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Garden Refresher Checklist

Home and Garden November 4, 2016

Garden Refresher Checklist

Is your garden looking unruly and overgrown? If you’ve decided it’s time for a refresher, it’s tempting to rush in and get started right away. Before you expend a huge amount of labor and dole out a bunch of money, it pays to take a close look at all the elements of your garden and assess your priorities for the space. This checklist is a good place to start:

Do you know where the slopes and valleys are in your yard? Are there areas where drainage is a problem, and plants will not grow?

What about microclimates? Is there a sheltered location in your garden where you can plant warm-season vegetables, or maybe a borderline-tender shrub? Alternatively, is there an issue with a cold sink anywhere in your garden, where you have to worry about planting frost-fragile squash, for example?

– Are there areas in the garden where the wind batters your plants?
– How much rain and snow falls on all of the areas of your garden?
– Have some of the trees grown in and are now casting a lot of shade on existing flowerbeds?
– Has the pH of your soil changed? Is your soil too saline? Does it have a sufficient amount of organic matter?
– Have some of your groundcovers spread aggressively and become too competitive with other plants in the area?
– Does your garden have winter interest?
– Do you need privacy from your neighbors, or a noise barrier from the street?
– Do any of your plants require pruning or deadheading? Does the hedge need to be shaped?
– Do you need to divide or transplant any large perennials?
– Are you growing any toxic plants that need to be removed due to the presence of children or pets? What about noxious weeds? Check your local weed control act and make sure you’re not accidentally growing anything you shouldn’t be.
– Do you want to focus on growing edible plants over ornamental ones (or vice versa)?

Once you’ve considered the answers to all of these questions, you’ll have a solid foundation to start revitalizing your garden and getting it back into tip-top condition!

By Sheryl Normandeau

205 total views, 3 today

Shipping Container Castle … DIY Too!

Shipping Container Buildings October 26, 2016

Shipping Container Castle ... DIY Too!

A unique shipping container castle … with a stair-tower to rooftop patio! It’s unusual in every way, and it was built on a budget. This amazing shipping container home was sent in by one of the members of the Cool Stuff Interesting Stuff News page, Ronda Rowan. Here’s her guest post:

“My husband and myself built this home out of three 40′ shipping containers. We had a 30k cash budget to build with.

“Our county allowed us to build with an owner/builder opt-out no inspections permit. We followed all fire, safety codes and had prior land inspections. We started with a building list for supplies and a tight budget. Welding, cutting, grinding took 6 months, many hours of hard work.

“As my husband welded, I would draw up my ideas of what I wanted constructed. Our home is very unusual in every way. We insulated the containers underneath with 2″ closed cell sprayfoam, ceilings interior 5″ open cell sprayfoam insulation, exterior 5” closed cell sprayfoam insulation, then painted to preserve insulation.

“We live in Arizona desert where temperatures reach 115 summer, 10 at night in winter so we didn’t want the metal containers to transfer the heat or cold. Keeping our cooling/heating costs minimal, it works excellent.

“Our stair-tower was an old water tank we reused and welded stairs inside to access the rooftop patio. To make it look different added top to appear to be a castle.

“We have been given many unique pieces of metal objects to add to our home turning them into pieces of art. They each have a special meaning to us. We owe no debt, no mortgage, and build our home with our own hands. We are very proud to become the first shipping container home allowed to build in our county in southern Arizona. We are the ambassadors of future builders in our area.”

Wow. Thanks Ronda!

Photos by Ronda Rowan. For more shipping container buildings, click here.

shipping-container-castle-diy-too-3 Shipping Container Castle ... DIY Too!

12900 total views, 1 today

Small Prefab House Beach Design Meant to Be Affordable

Tiny House, Uncategorized October 25, 2016

small summer house

What is this small house prefab on the water? It’s 70 square meters of laminated timber construction, wooden deck and terminal base. Four meters in height where even the skylights can be opened.

“People want to stay rural in the summer – but still want all the facilities like toilets and showers. We have been striving for simplicity and a sense of freedom so that you experience the difference between cabin homes and permanent homes,” said Johnny Andersson and Michaela Tengblad, who created the summer house.

Johnny and Michaela, who work at Earth Architects, have designed this small prefab house for summer fun. Notice the housing structure with large glass windows including the roof. The idea is that you should feel that you have the sky as a roof. The large room should feel like a studio or greenhouse, a place where you can paint, pottery and work. Without a lot of sofas that you do not use. When you socialize as you sit at the dinner table. Living rooms are often the least used – if not the television is there.

A starting point for Michaela’s and Johnny’s prefab house design work has been to find the difference between permanent residence and holiday home at the same time they wanted to meet the requirements of convenience. Therefore, there is a toilet, shower and kitchen, but the shower is outdoors and the simple kitchen counter is more workbench which continues outdoors. The house has no hall with a definite admission, but outside several doors and sliding windows can be used. The bedroom’s surface is minimized but a bench in the main room is both storage and can serve as extra sleeping.

“When we designed the house we started from what we ourselves could afford. Therefore, we have worked with simplicity and rugged materials. But to build simple is usually difficult because you cannot hide the errors,” said the designers.

The basic concept of this prefab home design is a 70-square-meter small house, but it can be made larger and designed by the owner’s wishes. One part is built in wood and the other is the concrete foundation and steel structure. The house is winter insulated and equipped with a stove.

“We think that the house is equally suited to lie on a beach in a forest glade or in a holiday home area.”

Johnny sees no problem with having large skylights in the small house. “On the contrary, it is well amazing to hear the rain and watch the snow fall and experience the weather.”

Earth Architects work broadly with everything from private homes to prefab house designs to sheltered housing, from the landscaping to the design of the door handles. The team is Johnny Andersson, 47, who co-founded the architectural firm in 1999 in which nine people work today. Johnny’s dream home is a town house in New York, a hybrid between villa and apartment with its own entrance and terrace; and Tengblad Michaela, 40, who has been with the company for six years. Her dream home is a custom-designed, climate-villa in rough concrete and plywood.

Illustration: Koloss.se

8073 total views, 2 today

Dune Prefab House – Spacious and Affordable Living

Prefab October 24, 2016

Dune Prefab House - Spacious and Affordable Living

A small semi-modular prefab house for 1 or 2 people in the dunes for people on a limited budget, and it’s architecturally interesting: a compact house with an open floor plan.

Facades and roofs
The prefab house has standard corner pieces and wind springs, thereby making house details simple and affordable. Zinc, wood shingles, slate or ceramic would also not be out of place in this house.

High-Tech and Low-Tech division
Complex parts of the building are clustered together in one or two units. These are usually the usage areas including toilets, kitchen facilities and meter. This high-tech element is done by a specialized company in a factory, completely assembled and transported to the building and there connected to electricity, water and electricity. The rest of the building (low-tech) is built around here and contains the living quarters and and is completely operated from these units, so there is no special engineering needed in the rest of the building.

This has a few advantages:
– Very fast implementation and commissioning possible.
– High quality and robustness, for a layman, it is indistinguishable traditional building after completion.
– Few disciplines on site (no tiler, plasterer, electrician, plumber etc. need to construction),so little chance of failure and delay.
– Responsibilities are clear. One contractor builds a shell without technique, one unit builder provides all facilities and use areas.
– This method of construction is IFD (Industrial, flexible and durable)
– Proven, many bathrooms are in hotels mounted this way ready.

Structural = Trim
The prefab house designers, Dingemansa Architectuur, have conceived this buildings to materialize in a way that masonry materials remain in the completed house in sight. In a normal home this means spending about 1/3 of the construction costs to finish the building. An added bonus is that the interior will get a loft-like, airy appearance by using laminated wood structure in this case and keep it in sight.

Another good feature is using power floated concrete, this material is only a fraction more expensive than ordinary concrete what is already needed for the construction and further finishing is not necessary anymore.

For more of Dingemansa Architectuur’s work, find them in our prefab homes directory.

Dune Prefab House - Spacious and Affordable Living

49321 total views, 7 today

IKEA Prefab House for $1100

Prefab October 19, 2016

IKEA Prefab House for $1100

A prefab house already being sold for little more than $1000? Yes, it’s possible, as Swedish ready-to-assemble company IKEA has now proven, after years of research and design, as well as extensive field testing, even if these prefabs aren’t ones you’ll find at your local IKEA store. There are already tens of thousands of people living in these $1100, 3-hour set-up, easily ship-able IKEA prefab homes around the world, but the first inhabitants are those most in need of affordable, secure housing of this type.

3.5 million refugees living in tents and temporary shelters around the world. 3.5 million. So far what the UN compounds and other temporary housing situations have to offer for these people are canvas tents — the regular tents you’re familiar with that use ropes and poles to stand up. And guess how long the average family spends in these tents? 12 years. However, is a tent a stable environment for a family? Is it a safe structure where men, women and children can be secure from crime? It turns out that there has been a lot of crime in these types of refugee compounds in all areas, and part of that has to do with the fact that tents are not safe from intruders. So IKEA Foundation partnered with the UN refugee agency and Swedish designers to come up with a new flatpack prefab which is very affordable, very transportable and re-useable, and sufficiently stable and safe.

The prototype IKEA prefab home shelters (click photo to make it bigger) were developed with the goal of revolutionizing or at least improving the camp living situation. Also, to increase usage life. The tents last around 6 months because of the harsh conditions of the areas where they are set up. So IKEA’s prefabs are intended to be stable relative to these. The panels of the prefab, perhaps the part quickest to wear, last up to 3 years by design.

The boxes the IKEA prefab house come in are “like the IKEA bookshelves,” according to Johan Karlsson, who works on the project. They’re designed to be easy to transport and set up in the field.

They want their prefab house to be easier to ship, assemble and live in.

It starts with a frame, which comes in a bag (like a regular tent pole bag but bigger) which is shipped in one of the flatpack boxes. It’s got pipes, connectors and wires in it, and these are assembled to compose the frame of the prefab house. Then there’s the panels, which are thin and very light, but are durable and have a thin layer of insulation. These panels fit right onto the frame of the prefab house and you have walls.

Keep reading on page 2: click here.

373934 total views, 1140 today

Modern Prefab Homes

Prefab October 18, 2016

Modern Prefab Homes

What do you think of these green prefab home designs? Going green with prefabricated buildings isn’t something everyone opts for, because the cost of prefab is already sometimes at the limit of what the house-buyer can spend, but the alternatives offered are sometimes more important.

These designs are by Michelle Kaufman, whose prefab houses — not just houses, she also designs commercial spaces, parks and communities, and from the picture here you can see the community of prefabs are arranged similarly to a trailer park — have been recognized for being airy and light.

This particular design is called the WCG Home, and it’s designed with sustainability in mind. It was built for West Coast Green, a San Francisco architecture conference in 2007.

The prefab design here is a 725-square foot living residence with water catchment, recycled building materials (actually, many prefab homes and metal homes operate with a large amount of recycled materials), and green roofing. This means zero costs for home energy, according to the Michelle Kaufmann Studio.

Some notable features of this design: slanted wood siding, barn-like appearance, light-filled interior, minimal footprint, and high ceilings (often credited with providing house designs with airyness and a sense of space).

For more info on Michelle Kaufman, prefab homes and modular buildings, find them in our directory.

Modern Prefab Homes

6820 total views, 2 today

No Frame? No Problem. Here’s How to Do a Bed on the Floor

Interior Design October 11, 2016

A bed frame has always been staple furniture for bedrooms. However, a no-frame bed is also a good idea with just a touch of style and creativity. This is a minimalist approach in decorating a bedroom which is modern, simple and relaxed.

With the right concept and placement, a no-frame bed can actually be very comfortable, homey and creative. It does not require additional furniture yet can equally be decorated in a lot of ways. The mattress can be placed in a slightly elevated platform, or beside a window with a picturesque view of the outdoors, or against a wall with a headboard fixture, or even in a closet type compartment for added privacy. The ideas are endless and just as wonderful as having a standard bedroom concept.

For people who want less bulky furniture in their home as well as for those who prefer a minimalistic approach in decorating a bedroom, placing the mattress on the floor directly or with a flat base can be an excellent idea.

For more of Marbletecture’s work, or to find other metal building companies, find them in our directory of metal construction companies.

314 total views, 0 today

Tiny Home Backyard Studio and Guest House Has Got Style

Tiny House October 3, 2016

Tiny Home Backyard Studio and Guest House Has Got Style

Design can play a significant role in the overall impression of a tiny house or other tiny structure. In this case this tiny house building is a studio — it’s outfitted with couches instead of beds, but there is any number of possibilities for how the interior of these tiny dwellings are finished.

This one is called “Orchid Studio” and it’s by design team First Lamp. It’s an outbuilding — it’s not attached to the main house structure. It could be used just as easily as a guest house or reading room.

The team was brought into this project in order to get a nice design for the tiny house-style one-room building. And it does serve as a guest house if needed.

It’s connected to the main house by a diagonal path through the backyard garden to the corner of the yard where they situated the tiny dwelling.

The budget on this project was limited, which limited the amount of bells and whistles added to the basic tiny structure. One thing unusual was the use of Douglas Fir for the rafters, which were left exposed to provide an eventually-red wood accent to the white walls and siding outside.

Photos by: First Lamp. For more of First Lamp’s work, find them in our directory of tiny home builders.

Tiny Home Backyard Studio and Guest House Has Got Style

11601 total views, 1 today

Build this eco green-roof modular home in 6 weeks

Modular October 3, 2016

Build this eco green-roof modular home in 6 weeks

This was a custom project by ArchiBlox: “Situated on a sloping site, the module touches the earth lightly and is elevated off the ground on structural posts. With a size of 106 m2 the residence is minimal in size but grand in design intent. The interior is composed with 2 bedrooms with walk in robes, 1 bathroom, open plan kitchen, dining and living and storeroom. A green roof sits atop of the structure, tying the built form beautifully back into the landscape.

The module Size 16m by 4.6m and is 106 sqm. The south and east facades are framed by an outdoor verandah which one can sit on and contemplate the harmony of the coastal ambience. The modular design is driven by sustainable methods which include:

• Lineal structure with east-west orientation allowing cross ventilation

• Maximised North windows which allows the home to enjoy the northern sun

• Green Roof which minimises rainwater run off and solar penetration

• FSC certified external timbers milled from sustainable forestry methods

• Low VOC internal paints and natural oils

So, a 2-bedroom modular beach house in New South Wales. And a design you might want to look at if you’re still in the process of getting design ideas or shopping around for a house design.

Architects: ArchiBlox
Location: Avalon Beach NSW 2107, Australia
Area: 106.0 sqm
Project Year: 2015
Photographs: Michael Wickham, Tom Ross
Manufacturers: Big Ass Fans, Knauf, T&G, Thermann

For more from the designers, Archiblox, find them in our directory.

Build this eco green-roof modular home in 6 weeks

14650 total views, 7 today

IKEA enters small prefab house market, and it’s solar powered

Prefab October 3, 2016

IKEA enters small prefab house market

Prefab houses, modular houses, and tiny houses. Why not combine these housing options into a small shelter?

This is a real game changer. IKEA unveiled a solar-powered flat pack shelter for easily deployable emergency housing. That’s the target, but these tiny prefab homes, designed to be mass produced, could also serve as inexpensive home options for people who aren’t in emergency situations.

The designers, IKEA, are well-known for their urban simple, partially-DIY, economical, sometimes ecological, style. This project is a joint venture between the IKEA Foundation and the UNCHR.

These prefabs are going to replace what UNCHR was using before – tents. However, tents don’t provide the privacy or security hard walls provide, and there have been violent crimes at refugee and emergency compounds.

The prefab houses are flat packed — they flatten out for transport. They’re made from lightweight plastic, and have a total square footage of 188 sq ft.

They’re rated for five inhabitants — that’s twice the size of the older UN tents.

And for power, the grid is made less necessary because these prefab houses have solar power, coming from solar panels on the roof. Candles and kerosene are less often required even in out-of-the-way locations. These solar panels on the roof also deflect 70 percent of solar radiation, so the interior is cooler in the day while being warmer at night.

533885 total views, 1058 today

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