Simple Yet Beautiful Furniture

When faced with the need to move, one of the more daunting tasks is dealing with the furniture. When such moves are required every couple of years, such as when changing jobs, the type of furniture you own plays a big role. And the lighter and more movable it is, the better. To solve a part of this problem, the firm Studio Corelam, of Vancouver, British Columbia designed a line of furniture which is made of super-thin, corrugated plywood which is strong, lightweight and gorgeous.

The material that their line of furniture is made of is called Corelam, and according to the makers, it uses a lot less energy to produce than conventional materials. It is made using a hydraulic press that applies 400 tons of pressure to the plywood. This technique was developed by Christian Blyt, the founder of Studio Corelam and it is patented. The idea is to corrugate plywood in order to make it stronger as well as more aesthetically pleasing than just regular plywood.

The first line of furniture created using this technique is called Tidal. One of the pieces is the so-called Lean-To shelf that can either be leaned against a wall, or connected to a second such unit to create a freestanding shelf. Another piece is the Round-about, which is a multipurpose unit that can be used as a storage stool or a side table, and also features a reversible top to give it some variety. The next piece is called the Capilano, and it is a coat rack, which can also be used as a small shelving unit. More than one of these can be attached to the wall by a French cleat to make a type of closet space. All the pieces in the collection can be transported in a flat packed box, which is light enough to be carried by one person. The pieces are also easy to assemble and disassemble.

This line of furniture would be perfect for a tiny house or a micro-apartment, since it also saves a lot of space. They are currently running a Kickstarter campaign to begin production where it is also possible to pre-order the first pieces.

Work From Home in Style and Sustainability

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Even when you work from home, it’s important to have your own workspace or office, which is separated from the rest of the living areas. Still, it’s sometimes hard to have that, especially when living small. But architect Petr Stolín from the Czech Republic came up with a very clever way to achieve this work/living separation. His so-called Zen Houses are made up of two volumes, one of which is used just for working, while the other for living in. He was inspired by the simplicity and minimalism of traditional Japanese architecture in creating them, hence the name.

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Each volume of the Zen House is 9.8 ft (3 m) wide and they are made from simple and, for the most part, recyclable materials such as chipboard, wooden beams, plywood, raw metal and rubber. The two volumes are clad in transparent acrylic panels. The interior is also very Zen-like. The office part of the home is all painted white, which has a calming, energizing effect, while the living part of the home is done up mostly in black, which is intended to promote rest and relaxation. It reminds me of the ying and yang concept, which might have been part of the architect’s intention when choosing the color scheme. Both the volumes have a mezzanine level, which increases the floor area of the spaces yet still keeps the interior open. The two volumes also feature large windows, which links them visually. They are connected by a wooden deck, and this area between the two volumes is perfect for outdoor lounging.

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Having your home office this clearly separated from your living spaces is a dream from many freelancers and work-from-home entrepreneurs. It’s hard enough to leave the job behind at the end of the day, and when you work from home, this becomes even harder. And the overall design and color choices for this home are in themselves very inspiring.

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An Awesome Towable Tiny Office

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Perhaps living in a tiny home isn’t quite feasible for most people, but I’m sure many entrepreneurs would appreciate their own tiny mobile office. And this one fits the bill perfectly. It was designed by the creators of the Minim House and is called the Minim Workspace. It’s towable and can even run off-the-grid. And it’s certainly a great alternative to working in a coffee shop and offers a way to enjoy nature while working.

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The Minim Workspace measures 80 sq ft (7.4 sq m), which is enough room for a sizable working surface as well as a comfy lounge area. They also managed to incorporate a sink, a tiny fridge and a microwave. There is no toilet or shower though, which is a shame. The reason for this is that they envisioned it as being parked near a home or business, where these facilities would be accessible.

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According to the company, it can be parked anywhere legally and renters require no permits to do so. They are advertising it as the perfect mobile office for startups or even as a portable music studio. Heating and cooling is provided via a noiseless air-conditioning and heating system, while the office also features LED lighting throughout.

The basic version is designed to be hooked up to the grid, but there is the option to install a solar power array on the roof, which would make it independent of the grid. It also doesn’t come with mobile Wi-Fi included, so occupants would need to have their own personal hotspot.

It seems they plan to only rent these offices out and not sell them. The on-grid version of the Minim Workspace can be rented for $775 per month, while the off-grid version costs $925 per month. They can be booked within a 75 mile (120 km) radius around Washington DC, and they will be available by March 2017. Once the mobile office is delivered, the person renting it can’t tow it to another location.

Comfortable and Surprisingly Spacious Tiny House

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The recently completed NestHouse, built by Jonathan Avery of Tiny House Scotland is quite possibly all a tiny home should be. It’s modern, spacious and cozy, and would fit perfectly into any environment. Living in a tiny home is all about enjoying life to the fullest without the clutter, and NestHouse offers all of that and more.

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NestHouse has a high ceiling, which immediately adds to the sense of spaciousness. The home also features an open plan living area, with the sitting room, kitchen and dining area all located in one room without any needless partitions. A nice touch is also the layout, which puts the dining/working table in the center of the space, with the kitchen and lounge area pushed up against the walls. This opens up the space nicely and adds to the sense of spaciousness.

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The house is heated by a woodstove, which is located in the center of the sitting area, and the stairs leading up to the loft are coiled around it. This is the first such space-saving solution we’ve seen so far, but it makes sense. There is also room left over under the stairs, which can be used as storage space.

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Since nothing is nailed down or attached to the walls, the entire configuration of the lounge area can be moved around, and they also installed a ceiling-hung drying rack in this area, which is a nice touch. The bedroom is located in a loft, which judging by the photos has a decent amount of headroom. The home also features a bathroom, which is equipped with a toilet, sink and even a small bathtub. It is located under the loft.

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They used My Snug Shell Concept with Advanced Framing techniques to create the stressed-skin timber frame shell of the home. This is already very well insulated, and it also has an unbroken (save for the windows and door) outer shell of outsulation, which they claim eliminates practically all thermal bridging. The home can be fitted with either double or triple glazed windows.

They will build ten NestHouses next year and donate them as housing for the homeless. Avery is also working on a towable version of the home called NestPod. You can get just the shell of the NestHouse for $21,540, while a larger and better equipped one costs $48,150.

New Easy to Construct Disaster Relief Shelters

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Given the recent refugee crisis, it’s more important than ever to have affordable, practical and easy to construct disaster relief housing solutions available. The recently unveiled Duffy Shelter is all that and more. It was created by the firm Duffy London of London, UK, and they also manufacture them. The shelters are easy to construct and are shipped flatpacked, so 35 of them can be transported in one van.

The Duffy Shelter is basically a pod, which is raised off the ground. It measures 73 x 49 x 56 in (185 x 125 x 142 cm), and can easily accommodate two adults sleeping side by side. The shelter is comprised of two wooden walls, a wooden floor, a door, two crossing legs, and four feet. All of the wooden parts are manufactured using a CNC cutting machine, while the wood comes from Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC)-managed forests and other controlled sources. The additional components include windows, shutters, hinges, seals and screws. The shelter can be erected in less than an hour using only a screwdriver.

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Since the shelter is raised off the ground, a lot of the cold and dampness is already eliminated, but it is also well insulated using fabric. The shelter’s primary use is as disaster relief housing, though it can also be used as a tent, or a guesthouse. It’s possible to apply different kinds of finishes to the exterior, depending on their purpose. It can also be placed atop a trailer and towed by a car.

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Duffy London is currently accepting large orders from companies and charities, though there is a 12- to 16-week lead-time. They plan to start accepting single unit orders from the general public in early to mid 2017. Pricing will also be announced at that time, while pricing for bulk orders is currently available on request.