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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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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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LEGO Apartment Transforms 1 Room Into 5

By Kirsten Dirksen
May 16, 2011
File under: Energy Efficiency, Green Building Design, Green Building Techniques, Living Space, Remodeling Green, Saving Money

Christian Schallert’s tiny apartment morphs from kitchen to bedroom to living room to dining room all within a matter of minutes.

When he isn’t cooking, dressing, sleeping or eating, his 258-square-foot apartment looks like an empty cube. To create a room, he has to build it:

Lego KitchenKitchen: he clicks a spot on his vast wall of click-able furniture, and a spring-loaded door swings up to reveal an instant kitchen: double-burner, dishwasher, sink, countertop and microwave oven. The full-sized refrigerator and freezer click open just alongside.

lego Bedroom

Bedroom: he rolls his bed out from under the balcony, his stairs become become bedside tables and he can even swing his tv out from the wall.

lego dining

Dining Room: he lowers a plank from the wall, his flower-stand becomes a support and his stairs become a bench.

Located in Barcelona’s hip Born district, the tiny apartment is a remodeled pigeon loft. Christian says its design was inspired by the space-saving furniture aboard boats, as well as the clean lines of a small Japanese home.

One of Christian’s friends has dubbed his apartment “G.I. Joe’s flat”. There is definitely more work involved in constructing and deconstructing your dining room/kitchen/bedroom every day or meal, but Christian likes it that way. He says it’s what helps keep him in shape.

Dig Mini-Homes? Take a look at handbuilt tiny homes built in America, a DIY home for less than $3,500 and a modern hobbit house.

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Top 3 Things To Make Your Home More Comfortable This Winter

By Tyson Dirksen
November 12, 2010
File under: Energy Efficiency, Green Building Design, Green Building Techniques, Living Space, Natural Alternatives, Saving Money


You don’t need to buy a new efficient heater this winter to save money. It’s more important to make sure the heat that is being produced goes into your home and then stays there. Here are 3 things you can do to help in that process and save up to 40% on the energy used to heat and cool your home.

While most people could probably complete the following three tasks on their own, an experienced and knowledgeable home performance contractor will not only do them for you, but should also verify that all tasks were completed correctly using an infrared camera, blower door, duct blaster, and other tools of the trade. Make sure your home performance contractor “tests in and tests out” – tests your home when he or she arrives to determine their scope of work and tests your home when they are about to leave in order to verify their work.

…read more of Top 3 Things To Make Your Home More Comfortable This Winter here

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