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A San Francisco Based Startup Has Developed a Robot that 3D Prints Micro Homes. Cost Savings Are Estimated at 70% Compared to Traditional Methods

Tiny House January 27, 2017

San Francisco-based start-up Apis Cor have been working for a solution to homelessness and a lack of affordable homes – and they appear to have come up with an answer.

The Apis Cor team hit headlines recently as they achieved a world first by creating an entire house using a 3D printer – living up to their simple slogan “we print buildings.” More impressively still, the 400 foot square home was completed in just 24 hours.

 

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A New Type of Building Style: Flatpack Homes

Prehab Home January 23, 2017

Flatpack Homes

We’ve talked a lot about prefab homes, and they have their strengths to be sure, but now people are also talking about another building style called “flatpack homes.” They’re kit homes — actually they’re considered a type of modular home — that come flat in a box (or without a box), and then they’re set up.

This one here is one built by a company who knows cold temperature. Their flatpack modular home is Scandinavian in design and thought. It’s called the “Next House” and it’s out of Stockholm. According to the company:

“Next House is a Stockholm based company, active in architecture and construction industries, with a clear and simple vision: creating and delivering beautiful designed homes created by award winning architects.

“Next House was started on the basis that there is a need for a well constructed, elegant and functional designed home at a reasonable price. Our goal is to harmonize Swedish leading building know-how with optimal timing and low impact to the environment.

“Since Sweden is one of the premier low-impact countries in the world, Next House has followed a long tradition of environmentally friendly thinking. An important issue when putting the resources of the planet in focus is how to use energy responsibly.

“Regardless of whether you use energy to heat up or cool down your house you will use less if you house is compact. Next House models have a maximum net need of energy less than 75 kWh/m3, in Sweden this is classified as a low-energy- house.”

Their model homes start with a cabin of 15 sqm to a villa of 400 sqm. Their modular wood construction technology provides our customers with multitude of living area options.

The small XXS Next House is 150 sq. ft. with kitchen. Cost: $21,500 (you assemble).  The Large Next House is just 148 square meters (approximately 1,500 square feet).

Check out the gallery of photos below (all images on our site are expandable, even the featured image at the top).

Find more from Next House, and other farmhouse builders we’ve indexed in our Home Designers and Builders Directory. You can search the company’s name and look builders near your area. And to see more modular homes, click here.

 

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Never Seen a House Built Like this Unique Vacation House in the Middle of Nature

Houses January 3, 2017

Never Seen a House Built Like this Unique Vacation House in the Middle of Nature

You have to see this house! We can all learn something from this unique mastery of simplicity when it comes to building.

This vacation house, set in the middle of nature, is an attractive design in a nice setting, but there’s something else to it. While on this site we’ve featured a number of prefab homes, tiny houses, modular construction projects, metal building home options, and a ton of other things, I’ve never seen a building style like this. I’m interested.

We’re always seeking for simple building styles, because that’s part of our ‘mission’ on the site — to try to find enough options for everybody to find something that suits them and move towards a goal where everybody has their own home, whether a prefab, modular, tiny house, house boat, park model, cabin, house on wheels, whatever. So check out this building style.

It’s a building called the “Rio Bonito” and it’s by architect Carla Juacaba (of Brazil). She’s simply constructed two stone walls (although in my conception of making this simple I’m picturing cinder blocks or even concrete perhaps). Then she’s embedded the flat metal frame of the floor and ceiling into these two walls.

This sets the house up off the ground. Then she’s just slid stairs in front of the patio that is part of the entire floor.

There’s also a stone stairway on one of the walls, which leads the “cabin” (can you call it that?) up onto the roof.

She set a few walls in the center of the building to have a private bathroom, and for walls she just glazed them with large glass panels / sliding doors.

Heat? She left part of the stone wall hallow, so it can serve as a fireplace. It has a grate in front of it. The decor is minimalist. It has lights, but I suspect the kitchen stove might be wood burning, set in an adobe or other clay constructed cooking “desk”. There’s also a propane-style cookstove set up there.

For floors, she used plain long wooden floor boards with a shiny finish.

The furniture is minimal.

While this construction is an example of how simplicity can lend itself to style, you can tell this project was undertaken by a real stylish architect because of how she harmonized the shapes and sizes, the various materials, and even the colors (look at the colors of the patio, for example). What do you think?

As for lights, they have some set up. I’m not sure whether they power these with solar panels or a generator or what. I’m not sure how they get water to the cabin, either, for showers and cooking / washing. There are off-the-grid options for these things though that could be implemented.

These images and the one above are big, so they’ll look best on a large computer screen. They might also take a minute to load.For more work by Carla Juacaba, find her in our directory, where you can also find a bunch of other listings depending on your style interests, from prefabs to tiny homes. You can also check out some cabins here, tiny homes here, prefabs here, and metal buildings elsewhere on our site.

These images are big, so they'll look best on a large computer screen. They might also take a minute to load. These images are big, so they'll look best on a large computer screen. They might also take a minute to load.

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Gardening Ideas for 2017

Home and Garden January 2, 2017

Just starting this new page, and because its for the newest ideas in gardening, it will start out with one little thing, and then we’ll add more until the page if full up. Bear with us, its a new year in gardening!

IDEA 1: Biodegradable disks for gardening

These are “ECO-disks,” as seen being used by Mother Earth News’ tomato garden this year. They’re biodegradable disks that they use for weed suppression and water catchment!

“With more concerns on where our foods are coming from or how healthy they are to eat, more and more people are turning their attention to growing their own fruits and vegetables. This means more gardeners will be experiencing the same challenges that we all have together as a gardening family. We know that these challenges range from weeds choking of the nutrients to our plants and seedling, limitations to time and resources for watering our plants. As well as keeping our soils and gardening area free from unwanted trash and plastic gimmicks. Well if you are the type of person that want total control of the quality of your food source, we have the product for you! ECO-disks® offer every gardener of any experience level the opportunity to increase their chances of producing a more healthy and bountiful harvest.

“ECO-disks are manufactured from a Non-GMO, BPA Free, Biodegradable, Biopolymer, which carries many approvals for Home and Composting certifications. The ECO-disks are a very uniquely designed gardening product that helps to alleviate many of the challenges experienced by not only the beginner gardener, but the most experienced gardener as well.

“Disk size: 8.5 inch disk diameter with 1.25 inch inside hole diameter.”

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Tiny, Bamboo Floating Nightstand

Furniture and Furnishings January 1, 2017

Tiny, Bamboo Floating Nightstand

Tired of clunky furniture? So was Kickstarter Creator, Chris Eng, when he sought out to rethink the nightstand. He’s creating a minimalist, eco-friendly nightstand, called the BedShelfie. It installs without tools using a sturdy clamp and can hold up to 15 pounds of your most important bedside items within an arm’s reach.

The BedShelfie is handcrafted out of bamboo, which grows exponentially faster than wood (it’s technically a grass) – so it’s a renewable, eco-friendly resource. The BedShelfie currently comes in Natural Bamboo or Oil Stained Black and you can pre-order for $35 at this link.

The BedShelfie features:

A clean and minimal design profile for versatility
A wire slot for easy device charging
Rounded edges for safety
A versatile clamp design that accommodates bedframe edges up to 2.25 inches wide
A sturdy hold – it can hold up to 15 pounds
Thick felt padding on clamp touch points to prevent scratching
2 Colors: Natural Bamboo + Black Oil Stained Bamboo

Surface Area: ~12.75 x 8.5 inches (think 13 inch Macbook)
Weight: ~3.5lbs

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This Metal Home Ranch House is Amazing, but the Real Star is the Interior

Metal Buildings December 30, 2016

This Metal Home Ranch House is Amazing, but the Real Star is the Interior

Many people think about having a house out on a farm, and some of us already live out on farms and ranches or large pieces of land. Barn houses and metal homes both are seeing something of a surge of interest lately. Metal homes as an alternative building method that allows for inexpensive, strong and durable buildings that can also be reused, recycled or modified later on, and barn homes are a traditional style of building people are liking for their own homes.

Here we have a combination of both, and not only that, they added wood and stone work to create a livable space that might catch some eyes. The metal barn home here is designed and built by a company we’ve featured a number of times here on our site: Morton metal buildings — they do a number of different building types. And the job they’ve carried off here is one that I think will catch a lot of attention: a traditional rustic-style farm house that combines residential with equestrian areas.

You can see from the photo above and those below (all the photos on our website expand when you click them) that the interior of this metal building home is also a comfortable, traditional style. You can see that they’ve covered most of the building in wood cladding and some of it in stone work, including that outdoor seating area in the photo. But looking at the interior shots, I think a lot of you might agree that the interior work on this ranch house metal home is the real star of this construction project.

Some more information about this metal building:

Project Number: B066037669

Location: Pringle, SD
Dimensions: 46’W x 12’H x 105’L
This home/stall barn was built for Kerry & Dr. Lew in Pringle, SD

Special Features:
Morton’s Hi-Rib Steel
Cupolas
Wood Siding
Diamond ‘M’ Sliding Doors
Loft Door
Morton’s Energy Performer Insulation Package

Find more from Morton steel buildings, and the metal and steel design and build companies we’ve indexed in our Home Designers and Builders Directory. You can search the company’s name and look builders near your area. And to see more metal homes, click here.

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Now This Is a Barn House, and It’s a Metal Building

Metal Buildings December 30, 2016

Now This Is a Barn House, and It's a Metal Building

Barn houses and metal homes both are seeing something of a surge of interest lately. Metal homes as an alternative building method that allows for inexpensive, strong and durable buildings that can also be reused, recycled or modified later on, and barn homes are a traditional style of building people are liking for their own homes.

Here we have a combination of both. The metal barn home here is designed and built by a company we’ve featured a number of times here on our site: Morton metal buildings — they do a number of different building types. And the job they’ve carried off here is one that I think will catch a lot of attention: a totally white-clad farm house that combines residential with equestrian areas, under a pale grey shingled roof.

You can see from the photo above and those below (all the photos on our website expand when you click them) that the interior of this metal building home is also a comfortable, traditional style.

Some more information about this metal building:

Project Number: B091005395
Location: Oconomowoc, WI
Dimensions: 42’W x 14’H x 60’L
This horse barn was built for Kari & Stu of Oconomowoc, WI

Special Features:
– Morton’s Hi-Rib Steel
– Shingled Roof
– Cupola
– Dormers
– Porch
– Morton’s Energy Performer Insulation Package

Find more from Morton steel buildings, and the metal and steel design and build companies we’ve indexed in our Home Designers and Builders Directory. You can search the company’s name and look builders near your area. And to see more metal homes, click here.

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Prefabs houses are one thing, but would you live in a cardboard house?

Prefab December 16, 2016

Cardboard House

So you may be familiar with prefabs made of wood, stone, metal, bricks — we have a number of those covered on this websites — and even foam prefab and modular houses, but now in the everexpanding market of home building materials: cardboard.

The idea here is that a Dutch house designer thought up cardboard houses when he found himself throwing away a lot of cardboard packing tubes, and he thought why not make something out of them. Now, people have been making furniture out of cardboard and other products, like Google’s Cardboard project, but he made a prefab house.

“The fact is that the more you explore cardboard, the more benefits it offers,” according to designer Maarten Heijltjes of Waarmakers. “It solves two of the main problems in building – it is structural and insulating at the same time, while also being light enough to transport inexpensively. Sure, when people hear of a cardboard house, inevitably there’s some scepticism. But it’s a question of perception. Tell them that it’s a house made of wood, but that we’re just using wood fibre in a far more efficient way, and they start to see it makes sense.”

How it works: many layers of cardboard are stacked to make modular panels. Then they mold these modular panels around a house frame.

“First, they make 1.2-metre-deep segments, or modules, constructed from 24 layers of waterproofed, recycled cardboard moulded around a house-shaped frame,” according to 1843 Magazine. “These are then fixed together to make the finished building. Thanks to this system of pre-made sections, each house – starting at around €25,000 and available with elegant plywood interiors, glass doors and even wood burners – can be put together in as little as a single day.” They’re also very light for transportation to a building site.

The interiors are plywood. They add glass doors and wood stoves.

Construction time: 1 day at minimum. Sold so far: 8. They’ve received as many orders for more. They expect the prefab modular houses to last up to 100 years. Cost: right now around 25K Euros (26K U.S.).

“Actually, when you look at it, cardboard is beautiful,” said Heijltjes. “It has a texture and warmth to it.”

Read more about Wicklehouse in our directory of prefab homes.

cardboard house Cardboard House

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Creating Winter Wow In the Garden

Home and Garden December 15, 2016

Winter Wow In the Garden

Even if your garden is buried under a thick layer of ice and snow, it can still shine during the winter!

A garden with solid “bones” will look good all year ‘round. The shape of the hedges, the graceful arching of tree branches, or the pop of color from persistent fruit such as ornamental crabapples or mountain ash, all create a multitude of appealing shapes, forms, and textures. Bark color is important as well: think of the brilliant yellows or reds of dogwoods. Include some conifers in your garden landscape for the texture and year ‘round foliage – and don’t forget that not all conifers are green. Look for yellow junipers, or blue spruce. When selecting trees and shrubs for your garden, don’t simply focus on the beauty they bring during the growing season. When they are dormant, they can lend important structure to the landscape.

Although many gardeners perform a fall clean up before the snow flies, it may be desirable to leave some plants intact. Beautiful seed heads from herbaceous perennials and graceful ornamental grasses look spectacular with a dusting of snow. As an added bonus, trapping some snow in the base of the plants will help insulate the plants from severe weather.

Hardscaping materials are important, too: when shopping or designing pergolas and trellises, consider how they will look in the wintertime, when the rest of the garden is covered in snow and these important elements stand out and make a statement. Even the garden gate and decorative fenceposts can make a difference.

Whether you gaze out at your garden from the inside of your house, or from the driveway or walkway out front, you should enjoy the view in the winter almost as much as you do in the summer. If you notice some way to make an improvement for the following year, jot your ideas down and take your list into the garden centre in the spring.

By Sheryl Normandeau

Winter Wow In the Garden

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Futuristic World Culture Center Springs Up in the Desert

Unusual Dwellings December 8, 2016

Futuristic World Culture Center Springs Up in the Desert

A new building is nearing completion in the desert of Saudi Arabia. It’s the Center for World Culture, a project to promote cultural development within the country. It’s a Saudi Aramco Oil initiative for King Abdulaziz.

The building is designed by Snohetta, and it’s located in Dhahran, in the eastern province. It has an auditorium, cinema, library, exhibition hall, museum and archive. It’ll seat 930 visitors who come to the World Culture Center for opera, symphony concerts, musicals, and speeches.

Gallery:

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