Russian Couple Build Their Own Fairy Tale Castle

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A retired couple from the suburbs of Artyom, Russia have worked for 16 years transforming an ordinary house into a fairy tale castle, using only junk materials found on the street and at a local landfill.

They might be pensioners, but Alexey and Valentina Krivov don’t consider themselves too old for fairy tales. They didn’t want to grow old in their grey house and since they couldn’t afford to buy a castle of their own, they decided to build their own castle fit for a prince and princess. Alexey worked in constructions for most of his life and this gave him the chance to be a foreman for his own personal project, and Valentina had experience as a decorator and plasterer, so they figured out most of the details themselves. They started work on their architectural wonder in 1995, salvaging whatever materials they needed from the streets and the nearby construction landfill. As the castle started taking shape, their neighbors started noticing it and became eager to help the Krivovs in whatever way they could.

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Chinese Pharmaceutical Factory Looks More Like the Palace of Versailles

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This is what you’d expect to see in the lavish Palace of Versailles built by Louis the XIVth, but it’s actually the inside of a pharmaceutical company in Harbin, northeast China.

Citizens of Harbin were outraged to see what the state-controlled Harbin Pharmaceutical Group spent their funding on rather than solving more pressing issues, like the factory’s sewage problems, but representatives of the company said the recently emerged photos are part of a smear campaign. They claim the photos show the museum, which takes up three floors in the same building as the factory, where the company showcases local art. Now I’m not an expert on Chinese art, but those gold-tinted walls and lavish chandeliers look pretty European, and some of those rooms look an awful lot like conference halls…In fact, photos of the museum on the company’s website showed white-painted walls, brown wooden floors and none of the opulence in the photos.

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Woman Converts Old Caboose into Comfy Home

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When she bought a 1909 Soo Line caboose in 1975, Marcia Webber never thought she’d end up living in it full time, but she’s now happy to call this collector’s piece home.

Marcia and her husband bought the old caboose from the Turnerville Station, in Whippany, New Jersey, after responding to an ad in the Wall Street Journal that said “wooden cabooses for sale”. At first, the couple used it as a vacation home, but after a going through a divorce and losing her job, Marcia had to move into the caboose permanently. Electricity had been installed a few years back, but with no indoor plumbing and heating, going through the first winter was a pretty rough experience.

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Artist Makes Detailed Architectural Models from Paper

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US-based artist Christina Lihan uses her experience as an architect to create detailed models of famous buildings and urban spaces, from paper.

Ms. Lihan received a Bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Virginia and went on to get her Master’s in architecture, from Columbia University, in New York. She done internships in England, France and Italy, but it was the repetitive, monotonous rhythm of hundreds of soviet-built housing cities she saw in Czechoslovakia that most influenced the way she looked at building facades. After completing her studies, she decided to use all of the acquired knowledge in the name of art, by creating impressive architectural models from paper.

Christina Lihan first decided to dedicate her life to art during the time she spent living in Florida, designing hospitals for another architect. She was really bored, and realized she needed a creative outlet so she just started cutting paper, playing with it and trying to turn it into building models. It sort of grew from there and ultimately became her passion. Her impressive creations are made from unpainted, 300lb, watercolor paper. She carves, cuts and folds every little piece by hand until she assembles them into a completed composition. Ms. Lihan starts by photographing the site she wants to replicate, then moves on to sketching with charcoal, and finally enlarges the drawing to the desired size of the finished piece. She generally places the detailed pieces of paper directly over the drawing.

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Paris Museum Displays Skateboarders’ Dream House

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The PAS House, a skateboarding living environment concept thought up by French pro skater Pierre Andre Senizergues and designer Gil Le Bon Delapointe, has finally been brought to life at the La Gaite Museum, in Paris.

Pierre Andre Senizergues has been in love with his skateboard ever since he first discovered it, as a teenager, and has pretty much built his life around the board. He’s ridden it to five world skateboarding championships and built a successful skateboarding shoe line called etnies, so you can see why he felt a little reluctant to part with it every time he went inside his house. But then one day, he had this crazy idea: “I began imagining a city of the future where skateboards are used as the primary form of transportation and recreation — in and out of your home.” the skater told the Toronto Star. “A utopia city for skateboarders would mean that a skateable path, like a ribbon connecting everything together, links each building in an unending ability to keep in motion on your board.”

So, in the early 2000’s, Senizergues partnered with etnies designer and fellow skateboarding fanatic Gil Le Bon Delapointe to create a perfectly skateable house on Senizergues’ Malibu property. They came up with a few great ideas, and even managed to build a miniature model of this skateboarder’s dream house, but after 10 years and some run-ins with the Coastal Commission, it was still in the project phase. But, La Gaite Museum, in Paris, somehow learned about their original housing idea and presented them with the opportunity of building a prototype for their skate-culture exhibition, running this summer.

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House from Disney’s Animated Movie Up Recreated in Real Life

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A full-scale replica of the iconic house from the movie “Up”, complete with small details from Disney/Pixar’s animation, is being built in the city of Herriman, Utah.

Utah fans looking to feast their eyes on some real-life Disney magic won’t have to take the trip to California anymore, as a real masterpiece starts to take shape a lot closer to home, in Herriman. Blair Bangerter, one of the three brothers in charge of Bangerter Homes – a custom home building company – said: “I was just watching the movie, and thought, ‘We build houses kind of like that, ’” So after getting the go-ahead from Disney, they started recreating Carl and Ellie’s house from “Up”, while making some modifications of their own.

While the laws of physics may not apply to cartoons, they do apply in real life, so in order to make this house safe, the Bangerters had to make some changes: the house is now a narrow rectangle rather than a square, and the chimney and fireplace have been modified so they actually match up in real life. But, according to Adam Bangerter “ff you see it in the movie, you are going to see it in real life here”. The outside is painted in sherbet shades and there is even a replica of Carl and Ellie’s hand-printed mailbox and custom-made garden hose reel. And the movie details continue inside: the upstairs nursery has the same mural Ellie paints in the film, her and Carl’s armchairs have been custom ordered to match those in the animation, and there is a painting of fictional Paradise Falls over the mantle and a custom-made fireplace.

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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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Carpenter Builds the Most Amazing Birdhouses You’ve Ever Seen

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John Looser, a skillful carpenter from Toronto, Canada, builds regular wood mansions for birds.

The 46-year-old carpenter used to work on human houses, but he had to retire after 20 years, due to to a serious car accident that left him with a terrible condition – fibromyalgia. The pain associated with it has no boundaries and most people describe it as deep muscular aching, throbbing, shooting, stabbing and intense burning. The stiffness and pain are worst in the morning and in muscle groups that are used repetitively. Although he had to retire as a house builder for humans, John Looser kept working in residential construction, only his new clients were birds.

“Building birdhouses helps keep my mind busy so that I don’t notice my pain so much,” says John. “As long as I can stay busy, I don’t feel like my muscles are going to seize up and stop moving.” says John, who also suffers from sleeplessness, getting up at 6 am and  working for 8 – 10 hours a day. The small size of his beautiful birdhouses, in comparison with human buildings, allows him to exercise his passion for building houses.

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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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