Monday, August 31, 2009



Sustainable Style: 12 Contemporary Green House & Home Designs

Posted: 31 Aug 2009 12:00 PM PDT


Living in a sustainable home doesn't mean giving up your design sensibilities. While some are content with simple earthen Hobbit houses, fans of modern architecture can find a balance between aesthetics and green living. From a stone home built to mimic a nearby stream to an incredible cantilevered wood home in the suburbs, these 12 contemporary green home designs are both sustainable and stylish.

Futuristic Solar-Powered Prefab Home


Portable prefab houses can definitely be well-designed and beautiful, but the zeroHouse takes it up a notch with sustainable features like a large solar panel array that also gathers rainwater and provides shade. It may be super-compact, but it packs a lot into that small footprint, including a bedroom/bathroom module, second level deck, kitchen/living module, an entry porch and storage space.

Simple, Modern Desert Dream House


Living comfortably in a desert environment without air conditioning may seem like an impossible dream, but architect Lloyd Russell managed to create a structure that is modern and eco-friendly with passive cooling thanks to a rusted metal canopy that covers the home. This canopy provides shade and air flow, and allows the home to blend in well with historical industrial and farm buildings in the area.

Wood, Glass & Stone Green Home


Building a green home partially into the earth provides year-round temperature control and a seamless transition with the surrounding landscape, but rarely are these homes gems of modern architecture. The Base Valley House is an exception. Subterranean bedrooms are kept cool year-round, surrounded by stone retaining walls encased in wire mesh which also blend beautifully with an adjacent stream. The glass roof allows natural lighting to penetrate deep into the home, and creates a breezeway with plenty of air circulation.

Modern Subterranean Home with Green Roof

Another home that uses the earth for natural temperature regulation without looking like a hippie abode is this glass-and-steel structure by KWK Promes. Covered with a lush, grassy green roof, this home blends effortlessly with the surrounding landscape and features floor-to-ceiling glass that provides a constant view of the natural world outside.

Luxurious Off-Grid Forest Home Design


This off-grid home designed for a tropical setting manages to find a balance between sustainability, luxury and style. The futuristic-looking Kokopo House juts out into the forest for the feel of living in a treehouse with all the modern amenities one could require. The unusual shape of this home allows for optimal rainwater collection, ventilation and solar power generation.

Blend of Modern & Rustic in Green Mountain Home


How do you build a contemporary home in a rural setting that doesn't look entirely out of place? Architect firm Studio Granda solved that puzzle with a residence that's modern, yet right at home in its mountain surroundings with an aged, rustic exterior made from concrete and cedar cladding. The staggered height of the building echoes the pattern of the mountains in the distance, and the green roof provides a visual tie-in to the grass that surrounds the home.

Strange Sustainable Apartment Tower


Dreaming up an affordable, attractive way to soften a harsh gray apartment building with some greenery was not too tough a challenge for architect Edouard Francois. His surprisingly simple solution for this attractive, yet somewhat strange sustainable apartment building was to build large planters right into each level of the building, providing shade, privacy and access to nature in the middle of a city.

Ultramodern Cantilevered Wood Green Home


This home looks fairly nondescript from the front, and only visitors – and neighbors with a view into the backyard – get to see the remarkable cantilevered design that makes it so special. Jackson-Clements-Burrows designed this Australia home so that the children's bedrooms jut out over the backyard and also provide shade for the porch. A wall of glass in the living room provides a lovely view of the swimming pool located on one side of the home. But, the design of this incredible modern cantilevered home isn't all about style – it also furnishes passive cooling, heating and natural ventilation.

Spinning Eco-Friendly Dome Home


A rotating dome home might sound like the hokey dream of a UFO enthusiast, but spinning on a central axis actually serves an important purpose. It allows this unusual home to adjust to balance interior light and heat levels. Everything inside the home is built around a central pivot point, and the home spins silently using very little energy.

(Re)Mixing New & Old in Modern Green Home


Environmentally low-impact, yet visually high-impact: that about sums up this contemporary green home by Berg Design. The design of the home was inspired by regional agricultural architecture, but translates it into a sleek, light-filled residence equipped with a host of sustainable features including radiant heat and geothermal cooling, passive solar, sustainable wood siding, energy star appliances and vintage furniture.

Camouflaged Glass Green House


From a distance, it looks like an old greenhouse being taken back over by its natural surroundings, with trees growing up out of the glass roof. But this incredibly creative structure is actually a modern green home with glass walls that blur the distinction between indoors and out. Warm honey-colored wood and flowing canvas shades brighten up the interior, giving it a cozy feel.

Futuristic $100M Green Home


With a price tag of $100 million, this luxury green home needs to impress with a long list of sustainable features and creature comforts. When it comes to energy, at least, this pricey home actually delivers, with renewable power production strategies that allow the home to produce more energy than it consumes.

25 Gorgeously Green And Eco-Friendly Jewelry Fashions

Posted: 30 Aug 2009 07:34 PM PDT


Jewelry is a matter of personal taste, to each his or her own. There are many eco-friendly jewelry designs from vintage, repurposed, recycled; why not go green baby and look good at the same time! We would end up filling many less landfills while styling a knockout piece of jewelry. Some are green and absolutely gorgeous while others fall somewhere far beneath the green but great mark. Make a statement that you are good to the planet as you accessorize. Here are 25 eco-friendly jewelry fashions in an irresistible blend of function and style, some recycled wonders and some will make you wonder what were they thinking.

Chic To Slick Eco-Jewelry


(image credits:Hafsteinn Juliusson,Hafsteinn Juliusson,eco-artware,eco artware)

What happens when jewelry and gardening clash? Why not growing jewelry? In the top pictures, the hand jewelry and ring are experiments in drawing nature to man. Yes, they’re alive, so make certain to water your jewelry or it might die! In the lower left, the men’s cuff links are vintage typewriter keys given a new purpose.  In the lower right is another way to accessorize from a once manual typewriter recycled into a tie tack.

Faux Green To Poop Pendants


(image credits:etsy,parrotjewelry,etsy,sprig)

Pendants and necklaces are basically considered the same thing. Some jewelry makers insist they are different, since pendants are often sold without a chain. The first image is apparently the difference between those people who are green and those who want to appear green. The stone moss pendant on the far left is shaped from clay to look like a basalt pebble with a tiny tuft of faux moss peaking out. The next pendant couldn’t get more real and might be for the person who truly believes in repurposing everything. It started out as an April Fools Day joke but there is a demand for the 1″ parrot poop pendant. The next rock garden pendant requires neither sunlight nor water, since the moss is not living. The talon pendant on the far right is fashioned from rescued ebony wood.

Eco-Friendly Bracelets


(image credits:sprig,inhabitat,WrecordsByMonkey)

Bracelets are an adornment  that can easily brighten up a wardrobe. On the left, this stunning Berry Coil bracelet is fashioned from Columbian red choclo seeds that are strung on an interior coil made of recycled Columbian pesos. On the top right, this 7.5″ bracelet is produced from nine strands of recycled chain. In the bottom right, this large cuff bracelet is called Aeon Skull and is formed from vinyl records. You can change the tone of what you are wearing by adding one of these eco-friendly accessories.

Gadgets Repurposed Into Pins


(image credits:arteco,arteco,arteco,arteco)

These pins are fashioned from repurposed materials. In the top left, this  3″ x 2″ pin is re-crafted from a Hughes Aircraft comparative memory onboard recognition signature analysis system.  Featured at top right, this 4″ x 2″ pin is a 7400 series chip montage of various processors, EPROMS, RAM, and D TO A Converters. At bottom left, this 1 3/4″ x 1 1/8″ pin was made from an AT&T MPU main processing unit from Centrex phone network. In the lower right, this 1 1/2″ round pin is an eclectic collection of cray memory chips, clock oscillators, and may have garnet or quartz detail.

Innovative Necklaces


(image credits:inhabitat,reverienyc,arteco,WrecordsByMonkey,inhabitat)

These necklaces combine style and a green mindset with surely enough variety to appeal to most women. In the upper left, this Snö Leaf necklace is hand-cut from recycled soda and water bottles, but like a real snowflake, no two are exactly alike. In the upper right, these hand-painted shells make up the Fleuri necklace which in mostly natural and from the 1950’s. The lower left necklace is for the eco-minded gamer and made from Bakelite gaming pieces from the 1930’s. In the bottom middle, this charm necklace is crafted out of recycled records. In the lower right, this necklace is a bit less green being made from sterling silver, yet the water faucet necklace supports the UN’s “Water is a human right” campaign and helps to fund clean water enterprises in third world countries.

Fresh Style To Freshly Dried Eco-Earrings


(image credits:huffingtonpost,arteco,huffingtonpost,arteco,tellmewhereonearth)

Earrings, like women, come in all different shapes, sizes, and zesty flavors. For the environmentally-minded person with a sweet tooth, the top left earrings are made from recycled ice cream containers.  In the upper right, these 1/2″ x 1/2″ stainless steel earrings are made from SMA RF connectors, good to 18GHz. The left middle hoop earrings are crafted with care from recycled glass. In the bottom left, these 1/2″ x 3/4″ repurposed parts were originally used as photon detectors from an array in a punch card readers, but are now these earrings. For the woman who has everything, the 1″ bottom right earrings are made from fully dried, non-smelly, moose dropping.

My Round the World Adventure

My Round the World Adventure

Important Travel Rules and Tips

Posted: 31 Aug 2009 02:36 PM PDT

lost?After you’ve been traveling for awhile, you pick up some handy tips that you wouldn’t have known otherwise. These little written and unwritten rules help you navigate the road, blend in, save money, and not offend the locals. Here are some rules for travel that everyone should know and I wish I had known when I started:

Learn Some Local Phrases
- You don’t need to master the language but learning a few phrases will show some interest, bring a smile to a locals face, and get you a much friendlier response.

Squat Toilets are OK- Squat toilets are used around the world. Don’t be scared by them. Just remember to hover well.

Avoid Using Your Left Hand- In many parts of the world, the left hand is used to wipe after using the above toilet. Using the left to shake hands, eat, or do whatever can be seen as dirty. Avoid using it in some parts of the world.

Tip According to Local Practices- Not everywhere in the world tips. Tips according to the way the locals do. Sometimes it can be insulting if you leave money.

It’s O.K. to Make Return Visits- Just don’t make it the only place you visit. I’ve been to Holland five times in the last three years. But to go to a place 100 times and exclude everywhere else is foolish. There are a lot of good places in the world. I know you have your likes but give the other chance too.

Don’t Claim to be an Expert- No matter how many times you’ve been to Paris, unless you’ve lived there for a long time, you are not an expert. You just know more than others.

Travel Alone- Traveling alone is something everyone should do once. You’ll learn more about yourself in than any other time in your life.

Take Cash- Credit cards are not accepted everywhere and, in many parts of the world, there is a 3% service charge on top of what your company may charge. Don’t get too tied to the plastic.

Avoid Moneychangers- ATMs give much better rates than the exchange bureaus you see in airports or around cities.

Always Visit Tourist Information Centers- These offices know all the information in the city, know what is going on, and usually have some discounts available. Don’t skip them.

Don’t Live by Your Guidebook- Take the information in guidebooks with a grain of salt. It’s a bit dated by the time the book hits the shelves, the prices can be a bit off, and many restaurants and hostels aren’t even in them. Use them just as basic guide, not as a bible.

Locals are Happy to Help
- Don’t be afraid to ask strangers for help. If you don’t speak the language, there are plenty of ways to get across what you need. People are generally good and will always help you if you are in trouble. You can always count on the kindness of strangers right?

Take All the Random Invites and Excursions- The random trips you take with the random people you meet will be remembered more than anything you planned for months.

© Nomadic Matt- visit the Nomadic Matt's Travel Site for more great content and got a travel blog? Learn to make money with your travel blog.

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