Inspiring Norwegian Family Lives in a Sustainable Glass Dome in the Arctic Circle

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Inspired by a vision to create a sustainable and healthy home and way of life for their family, Benjamin and Ingrid Marie Hertefølger have built a unique all-natural house completely covered by a glass dome, on a plot of land on Norway’s Sandhorney island, in the Arctic Circle.

The Hertefølgers knew they wanted to live in an eco-home made of only natural materials – cob (a mixture of sand, clay and straw), wood and glass – but also that it had to withstand the harsh weather conditions of the Arctic Circle. Aware of the robust properties of geodesic domes, they contacted Solardome Industries about a bespoke dome to cover their new house. It had to withstand the heavy snowfalls common to Northern Norway, maintain a uniform temperature throughout the year, reduce ultraviolet radiation, minimise maintenance and act as a greenhouse for the family’s organic vegetable and fruit garden.

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These Luxury Children’s Playhouses Cost Almost as Much as Full-Size Ones

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Growing up, I would have accepted a dingy old shack for a playhouse and considered it the coolest place in the world. But these days it’s possible for kids to enjoy luxury playhouses that cost just as much as full-size homes, thanks to ‘La Petite Maison’, a  business run by American architect Alan Mower.

Working with interior designer Michelle Pollak, Mower creates what he claims are ‘the most luxurious playhouses in the world’. The structures are built using architectural stylings from around the world, including a Tudor-themed house, a Mediterranean playhouse, a San Diego villa, a saloon-like Tom Sawyer house, and more. Most of these houses have two floors and the interiors are decorated with bespoke furniture that would look great in any normal size house. Electricity and water are included, and air conditioning and heating cost extra.

Of course, these exclusive playhouses will cost you an arm and a leg. Or an hour’s earnings, depending on how rich you are. A basic model playhouse is priced at a $9,000, but the cost can go up to a whopping $75,000 depending on what extra features you opt for. But that’s nothing compared to what celebrity parents Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are spending on the playhouse they’ve commissioned Mower to build for their two-year-old daughter. It’s going to be a $146,000 mansion, complete with a walk-in closet, kitchen, a loft, a reading nook, and a living room with a functional fireplace.

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Manila Cemetery Known as “Beverly Hills of the Dead” Is Full of Luxurious Mansions

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Death doesn’t put an end to the luxurious lifestyles of some of Manila’s wealthy Chinese residents. They are buried by their loved ones in a mammoth graveyard known as the Chinese Cemetery of Manila. This place is a small neighborhood in it’s own right, with many tombs reaching the size of mansions with all the modern amenities included!

The ginormous mausoleums lining either side of two-way streets within the cemetery are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities that many living people can only dream of. They have fully-functioning kitchens and bathrooms with luxury fittings, and plush bedrooms for visiting relatives. Some of these places even have full-time residents who don’t seem to mind sharing their living space with the dead.

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Goose Creek Tower – Alaska’s Whimsical Dr. Seuss House

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The Alaskan wilderness is home to many natural wonders but also an unusual man-made structure that appears to have jumped right out of the pages of a Dr. Seuss book. Located over 130 kilometers away from Anchorage city, the quirky 185-ft edifice known as Goose Creek Tower looks like a bunch of houses built on top of each other. 

This strange tourist attraction was built after a forest fire created a natural clearing among the trees, midway between Willow and Talkeetna. This particular spot apparently offers a beautiful view of Denali – North America’s highest mountain peak – and it’s this detail that explains, at least in part, the strange design of Goose Creek Tower. It started off as a single-storey house, but as the forest started growing back after the fire, owner Phil Weidner began adding additional floors just so he could enjoy the picturesque view from the windows, over the canopy. The completed structure is so reminiscent of the illustrated Dr. Seuss stories by Theodore LeSieg, that locals fondly refer to it as the ‘Dr. Seuss House’.

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Dutch Family Is Living in Giant Greenhouse for Three Years as Environmental Experiment

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Since June last year, a Dutch family has been living in a wooden cabin in Rotterdam that’s built inside of a large greenhouse. Inhabited by botanical stylist Helly Scholten, her husband, their two teenage daughters, and their pet dog, ‘Concept House’ presents the perfect example of sustainability in the modern world. Not only does it reduce energy costs by trapping heat, it also allows the Scholtens to grow their own food in a rooftop vegetable garden.

Helly, who decorates photo shoots and events with plants and flowers, had always dreamed of living off-grid in an environmentally friendly home. But she wanted the home to be located in Rotterdam, the second-largest city in the Netherlands. That was next to impossible, given that the city has long since embraced modern architecture.

She had almost given up on her dream, but in an incredible stroke of luck, Helly found out that a group of students at Rotterdam University were building experimental houses, one of which was inside a greenhouse. This was exactly what Helly wanted, so she didn’t waste any time contacting the head of the project. “We met a professor at the university’s Sustainable Building Technology program and he said he was looking for a ‘test family’ for a new sustainable home,” she said, speaking to NY Times. “We applied on the spot.”

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IKEA-Style Home Can Be Built in 4 Days Using Only a Screwdriver

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French architecture firm Multipod Studio has come up with a revolutionary housing prototype – the PopUp House. This unique dwelling comes in the form of stackable blocks that anyone can put together IKEA style, using only a screwdriver. It’s supposedly as easy as building with Legos.

The company unveiled their PopUp House design in 2014, but was once again picked up by several media outlets last month, and since we missed the initial launch two years ago, we decided it was a good opportunity to include this amazing concept in our Architecture collection.

The PopUp House prototype, located in Aix-in-Provence, is a 1,614-square foot structure with an open layout – the living room is connected to a kitchen, dining area, and terrace. It also includes two bathrooms, an office, a master bedroom, and two smaller bedrooms. It doesn’t sound any different than a conventional house, but what really makes the PopUp House special is the construction process, which only takes four days and only requires an electric screwdriver.

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Texas Family Has Ordinary-Looking Barns Converted Into Epic Country Houses

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‘Barndominiums’ are becoming a major home improvement trend in North Texas, thanks to Morton Buildings, a construction company that specializes in converting ordinary barns into luxurious dwellings. They started in the year 2000, and they have since transformed thousands of barns and sheds across the US into beautiful mansions.

Paul and Judy Pogue, from McKinney, Texas, are the proud owners of two of the most amazing barndominiums made by Morton – one in their hometown and a 10-bedroom one in Oklahoma. The one in McKinney, a 6,600 square-foot steel structure, looks rather boring from the outside, but the inside is simply breathtaking. The old barn is finished with hard wood walls and floors, leather furnishings, chandeliers, a bar, kitchen, and all the other comforts of a luxury home.

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Guy Gives Up Lucrative Career to Build Whimsical Treehouse in the Middle of Nature

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Unhappy with his high flying career in fashion, New Yorker Foster Huntington gave it all up to live life on his own terms. He is now in the news for building ‘Bro-topia’, an outlandish dwelling made up of two treehouses connected by a swinging rope bridge, on a grassy hilltop in southwest Washington state. 

It all started in 2011, when Foster quit his job at Ralph Lauren, sold all his belongings, and lived in a mobile van for months. He was working as a men’s fashion designer and although he initially found the job exciting and challenging, Huntington realized he didn’t care that much about clothing. “I remember looking at photos of bush pilots in Alaska and their ruggedly stylish world and thinking: ‘I can take photos. I don’t want to live my life in the city. I want to go do something else,’” he told New York Times.

So he pursued photography for a while, making money creating photo books, but in 2014 he decided that he wanted to spend his time fulfilling his childhood dream of building an epic tree house. So he pooled his life savings, got a few friends on board, and started working on the project on his family’s property in Skamania, Washington.

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This Ordinary-Looking House Is Actually a Renaissance Palace in Disguise

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From the outside, this house in Newport, Oregon, looks pretty ordinary, with yellowed brick walls, white cladding, and a two-car garage. But you’ll be surprised to learn that inside it’s actually an opulent Renaissance-era palace complete with hand-carved doors, stained-glass windows, and centuries-old antique decor.

The unique house belongs to a member of the British nobility – the Right and Honorable Dowager Countess of Shannon, Almine Barton – apparently has excellent reason for maintaining the striking contrast between the spectacular interior and rather drab exterior – taxes.

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Neft Dashları – A Once Bustling City Built on Oil Platforms in the Caspian Sea

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People have been temporarily living on oil platforms ever since they were created, in the early 20th century, but Neft Dashlari, a giant oil platform complex in the Caspian Sea, roughly 40 miles east of Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, serves as a permanent residence to around 1,000 souls. Known as the largest and oldest offshore city in the world, the Soviet-era structure was built in 1949, after engineers found vast resources of oil in the region, thousands of feet beneath the sea floor.

The original foundation consisted of pillars mounted on seven sunken ships, including Zoraster, the world’s first oil tanker. The poles were erected around a central hub, a 17,300-acre artificial island where the main oil wells were located. Between 1952 and 1958, the city grew in size to include 2,000 drilling platforms, joined by a 300-kilometer network of bridge viaducts, spread in a 30-kilometer circle.

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Family Builds Glass Greenhouse around Their Home to Warm It Naturally

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Even though the average temperature in Stockholm, Sweden, is at a frigid 27 degrees Fahrenheit, Marie Granmar, Charles Sacilotto and their young son enjoy a cozy atmosphre all year round. The young couple have managed to harness the power of the sun by encasing their home in a giant glass greenhouse.

Aptly named ‘Naturhus’ (Nature House), the unique abode is located on the Stockholm archipelago and consists of an old summer house encased in glass. Marie and Charles were originally looking for an empty lot to build a house from scratch, but they eventually settled on repurposing this old summer house for year-round living, by building a greenhouse around it.

“This is a summer house,” Marie explained. “It was not really made for year-round living, but that was part of the idea, that you could actually put the greenhouse around the summer house and actually live in it with nice comfort all year round.” Charles, an engineer by profession, designed and made the necessary modifications himself, drawing inspiration from the work of Swedish eco-architect Bengt Warne, who just happens to be his mentor.

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Man Spends 1,000 Hours and $200,000 Turning a Cave into His Dream Home

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In search of a simpler life, a corporate honcho from Australia decided to give up his career and become a caveman. But not before spending an eye-watering £160,000 ($230,848) to renovate a 250-million-year-old cave in England to suit his tastes!

Angelo Mastropietro, 38, was inspired to make the change after he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2007. The condition led him to become temporarily paralyzed, and he spent that time reflecting on the things that really mattered to him.

“My life before I became a caveman was really quite different,” the former recruitment boss said. “Like most people I had aspirations to work in the corporate world. I had a lapse that left me essentially paralysed, which was a catalyst to review where I was, where I was going with my lifestyle. I wanted to be in a place where I had a happier and healthier life.”

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The World’s Most Expensive Dollhouse Costs a Lot More Than a Real House

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Priced at an eye-watering $8.5 million, the Astolat Dollhouse Castle is easily the most expensive dollhouse in the world. The 800 pound, 9 foot tall museum-quality miniature house, with its 29 rooms and a wizard’s tower to boot, was inspired by the fantasy castle ‘Astolat’ that features in Alfred Tennyson’s poem Lady of the Shalott, and built over a period of 13 years, between 1974 and 1987.

Miniature artist Elaine Diehl was primarily in charge of building the Astolat Dollhouse, but she collaborated with many artists all over the world. According to Wikipedia, the “interiors and adjoining areas were each constructed to the highest standards of that time,” while “the exterior took a year to sculpt to the final finish.”

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Architect Turns Old Grain Silo into Amazing-Looking Home

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It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but this cylindrical structure is an architectural marvel. It actually used to be an old grain silo from the 1950s, but it’s been transformed a cozy, well-equipped one-bedroom by architect Christoph Kaiser. He now lives in the silo-house – located in Phoenix, Arizona – with his wife.

The quirky 340-square-foot home has a very small carbon footprint, but not at the cost of modern comforts. Kaiser, who purchased the silo from a Kansas farmer and transported it to Arizona on a pickup truck, made all sorts of modifications to make it habitable. He added a ten-inch spray foam insulation between the silo walls and the interior walls, and painted the corrugated shell sheet white to reflect the heat of the desert sun.

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The Sea Organ of Zadar – A Musical Instrument Powered by Wave Movement

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The Sea Organ is an incredible musical instrument made up of a system of pipes and whistles that plays actual music as the waves of the Adriatic Sea push air through it.

At the end of World War 2, the shoreline of Zadar, a beautiful Croatian city with a history dating back to prehistoric times, had been almost completely destroyed. In the years that followed, many of its lost landmarks were rebuilt as plain blocks of concrete, and the coastline was no exception. Seeking to restore it back to its former glory, local authorities brought in award-winning architect Nikola Bašić, who, inspired by the hydraulis, an instrument built by the ancient Greeks that used water to push air through tuned pipes, designed and overlooked the construction of the Sea Organ, or Morske orgulje.

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