under 100 square feet. Thanks to a clever layout, they offer tons of natural light and a simple interior ideal for a quiet weekend escape or a permanent home in the countryside. The cabins also come with an extended porch that creates a seamless connection between the exterior and interior. Related: MUJI unveils trio of tiny prefab homes that can pop up almost anywhere The good news is that beautiful cabins will hit the market for just ¥3,000,000 (approx. $27,500 USD) starting this fall. The price includes the costs of materials needed for construction as well as contractor fees. The bad news? The MUJI Huts will only be available for purchase in Japan for the time being. + MUJI

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