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World’s Largest Treehouse? 7 Trees Support 1800 Sq Ft Home

By Kirsten Dirksen
January 31, 2012
File under: Green Building Design, Living Space

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.

Television producer-turned-blogger-turned-ecogeek, Kirsten Dirksen is co-founder of a news/blog/video site focused on environmental sustainability for people and the planet.

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16-Year-Old Builds Tiny Home to Guarantee a Mortgage-free Future

By Kirsten Dirksen
August 30, 2011
File under: Green Building Design, Living Space, Saving Money

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 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.

Moving out at 16

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. I don’t want to pay big bills,” he explained from the tiny stoop of his new home. …read more of 16-Year-Old Builds Tiny Home to Guarantee a Mortgage-free Future here

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America’s smallest apartment?: a 78-square-foot live-in closet

By Kirsten Dirksen
August 9, 2011
File under: Living Space, Remodeling Green, Saving Money

Luke Clark Tyler is in a serial relationship with tiny homes. His last New York City apartment was just 96 square feet. His current place is even smaller.

Luke now lives in a 78 square foot shoebox studio. It’s too narrow to fit a bed lengthwise, but using a bit of plywood and 2x4s he built his own custom bed/couch.

When it’s down as a bed the room is mostly bed and when it’s up as a couch he can prop his feet on the far wall. Luke admits to having a close relationship with the wall, but says it’s an excuse to not buy an ottoman. …read more of America’s smallest apartment?: a 78-square-foot live-in closet here

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Furniture Reinvented: The Bed is Dead

By Kirsten Dirksen
July 27, 2011
File under: Living Space, Remodeling Green

At a time when many of us – due to finances, the environment or increasing urbanization- are trying to put our homes on a diet, there’s one obvious place to cut: our bedrooms.

“The bed is dead”, says Ron Barth of Resource Furniture. To Barth, the idea of occupying a room just to house a bed is archaic. So he’s selling the alternative.

As we toured his showroom, Barth- in a move that evoked James Bond- lightly tapped a bookshelf it quickly swiveled to reveal a fold down bed. At another stop, he tapped a desk and up it popped (with the computer and desk stuff still upright) to reveal yet another fully-sprung bed. …read more of Furniture Reinvented: The Bed is Dead here

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The Mortgage-Free 320 Square Foot Home

By Kirsten Dirksen
June 9, 2011
File under: Energy Efficiency, Green Building Design, Resource Management, Saving Money

Two years ago, Debra and her family lived in a nearly 2000 square foot home on an acre and a half of land. Then her husband lost his job and they began to work 4 jobs between them to pay the mortgage, until one day they remembered they had a choice.

Before having their son, Debra and her husband Gary had spent 9 years living in very tiny homes in South America. Living small hadn’t felt like a sacrifice, but a way to stay focused on what is important. They decided they wanted to get back to that.

They stopped working so hard, sold or gave away all of their extra stuff and began looking for the perfect tiny home. …read more of The Mortgage-Free 320 Square Foot Home here

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