by Kirsten Dirksen 19,757 views
Tyson Dirksen takes us on a tour of his Melbourne (Fitzroy), Australia remodel he designed for passive solar heating and cooling and to capture rainwater.
by Kirsten Dirksen 26,223 views
A passive solar dream house in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. "Until you live in a glass house I don't think you notice as much how the sun moves," explains homeowner Cliff Butler. "We see it move daily."
by Kirsten Dirksen 44,287 views
Sustainable House Sydney produces power, water and even reuses its own sewage, right in the middle of Australia's biggest city. Original story here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/sydneys-sustainable-hou
by Kirsten Dirksen 28,202 views
Architect Alan Cohen's dream house is efficient with space; he packs he packs 4,000 square feet of multi-use building- office (1050 sq ft), home (1730 sq ft), art studio for his wife and garage- onto a 3,750 square foot lot. It's also very energy efficient; Cohen uses passive solar for heating and cooling his home, complete with industrial fans, venting windows, well-designed holes in the floor (between floors) for air flow and first floor concrete floors for thermal storage.
Original story here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/passive-solar-urban-liv
by Kirsten Dirksen 3,845 views
Mark Feichtmeir of Kenwood Permaculture takes us inside his low-VOC home and shows us his PISE (pneumatically impacted stabilized earth) walls and solar light tube. Original content here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/when-permaculture-moves
by Kirsten Dirksen 261,860 views
Jérémie Buchholtz wanted an affordable apartment in Bordeaux (he's a photographer who splits his time between Paris and Bordeaux so his budget was limited), but he wasn't finding anything he liked. Then he stumbled upon a listing for a garage.
There was no house, it was just an abandoned garage for sale. And it looked like one. It had big metal doors that blocked out any sunlight and inside it was being used more as a junk room. So Buchholtz called his friend and architect Matthieu de Marien who specializes in converting stores, offices and other spaces into homes.
De Marien took one look at the historic street and recognized it as something special. Passage Buhan is a private passageway where the owners each own half of the road so life extends into the street. And the history here is rich: a couple centuries ago, the laneway housed horses and their riders en route to the then city of Bordeaux and the old stable still sits on the street.
Buchholtz bought the property and De Marien quickly cut into the old garage to create more light and ventilation. The roof is historic and couldn't be touched so he carved a 12 square meter (129 square foot) patio out of the small space, leaving only 41 square meters of living space (441 square feet).
In order to make the space feel larger, De Marien created a "house within a house": one large piece of furniture that includes the bathroom, bedroom, office, closet, a sofa bed and all of the home's storage. With everything contained in this large furniture box, the rest of the home was given more breathing room.
Original story here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/maison-garage-old-garag
by Kirsten Dirksen 151,148 views
Sometime between childhood and adulthood, Andreas Stavropoulos had a Peter Pan adventure. He spent 4 years living in an Airstream trailer. He didn't have a mortage, he didn't pay rent and he was able to pay off student loans. But it wasn't just about gaining economic freedom.
As a landscape architect, Stravropoulos wanted to reconnect with the land. He was also dreaming of living in an iconic vehicle and spent late nights on Craigslist before finding his 1959 Airstream Silver Bullet.
Once Stravropoulos had purchased his piece of history, he installed it in a friend's sculpture studio and began its transformation. Out went the wall-to-wall linoleum and flesh tone paint. In went cork flooring, track lighting and a light paint to open up the space.
Stravropoulos did all the work himself and the trailer reflects his love of workmanship. He exposed the riveted aluminum end caps. He created custom cabinets from a birch plywood.
In this video, Stravropoulos shows us his iconic mobile home- parked (for now) behind his current home in Berkeley, California- and talks about the joy of living with just a capsule of things.
by Kirsten Dirksen 209,143 views
Most designers begin a remodel by choosing what to trash. Petz Scholtus chose what to collect from the trash to be upcycled (recycled for a higher use).
When Scholtus bought her Barcelona apartment in 2006 it had no plumbing nor electricity, though it had some choice trash, like the long piece of glass she stopped her construction crew from throwing away. With two sawhorses (recovered from the street) for legs, it became her dining room table.
Other furniture was scavenged directly from the street, like a chair she later covered with old newspapers (mostly from Scholtus' native Luxembourg) and her ubiquitous Bidon lamps made from used jerry cans and a CFL lightbulb.
Much of the kitchen furniture- the shelves, island and FSC-certified countertop- was bought from IKEA, though the style-making piece are the cabinets constructed from old wine boxes (some of which Scholtus and her partner drank themselves).
More information on apartment: http://www.pokodesign.com/
Original story here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/trashkea-homesign-trash
by Kirsten Dirksen 7,050 views
The purpose of the California Academy of sciences is to study the earth and science. It's also located in one of the most beautiful parks in the world. Pritzker-prize winning architect Renzo Piano built his museum based on these two facts.
Original story here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/worlds-greenest-museum-
by Kirsten Dirksen 6,286 views
Michael G. Smith has spent the past couple decades using natural materials to build all parts of a home, including the insulation, floors, plasters and paints.
Original story here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/edible-yard-organic-veg
by Kirsten Dirksen 25,587 views
Greywater Guerrilla Laura Allen shows us her a urine-diverting toilet. The urine is used as fertilizer, and the feces is stored in plastic drums to compost. After a year, all pathogens are destroyed and the drum is filled with "humanure" which Allen uses on her garden.
Original story here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/urban-composting-toilet
by Kirsten Dirksen 10,671 views
Modern homes are often built so air-tight to provide good insulation that they don't allow for fresh air to enter. Earth plasters, also called mud plaster and clay plaster, can play a role in creating a breathable home, i.e. walls that allow fresh air to slowly enter. Also called mud plaster and clay plaster, earth plasters are simply a mix of sand and clay and optional chopped straw. They're powerful in their simplicity as they allow the walls to breathe, allowing toxic vapors to escape without any heat loss.
Original story here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/a-no-voc-earth-plaster-
by Kirsten Dirksen 44,451 views
Natural building expert Michael G. Smith from the Emerald Earth Institute shows us the first layer of an earthen floor (clay soil, sand, chopped straw and road base, or crushed rock): just one layer of the 3 layers they eventually use. He also shows us a finished floor that has been treated with 4 to 6 coats of linseed oil and is water resistant and completely mop friendly.
by Kirsten Dirksen 56,411 views
The most attention-getting natural homes are often small and topped with a turf roof. Here, natural building expert Michael G. Smith shows us a 3,000-sq-ft earth building and dispels the myths that all natural building needs to be tiny and covered with an green roof.
by Kirsten Dirksen 69,635 views
Passive solar design dates back over 2 and a half millennia to the ancient Greeks and Chinese; it not only predates modern HVAC systems, but also modern materials. So it makes sense that earth-built homes would play well with passive solar techniques.
In this video, natural building expert Michael G. Smith shows us how they use straw bale to insulate northern walls and cob as a thermal mass on southern surfaces.
by Kirsten Dirksen 19,027 views
With all the videos I've done on earth buildings (like the tiny cob cottage in North Carolina or themudbrick home in Melbourne, Australia) one of the most common questions I've gotten is what happens if it rains? So I asked natural building expert Michael G. Smith to address just this issue. Original content here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/natural-buildings-dont-
by Kirsten Dirksen 10,105 views
Alan Cohen's commute used to take 20 to 25 minutes every morning. Now it takes 30 seconds, or however long it takes him to open and close the door that separates his architectural studio with his home. Cohen used to live in a 3,000 square foot home, by himself. Today, his 3750-square-foot lot houses 4,000 square feet of multi-use structures: a 1730-sq-ft home, a 1050 sq-ft office (that Cohen shares with a partner), his wife's art studio and a garage (for constructing architectural models) and a roof deck for near-daily naps. Original story here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/a-downtown-livework-dre
by Kirsten Dirksen 63,745 views
You may find cob cottages particularly cute, but taste isn't reason enough to choose one natural building material over another. Like more manufactured products, different earth materials all have different uses: straw bale is a great insulator, cob is a nice thermal sink as well as one of the easiest materials to sculpt if you're looking for lots of curves in your structure. Since different parts of the building need to do different tasks, even in the same building you might choose straw bale for one wall and cob for another. Natural building expert Michael G. Smith shows us some of the uses for straw bale, cob, slip straw and clay wattle (a variation on wattle and daub) in the homes and buildings of Boonville, California's Emerald Earth Sanctuary. Original content here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/natural-building-materi
by Kirsten Dirksen 10,020 views
There are no building codes for most types of natural building. The one material that does have a fair amount of testing and data is straw bale, thanks to California rice growers. "So the rice growers had a very, very strong economic incentive to support the development of straw bale building so they'd have a market for their straw bales which is great," explains natural building expert Michael G. Smith, "but in the absence of that, there's nobody trying to sell dirt, there's no industry out there pushing the sale of clay soil or stones or natural sticks or wood chips. So the question becomes who's going to get behind and really fund the very expensive research that needs to happen to make these things more accessible to people wanting to build to code."
Original story here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/natural-building-codes-
by Kirsten Dirksen 79,494 views
Bales of straw may seem a bit simple, but they're very effective for building a home. They're also great insulation, offering R2 per inch thickness of the wall. Michael G. Smith shows us the straw bale wall they're building at Mendocino County's (California) Emerald Earth Sanctuary. Original content here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/how-to-build-a-straw-ba
by Kirsten Dirksen 45,043 views
With very little instruction, anyone can build their own home, or so argues natural building expert Michael G. Smith. Since the early nineties he's been teaching people to do just that with natural materials like cob and straw bale and he says it's quite simple. Smith shows us the natural homes (from cob, straw bale, clay wattle and slip straw) at the Emerald Earth Sanctuary, an intentional community in Mendocino, California where he currently lives and teaches.
Original story here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/build-your-own-home-fro
by Kirsten Dirksen 24,101 views
Until relatively recently we all built our homes from local, unprocessed materials (i.e. stone, wood, straw, earth). Not only do modern buildings impose a burden on the environment- clearcutting, mining, manufacturing runoff into the air and water, etc- but many of the manufactured materials are making us sick. "Even the mainstream press carries frequent stories of cancers and respiratory problems linked to formaldehyde-based glues, plastics, paints, asbestos, and fiberglass, to name a few favorite culprits," explains Michael G. Smith in the book "The Art of Natural Building". Smith gave us a tour around his current home, the Emerald Earth Sanctuary (an intentional community in Mendocino, California), and showed us the many examples of very modern-looking earth structures (including cob, straw bale, clay wattle and slip straw).
Original story here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/a-return-to-natural-bui
* This is one in a long series of videos with Smith regarding natural building.
by Kirsten Dirksen 37,341 views
When Jenine Alexander and Amy Hutto set out to build an efficient, near zero energy home, they opted for small: to be exact, 128 square feet. To get around minimum size standards, they put it on wheels. They used as much salvaged material as possible. The result: a tiny mobile home with passive solar design, bamboo flooring, reclaimed pine ceilings, denim-cotton insulation, reclaimed granite countertops and salvaged (but new) high energy efficiency doors and windows.
Original story here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/a-salvaged-materials-pa
by Kirsten Dirksen 1,002,897 views
In a town where the median home price is over half a million dollars, Jenine Alexander decided to build her own. Using resources like the tiny house blogs and the 1950 bestselling DIY book "Your Dream Home: How to Build It for Less Than $3,500" (a gift from a friend), Jenine spent less than $3,500 on her home. In fact, she used nearly only materials recovered from the dump or found on craigslist and the only things she paid for were a used trailer and fasteners (nails, screws, hinges, etc).
She built it on wheels not just to get around minimum size standards, but mostly because she couldn't afford land in her hometown of Healdsburg, California.
More info in original story: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/diy-home-for-less-than-
Jenine's blog: http://www.forgeahead.org/Productions/Home.html
by Kirsten Dirksen 129,142 views
"Black Kettle" hasn't lived in a home since 1974 which might explain why he chose to build his own when he finally opted for a roof over his head. Short of the insulation just about everything is secondhand.
Here he shows us his windows from a remodel job, the old fence posts he used for exterior walls, his outdoor bed and his backyard garden with corn and amaranth.
Original story here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/diy-be-house/
by Kirsten Dirksen 8,967 views
"Black Kettle"- a self-described "desert rat" from Bellevue, Idaho- shows us how he built his own solar shower out of mostly re-used materials. His list: 150 feet of hose, an old steam boiler, pvc piping, a splitter for hot and cold and a sprinkler head with holes drilled out.
Original story here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/diy-solar-shower/
by Kirsten Dirksen 154,029 views
People who live in wee homes now have their own movement. It's a bit of a media event, but it's not a fad, argues tiny home builder Stephen Marshall (of Little House on a Trailer). While his 112 square foot caregiver cottage makes great press, he argues the perfect tiny home is 400 sq ft. For most of those in the movement, McMansions have no appeal tiny homes are human-sized. Original content here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/the-human-scale-tiny-ho
by Kirsten Dirksen 1,242 views
Juli Capella designs buildings showcasing the latest in green design, but he doesn't believe in the labels (eco-design, green buildings, green skyscrapers).
by Kirsten Dirksen 1,689,839 views
Jay Shafer of the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company gives us a tour of his 89-square-foot home on wheels parked in Sebastapol, California. He sells plans for the Epu model for $859. Ready made: $45,997 Build it yourself: $19,950
Jay Shafer- Four Lights: http://www.fourlightshouses.com/pages/about-jay-shafer
Original story here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/a-tiny-home-tour-living
by Kirsten Dirksen 2,668 views
Founder Tim Toben and broker Rebecca Dirksen show us Greenbridge, the green high-rise going up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
by Kirsten Dirksen 2,040 views
faircompanies' Nicolás Boullosa takes a tour of small, somewhat abandoned, towns in Extremadura, Spain where homes were built to last and building techniques were traditionally green.
by Kirsten Dirksen 1,851 views
Vancouver city planner talks eco-density and the goal of "one planet living. Original content here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/ecodensity-vancouver-st
by Kirsten Dirksen 755 views
See the latest green building trends inside the Solar One headquarters. Original story here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/see-solar-one-ecobuildi
by Kirsten Dirksen 14,131 views
A greenhouse built from reclaimed materials for just a few hundred dollars. Original content here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/building-a-greenhouse-w
by Kirsten Dirksen 2,259 views
Building with recycled and sustainable materials like cob, broken concrete, straw bale, clay and wine bottles. Original content here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/building-with-straw-bal
by Kirsten Dirksen 2,398 views
Permaculture is about working with nature toward more individual self-sufficiency. Mark Feichtmeir of Kenwood Permaculture shows us his 5000 square foot "green roof" used for capturing and where he stores his 50,000 gallon annual rainwater harvest. Original content: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/permaculture-a-home-tha
by Kirsten Dirksen 1,787 views
The permaculture concept for Kenwood Permaculture home dictated everything from where on the hill to build their home to a return of the bees to their property. Original content here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/permaculture-ecodesign-
by Kirsten Dirksen 2,301 views
Using passive solar for heating and night-flushing for cooling, permaculture homeowner Mark Feichtmeir shows us how he keeps his home in Kenwood, California between 68 and 78 °F without any AC. Original story here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/permaculture-house-pass
by Kirsten Dirksen 5,857 views
Earth building- mudbrick, adobe, cob, PISE, rammed earth- is a great way to build in climate control into your home. It's also something that you can do yourself. Here one family in Melbourne, Australia talks about making their own mudbricks with a little help from their weekend football team. [Note: Graeme Ellis is a builder.] Original content here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/the-ultimate-earth-frie
by Kirsten Dirksen 1,650 views
With 15 units per acre, the townhouse construction guarantees more shared energy use, but they look more like "big houses". Original content here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/high-point-avelopment-w
by Kirsten Dirksen 741 views
San Francisco green realtor Chris Bartle talks about the ecobroker certification and shows us his green home interior. Original content here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/green-realtor-on-passiv
by Kirsten Dirksen 652 views
At New York City's Build a Green Bakery (Birdbath), the floor is cork from wine bottle waste, the walls are wheat, the counter is bamboo and recyled denim, the wallpaper uses recycled polyester, the paint has no VOCs & is made from 99% food-based ingredients. Original content: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/how-to-build-a-green-ba
by Kirsten Dirksen 3,751 views
A ground-source heat pump (aka geothermal heat pump) uses the constant temperature of the earth 200 feet below to heat and cool your home. Original content here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/geoexchange-how-to-let-
by Kirsten Dirksen 9,520 views
Tim Taylor of Seattle's Environmental Home Center showed us some cork flooring, as well as some recently harvested cork and explained why it's one of the most sustainable ways to cover your floors (cork forests are not only renewable, but are home to many endangered species like the Iberian Lynx). Original story here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/cork-a-new-wood-floor-w
by Kirsten Dirksen 6,832 views
A "greywater guerrila" (a plumbing hacker) explains how she and her housemates compost their waste with a composting toilet. It takes just one year before they can use their own poop on their garden as "humanure". Original story here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/a-composting-toilet-and
by Kirsten Dirksen 328,618 views
Bakari Kafele invited us into his tiny home: a 150-square-foot RV where in a month, he uses about 500 gallons of water and 40kwh of electricity. Original content here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/living-small-when-home-
For more details on Bakari's RV home see his blog post: http://faircompanies.com/blogs/view/living-small-how-to-choo
by Kirsten Dirksen 1,062 views
The Anderson Valley Brewery Company (Boonville, CA) uses 768 solar panels, wind power, energy recovery through cogeneration heat exchange and a multi-stage compressor unit for refrigeration.
by Kirsten Dirksen 214,558 views
They're just 3 meters (9.8 feet) by 3 meters and just about as high. They'd make great tiny homes, but these portable cube prefabs- they can be moved on a flatbed (in 2 parts) and dropped anywhere with a forklift- are being used across France as rural hotels.
Carré d'étoiles translates to "box of stars" and this vacation prefab was designed for stargazing, with a large domed skylight just feet above the lofted bed.
It's less than 100 square feet, but it sleeps four (platform and sofa beds) and includes a kitchen with stove, sink and refridgerator, sitting area, a bathroom, a shower, plus storage and shelving.
They're not cheap, but the 30,900 euro (~$40,000) price tag, includes all transport to the site and marketing (since it's assumed they'll be used as vacation rentals).
In this video, Caroline of the Carrés d'étoiles de la Paleine, France shows us the three cubes she has installed on the premises of her home/chateau/hotel in the medieval village of Puy-Notre-Dame (in the Loire-Anjou-Touraine regional park).
Original story here: http://www.faircompanies.com/videos/view/tiny-portable-prefa
by Kirsten Dirksen 1,630,925 views
In 2005, third-grade-teacher Eric Schneider bought as big as an apartment as he could afford in Manhattan. He paid $235,000 for a 450-square-foot studio with a tiny kitchen.
Then he let architects Michael Chen and Kari Anderson of Normal Projects design a way to pack more density into his small space.
In order to fit more apartment in a small footprint, they created an object that's bigger than furniture, but smaller than architecture and that morphs with the changing activities of a day.
It's a large, blue, oversized cabinet that houses all of the walls/bed/tables/shelving/closets needed for at least 4 full-sized rooms.
By continuing to unfold, or fold differently, Schneider can create a bedroom with accompanying built-in nightstand and closets, but an office plus library, a guest bedroom, and a living room. Or close it up entirely and simply flip down the small bar and the room becomes entertaining space for a dozen.
The Normal Projects architects called their creation the Unfolding Apartment, though given Schneider's affinity for the Japanese sense of space (he spent his first year post-college living and teaching in Japan), it could as easily be called the Origami Apartment.
In total, Schneider spent $70,000 total remodeling his new apartment and this includes not just the cabinet, but the bathroom renovation, all cabinetry, kitchen appliances, furniture and dishes.
In this video, Chen shows us his custom cabinet of rooms and Schneider unfolds a few of his favorite configurations: his bedroom (& closet/changing room), office (& library), guest bedroom, kitchen, dining bar, living room and lounge.
Normal Projects/Michael Chen Architecture: http://www.normalprojects.com/
Original story here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/tiny-origami-apartment-
by Kirsten Dirksen 410,104 views
Derek "Deek" Diedricksen's backyard is filled with what to the untrained eye might appear children's forts, but these tiny dwellings are actually how he makes his living (mostly).
Ask him his job title and he'll reply, "I call myself a tinkerer or I've come up with bizarre-chitect or lark-chitect being kind of a fake architect."
Diedricksen's obsession with tiny architecture began unsurprisingly, with the backyard forts of his youth. But he wasn't your average construction-minded kid.
At age ten he built his first cabin, complete with electricity, insulation, heat and a platform bunk. When he was 14 he read Lester Walker's book Tiny Houses and discovered there were others out there like him.
By the time he stumbled upon the Small House Movement a decade or two later, he had already built dozens of tiny structures.
Today, his backyard is filled with tiny cabins, forts, retreats, shelters, shacks and no two are alike. Most of his dwellings are multi-purpose: there's the 20-square-foot travel trailer/emergency homeless shelter (Gottagiddaway), the roughly 6 square foot treehouse/chicken coop (the Wedgie) and the 11-square-foot kiosk/single-sleeper (the Gypsy Junker).
He builds small and he works with a micro-budget. His Gottagiddaway AKA "$100 homeless hut" was built for about that (or perhaps as high as $110). His 32-square-foot micro-office (where he filmed his interview) was built for $80 from barn sale/ barn demo materials.
His materials are salvaged from old buildings, lumber mills, recycyling and the dump. His windows are made from old office water coolers, soda bottles, pickle jars and even a washing machine window (a side from the same machine has become one if his drop-down tables).
One discarded cedar lounge chair inspired an entire cabin. The Hickshaw- a "rickshaw for hicks"- has the same dimensions as the chair (2 1/2 feet wide by 6 1/2 feet deep) and can be rolled by one person.
None of Diedricksen's backyard creations are lived in full-time though he has camped in at least a few of them, uses them for a bit of shedworking for writing his blog and reserves the right to send unwanted guests in that direction.
Building tiny is also a way to rebel a bit. "There's almost this whole outlaw aspect of it. I've kind of been a little anti-authoritarian most of my life playing in punk bands and what-not and a lot of the housing codes and rules to me, while some of them make good sense, a lot of them are just ridiculous and very antiquated."
In 2009 he self-published (from his basement) his own hand-illustrated ode to tiny dwellings: Humble Homes, Simple Shacks, Cozy Cottages, Ramshackle Retreats, Funky Forts. He's sold 3,000 copies to date and is releasing the second edition early next year.
His mini-dwellings are mostly just prototypes for "larger" 100- or 200-square-foot homes, but through his miniature bungalows, he hopes to show the world that living small is normal.
Deek's blog & book: http://relaxshacks.blogspot.com/
Music: Bill Bracken (acoustic guitar) http://www.myspace.com/billbracken
Photo credit: Bruce Bettis http://brucebettis.com/
Original story here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/microbuilder-on-freedom
by Kirsten Dirksen 2,217,292 views
Austin Hay is still in high school, but he's building his own house. It's only 130 square feet, but it makes him a homeowner without a mortgage at just 16 years old. Right now, it's parked in his parents' backyard, but he's built it on wheels so he plans to take it to college and then wherever he goes after he graduates.
He's been sleeping in his tiny home for a few months now and he's already decided not to return to big (his parents' home is 1800 square feet). "Living small means less bills, living big means more bills," he explained from the tiny stoop of his new home. "I don't want to pay big bills".
Hay's 130-square-foot home may make him the youngest member of the growing Small House Movement.
Hay expects to spend about $12,000 building his home (the used trailer cost him $2000) and he's paying for it working two summer jobs (at a camp and at a park snack bar). He's cut his costs in half (the home's estimated DIY price is $23,000) because Hay has scavenged everything from doors, windows and flooring to the kitchen sink (the hardwood floors were $25 at a salvage yard and so was the stainless steel sink).
A follow-up video with Austin Hay with his finished home: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/teen-tiny-house-builder
For more info & links, original story here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/16-yr-old-builds-tiny-h
by Kirsten Dirksen 48,391 views
In the Saumur region of France there are over a thousand miles of underground tunnels and thousands of caves, known as "troglodytes", homes, hotels, restaurants, museums, wineries, farms (silkworms, mushrooms, snails) and even a disco and a zoo (for nocturnal animals like bats).
What makes this land so perfect for underground dwellings is its very malleable rock. 100 million years ago, this part of France was covered by sea. When the water receded, it left a layer of tufa, or tuffeau, a type of limestone that turned out to be ideal for building castles, churches and homes in the surrounding area during the Middle Ages.
All of this quarrying created lots of tunnels and caves that turned out to be ideal homes, especially for quarrymen. Up until the early 20th century, troglodyte living was still common in the area. Even entire villages, like that of Louresse-Rochemenier, were housed underground.
In 2000, when Henri Grevellec retired from teaching, he bought an old quarry and moved into one of the old caves. On his property in Grezille, France, there are 6 caves that had once housed quarry workers centuries ago.
The site was abandoned when Grevellec purchased it, but he cleared away the growth and renovated the caves himself. He put in a modern kitchen and bathroom and in his bedroom (at the far back of the cave) he added a skylight to improved air circulation and add a bit of light.
Of the 6 original caves, one became a guest room (which he connected by tunnel to his main home), another is now his workshop (for his stone-working tools), another he left as it once had been (complete with wood-burning oven) and he uses part of one as a wine cellar.
Grevellec says the temperature in his cave home is naturally temperate. He doesn't need air conditioning and leads much less heat than a normal home because the earth walls act to naturally regulate the indoor temperature (see more on earth sheltering for details on earth walls as thermal mass).
Music credit: "Ranz des Vaches" by Kevin MacLeod, "The Forest and the Trees" by Kevin MacLeod, "Divertissement" by Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com)
Original story here: http://www.faircompanies.com/videos/view/cave-home-in-loire-
by Kirsten Dirksen 278,181 views
Shipping containers are built to carry huge loads and the refrigerated units are very efficient at climate control. So it's unsurprising that when they're retired from the sea, they're being used as the building blocks for homes and offices.
Given their strength they work well in earthquake country. In Berkeley, California architect Karl Wanaselja and his business partner and wife Cate Leger created their home-office using a shipping container. It cost just $1800.
Wanaselja and Leger cut their 40 foot long refrigerated unit in half and placed it in a T shape in their backyard (with the help of a crane). They didn't need to add any insulation: they're designed to not have any thermal bridging between the interior and exterior and the polyisocyanurate insulation has the highest R-value of any foam insulation.
Using a sawzall (reciprocating saw), the couple cut huge windows into the aluminum/stainless steel structure. Wanaselja says he was initially intimidated by the idea of crafting out of aluminum (the exterior material) and stainless steel (interior), but "once I got over my learning curve I actually like working with metal".
In this video, the couple talk about working in a cargo container, using materials like the soy-based plywood floor (Purebond) and the music made by rain and branches on a metal roof.
Original story here: http://www.faircompanies.com/videos/view/1800-used-shipping-
by Kirsten Dirksen 86,783 views
When architect Karl Wanaselja built his home in Berkeley, California the junkyard became his urban forest for materials.
For months he visited one of three local yards looking for car roofs and Dodge Caravan side windows. The windows became awnings and the roofs became siding for the top floor of his home.
Wanaselja designed the home with his partner (in business and life) Cate Leger. They liked the look of the old cars, but they also believe firmly that reusing trumps recycling.
They reused more than just cars to build their home. The lower half is sided in poplar bark, a waste product of the North Caroline furniture industry. Exterior wood is salvaged redwood and the fences and windowsills are on their second life.
Because they wanted to blend into the neighborhood as much as possible, Wanaselja and Leger played with perspective to create a home that looks small on the outside, but feels big on the inside.
The home is only 14 feet wide on the ends, and it pitches forward and pinches in at the ends so from the street the home looks small. And it is just 1,140 square feet- more than half the U.S. average- and only 700 square feet on the ground floor.
"It's kind of like Dr. Who's TARDIS. He's got this little phone booth, he goes in and then it's a giant space inside so it's kind of."
In this video, Wanaselja and Leger give us a tour of their home, their car part shed and their shipping container architecture studio in the backyard.
by Kirsten Dirksen 444,213 views
In 1974, fresh out of the army, Michael Garnier went to rural Oregon to try to make a living off the woods. He tried making furniture, fences, pole barns and selling organic, psychedelic picture propellers (to see Fantasy Flakes), but finally it was a treehouse that got him all the attention.
Modeled after the treehouse he had once built for his kids, his first treehouse B&B was completed in 1990. Today he has 9 treehouses for rent, 20 staircases, 5 or 6 bridges, several platforms and zip lines for rapid descent and at least one fireman's pole. Some of his treehouses even have toilets, running water and showers, though he warns guests to "stand when they flush".
Over the years, Garnier has become legend in his industry and helped invent a better way to build a treehouse. Instead of bolting wood to wood (i.e. beams to the tree), Garnier and his colleagues at the World Treehouse Conference (an event he used to host) developed a way to attach steel bolts and cuffs to the tree.
Dubbed the Garnier Limb (or G.L.), this open source design can support 8,000 pounds. Garnier sells GLs of all different types as well as plans to build your own treehouse. His DIY treehouses are for 12 foot trees ($150) and he sells about 30 or 40 plans per year.
Original story: http://www.faircompanies.com/videos/view/diy-treehouse-inven
by Kirsten Dirksen 171,032 views
Michael Garnier has helped pioneer the craft of modern treehouse construction. His Garnier limb -invented in collaboration with other enthusiasts as an open source project- holds up to 8,000 pounds and allows treehouse builders to create stronger, more durable dwellings in the trees.
When Garnier, who owns a treehouse resort with 9 elevated dwellings, decided to build his own home for himself and his wife Peggy, it had to also be nestled in the branches.
While his B&B cabins in the air are closer to 100 square feet, for his own home he decided to go big. His home is 1800 square feet on three floors. He calls it the world's largest treehouse (not a fact, though he challenges anyone to prove him wrong).
He selected a spot in the middle of a grove of White Oak trees and used 7 trees to support the weight of his home (the largest one in the middle of the home is no longer living, but he manufactured a root system for it so it would still support the weight of a living tree).
In this video, Garnier takes us for a tour of his "trees house" and explains how a home like his does less damage to the grove of trees than if he'd built a conventional house there.
Original story: http://www.faircompanies.com/videos/view/worlds-largest-tree
by Kirsten Dirksen 486,977 views
When Carlos Alonso and his sister Camino (partners at Madrid architecture firm Ábaton) were looking for a country home for their extended family, they stumbled upon an abandoned stable in rural Extremadura, Spain and recognized it as a special place.
High on a hill and far from city water or an electrical grid, the crumbling cow shed was far from the conventional image of luxury estate, but Carlos and Camino could envision a transformation.
This part of the province of Cáceres (near the Portuguese border) has been home to generations of cattle ranchers and the Alonsos recognized the wisdom those who came before them.
Building on the instinctual knowledge of the ranchers before them, the Alonsos preserved much of the old stable. The old watering trough became a fountain and interior patio where water now helps cool the home in summer. The hay loft above became bedrooms. The facade is still the original stone, though given the homes crumbling state, they were forced to add cement behind it.
Without access to the grid, the Alonsos added photovoltaics and hydro power and worked to ensure the home wouldn't use much energy. The original position of the stable worked to their favor. The southern exposure allows for the sun to be the main source of heat during the winter.
The Alonsos also added large wooden shutters that slide closed like a second skin, covering the large windows at night to trap in most of the home's daily solar heat gain.
The home was located far from city water, but perfectly positioned below two streams that flow year round. Since there is no one else above the home on the mountain, the water is pure and can be used for drinking and bathing (after a simple filter and rest period).
Greywater is purified and the water is put back to use on the property for watering the fields. On those fields, cattle still graze.
Even local rancher José Vicente Jiménez, whose family has worked this land for generations, is still here. His cattle graze the property and he clearly is pleased the Alonsos have rescued the old stable from certain ruin.
Original story: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/abandoned-stable-now-lu
Ábaton Architecture: http://www.abaton.es/es
by Kirsten Dirksen 128,854 views
"I don't know if I could have a car without a bed in it." San Francisco Jay Nelson has put beds into nearly every vehicle he's ever owned, including a semi-totalled Honda Civic (bought for $200) and a tiny rowboat (found on craigslist).
He's even made a moped into a camper, but his most impressive podmobile is the electric camper bike he built from scratch using parts "you can find at a hardware store".
He bought the PVC pipe chassis online, along with an electric motor (he discarded his initial pedal-powered design because of the San Francisco hills) and began to build the vehicle in his driveway.
He calls his tiny mobile home the Golden Gate and with an electric motor range of 10 miles, it can go basically anywhere within San Francisco (7 x 7 square miles) at a top speed of 20mph.
Original story: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/electric-kool-aid-acid-
Music credit: Dave Warstler http://www.davewarstler.com/
Photo credit: Jack Halloway
Jay's website: jaynelsonart.com
by Kirsten Dirksen 19,175 views
When San Francisco artist and builder Jay Nelson sees someone tearing down a redwood fence in his neighborhood he asks if he can take it home with him.
With a stockpile of salvaged, old growth redwood fencing, he recently built a tiny studio for his friend Lana to use as a home office. It's just under 100 square feet and that means it's small enough so that San Francisco doesn't require a permit.
In this video, Nelson shows us his stockpile of wood, the studio made of nearly all salvaged materials (doors, windows, flooring included) and how it nearly melts into the yard because of its rounded shape. He also gives us a peek at the greenhouse he's building out of some of his recycled redwood just next to the studio.
Original story: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/redwood-salvaged-from-c
Jay's website: http://jaynelsonart.com/
by Kirsten Dirksen 223,921 views
Patrick Kennedy is a housing developer who likes to build small. His vision is to build the housing equivalent of the Smart Car. His SmartSpaces will be small, just a couple hundred square feet.
To create a smarter space, Kennedy constructed a 160-square-foot test home (the smallest legal-sized apartment for California) inside a Berkeley wherehouse. SmartSpace 1.0 is filled with innovations like the SmartBench, an adjustable banquette that converts from a dining table to a guest bed.
Kennedy gives us an exclusive tour of the tiny SmartSpace 1.0 studio, as well as of his 78-square-foot Airstream travel trailer parked outside (his vacations onboard with wife and child inspired his latest development).
by Kirsten Dirksen 390,500 views
Architects Suzan Wines and Azin Valy were trying to come up with the ideal building material for refugee housing in Kosovo. It should be recycled, recyclable, affordable, plentiful. They thought about bottles and tires. Then Wines tripped over a shipping pallet on the way home from work one night and something clicked.
Using only shipping pallets, or skids, the I-Beam architects created a tiny, modular home design. They also created "IKEA-style assembly instructions" so anyone- even those without building experience- could build their own home, using only hand tools (hammer, nails, "a crowbar is helpful"). "We've also used zip ties to build entire structures," adds Wines, "which is pretty quick, cheap and easy and doesn't require any tools".
More info & original story: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/recycled-pallet-house-d
by Kirsten Dirksen 12,812 views
When an extended Spanish family decided to build a treehouse for their 5 grandchilden on their estate in Extremadura, they knew they wanted to protect their beloved "encinas" (holm oak trees). So they contacted the design firm Urbanarbolismo whose primary focus is "integrating architecture with nature".
Rather than design a treehouse to fit the family, the architects designed one to fit the tree. It fits so well, in fact, that not a single branch of the centuries-old oak had to be removed, nor was a single nail or screw driven into one.
Even the small home's materials are adapted to the environment and provide a perfect camouflage. The roof is made of local shrubs, or "brezo" (heath) and the exterior walls are clad in the bark of local cork oak trees (cork bark can be removed every 9 years and will regenerate).
More info/ original story: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/local-materials-treehou