Archives For Eco-friendly

Of course you are familiar with the basic process of making traditional wooden furniture: grow tree, cut down tree, use wood to build furniture. The problem with this method, according to furniture designer Gavin Munro, is that there is too much energy spent on the process, meaning it is not at all eco-friendly.

And herein lies the inspiration for the British designer’s Full Grown furniture company, whose process utilizes “specially designed plastic frames to mold young willow, oak, ash and sycamore trees into the shape of chairs, tables, frames, or lamps as they’re growing. Once they’ve matured, each tree has morphed into a fully functional furniture item made from a single piece of wood, no sawing or assembling necessary.”

This is all an attempt to get people to “rethink our relationship with trees and time,” and the creator likened the process to “a kind of organic 3D printing that uses air, soil and sunshine as its source material.”

We love the idea behind the furniture, and we think it would be a beautiful addition to any home. See what you think of the results in the pictures below, and find out more on Full Grown’s website.

Source: Fast Company 

It’s finally getting warm enough to start packing up our sweaters and thinking about the sunny days ahead—and about cooling down our homes.

Treehugger discovered this low-tech air conditioner that relies on clay and evaporation. The designer of the Cold Pot, Thibault Faverie, describes how the unit works:

Based on “bio air-conditioning,” the porous terracotta surface acts as a heat exchange; it absorbs water from the inside and sends it to the outer surface. On contact with air, the water evaporates. The change from a liquid state to a gaseous one results in the cooling of the object and consequently the inner aluminum pipe, where air circulates.

While the air conditioner doesn’t seem to be available for purchase yet, you can see more over on his website.

Our overall takeaway? The Cold Pot is pretty cool.

Images: © Thibault Faverie

Imagine a family of four vacationing in a 193-square-feet cottage—sounds like a nightmare, right? Not so. Russian architect Andrey Bugaev designed a truly tiny getaway that he calls “The Ship.” His clever design created enough space for a bathroom with a shower, a living space with a fireplace, sleeping areas, and a small kitchen with plenty of storage. The result is a perfect retreat for a weekend of family bonding.

Source: freshome

Photos: freshome

A Tiny House on Wheels

Househappy —  January 22, 2014 — Leave a comment

At just 240 square feet, Alex Lisefski built this tiny house on an 8-by-20-flatbed trailer. Because he didn’t want to commit to a location or pay rent, he decided to construct his own home using cheap local materials and the help of his friends.

Lisefski, a web designer, has always had an interest in architecture and was very excited to take on the project. The home has all the amenities any other home has from hot water to lights and a stove. He documented some of the process on his website The Tiny Project and uses the site to educate the community about alternative, affordable and more sustainable ways of living.

“Inhabiting such a small space forces me to live in a simpler, more organized and efficient way,” Lisefski said. “I’m forced to spend more time outdoors, in nature and engaging with my community.” He currently shares the home with his girlfriend and their dog in Sebastopol, California.

Sources: HouzzThe Tiny Project

Did you ever think that having less stuff might actually make you happier? In his TED Talk “Less stuff, more happiness,” writer and designer Graham Hill demonstrates the benefits of leading an “edited” life.

Hill explains how less stuff and less space equals a smaller footprint, more money saved, and more happiness. Overall, he believes having less stuff makes you feel more at ease and less stressed. Here are Hill’s three rules for editing your life:

  1. Edit ruthlessly. People need think about whether or not that item will make them happy before they buy it. We need to clear out the things we don’t use anymore and leave the stuff that makes us happy.
  2. Think small. Think about space efficiency and finding items that nest and stack. Digitize what you can to create more space.
  3. Multifunctional spaces and housewares. Buy a small table that can fold out to seat ten, or a toilet that doubles as a sink. Multifunctional spaces

To further the conversation on the benefits of an edited life, Hill founded a website called LifeEdited to show how people can live large in small spaces. LifeEdited sprouted from his desire to transform his 420 square foot New York City apartment into 1,000 square feet of functionality. Hill wanted to be able to hold dinner parties for 12, sleep 2 overnight guests, and have a home office and home theater. With his background in sustainability, he also wanted his apartment to be built in an environmentally responsible manner.

To make his dream a reality, Hill enlisted the help from crowd-sourcing platform Jovoto and marketing firm Mutopo and together they launched a contest to design his space. Over 300 entries were submitted and the winning design came from two Romanian architecture students who helped transform his edited space into a functional, multi-purpose apartment.

Check out photos of his NYC apartment below, or visit LifeEdited to view the complete gallery.

Photos: Matthew Williams for LifeEdited

Sources: LifeEdited, TED

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Considering going green in 2014? Here are 8 cost saving changes you can make to have a greener home.

Check Craigslist and local vintage shops before buying new. Instead of buying all new things, look around at local vintage shops and online to help save money on used items. Keep a wish list of items that you want so you can get into the habit of searching for them every so often, since finding the perfect vintage piece takes time.

Swap one thing from disposable to reusable. Paper towels may be convenient, but not very good for the environment. Replacing them with reusable cloth towels will save you money and space in the landfill. Just buy cheap ones buy the dozen and make sure to put a small laundry basket in the kitchen.

Switch to a deliciously fragrant natural cleaner. There is no need to spray your counters with harsh chemicals when there are many natural all-purpose cleaners out there. Also if you choose one with essential oils, it will make your kitchen smell fresh and not like chemicals. Plus natural cleaners are safe to use around kids and pets.

Leave shoes at the door. The bottoms of our shoes are breeding grounds for nasty stuff, so make it a house rule that everyone takes their shoes off when they enter. This will help keep your floors cleaner longer so you can spend less time vacuuming and mopping.

Rely on natural light during the day. Get in the habit of leaving the lights off during the day to enjoy the natural light. This is an easy change to make and can help you save energy.

Stop using plastic water bottles. If you are in the habit of buying plastic water bottles, it is time to give them the boot. Purchase a water filter and use glass containers to store fresh clean water. This will help cut down on plastic waste and save you money.

Plant a garden. Whether it is a planting box of lettuce, a pot of peppers or a window box of herbs – gardening doesn’t have to take up a lot of your space or time. Start small and enjoy the benefits of eating fresh food straight from your own backyard!

Learn to reuse and upcycle. Before you toss something, think about whether there might be another use for it. Maybe you could use a torn blanket and turn it into a pillow cover or store things in those old glass jars. Use your creativity to see what you can do with something before you toss it.

This article can be found in its original form on Houzz.

Photo: Real Simple

Fashionable and safe, ventless fireplaces are the next big technology for your home. The modern designs are turning these fireplaces from mere heat sources to works of art. With internal tanks or other fuel reserves, this replaces the need for traditional gas lines so fireplaces can stand alone in any part of your home.

Since these pieces use ethanol, they burn without smoke and can be mounted on walls or inserted into surfaces. Plus with high-tech safety features that shut these devices off you won’t have to worry about them damaging your home.

Here are a few of the latest designs in ventless fireplaces from the Wall Street Journal:

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This looks more like a modern statue than a fireplace. Made to lean against the wall, Safretti’s Vertigo was created for the Dutch company by Porsche Design Studio, a subsidiary of the sports car company.

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Nature was the inspiration for this design made to look like a tulip blossoming from the floor. The piece was designed by Matteo Ragni for Italian company Bió fireplace and comes in a wide range of colors.

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Ruby Fires, a Netherlands-based company designed this free-standing fireplace made to look and feel like concrete, but without the weight.

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The Globe is a sphere-shaped fireplace by Swedish Company Vauni that can be put in any room. A device underneath allows it to turn 360 degrees and the flame size can also be adjusted.

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Complete with remote controlled safety features means this flaming line can be set into countertops or benches. Planika’s Fire Line Automatic can be custom-made to match its surroundings.

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Radia by Orlando based Bluworld Homelements is a black-framed vertical system that can be mounted on the wall like a picture.

Source: WSJ