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Love where you live

Updated: 2018-01-22T14:02:00-05:00


1900s schoolhouse turns into bright apartments


Located in Rotterdam We love a good converted schoolhouse, and this one is no exception. Local firm Eklund Terbeek has reimagined a 100-year-old schoolhouse in Rotterdam into six apartments while still maintaining a few of the former building’s defining elements. The practice also helmed the interior design of the loft apartment, which puts the transformation on full display. Two former classrooms and a hallway come together to form the bright and soaring double-height space, which is defined by a wall of sash windows, white walls, and exposed concrete ceilings. Here, a kitchen formed by a minimalist concrete counter and a dining table shares space with a lounge anchored by a dark wooden bookshelf on the opposite wall. Behind this, a staircase leads up to a lofted open box that holds a study characterized by a black-carpeted platform. Above the hallway, a mezzanine holds two additional sleeping quarters, plus another guest bedroom. It’s in this stretch that the schoolhouse’s former identity lives on—in the form of original yellow tiling lining the lower half of the wall. The bathroom, too, which preserved a few of the school’s original toilet stalls (one now a shower), feature this detail. What do you think? Via: Dezeen [...]

First cashierless Amazon Go store opens today


A taste of the future? Amazon’s first checkoutless “grocery store of the future,” Amazon Go, opens to the public today in Seattle after more than a year of testing with company employees. Customers enter the 1,800-square-foot store, housed in an Amazon office building, through turnstiles after scanning their Amazon Go smartphone app. The store uses a system of cameras and sensors to track exactly what each person takes or puts back and updates customers’ virtual carts accordingly. When shopping is complete, customers once again pass through the gate, which will automatically charge their Amazon accounts. Items found in the store are typical grocery fare, from ready-to-eat items and meal kits to baked goods and, yes, LaCroix. While the store has no cashiers, the wine and beer section still comes with a living breathing Amazon employee to check IDs. Originally slated to open in early 2017, the store delayed its launch due to various technical difficulties, such as getting the system to watch more than 20 people at once or distinguish between customers of similar body types. Photo by Jason del Rey via Recode No cashiers, just gates that scan for your Amazon Go app—see more photos inside here. The Amazon Go concept represents the latest phase in the online retail giant’s expanding brick-and-mortar influence. As Jason Del Rey at Recode explains: ...the store’s real reason for being is to test what could be a breakthrough Amazon hypothesis: That by adding even more convenience to the convenience store model— with the help of a healthy dose of technology—Amazon might be able to carve out a loyal customer base outside of its website and inside a physical store where the vast majority of food and grocery shopping still occurs. To that end, the company already made a whopping $13.7 billion purchase of the Whole Foods grocery chain last year. There has also been talk of a brick-and-mortar Amazon furniture and appliance store in the works. This is not to mention the company’s growing bookstore chain and massive warehouse empire. According to Reuters, Amazon has not stated whether it will open more Amazon Go locations but did specify that it has no plans to incorporate the technology into existing Whole Foods stores (although a section of the Go store does offer products from Whole Foods’ 365 Everyday Value brand.) Check out more photos inside the first Go store over on Recode. [...]

Renovated Arts and Crafts home with pond views wants $3.6M


With a custom-built English conservatory straight out of a Dickens novel Have a nomination for a jaw-dropping listing that would make a mighty fine House of the Day? Get thee to the tipline and send us your suggestions. We’d love to see what you’ve got. Location: Hanover, New Hampshire Price: $3,600,000 An elegantly reimagined Colonial-style residence is on the market in Hanover, New Hampshire. Originally built in 1923, it was completely renovated in 2002 by noted architect David Sellers, who redid the interiors in the style of Arts and Crafts, rendering each space in warm, wood accents. The stately house measures 6,443 square feet and encompasses five bedrooms, five full bathrooms plus a partial bath, and a handsome, cozy living area anchored by a double-sided hearth, and an open kitchen and dining area—all bedecked with gorgeous built-ins and mill work. Off this space is a most charming custom-built English conservatory straight out of a Dickens novel. There’s even a wine cellar for over 1,500 bottles. Though the bedrooms and bathrooms are not pictured, we can only imagine that they would be as well-appointed as the common areas. What’s more, the gardens and outdoor areas have been designed with the utmost care as well. A large deck lines the living room and looks out onto terraced gardens, stone walls, a heated pool, and, of course, Occom Pond, with the Connecticut River just beyond it. Located at 20 Rope Ferry Road, just steps from Dartmouth College, the magazine-featured property is offered at $3.6 million. [...]

Super Bowl bikeshare wants to help fans navigate wintry Minneapolis


Electric assist, fat tire bikes make it easier to ride through freezing streets When crowds begin arriving in Minneapolis later this month in anticipation of Super Bowl 52, the city’s transportation infrastructure will be tested. Public transit and companies such as Uber and Lyft need to prepare for the roughly one million fans expected in the Twin Cities during the 10-day of festivities leading up to the game on February 4, as well as temperatures forecast to be in the teens. A pair of Midwest startups believes part of the solution lies in a novel winter bikeshare system. A partnership between Koloni Share, an Iowa-based sharing economy startup, and Defiant, an electric bike company from neighboring Saint Paul, plans to set up and operate an temporary, app-based bike share system equipped to withstand Minnesota’s frigid temperature. Defiant’s fat tire bikes boast wider tires and treads to plow through ice and snow and electric-assist technology, making it easier and faster to travel across town and navigate roads with ice and snow. “Transit it really going to be limited,” says Kyle Sheker, a co-founder of Koloni who will be on-site in Minneapolis to help run and troubleshoot the temporary system. “With lots of options like Uber, taxis, and mass transit being full, this’ll be an alternative if you want to get across town quickly.” Courtesy Koloni Share Rides will cost $2 for 30 minutes. This temporary bikeshare system will operate from January 29 through February 4 utilizing the Koloni Share app, which will utilize GPS technology much like the wave of dockless bikeshare systems that have started to fill streets across the U.S. The Twin Cities already has bikeshare via Nice Ride, which has 1,7000 vehicle, but the system had its annual seasonal shut down on November 5th due to the weather. Sheker hopes the novelty and weatherproofing of his scheme attracts riders. Currently, Sheker and others are working on arranging deals with local businesses, such as breweries and hotels, to create pick-up and drop-off points. Using geofencing, which cordons off areas via GPS, Koloni will set up a series of stops for potential riders in and around downtown MInneapolis to lock and unlock bikes. A map of locations and participating businesses will eventually be posted on Koloni’s Facebook page. Sheker hopes that users will get a chance, however brief due to the weather, to experience the city on the back of a bike, as thousands of Minnesotans do when pedaling through their city. While the city does have its share of all-weather cyclists, keep in mind this is also the city of the Skyway system of raised and enclosed pedestrian footbridges for getting around downtown. [...]

Hawaiian home lives large with massive roof, courtyard, and skylights



That pool situation though

File this under: Hawaiian homes with an extravagantly large roof. Designed by architecture firm Johnston Markleeartistic directors of the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial—”Hut House” covers four interior volumes arranged around a central courtyard. It’s like a modern marriage between local rain-sheltering architecture and a Spanish courtyard home. It’s also big. Really big.

The 7,600-square-foot home has double-height ceilings with skylights in nearly every room—including an open plan living and dining room, master suite, two guest suites, a studio space, as well as the garage, safe room, and mechanical spaces.

But that’s only half the space, really. The architects explain: “The Hut House embraces the notion of indoor outdoor living by creating an equal amount of insulated indoor spaces and sheltered outdoor spaces.”


Overhanging eaves create a luxurious lanai, or protected veranda, around the entire home. Spaces between the four volumes offer access to the central courtyard. A slightly sunken terrace in the center helps to drain away rainwater.


The home’s minimal interior takes advantage of its many-faceted roof as a major design element, with vaulted ceilings pierced by triangular skylights. The walls are white or cement gray, with natural wood window trim.


Via: Dezeen

China unveils world’s largest air purifier



And there’s more to it than the white tower

In the northwestern Chinese city of Xi’an, the government has built a 328-foot-tall air purifier to help combat air pollution in the area. The project’s lead researcher, Cao Junji, said that since it began operating, the tower has produced more than 353 cubic feet of clean air a day and that air quality for nearly four square miles around the tower has noticeably improved.

(image) Via Global Construction Review

The cylindrical white tower is only one part of what’s being claimed as the world’s largest air purification system. At the tower’s base, there is also a large network of greenhouses. Polluted air is brought into these glass rooms where it’s heated by trapped solar energy. The hot air naturally rises, moving upwards through the tower’s many sets of cleaning filters.

Run by the Institute of Earth Environment at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the tower and its effects are being closely monitored. More than a dozen sensors are being used to track pollution levels, with the air purifier reducing the amount of the most dangerous particulates by 15 percent during heavy pollution. Researchers have already begun planning a 1,640-foot-tall version capable of cleaning the air for a small city.

Around the globe, air pollution is the single biggest health risk to city-dwellers. This massive air purifier system is China’s latest effort in curbing its smog problem. The city of Beijing recently announced a plan to replace 67,000 gas-fueled taxis with electric ones, and has previously worked with the Dutch designer Dan Roosegarde on a 23-foot-tall smog-sucking tower as well as air-purifying bikes.

Via: GCR, South China Morning Post

Classic midcentury modern home dazzles after careful remodel


Step inside Sacramento building designer John Packowski was working in his front yard when a couple passing by started asking him about his house (a midcentury modern dwelling he remodeled). One thing led to another, and Packowski gave the men (Todd Gage and Rick Welts) a tour. “They told us, ‘if you ever want to sell it, let us know,’” Packowski says. “My wife and I talked about it, but we weren’t ready.” But when Gage and Welts purchased another midcentury modern home a few miles away, he was more than ready for another remodel challenge. Rick Welts and Todd Gage love the indoor-outdoor nature of their Sacramento home. All three men—and, in fact, all the players mentioned in this story—are MCM fans. Gage came to it naturally, having been raised in Palm Springs. For Packowski, the area has long been a favorite vacation spot. Welts (you might recognize his name, as he’s the president and COO of the Golden State Warriors) is a more recent convert. “I didn’t fall in love with midcentury architecture until my first trip to Palm Springs in the early 1990s,” he says. “I was immediately hooked on the simplicity, clean lines, and the use of glass and light.” The design team chose to leave the home’s front facade unchanged. Packowski describes their new home as a hybrid between a classic midcentury dwelling and a ranch house with a 1970s vibe. Before the remodel, its condition could be described as original, but tired. “We purchased it from a couple who had lived there for 38 years and clearly loved and took great care of it,” Welts says. “The bones of the house were such that it would be easy to update yet retain all the essential elements of the original architecture.” The couple hired Packowski and interior designer Katrina Stumbos to conduct what the building designer calls a “surgical strike.” The goal was to keep the midcentury character they all loved, but to make it work for how people live today. Before the remodel, the fireplace was dominated by a large copper hood. The design team chose to leave the original stone, but replace the copper element with something more subdued. The metal firewood storage and curved leather sofa are custom. The floor tile is from Porcelanosa. The designer chose to use classic midcentury finishes, like the wood in the custom headboard, throughout. “The exterior of the house had fantastic lines, but the colors were flat and the landscape was old,” Packowski says. “The interior architecture was worn, dated, dark, and out of scale. Curiously, for a midcentury home, it didn’t have a great connection to the backyard. Instead, it was oriented to the side patios.” The exterior, most of the window walls, and the large stone fireplace (albeit with a dramatic, partial face-lift) remain. The design team reordered the rooms, putting the master bedroom in the back (the better to access the pool and spa) and placing the kids’ rooms (the couple shares the house with Gage’s son and daughter) where the master used to live. In the window-lined dining room, a light fixture from Design Within Reach hangs over a custom dining room table. Dark paneling, slate floors, and worn finishes and fixtures are replaced with crisp white walls, light-gray tiles, and modern amenities. “We gave everything a light, bright palette,” says Stumbos. “We chose some classic midcentury materials for new elements—such as walnut wood for the cabinets and gray porcelain tile for the floors.” Packowski says that when he first entered the home, he had visions of the Rat Pack. “The house speaks of a cocktail culture, it has a definite Palm Springs vibe,” he says. “A large, centrally located wet bar in the remodel was essential. Not only is it great for serving drinks, it helps lure pe[...]

Paris micro apartment squeezes it all into 290 square feet


The bed, the most important part of the home, is put on a pedestal Paris-based architect Nathalie Eldan has completed the renovation of a micro apartment located within a two-story townhouse next to the Bastille, and much like this prototype in London, it uses built-in storage to great effect. Slightly larger at 27 square meter, or about 290 square feet, the flat, dubbed Urban Cocoon, is actually a duplex, with the main living area found on the upper floor. Here, the space is divided into three zones by way of large birchwood furniture units that integrate a variety of functions. Comprising the private quarters is a pedestal on which a bed is placed with a dropped ceiling, creating a cozy nook whose base includes pull-out drawers. Because Eldan regards this as the most important part of the home, the bed is a permanent fixture that cannot be folded up or hidden away. A system of woven screens encloses the room while still allowing some natural light to come through. The adjacent living area can be seen as extension of the pedestal. A full-wall birchwood unit not only includes storage that follows the slop of the ceiling, it also encompasses a tiny kitchen counter and other functions (like a TV). As for the bathroom, it’s contained within another furniture unit on the lower level that also holds additional storage for items like coats, shoes, and luggage (as well as the entrance to the flat; a minimalist steel staircase connects the two floors). Part of Eldan’s project was to renovate the old home, excavating some of its traditional features like its rough-hewn trusses that had been covered when a false ceiling was installed years ago. [...]

Prefab Flex House comes tricked out with smart home features


Not your usual prefab If today’s tiny houses and shipping container homes (and shipping container tiny homes) strike you as a bit absurd or otherwise impractical, perhaps the new Flex House concept presents a more compelling vision of sustainable compact living. Recently shown at CES, the so-called “right-sized” prefab design comes in at a comfortable 760 square feet, with smart home trimmings from head to toe. Flex House, presented by Green Builder Media, is the second and newest concept from California-based modular housing company Shelter Dynamics. From the outset, the curved roofline suggests that this efficiency-focused design doesn’t skimp on the architectural details that might charm buyers of traditional houses. Inside, pale floors and walls are garnished by arched doorways, recessed lighting, plus built-in seating and storage. The Flex House on display at CES 2018. Upon entry, you’ll find two living areas: a main living room to the left, and a nook to the right, which leads to a bonus “niche” space before you get to the kitchen. In the kitchen, two windows bring in light, while 24’’ Bosch appliances make the most of the space. All the cabinets in the model home are from Ikea. Of course, the Flex House wouldn’t be the Flex House without its full suite of smart home integrations and sustainability-minded fixtures. These include: a Nexus eWater greywater recycling system, Rachio WaterSense smart irrigation controller that optimizes water use based on weather data, Sylvania smart lighting, Lutron smart shades, Wemo smart plugs, Sensi smart thermostat, and Kwikset smart lock. And all of this is integrated with the smart assistant Amazon Alexa, which can be controlled by voice or app. The concept also makes the case for electric vehicle charging at home (with 60 PV panels from JinkoSolar, a battery system from Tabuchi Electric, and EV charging station from Bosch), as well as emissions-free landscaping using lithium battery-powered outdoor tools from Greenworks. Envisioned as a flexible housing solution suitable for young families, professionals, empty nesters, and more, the Flex House is expected to go on the market this June. The base cost will be between $125,000 and $150,000 depending on specific fixtures installed. A look inside the Flex House 3D model. This rendering shows what a Flex House development would look like. [...]

To bed frame or not to bed frame?



Some say bed frames are a must, others say they’re optional

It all started with a tweet, as many things do these days, one that exposed an insidious lie that rom-coms peddle willy-nilly—that men have bed frames.

Though the missive hardly went viral, it was clear that more than a few people on the internet agreed with the observation or experienced it firsthand: that a lot of men sleep on just a mattress—sans bed frame—on the floor. In other words, some men can’t be bothered to appoint their bedrooms in a “grown-up” manner.

The team here at Curbed had a lot to say about that. Some of us thought it was no biggie, while others could hardly stomach the thought of sleeping on just a mattress without any extra support.

But is that so wrong? It’s certainly a bare-bones, if not deliberately bohemian, look. It’s also a matter of resources. A frame or box spring can be an added expense, and if you can live without one, then why not?

(image) Ikea
No boxspring required.

There’s also the question of what kinds of mattresses can go on the floor. Can a foam mattress simply be plopped on the floor in the same way that a traditional one can? Does it matter? Or is it a matter of preference?

So let’s say you’ve graduated to a bed frame—and no, we’re not talking about those metal frames on casters. Do you go with a flat platform, or one with wooden slats, or metal? Boxsprings or nah? Sound off, below.

(image) Crate & Barrel
Boxspring, required.