Whenever we tell people about our land one of the first questions they ask is, “How many acres do you have?” Now, 40 acres may not be a lot if you come from a farming family and own a quarter section (160 acres) or
I write a lot on Of Houses and Trees about eco-friendly interior design and decor, but those aspects are really only part of the sustainability package. Of course, what comes first is the building itself. I touched on this topic in my post 5 of Canada’s Most Sustainable Buildings, but one of the coolest things about sustainable design (other than it’s planet-saving powers) is that it’s constantly evolving. New technologies plus new ideas meet and mingle and suddenly an ingenious green product or practice is born. And with another year coming to an end, it’s always inspiring to take a look at current and upcoming innovative sustainable architecture trends. From showing off solar to filling walls with straw – here are 5 of the most innovative trends in sustainable design.
How did someone who once declared they would NEVER install laminate flooring find themselves in a flooring store, barefoot and walking on half a dozen laminate samples? Because laminate flooring has evolved a lot in the last few years. And truthfully, so have I.
I’ll admit, my initial change of heart had to do with the cost factor. Of course I’d love to buy a sustainably sourced hardwood for Our House in Trees. But, simply put, we can’t afford it. So I began to research green laminate flooring, myself wondering: “Is laminate flooring eco-friendly?” The answer? It can be!
Now more than ever – it’s easy to be green. Companies are putting out more eco-friendly products. Businesses are turning to eco-friendly practices. Governments are bringing about change through incentive programs and new laws. However, for an individual or a family it can still feel pretty overwhelming. This becomes even more true when coupled with an already overwhelming situation like building a new home. So it’s understandable the first question someone asks when considering a green build is – can I afford it?
The answer is – yes!
Design boards just seem to scratch several of my itches all at once. My love for beautiful spaces, furniture, patterns and colours. My love for seeking out inspiration. My love for creating order in a world full of chaos.
Aside from helping to suppress said chaos with pictures of (eco-friendly!) console tables and fabric swatches, design boards also come in super handy when planning out the design and decor of a room. I mostly use photo editing software to create them, but not everyone has access to such a program nor the know-how and time to work with one. Enter Pinterest – everyone’s favourite online inspo gathering tool.
Ah, yearend. A time to stop and reflect on the past 12 months… and reread (or read for the first time) the five most viewed Of Houses and Trees posts of 2017! The last year has been the biggest yet for growing this sustainability blog and I have so very many ideas for 2018… and beyond! I just want to say how much I appreciate every single view, comment, share and subscribe I receive. Truly.
From eco-friendly products and building materials, to healthy vegan eats – 2017 was a green year indeed!
Something I have been looking forward to doing since I started designing Our House in the Trees was the day when we could tape out a simple floor plan and explore how it felt in full scale. After having spent hours upon hours adjusting, aligning, deleting, nudging, massaging and just plain old staring blankly at our plans, you better believe I know every nook and cranny intimately. But I also know from my time spent working at an architect’s office that what you see on paper and what you see in real life can be very different, which is why laying out a floor plan – in full size – is so important.
I’ve been wanting to take you all on a tour of our land for quite awhile now. You can read all about how it came to be ours in my post The Story of Our Land. I think the pictures in that post give a good idea of what the land is all about. And I hope my writing paints a vivid word picture. I do tend to get kind of poetic when espousing on things I’m passionate about.
But if a picture is worth a thousand words (and as a writer, I’m not sure I always buy that line), then how many pictures is a video worth? I suppose it depends on the content and the quality of the video, but I think this one captures the true – and largely untamed – beauty of our land.
I hope you enjoy watching my land tour as much as I enjoyed making it!
Aside from Of Houses and Trees, I also write content for a few other architecturally-minded blogs. One subject I’ve written quite a bit about lately is the building material magnesium oxide board (MgO board). If you’ve never heard of it, it’s essentially an eco-friendly drywall alternative. And, of course, as soon as I see the phrase “eco-friendly alternative” I get all giddy and start geeking out. It looks like we’re going to build our Real Life Home next spring. (Fingers crossed!) And I absolutely want to use as many green materials as possible. Not only are environmentally friendly materials good for the planet, but they’re also good for you and your family as they tend to release little to no VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into your home nor other narsty chemicals. (Did you know synthetic drywall contains formaldehyde? Yuck.)
Happy 150th birthday Canada! To celebrate our country’s milestone, I’ve put together a list of a few of its most eco-friendly buildings. As far as green countries go, Canada certainly isn’t at the top of the list. But with our government’s shifting priorities and increased public awareness about the impact of unsustainable choices, architects are now designing buildings with the environment in mind.
Interestingly, the current trend in sustainable building isn’t designing structures filled with fancy green technology. Instead it’s about creating smart buildings that don’t need all the bells and whistles. A building’s orientation, amount and quality of windows, square footage and types of materials are all current focuses in sustainable building. So here is a sampling of some of the greenest buildings in Canada. May they be an inspiration to us all!