The tiny house maker Tiny Heirloom recently completed another unique and luxury tiny home. This one is called Rocky Mountain Tiny Home and is used as a vacation cabin by a family of four in Colorado. The home features some clever design solutions, which make the family’s stay there as cozy and comfortable as possible.
The Rocky Mountain Tiny Home was built atop a 28 ft (8.5 m)-long triple-axle trailer, but since it features overhanging lofts the total length of it is 32 ft (9.7 m). the exterior is clad in wood and metal, which gives it a rustic yet modern aesthetic. The home features a lounge area, a kitchen, a bathroom, and two bedrooms. There is also a home office, which is separated from the rest of the home by a sliding door.
The kitchen is quite spacious and features a mini-dishwasher, a range cooker, and a fridge. It is fitted with a copper sink. There is also a skylight in this area of the home, which is operated by a touchscreen display that’s mounted on the wall. The lounge is at one end of the home, and is equipped with a dining table on wheels, which allows it to be moved to where it’s needed.
The bedrooms are located in the two lofts and each is accessible via a storage stair. The master bedroom is quite spacious, while the children’s bedroom is big enough to fit two twin beds, which are separated by a bookcase to give each of the kids some privacy. There are skylights in both the bedrooms too.
The Rocky Mountain Tiny Home also features a rooftop-mounted solar panel array, which is connected to batteries and an inverter. A propane-powered mini-split system takes care of the heating and cooling needs, while they use a tankless gas water heater for getting hot water. The home is also fitted with LED lighting throughout. It cost about $125,000 to build.
The Azores, a group of gorgeous islands just off the coast of Portugal, has seen increased tourism in recent years. However fortunate that maybe, it also presents a problem for the environment, so in a bid to retain the unspoiled state of the landscape, the local Tourism and Agribusiness Development Company of the Azores (TADA) has come up with a way to preserve it. They will be developing eco-resorts across the islands, which will be sustainable and have a minimal footprint.
The resorts will basically be made up of solar powered cabins, which they are calling the Eco Pods. They are currently planning to build six of these eco-resorts and the first is already under construction in the Vila Franca Do Campo Region of São Miguel Island. It’s set to open in the summer of 2017.
The resort will feature an as yet undisclosed number of Eco Pods. The smallest of these will measure 161 sq ft (15 sq m) and will feature a sleeping area and a sitting area, along with a small food preparation space. The pod will be equipped with a fridge, a coffee machine and a TV. The bathroom will be located outside and will be heated by an external wood burner.
There will also be a few 215 sq ft (20 sq m) Eco Pods. These will have all of the above, but the bathroom will be an inside one. The largest of the Eco-Pods making up the resort will measure 322 sq ft (30 sq m) and will feature all of the above as well as a small kitchenette.
All the EcoPods are prefabricated and raised off the ground on stilts that are made from recycled electricity poles. Among the other materials used for the construction are locally-sourced pumice stone, windows made from recycled plastic bottles, and timber that is grown locally. The cabins will be powered by a solar panel array. The Eco-Pods currently have normal toilets with septic tanks installed, though the plan was to equip them with composting toilets, which sadly fell through.
The Eco-Pods are built to withstand high-winds and earthquakes, while TADA also plans to put the designs to use for other purposes, such as disaster relief housing, or garden pavilions.
Modern buildings can sometimes look out of place in a traditional setting, but this mountain cabin that was recently completed in the Scottish Highlands does not have that problem. It was designed by Moxon Architects and, in an effort to make it blend into its surroundings, the designers opted for a traditional green roof.
The Culardoch Shieling , as the cabin is called, measures 505 sq ft (47 sq m) and features a timber frame with overhanging eaves. The green roof is covered in moss, heather and stone, as is the case with traditional shepherds’ huts in this area, and helps keep the interior well insulated. This cabin is not intended for residing in, since the entire interior is just one room dominated by a dining large table. It is meant as more of a meeting place or a shelter where hikers can rest.
There is no bathroom or kitchen, but since it is located in a remote spot it operates completely off-the-grid, though only in the sense that there is no running water, that candles or sunlight are the only sources of light, and that heating and cooking can be done with the help of a wood stove. The interior is finished in spruce wood, which gives it a nice, warm feel, while the windows were all placed in a way that offers the best views, though it doesn’t seem like they let in a lot of light.
Adding the traditional green roof is a nice touch in this case, and could serve as an inspiration for anyone thinking of building a cabin in an untouched, remote area. Even though we have modern solutions to problems that were solved by such roofs in the past doesn’t mean that traditional techniques have no place in today’s architecture and design.
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.
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.
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.
Chopsticks have been around for almost 4000 years, but they also present quite an environmental problem. It is estimated that just in China, around 80 billion chopsticks are thrown away every year, with the number much higher if we factor in all the Asian food restaurants around the world. I’ve often wondered, when eating at an Asian restaurant, what happens to the used disposable chopsticks. And so have the founders of the Vancouver, Canada based startup Chopvalue. They went a step further, and founded a project that turns used chopsticks into awesome pieces of modern furniture and home accessories.
Felix Böck, the founder of Chopvalue is a PhD student at the faculty of forestry at the University of British Columbia. According to his research, over 100,000 pairs of chopsticks get sent to the landfill every day just in Vancouver. That is quite an alarming statistic, which is why he decided to try and offset this waste. He started out by purchasing recycling bins, and asked restaurant owners to use them for throwing away the disposable bamboo chopsticks. Once full, the contents were collected and taken to the Chopvalue lab. There they were first cleaned, then coated in resin and finally hot-pressed with a machine, which yielded a flat board.
These bamboo boards can be cut and assembled to build a wide range of furniture and other accessories for the home, such as tables, shelves, coasters, cutting boards and more. For example, a side table they made reuses almost 4000 chopsticks, while the base for it is made from steel that was salvaged from local demolition sites.
The company was started in July 2016, and thus far, they have already successfully recycled 800,000 chopsticks. The recycling service Chopvalue offers to restaurants is also free of charge and greatly reduces their waste production and consequently the costs associated with waste disposal. This is a great example of how a simple idea executed by a small company can have a far-reaching positive effect on the environment.