This beautiful Washington cabin meets net-zero targets even in extreme temperatures

September 13, 2018 by  
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Nestled in a historic mining area in Washington State’s Cascade Mountains, a holiday retreat offers luxurious comfort without compromising sustainability targets. Despite the region’s freezing cold winters and extremely hot summers, Bainbridge Island-based Coates Design Architects crafted the Tumble Creek Cabin to net-zero energy standards using renewable energy and passive solar strategies, rather than traditional energy consumptive cooling and heating systems. Powered by solar energy, the energy-efficient cabin boasts a contemporary design with an abundance of full-height glazing to look out on the landscape beyond. With a natural palette designed to evoke the region’s mining history, the 3,835-square-foot Tumble Creek Cabin is mainly built of stone, Corten steel and reclaimed barn wood. The steel and timber elements are left exposed throughout, while floor-to-ceiling glazing establishes strong connections with the outdoors. To minimize the home’s energy usage, Coates Design Architects oriented the home to follow passive solar principles and mapped the interior layout to conserve energy as much as possible. The self-contained entry vestibule and mud room, for instance, doubles as an air lock to stop chilly drafts and unwanted hot air from entering the main living spaces. Designed as “a legacy piece” for the clients’ extended family, the vacation home includes two primary bedroom suites and a bunk room in the main residence, and an additional guest room can be found in the separate extension. An L-shaped open-plan great room on the east side of the main house is anchored by a massive board-formed concrete fireplace and opens up to a spacious patio. A winding outdoor walkway leads from the patio to an outdoor spa and a freestanding garage on the southwest side of the site. Related: Weathering steel wraps around a solar-powered California home In addition to a 10 kWh photovoltaic array on the roof, the cabin relies on radiant underfloor heating and an energy recovery ventilation system; both systems can be monitored and adjusted remotely. Energy-efficient aluminum-clad wood windows and doors were installed, as is a Tesla Powerwall for electric vehicle charging. + Coates Design Architects Images via Coates Design Architects

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This beautiful Washington cabin meets net-zero targets even in extreme temperatures

ESCAPE offers free tiny home rentals that could earn you money

September 11, 2018 by  
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If you’ve ever wanted to earn some side cash with a tiny home rental but never had the means or time to invest in one, here’s your chance. After having long wowed us with its luxurious tiny house builds, Wisconsin-based ESCAPE Homes has launched the “Free ESCAPE Tiny House Program,” and it is looking to partner with anyone with a qualifying property. If you’re approved, ESCAPE will deliver and set up one of its award-winning homes as a rental unit on your site, completely free of charge. Outfitted with all the comforts of home, plus a luxurious touch, ESCAPE’s tiny homes allow guests and homeowners to live large in small spaces. Their popularity has taken them throughout the U.S. from New York’s Hudson Valley to as far as the Hawaiian Islands. The units are well insulated to stand up to extreme weather conditions and to minimize energy use. While many units have been used as travel RVs, others have also been adapted into stationary weekend retreats, in-law suites and even lucrative Airbnb vacation rentals. “We’ve seen the interest in tiny home vacations soar,” said ESCAPE founder Dan Dobrowolski. “Launching this new program allows us to introduce the vacation experience to more people across the country, while offering our partners a chance to build a tiny (bad pun intended) business along the way.” Anyone with an acceptable site and good credit is welcome to apply to the ESCAPE Rental Program, which is actively looking to recruit partners with property in urban and rural settings within 100 miles of the top 50 metro areas in the U.S. A suitable site needs a flat and solid pad — the ESCAPE homes do not require a foundation — and preferably access to utilities including power, water and septic. Related: This tiny home on wheels lets you change your Vista on a whim Qualifying partners would manage the tiny house vocational rental in a one-year contract and receive 40 percent of the total revenue after any booking, credit card or other rental-associated fees on Airbnb or equivalent. As long as ESCAPE retains ownership of the unit, partners are not allowed to use the rental for personal means unless they book through the rental service. However, partners do have the option to purchase the tiny homes with advance notice. Interested in getting into the tiny house gig economy? Learn more on ESCAPE’s website . + ESCAPE Homes Images via ESCAPE RV/Steve Niedorf

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Truly get away from it all at this gorgeous eco-resort and yoga retreat

August 1, 2018 by  
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A lot of people consider “getting away from it all” going to Las Vegas, New York City , Tokyo or Dubai, but that’s really just getting away from where you are to immerse yourself in chaos, where the “all” is larger than ever. For the ultimate getaway, including no phones, TV, Wi-Fi, Starbucks, or air conditioning, head to Xinalani , a stunning yoga retreat near Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico that will help you truly relax and unwind. Nestled between a flourishing jungle and the incredibly translucent Banderas Bay on the mighty Pacific Ocean, and just 12 miles down the beach from Puerto Vallarta, Xinalani is an isolated eco-resort. Here, you can enjoy having nothing to do except listen to the sound of crashing waves, relax on endless beaches with sand as fine as sugar and bask in so much sunshine you’ll think you can walk on it. Related: Thai eco-resort delights guests with woven pods and other sublime dwellings Although Xinalani is a serene hideaway aimed toward yoga aficionados, you don’t even have to own a pair of yoga pants to enjoy it to its fullest. It’s a foray into nature that offers sleeping and living quarters inside three-sided, palm-thatched cabins with nothing but a curtain separating you from the great outdoors. If you do love yoga, experience classes held in ideal settings in the Greenhouse, the Jungle Studio treehouse, the Sand Terrace or the Meditation Cabin. Typical rooms have amenities including al fresco showers, handcrafted writing desks and personal balconies with breathtaking vistas of Banderas Bay and the jungle. You can upgrade to a freestanding suite for privacy and luxuries like cozy pillow-top hammocks and beds as well as extravagant silk mosquito netting. Of course, no paradise would be complete without spa massages, pools and outstanding bars and restaurants — including a scrumptious breakfast buffet — scattered up and down the beach. Whether you visit Xinalani for the yoga or just for an unforgettable tropical excursion, you’ll leave feeling relaxed, refreshed and renewed. + Xinalani Via Dwell Images via Xinalani

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This tiny home lets visitors experience life as homesteaders

July 5, 2018 by  
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Homesteading is a full-time job, but for those who’d like to just try it briefly, you can rent out a beautiful 300-square-foot tiny home made from reclaimed materials located on a six-acre working farm. Available to rent on Airbnb , the Tiny House Farmstay on the  Chittle Homestead  is a small rental home just an hour outside of Seattle that lets guests experience the best of sustainable living. Guests looking for a simple homestead experience can head up to the historic fishing village of Gig Harbor to stay on the charming Chittle Homestead. On their land, Tessa and Tim Chittle built a tiny home out of locally-sourced building materials such as recycled denim insulation and reclaimed cedar wall siding. The house boasts non-toxic paints to create a healthy environment. Related: Cool homestead retreat with vintage trailer brings glamping to Mojave desert At just 300 square feet, the tiny home is designed to maximize space while putting the focus on spending time outdoors. The wood-clad interior houses a small living room and two private bedrooms — a sleeping loft with a queen-sized bed and a Murphy bed on the ground floor. The bathroom is small but functional with a tiny sink and shower, as well as an odorless composting toilet . Outside the tiny house, a long farm table welcomes visitors to enjoy a meal or socialize with one another. According to the owners, guests at the farm will wake up to the sounds of roosters crowing and views of sheep grazing in the expansive meadow that surrounds the home. The land is home to plenty of farm animals and gardens that produce fresh herbs and veggies. The homestead owners are more than happy to share their knowledge with visitors looking to test out the world of homesteading. Guests can assist with the daily chores of taking care of the farm animals, or they can choose to stroll down the beach, go on a kayak adventure or tour the local antique shops. Best of all, guests at the Chittle retreat will take comfort in knowing that the cost of their stay, which averages around $100 per night, goes toward improving the tiny home and its farm. According to the family, “All proceeds from your vacation booking goes to homestead projects that improve the sustainability of the homestead… improving soil, creating habitat for wildlife, increasing food self-sufficiency, and future dreams of solar panels, rainwater catchment and aquaponics.” + The Chittle Homestead Via Tiny House Talk Photography by Markie Jones Photography and Jenna Spesard

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The Truck Surf Hotel is a traveling retreat that hits the best surf spots in Europe and Africa

May 3, 2018 by  
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Good news, surfers! The surf is always up at the ultra-cool Truck Surf Hotel – a converted Mercedes Actros truck that has been revamped into an expandable two-story retreat. The hotel on wheels has an innovative hydraulic system that enables the walls and sealing to expand upwards and outwards once parked, offering surfers a front-row accommodation to hit the waves in some of the best surf spots in Portugal and Morocco. The Truck Surf Hotel offers a unique accommodation for active travelers who want a little flexibility in their vacation plans. When fully expanded, the truck hotel has two stories. The living space on the first floor has a kitchen, social room, and bathroom with shower. On the upper floor, there are five bedrooms – four shared double rooms with bunk beds, and one private double room. Related: This dreamy boutique hotel in California is made up of 11 refurbished Airstreams Large windows flood the interior with natural light. There’s also a long, outdoor terrace with plenty of bean bags where guests can sit and take in beautiful views of the sea. Guests will also enjoy a buffet breakfast every morning, along with a variety of packages to choose from, all geared towards making the most out of the truck’s roaming capabilities. After years of traveling to the best surf locations in Europe and Africa, the truck’s owners – Daniela Careiro and Eduardo Ribeiro – were inspired to create a retreat on wheels that would help other surfers explore uncrowded surf spots with the best waves. The hotel’s many packages on offer include options for new surfers or expert wave riders. According to Ribeiro and Careiro, “Every morning we wake up with the best view, serve the buffet breakfast on board, surrounded by nature in rural tourism farms and natural camping parks. We take you to amazing places in Algarve and Alentejo, according to the experience you’ve chosen, either…surfing on different beaches along the coast or explor[ing] the spectacular nature with different outdoor activities.” + Truck Surf Hotel Via Uncrate Images via Truck Surf Hotel

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Portable 3D skin printer can form skin tissue to heal deep wounds in minutes

May 3, 2018 by  
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Need medical assistance after a blaster fight on a spaceship? This new handheld, portable 3D printer could help. Scientists at the University of Toronto created the 3D skin printer that feels like it came straight from a science fiction movie. The device, according to the university , “forms tissue in situ, depositing and setting in place, within two minutes or less.” This new portable 3D skin printer looks like a white-out tape dispenser, in the description of the university, but instead of a tape roll, the printer includes “a microdevice that forms tissue sheets.” Bio ink comprised of protein-based biomaterials like collagen and fibrin runs along the tissue sheets in vertical stripes. Collagen is the most abundant protein found in the dermis, and fibrin, another protein, is part of wound healing. Navid Hakimi, study lead author and PhD student, said in the statement, “Our skin printer promises to tailor tissues to specific patients and wound characteristics.” Related: New 3D-printed algae could revolutionize the way we make things Many current 3D bioprinters are “bulky, work at low speeds, are expensive, and are incompatible with clinical application,” according to associate professor Axel Guenther. In contrast, this handheld printer is about as big as a small shoe box and weighs under one kilogram. The university said the device “also requires minimal operator training and eliminates the washing and incubation stages required by many conventional bioprinters.” The journal Lab on a Chip published the research last month; researchers from the Ross Tilley Burn Center at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center contributed. The team’s work isn’t finished — they aim to add multiple capabilities to the skin printer such as “expanding the size of the coverable wound areas.” They’re also planning further in vivo studies with the Sunnybrook team, and are shooting for clinical trials in humans in the future. + University of Toronto + Lab on a Chip Images via Liz Do and courtesy of Navid Hakimi via GIPHY

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Portable 3D skin printer can form skin tissue to heal deep wounds in minutes

6 ways to make your life more "Hygge" – the Danish secret to happiness

December 26, 2017 by  
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Unless you are from Denmark or Norway, the concept of “hygge” (pronounced hoo-gah) was likely foreign to you until the past few years when this idea of “cozying around” began gaining serious traction. In this big, loud, harsh world, many of us desire a return to good company, simple pleasures, and mindfulness in the moment, and hygge embodies these ideas and more. We’re sharing six ways to help you create this restorative state of mind beloved for centuries in Denmark (by way of Norway ). Image © @quizzically_yours 1. Host a low-key and intimate get-together Small hang-outs with friends are an ideal hygge-promoting gathering. Hygge get-togethers aren’t pretentious: think board game night , card night, or a bagel brunch in the comfort of your own home. The focus of these gatherings is on togetherness, not on spending five hours baking fussy hors d’oeuvres or desserts, so they are perfect for throwing together at a moment’s notice and are super potluck-friendly . An event that gets people absorbed in each other’s company and a low-tech activity that encourages them to detach from their phones is definitely high on the hygge scale. Linked to the concept of hygge is an appreciation of the outdoors, and Danes are known for prizing their open-air time from a young age: babies in Denmark and all over Scandinavia even take their naps outside . Take your gathering outdoors (weather permitting) to bring together the best of both worlds: huddling around an outdoor fire pit definitely fits the bill as does taking a dip in a hot tub. Image © Maria via Unsplash 2. Or make your own solo hygge experience Although hygge is often associated with cozy, candlelit get-togethers with dear friends, you can create your own hygge vibe when you are by yourself. Fredagsmys , a word from Denmark’s Nordic neighbor Sweden , is an actual term used for curling up indoors on a Friday night. So watch a movie, sit on the sofa, or make yourself some hot chocolate or tea and relax with a book (perhaps in front of a fire). Hygge is focused on the idea of enjoying and being aware of simple moments and experiences, so everything doesn’t have to be “just so”: partaking in a free flowing  yoga  practice or a nourishing  soup making  session applies. Image © Alisa Anton via Unsplash 3. Create hygge-friendly spaces in your home While it may be tempting to get caught up in the hygge-buying fever and feel the desire to suddenly possess a plethora of knit throws, cushy pillows, an array of scented candles, and more items, there’s no financial obligation required for creating a warm, comfortable, friendly space. Putting your favorite vintage and reclaimed  knickknacks on display creates a sociable, lived-in vibe. Ditto for items picked up during memorable vacations and roadtrips. If you have a home with large open spaces, consider arranging the furniture that you already own in configurations that encourage intimate tête à têtes. Even a small side table or an ottoman can be a place to gather around, set down your mug, or put your feet up. Interior designer Dani Arps for TaskRabbit suggests, “Texture and natural materials always add warmth; think chunky or nubby blankets stored in a mesh basket that sits next to a reclaimed coffee table.” Related: DIY Meditation Temple Built from Salvaged Materials Photo © Aaron Burden via Unsplash 4. Make space for quiet/meditation Mindfulness and gratitude are definitely components of a hygge mentality, and they dovetail nicely with many people’s goals of having a regular meditation practice. If sitting cross-legged and reciting a mantra isn’t your cup of tea, then consider making your cup of tea the meditation itself. Give yourself permission to really savor and enjoy your morning beverage  without feeling the need to check social media. Or take an invigorating walk with your dog by your side, soak in the tub , journal or even make a phone call to a friend or family member who you can’t connect with in person-these all align with the idea of creating a soothing and reflective practice. Since mindfulness is the goal, avoid multitasking while you are doing whatever activity you choose. Image via Inhabitots 5. Make comforting and nourishing food and drink If you were to scan Instagram, many of the images hashtagged with hygge would start to resemble each other: hands around a warm mug of something, a table laid out with humble but hearty fare, like this mushroom quinoa risotto , a bowl of oatmeal, or fruit and nut-studded granola. Another central tenet in Danish culture is spending time with family , so pulling out a favorite recipe that has been shared over generations for a family gathering is a great way to honor tradition (not to mention the fact that commonly beloved food seems to have a way of smoothing over many family riffs). A super hygge-friendly activity: create an intimate  multigenerational family cooking class with a matriarch or patriarch of the family teaching the younger set how to make a traditional family dish. A few other ideas to get you started include apple cider served in apple cups , a homemade vegan nutella-like spread , one pot sun-dried tomato and basil pasta , and a decadent vegan chocolate cake made with veggies . Image © Antonia Bukowska via Unsplash 6. Put hygge concepts to work year-round Although the idea of cozying around a fire or snuggled up on the couch with our favorites makes winter the season most associated with hygge, the concept of hygge can be employed throughout the year. After all, hygge is a mindset for making “ essential and mundane tasks dignified, joyful, and beautiful ”. To that end, going for a midsummer midnight swim, having a backyard BBQ with a few friends, taking a hike in the spring rain, or organizing a pumpkin picking and carving session could all embody this mind/body/soul-nourishing concept. Lead image ©  Worthy of Elegance via Unsplash

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6 ways to make your life more "Hygge" – the Danish secret to happiness

America’s most polluted nuclear site is now a national park

December 22, 2015 by  
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A new kind of tourist attraction is expected to bring thousands of visitors to Washington state next year. Hanford Nuclear Reservation is home to the world’s first full-sized nuclear reactor and also holds the designation of being the nation’s most polluted nuclear weapons production site. As of November, it is also one of the locations that make up the Manhattan Project National Historic Park , along with sites in Tennessee and New Mexico. Officials insist that radioactive waste will be kept “miles away” from the park’s visitors, but is that enough to make you want to spend your vacation at a nuclear weapons site? Read the rest of America’s most polluted nuclear site is now a national park

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Chilli Island is half lounge chair and half watercraft for awesome fun on the water

September 9, 2015 by  
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Summer’s officially gone, so we’re a little sad that we just found out about Chilli Island. It sounds like a cool place to visit but it’s actually a thing that could take your warm weather vacation to the next level of awesome. Chilli Island is the fusion of a floating lounge chair and an electric watercraft , put together in such a way to make all your summertime dreams come true. Let’s be clear about one thing: this is not your mother’s inflatable pool chair. Read the rest of Chilli Island is half lounge chair and half watercraft for awesome fun on the water

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How “Green” is Your “Suite” Spot?

March 11, 2014 by  
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It’s that time of year again; time to sit through that never-ending conversation with my wife sifting through the travel websites trying to figure out where we are going to spend our precious time and money on this years vacation. …

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How “Green” is Your “Suite” Spot?

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