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Annie Residence (Bercy Chen Studio)

This two family home in Austin uses so many large glass walls that it seems like an open air living space. Inspired by Asian architecture, the architects used large glass sheets to ensure spatial continuity between the indoor and outdoor spaces. Incorporating a body of water that perfectly matches the floor height further extends the space by reflecting light and, with a cluster of water plants carefully positioned so that they can be seen from various viewpoints, it adds a natural element that balances out all the steel and glass. Plus, take a look at that glowing garage and the sail used on the upper level to create a shady outdoor living space.

A few details/quotes from Dwell on the project:

The exterior walls of the Bercy house are constructed with Thermasteel, panels made from galvanized steel and a unique resin that provide structural framing, insulation, and vapor barrier with an R-29 rating twice the required amount. โ€œWe have so much glass that we have to offset it by having very efficient ceiling and wall systems,โ€ says Bercy. โ€œWe wanted movable glass walls instead of tiny little sliding glass doors that pop off their tracks all the time,โ€ says Bercy. So he and Chen tracked down the double-glazed, insulated, six-by-nine-foot doors rom a company called Fleetwood. โ€œTheyโ€™re a little more expensive, but when you slide the heavy doors open, youโ€™re making a profound gesture to leave the house and step outside,โ€ says Bercy. –Dwell

Hi Tension Wire as Fencing

Recently at my home I’ve been having a design dilemma and related to finding a cost effective way to deal with my current hedge/fence situation. A little background: The house I live in was a foreclosure and at one time it had a lush hedge surrounding the property, but after being empty for 9 months the hedge is mostly dead and terribly unattractive. My plan has been to replace the current hedge with a more drought tolerant plant, and after thorough research on hedges in my neighborhood, I’ve finally decided on the podocarpus plant. It makes for a very tall, thick and lush hedge, and my neighbors who have a particularly nice one have had it about 4 years and only water it 15 minutes a week. Perfect.

But my next problem was deciding what to do while the hedge filled out. I didn’t want to just have empty spaces between each plant as I waited for it to grow–but any money spent on building a wood or other high dollar fence would essentially be wasted because it would need to be removed when the hedge properly filled out. So I needed a fence that provided security at a low linear foot price so I could invest more in older, more mature plants. Also, I wanted to be able to leave the fence there so when the hedge filled out entirely it would still provide security and keep my dog in the yard.

Then it occurred to me: ranchers use hi-tensile fences to enclose thousands of acres. And I remember seeing it used a long time ago in the Ocean 1.7 Better Shelter homes built in Orange County, CA a few years ago. They’re perfectly modern and not going to break the bank.

[via Ocean 1.7 Photos]

Source: Via

Beach Bungalow (Brown/Saide Residence)

The main thing that struck me about this particular residence was the front facade. Lush landscaping almost completely obscures the structure while natural grasses and gravel disguise what seems to be the edge of the drive. I love how the landscaping comes across as very natural and easy to maintain, and (don’t shoot me) but I also really like how the architecture is sort of hidden because of it.

Residence was designed by Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz in collaboration with architect Brian E. Boyle

View it here.

[via loftlife]

Shoreditch Prototype House

If you are building or remodeling a house, you might consider incorporating vertical planting to provide shade in the warmer months. As this project by Cox Bulleid Architects shows, you don’t need a lot of land to have a good amount of greenery, though it should be said to take care in making sure there are structural supports for any weight of large screens/mesh with plantings and soil.

The project has been developed as a prototype low energy house for dense urban sites and seeks to green the city through the use of vertical planting as screen, filter, sunshade and oxygenator to create a new ‘garden city’ in an urban context…Bolted on steel decks provide balconies and privacy screens while planting grown over the mesh gives shade in summer and allows direct solar heating in winter. – Cox Bulleid Architects

See it here.

[via Grand Designs]

Mirrored Fence

When perusing through Carolina Eclectic’s blog, her photo of a mirrored fence just about jumped out and slapped me. Just put up a mirror all along the perimeter and voilà suddenly your outdoor space seems twice as large. How smart is that (and why haven’t I thought of that for my own postage-stamp patio)?

to see post and more photos, click here.

Source: Via

Green Roofs/Wall Panels

Audrey over at the Dwell Blog wrote a short article about green roofs that’s worth a look. Installation is not as simple as I’m sure we’d all like to believe, but when done right, green roofs can have important economic benefits that add up into one smart investment.

When looking through some of the companies offering green roof systems, there was some impressive photos of Green Wall Panels by G-SKY that had me imagining my second floor patio walls completely covered in greenery. Might be just the thing for those of us who can’t quite commit (or afford) to redo our roofs yet, but still want to scratch that itch of ‘green-ing’ our home a little bit more. Pricing depends on plant selections, wall type, and overall size.

There’s also ELT Living Walls (not shown), which are a bit more accessible (and affordable, starting at $189.00).

(photo on upper left
[via Dwell Blog]


Holy. This is supposed to be available from DWR sometime this spring, which for some reason surprises me. I guess I’m impressed that something so seemingly useful will be available so soon (usually when I find stuff like this it’s not available until the next year, if ever). The waterHOG Water Storage tank can be easily installed pretty much anywhere, not to mention un-installed, which means you can take it with you if you move. The Groundhog Thermal Mass (shown on right) is intended for in-wall or in-floor thermal mass.

“The rainwater from your roof represents a valuable commodity: with the waterHOG rainwater tank you can catch and store your rainwater for reuse in your garden and even in your house. Rainwater can be used for drinking, toilet flushing, laundry water and of course for irrigating your garden. Donโ€™t let your rainwater go to waste – the waterHOG is functional, efficient and visually discreet rainwater storage!”

1800mm x 500mm x 220mm for a capacity of 183L


Solar LED Architectural & Landscape Lighting

If you’re needing some landscape lighting, this would be something to consider.

“Solar Cynergy’s Solar LED lighting solutions exemplify the pragmatic and combine dynamic aesthetics with functional efficiency. From safety to pathway lighting, Solar Cynergy’s Residential RSC Solar LED Series will highlight your home for lifetimes to come.”

All RSC Series are made of Polycarbonite Resin and PC/ABS
Working Temp: -4 degrees to 158 F

– Made in Japan
– NO Battery! (capacitor technology)
– 10 Year Warranty, 25+ year life
– Weather resilient!
– Drive over them!
– Perfect accent for landscapes, pathways, driveways

[posted by katie]

Purchase Information:

Price: $129.99
Availability: Buy Solar LED Architectural & Landscape Lighting here