Furniture That Blends the Old with the New

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Traditional craft techniques have been in decline, and have mostly been replaced almost entirely by modern production methods. But in recently years we’ve seen some trends aimed at reviving some of them. Which is not a bad thing, since things that have been learned through trial and error and have stood the test of time deserve a place in the modern world.

Such is also the philosophy behind this gorgeous chair, which is the result of the collaboration between the UK-based designer Christopher Jenner and Felicity Irons, one of the last rush weavers in Europe.

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They began their work by first reclaiming the necessary materials by foraging the banks of a river. The frame of the chair is made out of 28 sculptural components that were milled from English oak using 5 axis CNC. Each of these pieces is curved individually and then connected to the others, with the junctions highlighted by bringing together pieces with slightly different wood grains. The seat, on the other hand, was hand woven using Scirpus lacustris (a rush native to England and harvested locally by the river Ouse) by Felicity. The weaving process took 7 weeks, and she did not use any chemicals in the process. A series of mechanical oak dowels was then used to attach the seat to the wooden frame.

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Only a limited edition of twelve of these chairs was made, as a way to show that modern techniques can easily exist side by side with traditional methods of making furniture to create a piece of furniture that is stylish, unique and practical. Given the care with which it was constructed, it will also very likely stand the test of time. The chair is available from Gallery FUMI, in Porto Cervo, Sardinia, where it can also be viewed.

Large Tiny Home

This newly built tiny home for two in Australia proves that downsizing does not mean you must sacrifice comfort. It’s called Zen Tiny House, and it is quite large for a tiny home, and certainly big enough to accommodate the two owners, Nadia and Kester Marshall and their two Australian shepherd dogs. Nadia designed the home herself, and commissioned the local tiny house builder Sam Commerford to build it.

The home is 24.6 ft (7.5 m) long and 9.8 ft (3 m) wide. It also features a window box that is 1.6 ft (0.5 m) long and is quite a clever extension of the space. The home features a large patio, 8.2 ft (2.5 m) sliding door in the lounge area, which effectively opens up the space and makes the interior appear larger. The sitting area features an interesting custom-made couch which is connected to the stairs leading up to the bedroom. The latter is in a loft, which appears quite spacious, with a good amount of headroom.

The generous width of the home allowed them to make the kitchen more spacious. It is fitted with a full-size stove and fridge, and features lots of counter space. There is also plenty of storage room here. The bathroom is quite spacious as well, and features a shower and a composting toilet. There is also an extra door here for easy access to it after a swim in the sea.

They used Weathertex for external cladding, which is made from 98% recycled Australian hardwood that is mixed with paraffin wax and painted with an ageing stain. The window box and the extruded window were clad in cedar treated with the shou sugi-ban technique. All the cabinetry inside the home is made of plywood that was coated with Rubio monocoat oil. They used whitewash v-join pine for the ceiling, and gyprock (dry wall) for the walls. The flooring is made of vinyl wood-look planks. The outdoor deck is modular, and can be completely removed and packed away in a single day.

The total cost of building the home came to $55,000, which does not include the deck.

Quaint Tiny House With Modern Features

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Tiny homes are gaining in popularity, so the designs are getting more and more unique and fun. Gone are the days of one-room tiny homes made of wood, and I for one love seeing all these new creations. Such as this unique tiny home recently completed by the company Tiny Heirloom of Portland, Oregon. It was commissioned by a couple from Portland who wanted a small home with an old-fashioned feel to it. And I think they succeeded.

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The interior is comprised of a spacious kitchen, which was made such by separating it into two sections, one on either side of the tiny home. It features counters made of stone, which are hopefully faux stone, though details are unclear on that. The home also features a nicely sized bathroom, which is fitted with a sink, toilet and an old-fashioned clawfoot tub. There is a gorgeous living wall located on the wall next to the tub, which is a very nice design element.

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Apart from the old-world charm that permeates this home it also features a very modern design element. It’s an automated built-in platform, which is basically an all-in-one unit that can become the dining area, stairs and living space, and also hides the bed. It can be operated electronically by the push of a button.

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diningroom

It’s nice to see a tiny home without a loft bedroom, since just looking at those miniscule amounts of headspace in pictures makes me feel a little claustrophobic. This one solves that problem by keeping everything open. The walls are also painted white, which adds to the feeling of spaciousness, and goes very nicely with the dark wood used for the flooring and the transformer platform.

There is no information on how much the house cost to design and built, though given the high-end décor (which includes a crystal chandelier) it was likely not cheap.

Recycled Shipping Container House

It’s been awhile since we reported on a cool new shipping container home, but this awesome piece of cargotecture easily makes up for that. It’s called Kin Kin Container House and it was built using a disused shipping container that was already on the property when owner Troy Walker purchased it. Most of the interior furnishings are also made from recycled materials, so it’s an all-around winner. The home is located in Kin Kin, Queensland, Australia.

The shipping container forms just half of the total living area of this home. Troy began the transformation by first cutting out one of the longer sides of the container and he used the pieces to build a bathroom. The rest of the components of the home are also salvaged or recycled and include 1970s era jalousie windows and hardwood poles, as well as a bathroom sink and a fire pit that he constructed using a stainless steel beer keg.

The home has no insulation. The interior walls are finished with plywood, with many of the steel elements left exposed. The home is also covered by a large roof which shields it from the sun and therefore keeps the interior cooler. Troy located the recycled building materials online and at local salvage yards, which he admits was a very time consuming and even costly process.

The home features elements of so-called passive design, with the overhangs letting in the sun in the winter but blocking it out in the summer. It measures 967 sq ft (90 sq m) and features a spacious open plan living, dining and kitchen area, as well as a loft bedroom that has plenty of head room and is big enough to fit a king sized bed. The loft is accessible via a ladder. The home also features a spacious bathroom with a tub, toilet and sink.

The home is fitted with a hybrid solar power system, while the place is kept airy and cool thanks to the bi-fold glass doors and louvres. There is also spacious outdoor deck.

Troy is renting out the cabin via AirBnb and a single night’s stay costs about $70.

Water Filtration Using Wood Fibers

 

One of the key components of living off-the-grid is an effective method of water filtration, and a team of researchers at the Swedish KTH Royal Institute of Technology has uncovered a simple and affordable way of doing that. They have developed a technique to filter water using wood fibers.

The main aim of this project is to provide clean water in refugee camps, though the method could easily be used in any setting where a green and off-grid water filtration is needed.

The team created a new material out of wood fibers and a positively-charged polymer, which binds bacteria to its surface. In this way, the bacteria in the water are removed and the water is purified. Another use for this new material is also prevention of infection, since it can be used in bandages and plasters.

However, the main aim of this project is providing an affordable and easy to use filter for a portable water purification system, which isn’t reliant on electricity. All that’s needed for it to do its job is gravity, which forces the water through it. The bacteria is removed from the water by the material, while the filter itself doesn’t cause any toxic chemicals to enter the water as is the case with many currently used on-site water filtration options.

The filter they created works on the basis of the positively-charged polymer attracting the negatively charged bacteria and viruses in the water. The bacteria which are stuck to the surface of the polymer in this way cannot get unstuck or reproduce, and they eventually die. No chemicals or antibacterial agents are used in this process, which also means that creating bacterial resistance is not an issue.

Disposal is also easy, since the wood filter can simply be burned once it is no longer effective.