Man Decorates His House with 180,000 Wine Corks

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Miroslav Svoboda’s house, in Mutenice, the Czech Republic, has become a regular tourist magnet after he decorated it with 180,000 wine corks.

The idea of using wine corks to make his house more appealing came to Mr Svoboda two years ago, There was an empty circle space on one of the walls, and he decided to fill it with a drawing, but when he noticed his friends were pretty unimpressed he decided to fill the space with wine corks. The small town of Mutenice is located in the South Moravian wine region of the Czech Republic, so wine corks were fairly easy to come by. A passionate red wine drinker, Miroslav Svoboda saved his own corks, but also got them by the thousands from friends and neighbors.

The experienced bricklayer developed an entire process to clean the wine corks and make sure his decorative work passes the test of time. First he placed them in a disinfectant bath that removed the smell of wine and killed any germs that could have caused mold to appear. He then dried them in nets made from onion bags and cut them in half. Using cement, he fixed each piece of cork into place, by hand, into various shapes. Svoboda says his house is very old and has extremely thick walls, so he didn’t cover his house in corks for padding, but purely for aesthetic reasons.

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German Couple Convert Train Cars into Comfy Home

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Vanessa Stallbaum and Marco Stepniak love trains so much they decided to integrate two old mail cars in the design of their new house.

The German couple met on a train, and their first vacation was a four-day train ride from Berlin to Kazakhstan, so when Marco told his girlfriend he wanted to build their house around two train cars, she immediately agreed. 34-year-old Stepniak got the crazy idea 15 years ago, when he attended a youth club, close to his home town of Herten. It was set up in two old train cars and he remembers thinking someone could actually live in them.

Two new train cars like the two wanted to use for their new house, cost around €500,000 ($725,000), but they were lucky enough to find an online ad for two second-hand mail cars from Switzerland. Built between 1974 and 1975, the two railway antiques were in remarkably good condition, and they cost only €20,000 ($29,000). Unfortunately, transporting them from Switzerland to Germany actually cost more than the cars themselves €26,000 ($37,600), but  Vanessa and Marco spared no expense in order to realize their dream.

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Incredible Key Art ay the Coolest Locksmith Shop in New York

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Greenwich Locksmiths, one of the oldest locksmith shops in New York City, stands out with its unusual facade art made of thousands of used keys.

The incredible facade was designed and executed by Phil Mortillaro, owner of Greenwich Locksmith and an expert when it comes to cracking safes. He opened up shop in the West Village back in 1968, and as his shop became famous, he once considered redesigning his common-looking headquarters to look like an impressive classic American building. He got all the approvals he needed, but decided not to go through with the idea, for fear his locksmith shop would have looked more like a Disney World attraction. Instead, he decided to make his workplace unique by decorating it with discarded keys.

Seen from a distance, the patterns on the Greenwich Locksmiths facade look like a bunch of spirals and squiggles, but as soon as you get a little closer and notice the whole thing is covered with tens of thousands of keys, you realize just how impressive it really is. Mr. Mortlillaro created this unique work of art by himself, last October, and his shop – reputed as one of the best in the business – is getting a lot more attention.

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New York Apartment Is Decorated with 25,000 Ping Pong Balls

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Known as the “Box Box Project”, this 90-square-meter apartment designed by Snarkitecture is decorated with 25,000 ping pong balls.

Daniel Arsham’s apartment in Brooklyn is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. The first time you walk through the door, its walls look like large gray pixelated screens that fade to white towards the ceiling, but as you approach them, you see thew are actually covered with ping pong balls, 25,000 of them, to be exact.

The rest of the apartment is decorated in minimalist  style, featuring only a bed, a few shelves and s built-in dresser, but that just means the ping pong balls get center stage in this decor. Attached to the offices of Snarkitecture, the Box Box apartment can be accessed by climbing a ladder  in the office’s employee bathroom.

This one-of-a-kind loft took two months to complete, at a cost of less than $100 per square foot, almost $50 cheaper than an average apartment. Cheaper is better, of course, but considering ping pong balls are among the most flammable objects on Earth, I hope the residents are non-smoking.

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Ultimate Children’s Playhouse Costs $230,000

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Built for the children of a Swiss millionaire, the world’s most expensive playhouse cost $230,000 and took over 2,000 man hours to complete.

The Wendy playhouse was built by a small British firm, in North Lynn, Norfolk, and then transported to Gstaad, Switzerland. It was ordered by an extravagant millionaire who wanted to surprise his children for Christmas, by giving them a miniature replica of the chalet he owns in the foothills of the Alps. But this isn’t your average playhouse; this thing has double glazing, underfloor heating, four rooms, including a large living room with a chimney illuminated by LED lights, fully fitted kitchen, and pretty much anything else you’d expect to find in a high-end home.

Before starting construction, Russell Bowlby, head of the Flights of Fantasy playhouse building firm, went to Switzerland to study the building style, and weather conditions the commissioned playhouse had to withstand. With temperatures under -20 degrees Celsius, during the Winter, it had to be thoroughly insulated and heated, so the kids could play comfortably. A team of ten craftsman spent 2,000 manhours building the world’s most expensive playhouse, and an extra 10 days to fit the interior.

Around $155,000 covered the cost of the materials and construction, while the shipping of the house from Norfolk to Gstaad was another $95,000. Bowlby says “you won’t find anything like this playhouse in the world – its is as expensive as it gets.”

While I’m sure this will make an ideal playground for the millionaire’s children, I can’t help but wonder if he isn’t spoiling them just a bit, with presents like this. After all, he could have bought several normal houses in some parts of the world, for that amount of cash.

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Historic Defense Tower Becomes Modern Home

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With the intention of salvaging this building of historical value, industrial designer and owner Duncan Jackson paired up with a team from Piercy Conner Architects and managed to transform an old defense tower into a modern comfy home

The Martello Towers were built all over the coast of Great Britain in Kent, Sussex, Essex or Suffolk, in the 1800s, during the Napoleonic wars. They were meant to stop the French navy from reaching Britain’s shores, and were able to shoot cannon balls one mile out, but after Napoleon’s defeat, they became redundant.

Duncan Jackson and architect Stuart Piercy had their work cut out for them as this “make-over” of Tower Y was never going to be an easy job. Piercy admits: “When we first walked round, the cellar was five-foot deep in water, while the roof was covered in soil blown across the fields over the years. But the underlying structure was as strong as a battleship.”

“We made friends with the conservation and planning people. We needed them on our side. There are people who say the towers shouldn’t become homes because this takes away from their historic role. But if they aren’t going to be lived in, what’s to happen to them? Those that hadn’t been blasted away during target practice by the military have often been left to rot, and then demolished,” says Jackson.

Seen from the outside, the tower doesn’t inspire comfort, however imaginative you might be, but everything changes as soon as you walk through the door. The talent, skill and joined efforts of those who worked at this restoration have really payed off, as they managed to transform this tower into one of the most original modern homes of Great Britain.

It took 10 years to complete, but the end result really is breathtaking – a one of a kind home, combining a historic brick fort with the comfort of a palace-like home.

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Fan Builds M.A.S.H. Set in His Own Backyard

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M.A.S.H. was one of the best TV series ever, and everybody loved it, but Kraw27 took his passion for M.A.S.H. to a whole other level when he decided to build a replica of the show in his backyard.

Trying to create replicas of the Swamp or Hawkeye’s tent is commendable enough, but he managed to create an almost perfect replica of the 70s series set, complete with an old Jeep and a military ambulance just like the original one. Hawkeye’s tent is exact in every detail, but Kraw27 managed to hide some modern conveniences in the decor, like a TV, mini fridge and CD player, and says it’s the best place to play poker on Thursday nights.

This is simply awesome, and if this guy isn’t already working as a set designer, someone should make him an offer, fast.

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Dordoy – The Shipping Container Bazaar of Kyrgyzstan

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One of Asia’s largest shopping centers, the Dordoy Bazaar consists of around 7,000 shipping containers, which makes it a monument to repurposing.

Located near the city of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Dordoy Bazaar is one of the main entrepots through which Chinese goods make their way to markets in Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. It was inaugurated in 1992, and as wholesale markets across the country began to plummet, the bazaar’s popularity kept rising transforming it in the monument of raw commerce it is today.

Dordoy Bazaar stretches for about a kilometer, on the north-eastern outskirts of Bishkek, and features all kinds of goods, from Chinese and Turkish knock-offs to Russian music CDs, all off them stocked in the thousands of stacked shipping containers that serve as shops and storage space. Practically, the entire bazaar is built out of shipping containers organized in rows to form streets and plazas of sort. A 2005 newspaper report stated there were between 6,000 and 7,000 containers in Dordoy Bazaar, and their numbers probably went up considerably, since then.

The few buildings in Dordoy Bazaar that aren’t made of containers serve as administrative offices, hotels and toilets.

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The Krzywy Domek – Poland’s Crooked House

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Looking at these photographs you have to wonder whether  this is real or the result of an optical illusion.

The Krzywy Domek, as it is originally called, is part of the Rezident shopping center in Sopot, Poland. It is three stories high, has a total of about 4,000 square meters and is now the “residence” of a pub called the Wonky Pub. Although it’s architecture is similar to that of the surrounding buildings, this Crooked House seems weary or melting. Ever since it was built, in 2004, the Crooked House became Poland’s most photographed building.

This unusual house is the result of Polish architect’s Szotynscy Zaleski  imaginative mind, who was inspired by Jan Marcin Szancer‘s fairytale illustrations and also by Per Dahlberg’s art, whose drawings you can find inside the Krzywy Domek. (video).

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Ingenious Architect Uses Aluminum Cans as Shingles for His House

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Richard Van Os Keuls has used flattened aluminum soda and beer cans as siding for his plywood house extension, after deciding conventional materials were too expensive.

Van Os Keuls, an architect from Silver Spring, Maryland, first got the idea of incorporating flattened aluminum cans into his trade after seeing a car drive over a discarded soda can. He thought to himself that it would make a pretty decent aluminum shingle, so he began building his own stash of old cans to experiment with, at a later time. That time came around when he finished the plywood extension on his house, and began looking for a cheap material to side it with.

The ingenious architect admits his idea of using aluminum cans has nothing to do with art or the environment, as he was simply looking for a cheap and durable alternative to conventional siding materials. Wearing heavy construction boots, Richard first stomped on the cans and then flattened them even further with a sledgehammer, rounding the corners so people wouldn’t get cut when leaning up against the house. He found that flattening each can was time-consuming, so he started working on several at a time. When they were ready to be placed on the wall, he would place 30-40 cans overlapping each other and secure them with a long aluminum nail.

At first, he wanted to paint over the cans, but as the siding started to take place, the color mosaic looked better and better, and he even made sure that no no two same color cans were put together. He began ordering cheap colorful beer and soda cans from other countries, just because he wanted as many different colors as possible. But he needed a lot more cans than he could buy, if he was to complete the siding, so he tried to collect more from the neighborhood dump. That got him cited twice, and earned him fines for theft of city property and transporting stolen property, so he had to rely on donations from neighbors.

When he finally completed his unique project, Richard Van Os Keuls’ house was covered by around 22,000 flattened aluminum cans. He says they aren’t noisy when it rains, and while aluminum tends to develop a chalky oxidation, the ink on the cans has significantly slowed up the process, so his can-covered home is still a colorful inspiration to architects and designers around the world.

 

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Chinese Student Builds Sustainable Egg House

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Daihai Fei, a young Chinese designer, has built himself a sustainable egg-shaped house and spent the last two months living in it.

Originally from Hunan, 24-year-old Daihai Fei came to Beijing to attend the university and make a future for himself. Now, just six months after graduation, he has become somewhat of a local celebrity, after people started noticing he lives in an egg. Rents in China’s capital are very high, so living in a conventional home meant Daihai had to spend most of his income on rent, and that was not an option for this resourceful designer. In just two months time, and with a budget of only 6,400 yuan ($960), Daihai Fei managed to build his very own mobile home.

Daihai Fei built his amazing egg-house on a bamboo frame, covered with various insulating materials, and topped with a layer of stitched bag. The bags themselves are filled with sawdust and grass seeds, which he sprays with water regularly, to help the grass grow faster. Inspired by the grass-covered roofs of Norway, he knows the grass will over greater protection for his home. On the inside, he has all the necessary facilities, including a bed, a small sink, a lamp powered by a small solar panel and even a tiny bookshelf.

Using very cheap materials the designer built his wacky-looking egg house, and after two months of living in it, he says his quality of life greatly improved. He doesn’t have to worry about paying any rent, he has enough money to go out for coffee or a soda, occasionally, and since he’s moved his egg-house right across from his workplace, he doesn’t spend anything on bus fair. If you’re wondering about Daihai’s hygiene, you should know he’s very careful with his earnings, making sure he always has enough to go swimming, every day after work, where also takes a shower.

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Musician Uses Old Records as Shingles for His Roof

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Matt Glassmever, a Nashville musician who doesn’t mind using his hands around the house, has used 350 old vinyl records as shingles for his porch roof.

Using a nail and washer to cover the middle hole in each of the 350 records, Matt managed to create an original roofing that not only looks good, but is also quite practical. As you can imagine, this unusual roof was looked upon with skepticism by people who claimed it would disintegrate in less than a year, from the powerful sunlight, but Matt says he kept another hundred vinyl records outside for two years, and neither heat nor cold did anything to affect their durability. The labels peeled off, obviously, but the records themselves were in very good condition.

I doubt Matt Glassmever cares much about what other say about his roofing project, what’s important is that he managed to recycle some old records in a very original and practical way, and nobody can ever take that away from him.

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If You’ve Ever Wanted to Live in a Church, Now Is Your Chance

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Saint Jakobus Church, a Christian sanctuary dating back to 1870 has been converted into a modern townhouse and is now for sale.

Known as “WoonkerkXL” or “The Residential Church XL“, this unusual home is located in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and is the only so-called “plasters” Gothic style church in the city. Once a soberly decorated church, Saint Jakobus became a beautiful, lively home, once the designers of ZECC Architects were done with it. Paying great attention to space, lighting and functionality, they managed to create a living space you’d actually want to live in, without messing with the exterior or the stained glass windows dating back to 1911.

While it doesn’t serve its original purpose, The Residential Church XL is an important municipal monument, due to the relationship to its surroundings. And apart from its unique design, it’s also very close to Utrecht main tourist attractions and nightlife venues.

Check out the wonderful photos below, and if you like what you see and can fork out 2.375 million euros, you can place a bid on The Residential Church XL, here.

 

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Quetzalcoatl Nest – Mexico’s Snake-Shaped House

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Quetzalcoatl Nest is an unconventional housing complex created by Mexican designer Javier Senosiain, and named after the Aztec snake/bird god of learning and knowledge.

After designing the amazing Nautilus House a few years back, Javier Senosiain strikes again with an even more ingenious architectural project. Located on an irregular piece of land, lined with oak trees and full of caves, some collapsed and some preserved, Quetzalcoatl Nest proved very difficult to complete. Especially if you consider that the designer wasn’t allowed to touch any of the plant life on the premises (which covered 98% of the terrain), and that the small flat surface had to be used as parking space. Under these conditions, Senosiain found an ingenious way of actually making great use of the ravine and came up with a snake-like design for the house.

While it looks like just an eccentric architectural prototype, Quetzalcoatl Nest is actually somebody’s home. Featuring an original design and sporting some really interesting features that allow its owners to live in perfect harmony with nature, Quetzalcoatl Nest is an architectural example to be followed.

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Real-Life Barbie Suite Is the Ultimate Girls’ Pad

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If you’ve always wanted to be like Barbie and live in her pink dream-house, you’re about to get your wish. A hotel in the Italian Alps has opened a series of rooms decorated just like Barbie’s miniature pads.

The owners of the Grand Hotel Savoia, at the Cortina ski resort, thought they’d celebrate Barbie’s 50th anniversary by decorating some of their rooms with real-life furniture and decoration you’d normally only find in Matel’s play sets. That’s right girls, you’ll get the chance to live it up like Barbie for as long as you or your parents can afford it, surrounded by the popular dolls favorite clothes and accessories, including skirts, lace-up dresses, corsets, toy-like chairs and even a sunburst mirror made from Barbie dolls

Italian interior designer described the recently inaugurated Barbie rooms as “the ultimate girls’ pad with details celebrating Barbie’s love of pink.” Barbie fans can book their stay in one of these life-size Barbie homes until the end of next March.

Yesterday the news about a Hello Kitty theme park in Japan, now this…This just hasn’t been my week!

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