Danish architecture student Konrad Wójcik has come up with a very modern and unique way for people to live in the suburbs of large cities, with minimal impact on the natural habitat. At the heart of his so-called “Primeval Symbiosis” plan are tree shaped houses that have a tiny footprint and very little environmental impact on the forests where they could be built. In his design, he drew inspiration from trees and the way animals use them as shelters. His tree houses are powered by renewable energy, while they also fertilize soil, clean the air, provide shade, and have natural ventilation.
Jeffery, a homebuilder specializing in using only natural materials for his construction projects, recently completed a tiny house in the woods. His main goals were to construct a house that was comfortable to live in and cheap to built, and made from materials destined for the landfill as much as possible. The cabin he built contains a bed, desk and a small wood stove. It is intended to serve mainly as a shelter, and therefore encourage the occupant to go out and enjoy nature.
Jay Hicks didn’t miss a beat when he lost his South Carolina cabin to a fire. He decided to build off of the 80-year-old original structure’s partial wall that had remained standing and devised a plan to have Addison Homes design and build a high-performance, energy efficient home that would have an old-world charm.
Fitting the floor plan to the topography and granite subsurface of the site that is located near Caesars Head State Park, Todd Usher, president of Addison Homes, directed workers to follow the flow of the rock shelf and form a foundation of concrete footings made of recycled content. Rigid foam insulation that was placed under the slab serves as a thermal break. The structure is oriented to benefit from passive solar heating and natural daylighting.
The Philadelphia home builders John Westrum Homes have recently built a model modular home in Seaside Heights, NJ, the area where last year’s hurricane Sandy destroyed or damaged 2,200 of 2,400 bungalows and homes. The prototype was constructed to exceed post-hurricane Sandy construction standards of modular components.
Little House on the Trailer is a Petaluma-based company that provides affordable, energy-efficient, and “substantially constructed” houses for today’s mobile home buyers. For example, the company currently has a “Barn Siding Studio” available for immediate delivery for $24,000. The 200 square-foot studio was built on wheels and finished with reclaimed redwood planks. Marin County treats the structure as a shed, according to Little House on the Trailer, but it can be used as an office, backyard retreat, etc.
Reclaimed wood is a growing category of floor covering, and that is good news both for consumers and for the environment. Because of the popularity of reclaimed wood flooring, there are more and more affordable choices than ever. Sourcing just the right material for your home is still a little more work than buying off the shelf at your local flooring store, but armed with some basic information before you start talking to suppliers will make finding your perfect floor much easier. Not all suppliers are created equal, either. In most cases it is worthwhile to do due-diligence to make sure the company is reliable, established and has consistent stock before you fall in love with a particular style.