Category: Designer Homes

    Open the door to inspiration – C&G Newspapers - January 27, 2020 by admin

    Weatherly Stroh added her home to the 2015 Birmingham Home Tour.

    Home tours give participants a chance to see how other people in their community have styled their interiors.

    File photo by Donna Agusti

    Strohs Birmingham home features many pieces of her artwork.

    File photo by Donna Agusti


    BIRMINGHAM/BLOOMFIELD Theres only so much inspiration we can garner from the pages of design magazines.

    For a fresh take on interior design, sometimes it takes the real thing. Thats exactly what home tours provide for their guests the chance to peek at others creativity and spark some of their own.

    From contemporary to colonial and every style in between, home tours with multiple locations offer a variety of looks for visitors, with something to appreciate at every one, according to Birmingham resident Rose Pochmara Bolyard, the co-chair of The Community Houses annual Birmingham House Tour for the past two years.

    The first time I went on the Birmingham House Tour, I really appreciated the fact that I could experience such diverse home designs and styles all in one event. It gave me a deeper appreciation of each, she said. I realized that even if a home wasnt necessarily my style, I could appreciate the quality craftsmanship showcased, and exquisite attention to detail.

    The 33rd annual Birmingham House Tour to benefit The Community House will take place in the early fall of 2020, and as always, proceeds will go to benefit the nonprofits outreach efforts for families in need in the area.

    We estimate approximately 600-900 attendees each year attend the tour. Many are searching for inspiration for their next project or home improvement, while others simply enjoy a fun day out on the town with their friends, family and colleagues to support a great cause, Bolyard said. The tour also presents a wonderful platform for local architects, builders, designers, building suppliers and contractors to reach a greater audience where their products or hard work can speak for itself. Its a win-win.

    Kathie Ninneman, senior director of guest and volunteer services for The Community House, said without a doubt the kitchens are a favorite of visitors, with the latest and greatest appliances and trends.

    Second to that, she said people love to see the inside of homes in their neighborhood built by well-known architects like Albert Kahn and Frank Lloyd Wright.

    Giving designers the chance to shine is what George Bulanda, marketing and communications director for the Michigan Design Center, loves about the centers well-known home tours. The Michigan Design Centers annual home tour will now be hosted every other year as to not interfere with the Junior League of Detroits biennial home tour in the spring. It will be back in 2021 with more one-of-a-kind design concepts from well-known experts.

    To me, the tours underscore the difference a professional designer can make, Bulanda said. The furnishings, the tiles, the lighting a lot of it comes from the design center too. People invariably ask, Where did that sofa come from? and were happy to point them in our direction. But sometimes we feature the designers own home, and people want to see more than anything how designers curate their own space. Those are always really popular.

    Since variety is the spice of life, one of the biggest tasks for home tour organizers is to make sure each space is markedly different.

    Our last tour we had transitional, traditional, one with modern art, just a ton of different styles of homes. If you go see four or five ranches, its likely youre going to forget what you saw, because they all look the same, Bulanda said.

    Sure, home tours are a fun day for attendees who get to peek into their neighbors unique and thoughtfully designed spaces. But homeowners enjoy themselves too. After all, whats the point of putting in all that time and effort to create the perfect house, if no one sees it?

    Its a lovely way for homeowners to share with others the pride they have in their home, said Ninneman. Weve had homeowners tell us that when they come home after the tour, they found the house spotless with no indication hundreds of people had been through that day.


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    Open the door to inspiration - C&G Newspapers

    5 of the Best Jobs for Working From Home – BBN Times - January 27, 2020 by admin

    While many people will work remotely on occasion for their full-time or part-time jobs, others have embraced the full work-from-home lifestyle, starting their own businesses in the comfort of their own homes.

    This is because the need and desire for flexibility are fast overtaking the importance of a big pay package. Whether its looking after children, caring for a sick or elderly family member, having an injury or illness yourself, or simply wanting to embrace a more nomadic lifestyle, working from home is fast becoming a normal and acceptable way to earn a primary or secondary income.

    If you have a flair for words or can write significantly faster than the average typing speed, a job in writing may be the way to go. There are dozens of ways to make money in writing, whether its blogging, ghostwriting, editing, or proofreading.

    You might not be aware of this, but there are also hundreds of transcription jobs. Many writers will interview people for articles or books, and theyll need help transcribing the conversation. Medical transcriptionists are also in demand as its quite a niche area to work in.

    To do this job, you need to understand the medical jargon, be able to decipher the different medical conditions and type at an exceptionally accurate level. Medical transcriptionists are also important when it comes to digitizing patient records and recording healthcare regulations.

    Many graphic designers choose to work for themselves, and its quite an easy profession to do from home. A lot of communication with clients can be done either over the phone or via email, and templates can be created to ensure briefing is done efficiently and properly.

    Whether its designing logos or company collateral, t-shirts or clothing, being a graphic designer from home allows you to work with multiple clients and on multiple projects at once, meaning your job is interesting.

    The term virtual assistant can encompass a lot of different roles, from looking after a clients calls and diaries to bookkeeping and ensuring email correspondence is dealt with in a timely manner. Of course, the services you can offer will depend on your own personal training and experience. Never agree to provide a service youre not skilled in, and if theres a particular service thats required, commit to doing some training before taking it on as part of your job.

    Virtual assistants need exceptional organizational and time management skills. Excellent communication skills are also a prerequisite. Being a virtual assistant from home means youre not bound to one particular company or client as well, which can be a wonderful way to ensure your job has variety.

    Being a professional massage therapist may mean working for a company or another individual, but it can easily also mean working for yourself, which really is the beauty of the profession. Whether youre just starting out or looking for a change, setting up a massage therapist business from home isnt as hard as you may think.

    Of course, youll need the relevant qualifications, a business name before you even start taking on clients. Its also worth creating a website and social media presence so you can connect with clients. The best part of being a work-from-home massage therapist is that you can choose to either set up shop in your home or head to clients to provide your services.

    There are so many work-from-home options in the online world that it can be hard to keep up. Whether youre a website developer, website tester or tech support specialist, theres a wealth of opportunity out there for those who are tech-savvy.

    For web developers, youll help create or manage websites for other companies. Website testers are paid to test websites or mobile apps in their development stage to ensure all issues are ironed out before they go live. Tech support specialists are often hired by businesses to be on-call should their technology fail in-house. Often, youll enter their hardware or software remotely so you can sort out the problems, meaning you can be anywhere in the world and still able to do your job.

    Whatever your reasons for working from home, there are plenty of job opportunities, especially as businesses are recognizing the value of using freelancers. Whether its communications, service-based, assistance work or even online tutoring, there are so many job opportunities beyond those discussed above, and it can be hard to figure out which one to stick to. Just remember to go with your strengths and if you really want to try something new, dabble on the side rather than committing from the get-go.

    Excerpt from:
    5 of the Best Jobs for Working From Home - BBN Times

    Real home: a bright new kitchen with lovely views is transformed – Real Homes - January 27, 2020 by admin

    Making room for a family doesnt necessarily mean extending. For many of us, making the most of what we have is the most affordable or practical way forward. Whether youre limited by budget or just want to preserve the period character of a house, working within the footprint of your property can be as satisfying a project as any extension.

    For Catie and Nick, turning their small, north-facing kitchen into a family room has been transformative for them all. Deciding against a kitchen-diner extension, theyve reaped the benefits of the large, sunlight-filled room they already had. Simple features and a white scheme emphasise the garden views, while a carefully curated selection of artwork adorns the walls and adds personality. Here, Catie takes us through the steps to their new family space

    Want to transform your kitchen? Go to our kitchen ideas hub page and find lots of design ideas and expert advice on how to do it.

    The design was exactly to our brief simple and subtle, to make the outside view the main focus, says Catie. We approached several kitchen companies but the designer at Magnet completely understood what we wanted. Kitchen, Magnet. Driftwood flooring, Karndean. Pendant light, Grok

    (Image credit: Douglas Gibb)

    The owners Catie Wearmouth and her husband, Nick, a home audio specialist, live here with their three children.The property A five-bedroom Victorian detached house in West Lothian.Project cost 37,000.

    We lived here for three years before we started altering it, Catie says. Our children were born during that time so our needs kept changing and we didnt want to rush into anything. There was a perfectly serviceable kitchen at the back of the house that we seriously considered extending into a kitchen-diner, but we decided against it in the end and its now our utility room. Once wed lived there a while, we found we were strongly drawn to the sunnier, south-facing front of the house for the kitchen space instead.'

    'The rich tone of the zebrano wood worktop is so tactile and adds warmth to the scheme, Catie says. We wanted a material that was both natural and beautiful. Extractor fan, Elica. Walls painted in French Gray, Farrow & Ball

    (Image credit: Douglas Gibb)

    We hired architect Tom Young, a family friend, to discuss the plans. He was all for an extension at the back, but, in the end, we decided it wasnt right for us. Having the light was our priority, so we preferred the dining room option a room at the front of the house that had been Nicks mums underused sitting room. Shed lived with us for a couple of years when we first moved in.

    Its a lovely sunny room that overlooks the garden and we realised it would be perfect as the kitchen. We decided to turn the small bathroom behind it into an adjoining scullery to hide things like the fridge-freezer. We also wanted to add a door at the back for that much-wanted garden access.'

    We dont have wall cupboards, just two tall cupboards in a couple of corners, Catie says. One houses the oven and the other is a larder.Roller blinds and scatter cushions, made by Bric Interiors with Voyage fabric

    (Image credit: Douglas Gibb)

    To get that connection to the garden and bring in as much light as possible, we added two windows to the south wall alongside the existing bay window. We thought about floor-to-ceiling windows, but it would have meant having more units opposite, and we wanted to preserve the wooden panelling on that wall. I also felt that floor-to-ceiling windows might make the room too modern. We very much wanted to respect the period integrity of the house when making all of these improvements to the layout.

    For a similar bread bin, try The Emporium Direct . For a similar tap, try the Swan 2 Lever kitchen tap in Brushed Nickel, John Lewis & Partners

    (Image credit: Douglas Gibb)

    The kitchen is deliberately simple to make the garden the focal point. We wanted to be able to enjoy the sun and watch the children playing. We opted for a minimal white kitchen the only added ornament is the subtle floral fabric for the blinds and cushions in the window seat. We were tempted to get an Aga but felt it could end up dominating the room.

    Ive kept all of the kitchen paraphernalia minimal and placed the hob on the island unit so I can join in with conversation while Im cooking. The island itself is the main feature. It has a lot of storage, which we needed because we dont have wall cupboards we felt they would have made the room feel more enclosed than we wanted.

    Wallpaper (in utility), Birds by Louise Body

    (Image credit: Douglas Gibb)

    (Image credit: Future)

    Catch up on fabulous house renovations, style updates and advice with a monthly subscription

    Living in the house throughout the project was challenging, but we were able to use the old kitchen, now our utility, and we have a bathroom upstairs, so there was no real hardship.

    'This was our third major renovation weve been through a lot worse! The noise and dust are stressful, but so is moving out, and it was only for a short period. The whole thing was completed in 12 weeks.

    The space now is a family room first, then a kitchen. I love sitting at the table in the bay window. Ive hung my favourite paintings here because we spend so much time in this room.

    'The additions and alterations look as if theyve always been there. Were already gearing up for our next project landscaping the garden we so enjoy looking out over from our kitchen.

    (Image credit: Douglas Gibb)

    Architect TM Young Chartered Architect,0131 226 3390Builder JESKitchen Magnet

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    Real home: a bright new kitchen with lovely views is transformed - Real Homes

    This luxuriously minimal wooden tree is designed to meet your cat and your needs! – Yanko Design - January 27, 2020 by admin

    Are you a cat person? Well, I am, and if you are a cat person or a cat owner like me, you know the amount of attention and care that goes into looking after them. Theyre fussy and prissy, worthy of all the luxuries the world has to offer! But what about the pet-owners? While our cats hold the center of our attention, we dont want to compromise the aesthetic value of our homes as well. To please our feline friends and their owners, product designer Yoh Komiyama collaborated with Tokyo-based Rinn to create the NEKO Cat Tree, and to be honest, its pretty modern and fancy!

    Designer: Yoh Komiyama with Rinn

    The column-like structure features a marble base, with the marble being sourced from Greece. The cool marble helps your cat regulate and monitor its body temperature. Wood sourced from the forests in the Hida region of Japan was used to craft the series of dowels that make up the majority of the column.

    The dowels encircle a pillar shrouded with hemp cord, which supports three circular levels, acting as comfy platforms for your cat to relax on!

    The wooden dowels provide your cat with its own personal area, however the even spaces in between allow it to catch glimpses of its surrounding and you, so it always feels connected!

    While the hemp wrapped pillar acts as a scratching post for your furry friend.

    Each level has been coated with a soft layer of grey Kvadrat, only the best for you pet! One side of the tree opens up like a door, giving you swift access to the interior.

    The craftsmanship that went into creating the tree is centuries old and utilizes the Japanese broad-leaved trees. The wooden dowels are combined via an intricate method known as Dabo. Dabo abandones nails, and uses only small wooden rods to join the larger bars. Each wooden bar is then coated with urethane, to make them resistant to the sharp claws of our cats!

    Not only is the NEKO Cat Tree a fun and exciting design for our pets, but the care and precision with which it was created, and its minimal warm aesthetics make it a decorative piece worthy of being placed in our homes! Youre going to receive a lot of appreciation for this intriguing piece.

    This luxuriously minimal wooden tree is designed to meet your cat and your needs! - Yanko Design

    Homes for the future: how architects are responding to the climate crisis – Prospect - January 27, 2020 by admin

    The prize-winning Cork House in Eton, designed by Matthew Barnett Howland with Dido Milne and Oliver Wilton, is largely constructedas its name indicatesfrom low-carbon cork, some of it recycled from the wine industry. Photo: Matthew Barnett Howland

    In May 2019, many of the UKs leading architecture practices released a statement declaring that humanity was in the midst of a climate emergency, and that architects urgently needed to address the subject. The twin crises of climate breakdown and biodiversity loss are the most serious issue of our time, the statement read, responding to the 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which declared that humanity had just 12 years before the situation became irreversible.

    The group, calling itself Architects Declare, published an 11-point manifesto. Its goals ranged from modest ones (minimising construction waste, monitoring energy use) to loftier ambitions such as adopting regenerative design and minimising life-cycle footprintfrom the amount of CO2 it takes to make concrete or quarry stone to the energy expended by demolition. One suggestion, particularly controversial for an industry used to getting rid of old buildings and starting afresh, was that existing structures should be repurposed and retrofitted rather than knocked down.

    Initially, 17 firms signed up, among them starchitects such as Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, David Chipperfield and the practice founded by the late Zaha Hadid. Within weeks, nearly 500 firms were on board. The Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) joined, followed by American and Australian firms. In October, the UKs most prestigious architecture award, the Stirling Prize, went to an unglamorous council house scheme in Norwich built according to a standard known as Passivhaus (literally Passive House in German), which encourages ultra-low energy buildings.

    One veteran I spoke to couldnt believe how rapidly things had changed. For a long time, she said, people saw sustainable architecture as bird-watching sanctuaries in Norfolk. Now everyones talking about it.

    No one doubts that architects and the construction industry have a lot to answer for. According to the World Green Building Council, the energy required to construct buildings and run them is responsible for nearly 40 per cent of global carbon emissionsfar more than all the worlds cars, planes and other vehicles. If the cement industry were a country, it would be the third-largest emitter of CO2 after China and the United States. Concrete, the most widely used human-made material, is astoundingly carbon-intensivea cubic metre produces enough CO2 to fill a detached house. It is also a so-called threat multiplierworsening flooding, increasing pollution, and smothering biodiversity under a thick crust of grey.

    But when the problem is so enormous, where do you start? And given that it often takes years to design buildings, acquire planning permission and construct themespecially in conservation-conscious Britainthe IPCCs 12-year deadline (which has already fallen to 10) is horrifyingly soon.

    For all the bright-eyed idealism of Architects Declare, it hasnt taken long for accusations to emerge that it is greenwashing or, to borrow an architectural phrase, reskinning: reshaping a faade to make a building look more attractive than it is underneath. In November, Zaha Hadid Architects announced that it would be designing a 2.9bn airport in Sydney, a city recently under siege from devastating wildfires. A few days later, Foster + Partnerswhose plane-mad founder Norman Foster once declared that his favourite building was the Boeing 747revealed that it would be building a sustainable luxury airport on Saudi Arabias Red Sea coast. No irony was apparent.


    Part of the problem is that few people agree what sustainable architecture actually means. Look up the word in the online design magazine Dezeen and you get a bewildering range of interpretations. The surprise renaissance of an ancient building material called cob (a mixture of soil and straw) is lauded; so too is a luxury hotel in Amsterdam, constructed partly from recycled concrete and with an intelligent faade controlling internal temperature. Is a sustainable building one that lives in harmony with its surroundingslocal timber, mortar, stoneor one that uses gee-whiz technologies such as solar panels and geothermal heating? Should sustainable buildings aim to be durable, in order to maximise the energy it takes to construct them, or quietly biodegrade once the need for them has passed?

    Many of these tensions were on display at the inaugural Sharjah Architecture Triennial in the United Arab Emirates, which I attended in early November. Held in a dusty city on the outskirts of Dubai, its theme was Rights of Future Generationsa clarion call for architects to design the path to a cleaner, greener future. As has become fashionable, architecture was being interpreted in its broadest sense. One strand of the triennial featured the Ngurrara, a group of aboriginal people from western Australia, who brought a gorgeous room-sized painted tapestry, which forms part of their battle for land rights.

    The climate crisisand architects guilt about their role in itwas a low background hum, like the omnipresent air conditioning (even the old souk was artificially cooled). As I wound my way through an installation portraying how the Middle East had become unsustainably built up, and into one exploring how plastic waste and invasive plant life go feral, the challenges seemed stark. What was missing were fixes.

    When I raised this point with Adrian Lahoud, the triennials curator and dean of architecture at the Royal College of Art, his answer was vague: The solution is the political empowerment of people, he said. When I suggested this was beyond the remit of architects, even ones with well-developed god complexes, he replied: We cant have sustainability within unsustainable societies. And the political economy of the [architectural] profession is unsustainable. It felt somehow appropriate that we were talking in his SUV, stuck in Sharjahs appalling traffic.

    Other contributors, though, were thinking in more nuts-and-bolts terms. The London-based artists and spatial practitioners -Daniel Fernndez and Alon Schwabe, who operate under the joint name of Cooking Sections, had dug a modest desert garden next to a repurposed former school. Filled with drought-resistant plants, it employed ancient desert-cultivation techniquesno need for water-guzzling irrigation.

    Elsewhere, the Bangladeshi architect Marina Tabassum had created a courtyard installation from several lightweight houses made in the Ganges delta, which had been crated up and transported to the UAE. Constructed from locally sourced, damp-resistant hardwood frames and available as off-the-peg flatpacks, they perch on stilts and are designed to be moved when the waters riseas, in Bangladesh, they invariably do.

    Over its lifespan, each house might sit in seven or eight different locations, Tabassum explained. These houses were designed by local craftspeople, who are forced to think about architecture as something responsive to the environment; indeed, literally mobile. An elegant answer to the reality of a world in which flooding will become more common, it made many developed-world solutionshigher flood barriers, multi-billion-pound drainage schemes and tidal tunnelsseem wrong-headed.

    Weve been thinking about it from the very beginning, said Tabassum. Sourcing materials locally, recycling elements. The buildings we design need to function on their own, without extra resources. Not to be sustainable is a luxury.


    For all that non-professional architects have been addressing sustainability for millennia, the modern green-building movement is a relatively recent invention. The American architect Frank Lloyd Wright was a pioneer as long ago as the 1930s, advocating structures that operate in harmony with their surroundingsthink Fallingwater, Wrights graceful house in rural Pennsylvania, which straddles a waterfall. But it wasnt until the 1960s that architects began to think intensively about how to work with nature, rather than seeking to master it. As a replacement for the modernist maxim form follows function, the Norwegian architect Kjetil Trdal Thorsen has suggested a new catchphrase: form follows environment.

    In 1994, the US Green Building Council introduced its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) ratingsa labyrinthine certification system that aims to improve design and construction. Use top-grade insulation plus recycled grey water and you gain LEED points; build on wetland or far from existing services and you shed them. The British Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) is similarly comprehensive, covering everything from energy and water-use to health, well being and transport. If your office block is close to a bus stop or train station, say, it has a better chance of being rated excellent oroutstanding than one with a large car park. Depressingly, fewer than 1 per cent of new non-domestic buildings in the UK are rated outstanding.

    By contrast, the European Energy Performance Certificatethe one youve encountered if youve bought or sold a property in the UK since 2008provides a summary of energy usage so pitifully watered-down as to be essentially homeopathic: a rapid once-over of elements such as insulation and glazing, made using standardised assumptions about how these will operate. Truly awful, said one architect I spoke to.

    Net-zero buildings, which are currently making the headlines, are problematic in a different way: they gain their zero status by generating as much energy as they use day to day. But that doesnt include the energy required to build them, which is significant. And given that, as things stand, Britain only manages to replace a small fraction of its housing stock each yearless than 1 per centit seems unlikely, to put it mildly, that this will help address an imminent climate emergency. Some architects believe that net-zero misses the emergency point entirely, and might push up emissions in the short term.

    The issue with many ratings systems is that they are tick-boxtweaks to conventional approaches rather than a new design philosophy. For genuine greenness, you have to travel to mainland Europe. Back in the early 1990s, Wolfgang Feist, a professor at the University of Innsbruck, formulated the Passivhaus system. The aim was to make buildings passive by cutting their reliance on active, energy-hungry heating and cooling systems, and instead make better use of the sun, body warmth and even the heat emitted by household appliances. A prototype apartment block was finished in Darmstadt, Germany in 1991. Feist and his family were among the first residents.

    The key is insulation. Passivhaus buildings are rigorously engineered thermal boxes, as airtight as possible, with the temperature inside regulated by built-in fan ventilation and heat-recovery systems. The best Passivhaus structures claim a 95 per cent reduction on typical heating billsa significant dent in emissions, if you consider that around three-quarters of the energy expended by buildings over a lifetime comes from day-to-day use (the remaining 25 per cent is the embodied carbon within materials emitted during construction). Rather than a set of aesthetic principles, Passivhaus is regarded as a fabric-first approach: form is up for grabs, function everything.

    A week after returning from Sharjah, I went to a substantially chillier site in Camden, north London, to see Passivhaus in action. The largest Passivhaus scheme so far in the UK, Agar Grove has been created by the specialist practice Architype, working with the firm HawkinsBrown. This scheme is architecture at the sharp end: a large council estate draped around a grimy 1960s concrete tower. Altogether, nearly 500 homes will be built, largely in medium-rise blocks, to Passivhaus standards. The tower will stay, but undergo a deep retrofit, overhauling everything but the core structure.

    Architect Ann-Marie Fallon whisked me past the completed section, a seven-storey block that welcomed its first residents last year. Devoid of ornament and finished in sober dark-grey brick, it looked smart but unremarkable, like a thousand other apartment buildings erected during the last decade. But Fallon drew my attention to the Passivhaus detailing: triple-glazed windows, tight seals, ventilation panels. Looking across to one of the unfinished blocks, I could see hefty blocks of insulation attached to the bare carcass, with silver tape masking every crack to ensure no air or heat seeps in or out.

    Fallon explained that constructing to Passivhaus standards costs around six per cent more than using traditional techniques, though of course the finished building will be far cheaper to run. She was modestly proud of Agar Grove: after a year of use, smart meters were reporting fuel bills at least 70 per cent lower than similar conventional housing. Most tenants hadnt used any heating for six months of the year. A great start, she said.

    The buildings most crucial design feature was defiantly low-tech, she explained: its aspect to the sun. The south-facing side had large windows shaded by balconies (blocking summer sun, yet allowing winter sun to penetrate), while on the north side the windows were smaller, to limit heat loss. Theres a lot of technology involved, but in the end youre designing with the elements, Fallon said. I find it constantly surprising that more of us dont do that as a matter of course.

    This was obviously a pioneering project: how did it compare to the identikit houses being built up and down the UK? House building is often of inherently poor quality, Fallon said. Theres no incentive to be more efficient.

    According to evidence given to a select committee in 2019, the rules are so lax that major housebuilders are permitted to build to outdated regulations, some a decade old. Though many new homes are granted a B EPC rating (OK, if hardly stellar), individual properties are rarely tested. Instead, a standardised design will be certified, with little attention paid to whether a finished building truly meets that standard.

    While we warmed up in a nearby pub, Fallon revealed the real scandal. In the UK, BREEAM and other ratings are admirably tough. But how buildings perform in real life, once the architects are finished and the contractors hand over the keys, is almost never measureda problem known as the performance gap. Other countries have tried to grasp the nettle: in Australia, commercial buildings are rated on how much energy they use in practice, which means that architects and developers compete to find solutions that endure. But in Britain, if you get the certificate youre allowed to call a building green.

    Its crazy, Fallon said, shaking her head. If you bought a car and it didnt perform as advertised, youd take it back. But with buildings in the UK we never do that. We just accept bad quality as a matter of course.


    But is Passivhaus even the right approach? If the aim is to make form follow environment, why construct a triple-glazed box where opening a window to hear the birds sing disturbs the buildings energy flow? Passivhaus standards might make sense in, say, Saxony, where temperatures are regularly in the high 30s during summer, and plunge to -10C or lower during winter. But Britains climate is coastal and temperate. Is it worth all that insulation and airtightnesswhich involve significant amounts of embodied carbon to buildwhen we could be living more harmoniously with the environment? Energy sources are rapidly switching to renewables: for the first time ever, for three months last summer, the UK generated more energy from windfarms, solar panels and biomass power plants than it did from fossil fuels. Is Passivhaus the answer to the wrong question?

    In the green-architecture boom of the last few years, all sorts of cunning solutions have been mooted, many as replacements for CO2-spewing concrete. Some have called for buildings to be constructed from mycelium, a dried fungus grown in moulds to create lightweight bricks with impressive insulation properties. Cork is being touted as another wonder material: impressively sustainable, it is lightweight (and so not polluting to transport) and surprisingly durable. A house in Eton made almost entirely from corksome of which was, yes, recycled from the wine industrywas recently shortlisted for the Stirling Prize.

    There are all manner of wonderful and sometimes weird ideas: buildings that regenerate themselves, or actually repair the environment; techniques for sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere and turning it into bricks; a certification called the Living Building Challenge, which aims to harmonise sustainability with aesthetic beauty and inhabitants happiness. Yet its hard to see any of these innovations being employed at a scale that will make a difference within the IPCCs 10-year deadlinestill less pop up in the average Barratt box.

    A more realistic and compelling option is cross-laminated timber (CLT), a sort of industrial plywood, with thick layers of lumber glued together at right-angles to increase strength. Although CLT involves cutting down trees, it uses a tiny fraction of the carbon emitted by cement, and can replace steel in low and medium-rise buildings (and because trees absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, CLT can be carbon-positive).

    The worlds tallest CLT building was recently completed in Norway, a mixed-use block containing homes and a hotel. At 85m and 18 storeys high, smartly finished in local spruce, it seems to offer a genuine alternative to concrete-and-steel edifices. In the UK, however, CLT is controversial: because of the fallout from the Grenfell Tower fire, the material is banned from use in high rises because of flammability, and might start to become harder to use because of the insurance risk, even in smaller projects.

    Phineas Harper, curator of the recent Oslo Architecture Triennale, is critical of Passivhaus, which he described when we spoke as an architectural strategy predicated on the assumption that humans and nature are two different things. And hes in two minds about Architects Declare. Harper suggested to me that part of the issue is the way in which much new architecture still works in the developed world. If you were designing a phone or a car, youd spend an extraordinary amount of time doing R&D, he said. In the building industry, we design it once and then move on. Instead, he argued that we should think of buildings as more like products: intensively prototyped, standardised, modular.

    One example on display in Oslo was an ingenious system designed by the Canadian practice YYYY-MM-DD: super-strong, reusable bags that can be filled with gravel or old concrete to make columns. As soon as the building is no longer needed, the gravel can be poured out and used elsewhere. Another model might be the Great Mosque at Djenn in Mali, built in 1907, which has mud-brick walls that are repaired annually (scaffolding is permanently built into the structure).

    Even in the developed world, the concept of the hundred-mile houseevery material sourced from within 100 mileshas gathered impetus. Architypes recent Enterprise Centre at the University of East Anglia not only uses materials such as hemp, reed board and nettle fabric, but also managed to source most of these components from within 50 miles.

    Harper argues that architecture needs to rid itself of its obsession with durability and permanence, and make far more use of recycling and retrofitting. Architecture shouldnt just be about putting new fabric into the world; it should be about reconfiguring the fabric that already exists, he said. The art of subtraction, not addition. This was true on a global scale, he added: architecture needed to confront what some theorists have called degrowth, the notion that unending economic development, no matter how carefully handled, is inherently unsustainable, for both humans and the planet.

    Instead of seeing this as a death sentence for architects, Harper argues that there are radical possibilities here, if we have the courage to grasp them. He cited the Japanese practice of kintsugithe art of repairing broken porcelain with gold-dusted lacquer, to make the repairs not only obvious, but beautiful. Instead of fetishising the flawless blueprint, we should reacquaint ourselves with the kind of architecture that is easier to modify and adjust in usefewer white modernist lines, more a rough and tumble aesthetic that reflects how buildings change and evolve. That philosophy is very new, but its also very old, Harper said.


    Can architecture firms adjust to a philosophy of building less? How do you persuade clients not only to take sustainability seriously, but shell out for a design whose cost benefits might only pay off in 20 years time? How to negotiate the brain-bending thicket of calculations needed to ascertain a buildings whole-life footprint?

    Lurking beneath this is an issue of which designers are keenly aware: their own insignificance in the wider built environment. According to Riba, only 6 per cent of new homes in Britain are created by architects, with the overwhelming majority using off-the-peg designs created by big developers. Most vernacular projectsfrom big-box supermarkets to storage depots and health clinicsare put together by engineers, or rely on cookie-cutter templates. Although our culture elevates the starchitects, they are largely irrelevant to the buildings that most of us live and work in.

    Perhaps Phineas Harper is right, too, that our culture needs to move away from its obsession with novelty. That goes for government, too: new homes and some other new builds are currently VAT-exempt, but there are few comparable incentives to restore existing buildings. The Conservative election manifesto pledged 9.2bn for extra insulation in schools and hospitals. But critics point to the last Tory governments record in office, which included junking Labours green homes initiative, increasing VAT on home solar panels and abandoning any commitment to zero-carbon building, despite the UK having passed laws to bring greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. Scotland may do better: Nicola Sturgeons SNP government has announced its intention to spearhead a green new deal, focusing on renewables, and to lobby for the UK government to follow suit.

    Astonishingly, south of the border, we seem to be going backwards. If new building standards currently being consulted on by the government go through, in the future British homes might be built to lower standards than they are right now. Architects are resistingbut how much impact will they have, with a Conservative government with a large majority?

    When I asked Ann-Marie Fallon if she felt positive about change, she wasnt optimistic: the construction industry has too many lobbyists, too many vested interests.


    One November morning, I visited an office block in east London, which opened earlier this year as a home for charities and social enterprises (one of its tenants is Extinction Rebellion). Entitled the Green House and masterminded by the Waugh Thistleton practice, it recently won an Architects Journal award for retrofit. Few aesthetes would sigh over its appearance: a bulky block, angular and hulking, squatting on a busy main road. But beneath the skin the building is a thing of subtle beauty.

    Andrew Waugh, one of the partners, gave me a high-speed tour. On to the existing 1962 concrete edifice, the architects had strapped an extra storey, plus an extension behind increasing the amount of office space to 50,000 sq ft. This lean-to is largely built from CLT, and theres a new glass curtain facade acting like a blanket, helping heat-proof the original structure. Plus there are shrewd details: solar panels, lime-render walls, a wild meadow green roof. Even the steel joists are bolted together rather than welded, so they can be reused. Altogether, 1,600 tonnes of CO2 had been saved compared to traditional construction methods: roughly half of what might have been expended.

    Patting the concrete skeleton, left exposed in the ceilings and harmonising with a wall now covered in rough wood bark, Waugh conceded that it helped that brutalism is back in fashionbut then these buildings were massively overengineered to begin with. All those filing cabinets they had to hold were heavy!

    When I suggested that one room we walked through seemed chilly, he shrugged. Yes, sometimes in this building you need to wear a jumper. Strange how weve forgotten how to do that. Far more important was the fact that, in this project, very little had to be demolished. If youre thinking about embodied carbon, that has to be the main focus, he said. You need to make such a strong case to demolish. Its like when my daughter asks for new pyjamas: have you really outgrown the old ones? Really?

    One of the founding signatories of Architects Declare, Waugh admitted to the challenges, in particular persuading larger practices to shift their business models away from carbon-guzzling schemes. But he seemed fired up by the possibilities. Oh, I sense opportunity here, not crisis. And we have to start somewhere. Given the scale of the challenges, many architects were fearful about the future and daunted by how to change it, I suggested. Waugh flashed a smile, and quoted the Dutch designer Rem Koolhaas, often regarded as contemporary architectures patron saint: You can only be an architect if youre profoundly and foolishly optimistic.

    Read this article:
    Homes for the future: how architects are responding to the climate crisis - Prospect

    The best of Maison et Objet 2020:animal heads and geometric prints among trends at Paris’s top design show – Homes and Property - January 27, 2020 by admin

    Paris launched the latest and the best new designs last week at the big international lifestyle, dcor and design trade show Maison et Objet, now in its 25th year.

    Seemingly endless aisles of furnishings filled eight vast halls in the northern suburbs.

    In tandem in the city itself, the Dco Off interiors event unveiled spring fabrics and papers in more than 60 showrooms and pop-up galleries.

    Proudly loud and louche at Maison et Objet was Italian brand Seletti, which covered its floor with willow pattern carpet and hung lurid chairs with rude slogans from the ceiling, above swarms of lit-up spacemen, chameleons, rats and robots.

    Qeeboo, also Italian, was equally out of hand.

    In a fitting tribute to the city as host, its stop-you-in-your-tracks showpiece was a huge floor lamp modelled on the Eiffel Tower, surrounded by luminous gorillas, teddy bears and skulls, with a line of stoic giraffes, crystal chandeliers suspended from their mouths.

    Impresario here is veteran designer Stefano Giovannoni. He launched his warren of multicoloured rabbit stools and lights in Milan four years ago, and now they have bred into an international brand.

    Animals were everywhere. At French Ibride, an eviscerated deer revealed storage shelves, while tables perched precariously on ostrich pins or stood four-square on canine paws.

    Darkroom's WOODERNISM collection celebrates 10 years with a collection that is made from pigment stained wood

    Bizarre prints on aluminium featured hybrids with human hands and rabbit heads, in frocks and ruffs.

    Cabinets were softly fringed and dreamlike: no doors, just swish open the fronds. More soberly, circular patio tables were printed with pretty flowers.

    From Kent came Debbie Beevor of Quail Ceramics whose menagerie of slip-cast stoneware has jungle/ocean beasts obediently holding flowers and pencils.

    The continentals adore eccentricity and the British do it very well, she said, comfortably immersed in panthers, zebras, macaws and sloths.

    Londons House of Hackney illustrated its own fairy story, with the prettiest of flowers for walls, tasselled cushions, uptight cats and dogs for lamps, and unicorn bookends.

    Nearby, Fenella Smith had drawn a host of dog breeds and scattered them on linens, bags and china.

    The Show Must Go On, the new range from ceramicist Melody Rose, features bone china dinnerware decorated with circus characters The Amazing Miss Rose, The Wonderful Alfonso and his Performing Pooch, and The Lovely Berta Beeson. The Lovely Berta is a cross-dressing tightrope walker.

    Quieter, good-looking furniture and lighting more than held its own against these wilder styles.

    Notable was a darkened room where 16 mobiles gently swayed and turned, as super-slender strips of patinated steel improbably supported glowing globes of light.

    This was a universally acknowledged triumph for the shows Designer of the Year, Michael Anastassiades, whose studio is in Camden.

    Anastassiades has an impressive string of international clients. These mobile marvels are his own label, and can adapt to any space you can see one in the COS branch in Regent Street, for example.

    Elsewhere, in a similar aesthetic, the Beem group of lovely linear LED lighting was by award-winning Samuel Wilkinson.

    Pioneer collection wallpaper in Meadow Goldfield by family partnership MissPrint (Sophie Drury)

    Another Londoner, Rhonda Drakeford of Darkroom, brought to Paris coloured furniture in blocks of stained wood. Chopping boards in wood salvaged from construction sites were a nice touch.

    Rugs, meanwhile, were abstracts for the floor for example, Doodles by British artist Faye Toogood, with pleasing scribbles and blocks of colour, delivered by Italian brand cc-tapis.

    Jaime Hayn, that mischievous Spanish design maverick, covered a huge rectangle with lines of playful portraits, for Spanish rug maker Nanimarquina.

    London fashion designer Nitin Goyal introduced the Aadyam Handwoven label, offering beautiful furnishings by three weavers co-operatives in India.

    Also in Paris, in a one-day hit, Tom Dixon, London Design Festivals designer of the year 2019, launched swirly vases that were made from powdered marble waste.

    Continued here:
    The best of Maison et Objet 2020:animal heads and geometric prints among trends at Paris's top design show - Homes and Property

    725,000 Cork home is a one-off with family appeal – Irish Examiner - January 27, 2020 by admin

    The Hermitage is host to some stylish properties,including the so-stylish No 14 Tommy Barker reports.

    The Hermitage, Glanmire, Cork

    Price: 725,000

    Size: 257 sq m (2,750 sq ft)

    Bedrooms: 4

    Bathrooms: 5

    BER: C1

    Best Feature: well-set, immaculate and with high-end finishes.

    THE family rearing and the party house period lasted 20 years at No 14, The Hermitage: now, this most hospitable of homes is ready to reprise that role all over again, only for a new family.

    Having lived and travelled extensively abroad in earlier years, the travel bug hasnt quite left the just-retired, fit and active couple who built No 14 two decades ago, and who have adult children now moved back to Ireland after they did their own travel and work abroad thing. Grandchildren, too have arrived: how did the decades ever get to pass in such a blur?

    Now coming up for sale for the first time ever, as the couple prepare to rightsize in a new build which they can lock up and leave to go travelling in their next life/retirement chapter. The 2,750 sq ft home theyre vacating, above Glanmire and Sallybrook a minute or twos drive from the M8, is pretty impressive in just about every respect.

    And, notably, it comes for sale just a year after two other neighbouring one-offs in the same niche scheme of just 15 detached homes (most to a dormer design template), sold extremely well, with Nos 6 and No 7 making 850,000 and 805,000.

    They were near-record prices for homes in any development in this hinterland just east of Cork city proper in fact, Sallybrooks Hermitage is effectively at the very north-eastern part of Cork city after last years boundary extension, with the county boundary now the line of the M8 here above the Glanmire valley.

    With its long views over the valley towards Sarsfields Court medical campus, No 14 is the second house on the left entering into the Hermitage, where individual home owners bought serviced sites and built to their own designs, more or less done over a three year span back 20 years ago.

    They used planning and design firm BFH to come up with the house layout, and builders were Cork firm HG Construction, and while the house hasnt grown beyond the 2,750 sq ft (257 sq metres) put in place at the time, internally it has changed and been modified as the family grew up.

    High end from top to toe, and visually as fresh as a new home upstairs and downstairs also, thanks to constant tweaks and decor changes, it carries a price guide of 725,000 via estate agent Suzanne Tyrrell of Cohalan Downing, whose agency sold No 7 last year, when it got 805,000.

    No 7 had gone to market guiding 695,000, and had been enlarged from an initial 2,000 sq ft to over 3,000 sq ft by its owners, who are in the bar business and who used preofessional/commercial design and fit-out teams they were familair with in their own home.

    No 7s vendors reaped the reward, when bidding drove it 110,000 over the asking price on launch.

    And, for No 6, well, it was far larger again, bigged up to 4,700 sq ft, complete with leisure centre/swiming pool, and a garage for classic cars. No 6 had launched at 950,000, and sold for 850,000.

    Now, No 14s a relatively more affordable proposition and while smaller than Nos 6 or 7, is no slouch in the quality stakes, with every square inch and square foot usable for families of most age ranges.

    It has four en suite bedrooms fitted from day one, and one of those four bedrooms is at ground floor level, just left of the hall with a bay window to the front, making it ideal for more independent children, teenagers, grandparents, visitors or simply the grown-ups in a home who may chose to give the stairs a miss.

    Here, the bespoke stairs at No 14 is in ash, with an oak hall floor and after adaptations, theres now a great flow of rooms at ground level, encompassing a very large (c 25 by 16) triple aspect oak floored living room, with wood burning stove, sourced via Cork company Flame by Design, and a bay window with superb display shelving by Willow Design.

    It links to a reconfigured kitchen/dining room, with several seating area options, depending on numbers to be accomodated, from a tall breakfast/coffee table for a small gatherings, to a more expansive seated dining area, overlooking the sweep of banked garden, patio and BBQ section, all capable internally of taking 10-20 diners and much used at Christmas time and family gatherings.

    The house-proud family now selling can appreciate the tranquility now of an empty nest, especially when contrasting it with the college-going years, when gangs of lads would descend after party nights in the city centre, back in droves by taxi and hackneys to the Hermitage, complete with boxes and bags of late-night/early morning provisions from the now-legendary Hillbillys takeaway.

    The parental challenge was to get down early enough the morning after the night before and remove the Hillbilly chipper detritus, before the dog got to rummage in the waste packaging and curry cartons.....

    Thats all quite the distant memory now, though, given the pristine nature of whats presented as No 14 goes to market and on view, with not an item out of place and rooms presented to woo and win over any home hunters with a budget to match the price level here.

    The good news is therell be nothing at all to spend, and much of the furniture can even be included/negotiated for, and much of it looks like it has just walked out of a showroom.

    A new kitchen and some reordering took place here about seven years ago, and got further tweaked a couple of years after that, done to an exceptional standard by Cork company Glenline, with a kinked or S-shaped kitchen island in walnut, topped with white granite or marble.

    That island has an underset sink served by a architecturally woke main mixer tap, a bit like an angular crane, while to the side is a second, swish tap set-up that delivers filtered cold water, or instant boiling hot water, via tiny levered taps.

    That on-tap boiling water spout is a massive energy saver over the likes of a standard kettle, and the new induction hob with central extractor, set down amid the hobs discreet rings, also is an energy efficient piece of kitchen kit.

    Separately, kitchen presses and storage are capacious, and a pantry-like press had lustrous walnut double doors that open back to reveal a serving counter, curved shelving/display, and masses of storage on the doors inner sides too. Units of similar quality, also in walnut by Glenline, separately house a tall fridge by the dining table, and across the door, a display cabinet for glasses, plates etc.

    When this kitchen and its good-sized adjacent pantry/utility was being upgraded a few years back, the owners made the decision to put in underfloor heating in these two rooms, while theres also a tall, dark grey wall-mounted raditor by the glazed door to the hall.

    The hall itself has a feature in

    ternal arch to one side, next to the family room/TV room/den, picking up on the tall feature arch window by the stairs to the front of No 14, which also has a small arched viewing window in the extra wide, solid wood front door (and, getting extra large furniture in and out of No 14s a breeze, much appreciated by delivery gangs, thanks to the door girth.)

    In keeping with this ground floors go with the flow philosophy, that very comfortable family room has a second set of doors, which give optional access back to the Karndean-floored kitchen, by the dining area: those slender twin doors, hinged at the sides and opening back along a central vertical divide, are in a frame just about the width of a standard single door and are both effective and a feature in their own right.

    Auctionner Suzanne Tyrrell says No 14 scores strongly for a cohort of buyers (might they get underbidders from 2019s sales of Nos 6 & 7?) and for a young family, theres years to enjoy colonising to their own rhythm and needs.

    In its current adaptable bedroom layout style, No 14s dormer style first floor is home to three en suite bedrooms, with the largest master suite also having a walk-in robe/dressing area, with lots of shelving, plus theres eaves storage, and a walk-in hotpress.

    When first configured, this upper level also had a family bathroom with Jacuzzi bath; but, as it was rarely, if ever, used, it was taken back out, and was set up instead as a nursery/bedroom for visiting grandchildren.

    The plumbings still there, concealed, if new owners want to go back and take the big bath plunge, its pointed out.

    The owners did and redid No 14 to a very high level, both day one and subsequently, and sometimes drafted in the advice of interior designer Catherine Troy for a second opinion: they readily credit her with, for example, detailing the main living rooms feature display shelving, with offset shelves, hidden lighting for object display and for integrating thin strips of silver into some uprights to raise it all to just another level, with the cabinetry work done by Willow Design.

    Elsewhere, theres some bang-on-trend lighting, sourced mostly from Cork firm Lightplan, and externally theres also lighting and power, storage spaces and sheds, and a much-used terrace/patio in an arc, backed by old rail sleepers.

    The propertys on circa one third of an acre of landscaped grounds, sloping up towards the elevated back boundary with fencing, seasonally red robinia and has several clusters of trees planted, including a stand of silver birches, and some in a corner are used in summer months from which to sling hammocks.

    VERDICT: Hermitage has proven itself as a a top, accessible east of city location.

    725,000 Cork home is a one-off with family appeal - Irish Examiner

    All hail Biophilia the interiors trend taking us back to nature – Irish Times - January 27, 2020 by admin

    Shabby chic, industrial, Moroccan-inspired even boutique hotel all interiors trends that have come and gone and that were as easy to say as they were to imagine.

    Not so this years dominant trend: biophilia. At the start of January, as the 2020 trend reports came out hard and fast from all quarters, from paint companies to bathroom designers, biophilia emerged as the key one to watch.

    At its heart and biophilic advocates never shy from emotional language - biophilia is about connecting living spaces with nature and creating calm, wellness-promoting, uncluttered living environments. The emphasis is on natural materials, individual pieces that have a story to tell often because they are upcycled or vintage, with sustainability the foundation that underpins the entire look.

    Interior architects working in non-domestic environments such as schools, hospitals and (regrettably few) offices, have taken a biophilic approach for some time now, understanding the psychological benefits in terms of wellness and productivity of natural light, a tree-lined or plant filled view and soothing, nature-inspired colours and patterns. UK company Geberits 2020 Trends Report noted that sustainability and second-cycling are the other contemporary design buzzwords. Its forecast concluded that [biophilia] is less of a trend, in fact, than a growing movement driven by an increasing understanding that what surrounds us has a powerful impact on our wellbeing.

    Not surprising then that green that easy shorthand for environmental awareness is this years dominant colour. Dulux has named Tranquil Dawn as its colour of the year, describing it as a cool-tone shade of green with a nod towards an increasingly hectic and digital modern society.

    Its calming and comforting just when we need it most in our lives, says Marianne Shillingford, creative director, Dulux UK. She suggests pairing it with neutral pastels for a laid-back look or opt for rich jewels for an empowering setting.

    Emma Webb, an interior designer, says that in 25 years she has seen trends come and go but started studying biophilia four years ago to apply it to her work. She points to studies showing the de-stressing benefits of wood, the physiological boosts of light and air (open the window) and the calming effect of water and plenty of carefully chosen plants.

    Its about creating a meaningful relationship with nature in the home, she says. Fabrics such as rougher cottons and hemp will become more visible, and there will be a growing awareness from the consumer about the toxins in the home.

    Biophilia, she says, is the western, contemporary version of the eastern Feng shui and so where we place our furniture matters; basic, easy to copy advice includes adding large mirrors to reflect light and choosing organic shapes such as round end tables.

    More expensive, sophisticated on-trend biophilic elements include brass, marble and stone. Simple changes such a plant by an open window, says Webb, or a light curtain, creates gentle movement in a room which is soothing. Home should be restorative, she says, a place where you can heal, you cant heal in the office or on the street.

    Green is still everywhere in 2020, every shade of green, with sandy shades and natural colours, says Mary Ryder, an interior designer working on both commercial and domestic projects who has recently opened Curated, a furniture showroom in Sandyford, Dublin. Talking on her way to this years Maison dobjets the annual trade fair for designers in Paris she says she expects to find stands lush with plants and green objects. Jungle imagery is still big on wallpaper and fabric, youll see animals, birds, foliage, she says, with Mooois Extinct animals wallpaper a particular favourite. It [tropical print] was already a trend last year, she says, noting that now itll trickle down and be bigger.

    Ryder has noticed a definite move away from plastics, non-organic and man-made composite materials such as MDF towards natural wood, spotting eucalyptus at designer furniture fairs. One of the companies she stocks, Stua, a Spanish range, now ships each piece with an eco passport explaining the sustainable credentials of each component. Bang on trend, Curated stocks a range of lights, designed by Antoni Arola for Vibia, that incorporates a hanging basket for an indoor plant. Working in high-end interiors Ryder uses marble including tabletops that incorporate metal inlay with a move towards even more luxurious colourful stone such as onyx. Brass is still big, says Ryder; she has commissioned for clients bespoke timber wardrobes with brass inlay. Thats two crafts together, cabinetry and metal work, combining natural materials to create pieces that will last a very biophilic approach.

    Last year architect and presenter of RTs Home Rescue Risn Murphys room set in the Ideal Homes Exhibition focused on new Irish-made pieces, upcycled and repurposed furniture and mid-century Irish furniture which is as desirable as some of the Scandinavian pieces.

    I look for sustainable pieces with a back story, she says, mentioning wooden spoons made in Clare by Eamonn OSullivan ( and galvanised buckets crafted by Traveller tinsmiths James Collins and Thomas McDonnell ( The biophilic aesthetic chimes perfectly with the Irish aesthetic of handcrafts and tactile materials taking inspiration from nature, says Murphy, noting that there is more furniture being made here than ever, crafted from sustainable sources. In design we are where the Irish food revolution was 20 years ago, its really exhilarating.

    Excerpt from:
    All hail Biophilia the interiors trend taking us back to nature - Irish Times

    Adventure Series 4800SL by Designer Eco Homes – Tiny Living - October 13, 2019 by admin

    The Adventure Series 4800SL is an off-grid tiny house built by Designer Eco Homes in New South Wales, Australia. The tiny home is 4.8-meters long (~16-feet) and equipped for permanent or temporary living.

    The exterior is a Western Red Cedar siding with full light front door and skylight over the bedroom loft. The walls are insulated with R2.0 and the ceiling is R3.0.

    Hand drawn artwork by a local artist is featured on the kitchen and bedroom loft walls. Commercial grade vinyl plank flooring was used throughout the home.

    In the kitchen is a two burner gas cooktop, oven, sink, and small 12v refrigerator. The refrigerator is set in a large storage compartment with pantry. The drawers have soft close guides and the overhead cabinets have LED strip lighting. The counters are made from Mountain Ash.

    The dining and lounge area has a custom couch with storage drawers underneath, a table with stainless steel post, and a storage ladder. The table and storage ladder are both made from Mountain Ash to match the kitchen counters. Above the couch is a storage shelf that spans the back wall.

    The bedroom loft is accessed by the storage ladder and has room for a king size bed.

    A pocket door leads into the bathroom where youll find a vanity, shower, mirror cabinet, and composting toilet.

    The Adventure Series 4800SL starts at $72,445.00 AUD. For more information about the tiny home, please contact Designer Eco Homes.

    Also available from Designer Eco Homes: Independent Series 4800DL, Adventure Series 4800SL, Adventure Series 6000SL, Lifestyle Series 7200GB, Graduate Series 6000DL, Graduate Series 6000DL Seaside, Graduate Series 6000DLS.

    Images Designer Eco Homes

    Follow Tiny Living on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram to get our latest tiny house updates!

    Original post:

    Adventure Series 4800SL by Designer Eco Homes - Tiny Living

    Designer Homes by HomeTown – Ready built homes - April 8, 2019 by admin

    If you're looking for a custom-designed, ready-built home that can be built off site and moved to your lot, Designer Homes Redi-Builtis your best choice.

    We have structured our business around giving you a perfectly tailored custom home at a perfectly comfortable price. Weve created many different floor plans to choose from; each one offering an up-to-date layout with family friendly function in mind.Our attention to detail and unique design aesthetic set us apart from the cookie-cutter homes of the past. But at Designer Homes, the floor plan is just the beginning.We can go far beyond that.In fact, we can customize any of our floor plans just about any way you like. We want your new home to be perfect for you.

    Clear-span Floor Truss systems add additional strength and allow for an open lower level.

    Treated Sill Plates

    2x6 9 Standard exterior walls

    Engineered Energy Heel Roof Trusses with Custom Foam Ventilation System

    Roof Sheathing with synthetic Roof Underlayment

    Brand name windows with styles and options to suit the design style of your home; Anderson, Marvin, Pella and Modern View

    R50 Cellulose Ceiling Insulation and R25 Par-Pac wall Insulation

    2x4 9 Standard interior walls with LSL studs being used at wall intersections and where cabinetry will be installed.

    Tyvek House wrap

    Our showroom gives you the opportunity to see thousands of products first hand. To help serve you better, you will have the opportunity to work with an Interior Designer to assist in your cabinetry designs and interior selections to ensure your dream vision turns into reality.

    Solid core panel doors and millwork

    Custom designed cabinetry to make sure your new kitchen functions as beautifully as it looks.

    Countertop options ranging from Laminate, Granite, Quartz, Onyx and more.

    Showers:Complete Onyx shower systems both custom and standard with decorative tile accents available. Acrylic tubs and showers can be utilized as well.

    Flooring: The flooring is the hardest working product in your home. To make sure yours is up to the task we offer name brand carpets, numerous wood products, laminates, vinyl products, and more. All of our flooring is installed by professional flooring installers.

    Fireplaces:Whether your style is sleek and modern or rough and rustic we have a fireplace that fits. Gas or electric, our name brand fireplaces will keep you warm and cozy.

    Lighting:Selecting from a broad range of vendors we can help you design a lighting layout that will accent the beauty of your new home.

    Custom window blinds and draperies are available to provide sun control and decorative style to your home.

    Organization systems can help keep your new home working efficiently. Whether its a pantry, a closet or a craft room, we can design a system to fit your space and meet your storage needs.

    We utilize all licensed and insured building contractors and subcontractors ensuring that all homes are built according to local building codes. We also provide site supervision to ensure excellent quality control while your home is in the building process.

    More here:

    Designer Homes by HomeTown - Ready built homes