January 14, 2008 4:00 AM PST

Inside the green designer home

Inside the green designer home
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SANTA MONICA, Calif.--Do you ever feel like you're being watched?

It's one of the first questions that pops into your head when talking to Steve Glenn, founder of Living Homes, one of a number of start-ups creating factory-built green homes. Glenn lives in the first home built by the company, and, as you can see from the pictures, most of the walls are windows. The windows allow owners to cut down on electric light usage and give the home an airy, expansive feeling.

The rooms, meanwhile, mostly blend into each other. Bedrooms can be closed off with sliding, folding wall panels but, overall, the home is open.

Despite its transparent nature, the house feels private, Glenn said as we stand in the kitchen. The house sits on a hill, and only one neighbor has a direct view into the home. And that view goes into the kitchen.

About 30 seconds after Glenn tells me this, a bicyclist riding by on the street, maybe 80 feet away, makes eye contact with me and pedals on. If this were my home, the bicyclist would have seen me standing in boxer shorts eating cereal out of the box.

Photos: Home, sweet green home

Is it a house and a home? That's the lurking dilemma for green builders. Glenn's home, designed by architect Ray Kappe, is far more stylish and surprising than your average modern house. Green homes can even rival the homes from the 1920s and 1930s for character. You find yourself asking questions and being intrigued by architectural nuances.

The question, though, is whether they will mesh with how the average American family lives. The prognosis looks good, but there will likely be hiccups along the way. Living Homes has completed 2 homes and is working on around 16 more. Khosla Ventures, along with a few others, has invested in the company.

"I'll be disappointed if we don't have hundreds of homes in the next few years," Glenn said.

Competitor Michelle Kaufmann Designs, meanwhile, has completed more homes and is now building small subdivisions. Others include Xtreme Homes, which mostly specializes in custom homes. The Solar Decathlon, a competition among university engineering departments, tackled green homes this year.

Like the Tesla Roadster or the Toyota Prius, the residences from Living Homes are designed with the goal of cutting down on greenhouse gases as well as making a fashion statement. Roughly 50 percent of all of the energy consumed in America goes into running buildings, according to the Energy Information Agency. Seventy-six percent of the electricity generated in the U.S. gets consumed by buildings. Most of that power gets used to keep lights on and run the heating and air conditioning systems.

Passive cooling and lighting, combined with solar thermal water heaters and solar panels, can make a big dent in a person's carbon footprint, according to Glenn and others. The home also comes with gray water systems that process water coming from the shower and recycles it for irrigation.

CONTINUED: Affordable and adaptable…
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Let's Build HouseLet's Start Building Houses with Bamboo Floors Instead of
When I had my house built, I decided to use bamboo floors instead of hard wood floors. I personally think that they are more beautiful and they come in many shades. In case you are not familiar w/bamboo flooring, it is the green thing to do. Bamboo is like a weed that keeps on growing and can be harvested every 3 or 5 years (not sure of time frame here). The good thing is that when it is cut, it just grows back again from the same plant. It is not like a tree that dyes after being cut and you have to cut another tree down. Bamboo floors are harder than red wood floors. They are easy to clean and last just as long as hard wood floors.
Instead of cutting down our trees, why not just plant some bamboo in our country. I say lets plant some here because now most bamboo flooring comes from China.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://WomenOnGuard.com" target="_newWindow">http://WomenOnGuard.com</a>
Posted by Martha Z (34 comments )
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Bamboo floors sound cool.
Posted by walter boy 4 (1 comment )
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One of the key points of nearly all 2008 Italian designer modern bed furniture collections is a combination of a square shaped platform bed and oval shaped nightstands sometimes called night tables. Nightstands are no longer a part of the platform, where they served as an extension of the modern platform bed. Even the platform itself does not stand out now, looking very modest. Another great innovation is that, in some designs, modern platform bed feet are located close to the center of the platform, giving the whole composition an impression of the bed floating in the midair. The curve shaped appearance of the platform, foot board and headboard combined in one piece gives a strong resemblance of some kind of a mythological vessel.

http://www.modern1furniture.com/modern-bedroom-c-11.html

The materials most commonly used are plywood panels, but solid timber still rocks, with extremely popular wenge finish; however, warm tone cherry wood is still trendy if you want more country style.

Curve is the word of the season. Curved plywood panels are used in all parts of the modern bedroom, except maybe for the wardrobes, filling one of the most important areas of your home ? your bedroom - with uniqueness and chic. Curve really puts attention to the details. Curved shape of the modern chest drawer is not only fashionable, but extremely practical since it replaces traditional handles with the opening in curve without ruining the design of the chest drawer.

A special attention is now given to the wardrobes ? they are made very spacious yet still very stylish because of their finish. White decape finish is, of course, a hit of the season, but particular attention is given to the use of the mirrors and glass. The mirror?s direct task ? to reflect things falls behind and its key mission is now to accentuate the major color of the bedroom set. Mirrors and glass are frequently used to cover the top of the drawer chests and nightstands, but most importantly, they are used as the finish of the modern wardrobe doors. Mirror and glass finish comes in all imaginable types: from one-piece lacquered to patterned; all colors and shades: white, bronzed, smoked, satined, and appearances from break to plain smooth. And the combination of all above really impress: you can find white lacquered mirrors, which look really good in framed sectional fronts of the wardrobes; smoke patterned mirrors do a fascinating job with wenge color of the wardrobe, creating that unique sophisticated look. Bronzed mirror glass is always a perfect match for the country-style cherry wood. And break glass looks superior in bronze color.

Regular wardrobe doors, long before replaced with the sliding member of the door family, do not seem to come back this season. Sliding doors are still very much in style, which, given by their comfort and space-saving ability, will definitely keep them in our homes for a very long time.

http://www.modern1furniture.com/
Posted by genat1974 (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
One of the key points of nearly all 2008 Italian designer modern bed furniture collections is a combination of a square shaped platform bed and oval shaped nightstands sometimes called night tables. Nightstands are no longer a part of the platform, where they served as an extension of the modern platform bed. Even the platform itself does not stand out now, looking very modest. Another great innovation is that, in some designs, modern platform bed feet are located close to the center of the platform, giving the whole composition an impression of the bed floating in the midair. The curve shaped appearance of the platform, foot board and headboard combined in one piece gives a strong resemblance of some kind of a mythological vessel.

http://www.modern1furniture.com/modern-bedroom-c-11.html

The materials most commonly used are plywood panels, but solid timber still rocks, with extremely popular wenge finish; however, warm tone cherry wood is still trendy if you want more country style.

Curve is the word of the season. Curved plywood panels are used in all parts of the modern bedroom, except maybe for the wardrobes, filling one of the most important areas of your home ? your bedroom - with uniqueness and chic. Curve really puts attention to the details. Curved shape of the modern chest drawer is not only fashionable, but extremely practical since it replaces traditional handles with the opening in curve without ruining the design of the chest drawer.

A special attention is now given to the wardrobes ? they are made very spacious yet still very stylish because of their finish. White decape finish is, of course, a hit of the season, but particular attention is given to the use of the mirrors and glass. The mirror?s direct task ? to reflect things falls behind and its key mission is now to accentuate the major color of the bedroom set. Mirrors and glass are frequently used to cover the top of the drawer chests and nightstands, but most importantly, they are used as the finish of the modern wardrobe doors. Mirror and glass finish comes in all imaginable types: from one-piece lacquered to patterned; all colors and shades: white, bronzed, smoked, satined, and appearances from break to plain smooth. And the combination of all above really impress: you can find white lacquered mirrors, which look really good in framed sectional fronts of the wardrobes; smoke patterned mirrors do a fascinating job with wenge color of the wardrobe, creating that unique sophisticated look. Bronzed mirror glass is always a perfect match for the country-style cherry wood. And break glass looks superior in bronze color.

Regular wardrobe doors, long before replaced with the sliding member of the door family, do not seem to come back this season. Sliding doors are still very much in style, which, given by their comfort and space-saving ability, will definitely keep them in our homes for a very long time.

http://www.modern1furniture.com/
Posted by genat1974 (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
http://www.modern1furniture.com/modern-bedroom-c-11.html
Posted by genat1974 (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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