Malta Home Maximizes a Small Lot With Cantilevered Design

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Located on the tiny island of Malta, this sustainable home by Chris Briffa Architects was designed on a lot only 250 square meters in size. The green-roofed, energy-efficient Hanging Home has turned into a significant design challenge, incorporating the small space with eco-friendly features into this modern yet traditional home.

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In order to bypass the zoning challenges of the small lot, nearly half of the house is cantilevered over the outdoor space, with portions of the living and dining rooms literally floating over the outdoor pool on a slab of concrete.

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The home uses low-energy radiant floor heating to stay warm in the winter, and stays cool in the summer through natural ventilation. The design allows for plenty of natural daylight and cross ventilation, keeping energy use at a minimum. Overall, the natural materials and strategic design provide a sustainable, energy-efficient home that is simple, stylish, and comfortable.

Japanese Home Offers a Minimalist Design With Natural, Earthen Floors

Sustainably Grown Timber Compliments Energy Efficiency of True North Log Homes

True North Log Homes

Built from from white pine heartwood timber that is sustainably grown in northern Ontario and Quebec (certified by the Forest Stewardship Council), this stunning log home comes to us from True North Log Homes.

While reminiscent of the rustic, breezy log home of the distant past, these structures are tech-savvy and utilize computerized machinery and careful preparation of timber to save labor time on-site.

Modular components allow for flexibility in design, as well as reducing the carbon footprint, and exterior construction that takes only a few days to complete. Joined together without screws or nail, the exterior shell is weather-tight. To make up for wood shrinkage, patented systems tighten the house to eliminate the need for chinking of holes.

Interiors can be retrofitted to increase sustainability with options including energy efficient windows, solar panels, spray foam insulation, soundproofing with sheep’s wool, and radiant floor heat.

President of True North Homes, Rob Wrightman, built this log cabin for his family, and frequently opens it up to show his customers the advantages of living in a log home.

True North Floor Plan

Roughly following the floor plan of the Citadel model, the 3,300 square feet includes a separate apartment and garage.

True North Floor Plan

Founded in 1986 and based out of Bracebridge, Ontario, True North Log Homes is known to be a manufacturer of some of North America’s best-engineered log homes. Canadian owned and operated, their innovative craftsmanship and technology is complimented by a commitment to the environmental needs and concerns of forested regions.

True North Exterior

How to Remodel Using Reclaimed Wood Flooring – Choosing the Finish (Part 5 of 5)

Last week I talked about how you can source the right reclaimed wood flooring for your project, and this week I want to conclude with some detail about choosing and installing a floor finish.  One thing to keep in mind when installing any wood floor, you should always (always!) follow the guidelines set out by the National Wood Flooring Association.  They cover every possible scenario you might encounter.  We have them posted on the Viridian Reclaimed Wood website here.

Finishes provide a layer of protection for reclaimed wood flooring, guarding it from dirt, moisture and wear. Finishes also add an attractive sheen to bring out the natural beauty of reclaimed wood flooring. There are many finish options to choose from—each with different advantages—and the finish chosen can significantly alter the look of the wood.

This information below is meant as a starting point to select what is right for your home; however, it is always best to test your choices on uninstalled material to make sure you are getting the results you want.

Wax or Wax Paste:
Wax is the oldest finishing substance for wood floors, and there are still many advantages to finishing your reclaimed wood floors with wax. It is inexpensive, easy to apply, fast drying, easy to repair and long lasting, assuming you provide the proper care. Today’s advanced waxes are also environmentally friendly and more durable than in years past.

At Viridian, we regularly use and recommend Osmo Polyx brand for durability and ease of application. Osmo has proven in tests to be as tough as polyurethane, yet it’s still a natural, repairable, low-toxicity finish that nicely complements reclaimed wood flooring. Of course, there are a few downsides to wax, as well – water will stain wax finishes and occasional buffing and reapplication of wax will be required. Chances are, your grandmother knew how to wax her wooden floors; if you are attracted to reclaimed wooden flooring for its old-world charm, wax may be the best finish for you.

Oil is the most popular finish for wood floors around the world. Like wax, oil has long been used as a finish for centuries. Quality oil finishes are plant-based and contain no VOCs to harm the environment. Unlike other finishes, which typically look their best at the time of application and head downhill from there, oil finishes continue looking better and better every year – provided you’re willing to put in the necessary work.

Oil finishes require regular touch-ups and buffing to continue looking great. In fact, many homeowners consider the reparability of oil finishes an advantage over finishes that do not allow repairs, such as polyurethane. Oil finishes also have a low sheen many homeowners prefer, especially on rustic or antique wood flooring.  At Viridian, we routinely recommend Teak Oil and Woca Oil for their penetrating ability, hardness and overall look.  Note that depending on the application you may also need to use a paste or liquid wax to protect the finish.

Newer floors are often finished with surface sealants, such as urethane. A big advantage of urethane-based finishes is that they are stain- and water-resistant. Urethane finishes are so durable that they are often used in high-traffic areas, such as school gymnasiums. The only maintenance required for surface-sealed reclaimed wood flooring is the occasional dusting and mopping.

Urethane floor finishes are available in several forms. Oil-based urethane dries slowly and brings out a beautiful amber glow in reclaimed wood flooring. One downside to oil-modified urethane is that it is a petroleum product; if you originally purchased reclaimed wood floors for sustainability, you may not want to use a finished based on fossil fuels.

Water-based urethane has grown in popularity in recent years because it has the same positive properties as oil-based urethane, but it has very low (or no) volatile organic compounds (VOCs). There are many water-based products that are easy to apply, dry quickly, are hard enough for commercial floors and create a clear to amber tone. These are occasionally more expensive than their oil-based counterparts. Moisture-cured urethane is also available; it is extremely durable and moisture resistant, but it’s also so difficult to apply that it is best to call in a professional if you choose this finish.

Swedish Finish:
Also called a “conversion varnish,” this is an alcohol-based finish developed in Scandinavia in the 1950s and has been popular in Europe ever since. Like urethane seals, Swedish floor finishes require virtually no maintenance beyond light damp mopping, however, it is an extremely toxic process. Swedish floor finishes are notoriously smelly; the strong odor from this type of finish may linger for weeks.  For these reasons, and the fact there are so many quality alternatives, we do not recommend Swedish finish for any applications.

Finally: How to Remodel Using Reclaimed Wood Flooring – The Conclusion

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  1. How to Remodel Using Reclaimed Wood Flooring – The Benefits (Part 1 of 5)
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More here: How to Remodel Using Reclaimed Wood Flooring – Choosing the Finish (Part 5 of 5)

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How to Remodel Using Reclaimed Wood Flooring – Sourcing the Wood (Part 4 of 5)

Last week I talked about the importance of knowing wood trends when remodeling with reclaimed wood flooring, and this week I want to talk about how you can source the right reclaimed wood fooring for your project.

Ordering reclaimed wood has its quirks.  Reliable, established suppliers provide greater consistency, better customer service and certified wood, but this comes at possibly (but not necessarily!) a premium price.  Smaller companies may have lower overhead, but they also may not have the supply or consistency required for something as important as your personal home interior.

A common complaint is, “I loved the look of the sample, but when I went to order they no longer had that barn wood and offered me a different material.”  Armed with this information, you should ask about availability up front.  In some cases you might acquire the wood floor and store it until you need it to avoid supply problems, or go with a larger or more reliable company.

Know Your Terminology:
Recycled” and “reclaimed” typically refer to materials sourced from dismantled buildings or other wood products that have served their original purpose and then re-milled into new flooring.  “Salvaged” generally refers to existing flooring that was removed from an existing building and repurposed.  Both are decent options, but they have their own caveats.

For example, salvage may have an existing finish that may need to be tested for suitability in modern construction, and using the existing tongue and groove can pose more challenges at the time of installation.  Freshly milled reclaimed wood, even rustic face, has a new tongue and groove allowing for seamless installation and many different options for finishing.  With reclaimed it good to ask your supplier if it has been kiln dried for stability.  In the case of salvage the material is old enough that kiln drying is probably not required.

Consider FSC® Certified Wood:
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is the global standard for responsible forestry.  This certification is your assurance that the product meets international sustainability goals, including criteria regarding humane labor as well as reclamation and forest management.  FSC certification is a rigorous process, and it is an outward symbol of a company’s commitment to sustainability.

Do It Yourself:
Of course, one option is to find reclaimed wood and get it milled yourself.  This could end up being more time consuming and costly than buying from another supplier, but you will get a custom look and it will definitely add a new dimension to the story of the floor.  If you go this route, you will need to arm yourself with additional information such as if the wood contains any metal, the moisture content, and test the wood if it is painted.

Next week: How to Remodel Using Reclaimed Wood Flooring – The Finish Details

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  2. How to Remodel Using Reclaimed Wood Flooring – Know Wood Trends (Part 3 of 5)
  3. How to Remodel Using Reclaimed Wood Flooring – Suit Any Style (Part 2 of 5)

Go here to see the original: How to Remodel Using Reclaimed Wood Flooring – Sourcing the Wood (Part 4 of 5)

How to Remodel Using Reclaimed Wood Flooring – Suit Any Style (Part 2 of 5)

Last week I talked about the benefits of using reclaimed wood flooring, and this week I’m going to share how reclaimed wood flooring can suit most any style.  The mere mention of reclaimed wood flooring conjures up images of old barns and weather beaten farmhouses.  But reclaimed wood floors aren’t just for homes with high nostalgia.  Depending on the type of wood, the milling and the finishing processes used, reclaimed wood flooring can suit any décor style:

With clean lines and striking artistic statements, contemporary homes will typically feature reclaimed wood floors with monotone hues and a sleek finish, in keeping with the simplified approach of modern design. Many designers prefer ultra-light flooring, such as European Beech reclaimed wood flooring, which brightens up the room and provides a neutral backdrop for bright pops of color. Alternatively, an all-dark floor can create a wonderful background for other prominent features.

French Country:
With a relaxed, airy, and casual atmosphere, French country wood flooring often features chocolatey circle sawn rustic oak.  Additionally, honey-toned woods like Old-Growth Douglas Fir – preferably with nail holes and oxide stains showing – offer the right warmth and charm.

Arts & Crafts styling has been wildly popular of over a century, and a hallmark of these homes is oak or douglas fir wood floors in the main living areas.  When remodeling using reclaimed wood is a natural choice to match the vintage of the home.  At Viridian, we even use a classic milling pattern to match older Craftsman bungalow’s floors.

From log cabins to restoration farmhouses to lodge-style homes, no design style makes better use of reclaimed wood floors than the rustic motif. Items for these interiors are typically chosen for their uniqueness and character – the perfect setting for reclaimed wood floors.  Any wood with an aged patina will work well; circle sawn antique oak, with the original saw marks and nail holes showing, presents just the kind of weathered face that’s ideal for a rustic décor. Another popular technique is to mix-and-match wood types—for example, combine red and white oak—for a floor that’s loaded with personality.

Some of the most welcoming and eye-pleasing interior designs don’t adhere to any particular style. In fact, combining styles can often achieve a much greater impact than sticking with a single motif. Working with two contrasting styles can help highlight the most striking qualities of each. For example, if you have a sleek, contemporary home or ultra-modern furniture, contrast it with more rugged, rough hewn reclaimed wood flooring.  Viridian’s Jakarta Market Blend is a great example of reclaimed wood that works well in eclectic settings.

Regardless of the style of your home, you can easily find reclaimed wood flooring to match. Keep in mind that most wood floors can be finished to your specifications – even a slight change to the finish can drastically alter the character of the flooring, creating a virtually endless array of options.

Next week: How to Remodel Using Reclaimed Wood Flooring – Wood Trends 2013

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See the original post here: How to Remodel Using Reclaimed Wood Flooring – Suit Any Style (Part 2 of 5)

How to Remodel Using Reclaimed Wood Flooring – The Benefits (Part 1 of 5)

Reclaimed wood adds warmth and character to any environment, but unlike virgin wood, sourcing, installing, finishing, and caring for reclaimed wood comes with its own set of challenges.  This five-part series discusses reclaimed wood benefits and current trends, as well as incorporates many of Viridian Reclaimed Wood’s past blog posts pertaining to sourcing and choosing a finish for reclaimed wood in residential construction and remodeling.

To start, there are several benefits to using reclaimed wood flooring.

First, reclaimed is often stronger than virgin wood. When compared to new flooring, reclaimed wood flooring is up to forty points harder on the Janka hardness scale. That’s because old-growth timber is stronger than wood extracted from first-generation.

Second, it’s good for the environment. When it comes to flooring choices, you often have to select the lesser of evils: petroleum-based synthetics such as linoleum or carpeting, or newly milled resources such as stone or wood floors.  While there are some good choices in each category, reclaimed wood is by far the most sustainable choice.

Third, reclaimed wood has a unique story to tell. People are drawn toward gorgeous products that have an interesting history. Whether it’s an old-growth Doug fir beam from an abandoned warehouse or an exotic Asian hardwood crate shipped from overseas, reclaimed timber adds character and a sense of heritage to every project, and each one-of-a-kind floor has its own unique character and amazing story that will speak to you.

Next week: How to Remodel Using Reclaimed Wood Flooring – Suit Any Style

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More here: How to Remodel Using Reclaimed Wood Flooring – The Benefits (Part 1 of 5)


CaliMini Solo Prefab at Dwell on Design

HMK Prefab Homes, in conjunction with Sustain Design Studios, debuted a new miniHome design called the CaliMini Solo 1 at the recent Dwell on Design conference in Los Angeles.  The pictures and exterior staging don’t appear to do justice to the ever-popular miniHome, but the below video of the Solo provides a better impression, I think.  This design, like others from Sustain, is built on a structural steel chassis and includes a 616-square-foot interior, 140-square-foot loft, and a 140-square-foot deck.

The chassis is combined with an engineered lumber frame, so, to be clear, we’re talking about what’s considered a manufactured home in the United States.

CaliMini is offered with Energy Star appliances, Marvin Integrity windows, HardiePanel and western red cedar siding, a Proseal cool roof, a non-PVC and lead-free plumbing system, Ecobatt insulation (R22 floor, R19 walls, R38 roof), Baltic Birch ply walls and ceiling, cork floors, available LED and CFL lighting, and low-flow fixtures.

HMK Prefab Homes has partnered with Sustain, according to a company statement, to provide several versions and floor plans of the miniHome. In addition, the showcase home on display at Dwell on Design is available for immediate sale.

[+] More about the CaliSolo from HMK Prefab Homes.

Photo credits: HMK Prefab Homes.

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Teragren Grows Strand Bamboo Floor Line

Teragren, one of the largest manufacturers of bamboo materials based in North America, recently expanded the popular Portfolio line of floating, strand bamboo flooring with the addition of “Portfolio Naturals.“  The four new looks — Java, Chestnut, Wheat, and Brindle — have been favorites in other Teragren product lines and expand a Portfolio line that’s quick to install.

Portfolio Naturals are made with a patented, fold-down locking system that installs over a moisture barrier or vapor retarder, depending on the subfloor, and the underlayment in what could be the “easiest to install solid floor on the planet,” according to Teragren.

Also, Teragren president Mike Boshart said the expansion of the Portfolio line is a reflection of the marketplace for stand bamboo product, as compared to traditional bamboo.  “Consumers have gravitated towards a stranded more hardwood-like look,” he said in a statement.

Portfolio Naturals are made in a 5″ plank with an average Janka test reading of 3271.  The flooring is finished with a water-based, solvent-free finish and contributes toward LEED credits as a low-emitting material.  Teragren has more than 4,000 dealers nationwide, in case you are interested in pricing for your project.

[+] More about wide-plank Portfolio Naturals by Teragren.

Photo credit: © 2012 Teragren LLC.

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Twin SIP Panel Sett Studios in Austin

Several months ago, I shared photos of a tiny studio shed by Texas-based Sett Studio and want to share details of cool new project by the same firm in same area.  Sett Studio recently worked with The Goodlife Team, a local real estate company, and created these two studios that are now being used as extra space for the company’s expanding East Austin offices.

You may catch a glimpse of several naked Plumen CFLs hanging in these offices.  Mike Speciale of Sett Studio told me his company is using these on a regular basis now because the bulbs “add an artistic look without the bulk of a full light fixture.

The Goodlife Team studios — one is 12′ x 12′ (144 square feet) and the other is 12′ x 14′ (168 square feet) — were built with floor-to-ceiling Ply Gem windows and structural insulated panels for the walls, floor, and roof.  Sett Studios installed the tiny structures in about four days, as documented here.

The twins are joined by a white cedar deck and clad in a mixture of U-channel galvalume and yellow pine style siding with a shou-sugi-ban treatment.  It’s a great look, the combination of charred wood and textured metal, worth pinning if you have an exteriors board like mine on Pinterest.

Sett Studio fabricates their studios off-site within 45 days of contract signing and installs them in two days.  They have models of various sizes and prices, but to give you an idea, a couple studios like the ones purchased by The Goodlife Team will run about $55,000, including the deck.

[+] More information about Sett Studio structures from Austin.

Credits: Lisa Hause Photography.

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