The Ocean Cleanup is about to send a giant plastic collector to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

https://inhabitat.com/the-ocean-cleanup-is-about-to-send-a-giant-plastic-collector-to-the-great-pacific-garbage-patch

https://inhabitat.com/?p=1019726

Assembly of The Ocean Cleanup's plastic-scooping system in Alameda, California

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is growing at an alarming rate — and it’s already three times the size of France. Fortunately, help is on the way: new images show that The Ocean Cleanup is building an innovative plastic-scooping system in Alameda, CA, and they’re planning to launch it as early as this summer.

Assembly of The Ocean Cleanup's plastic-scooping system in Alameda, California

There are around 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic junk in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and The Ocean Cleanup, started by now-23-year-old Boyan Slat, is much closer to deploying its technology to tackle the dilemma. The group’s Road to the Cleanup timeline reveals that, earlier this month, the crew finished “the first weld of two floater sections” — the official start of the assembly process. Days later, the organization shared another image of what they called great progress.

Related: The Ocean Cleanup launches San Francisco base in Pacific trash-busting bid

Fast Company reported that a massive floating tube, around 2,000 feet long, will serve as a U-shaped barrier to help trap plastic. It’s flexible enough to bend with ocean waves and is made of HDPE plastic — the same material that the system aims to collect, according to ABC7 News. A nylon screen attached to the tube will catch plastic beneath the waves — but not fish, as it isn’t a net. Big anchors, a concept unveiled by Slat in a presentation last year, will essentially tether the system not to the seabed, but to a deep water layer.

Assembly of The Ocean Cleanup's plastic-scooping system in Alameda, California

When might we be able to see the system in action? The Road to the Cleanup timeline estimates launch will happen in the middle of this year. The first piece of the system, which is about as long as a football field, will be towed out into the ocean for tests in a few weeks. The piece will be connected to the larger system following the local tow test, and a final test 200 miles offshore will occur after assembly is finished. It will take three weeks for the system to reach the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and The Ocean Cleanup could get there in August if everything goes as planned.

Plastic they gather could be transformed into various products — clothing, for example — and the Ocean Cleanup could have a shipment of plastic in late fall.

+ The Ocean Cleanup

+ Road to the Cleanup

Via Fast Company and ABC7 News

Images via The Ocean Cleanup

This new 3D-printed house was built by a portable robot in just 48 hours

https://inhabitat.com/this-new-3d-printed-house-was-built-by-a-portable-robot-in-just-48-hours

https://inhabitat.com/?p=1019745

The front of the 3D-printed house with a glass roof above.

There are a lot of 3D-printed houses popping up these days, but this is the first time an architect with the renown of Massimiliano Locatelli of CLS Architetti and Arup has tackled one. Built out of a special quick-drying mortar, the 1,076-square-foot house was constructed in just 48 hours. Locatelli envisions 3D printing as the housing of the future – and that his house could be constructed anywhere,”even the moon.”

3D Printed Housing 05 by Arup and CLS Architetti, CLS Architetti, Arup, Cybe, 3D printing, 3d printed house, 3d house, Salone del Mobile, Piazza Cesare Beccaria, CLS architects,

3D Printed Housing 05 by Arup and CLS Architetti, CLS Architetti, Arup, Cybe, 3D printing, 3d printed house, 3d house, Salone del Mobile, Piazza Cesare Beccaria, CLS architects,

The project, 3D Housing 05, was built on-site by a portable robot as a way of showing how 3D-printing can reduce construction waste but still create a beautiful space. The house is the first of its kind, because it is 3D-printed, but can be deconstructed and reassembled somewhere else. Like you’d expect from such respected names in architecture, the house is quite stylish. A one-story home with curved walls and four separate spaces built out of 35 modules, the house embraces its 3D-printed roots, with the printing texture adding warmth to the concrete space.

The front of 3D Printed Housing 05, designed by Arup and CLS Architetti.

3D Printed Housing 05 by Arup and CLS Architetti, CLS Architetti, Arup, Cybe, 3D printing, 3d printed house, 3d house, Salone del Mobile, Piazza Cesare Beccaria, CLS architects,

The architects used a Cybe mobile 3D concrete printer and a specific mortar called CyBe MORTAR. The material sets in five minutes, with a dehydration time of 24 hours – compared to the 28 days for traditional concrete.

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Related: New 3D-printed house can be built in less than a day for just $4,000

“My vision was to integrate new, more organic shapes in the surrounding landscapes or urban architecture…. The challenges are the project’s five key values: creativity, sustainability, flexibility, affordability and rapidity. The opportunity is to be a protagonist of a new revolution in architecture,” Locatelli told Wallpaper*.

Arup and CLS Architetti revealed the design at the Salone del Mobile festival in the grand Piazza Cesare Beccaria.

+ 3D Printed Housing 05

+ Arup

+ CLS Architetti

via Treehugger

6 fun, meaningful ways to celebrate Earth Day!

https://inhabitat.com/6-fun-meaningful-ways-to-celebrate-earth-day

https://inhabitat.com/?p=502972

We have holidays dedicated to everything from flags to consumption (ahem Black Friday), so it only seems right that Planet Earth should get one too. On Earth Day, cities, businesses, and individuals all roll out the green carpet. No doubt you’ve seen lots of famous brands touting Earth Day initiatives or heard about eco-friendly events being planned in your own community. Unfortunately, most of these events have changed from “do something nice for the Earth” events to “buy this thing that is maybe a little greener than the alternative but mostly just something you need to BUY” events. But that doesn’t mean you should hide indoors feeling guilty on April 22nd. On the contrary, there are lots of easy and fun ways to celebrate Earth Day that can actually make a difference all year long. We’ve listed a few below, and we’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!

earth day, conservation, nature, hiking, recycling, gardening, solar chargers, solar power, alternative transportation, collaborative consumption, e-waste,

1. Don’t Drive

I know, I know. At face value, this doesn’t sound like much fun at all. But that’s only because you’ve forgotten how awesome the alternatives can be. Give your car the day off this Earth Day. Plan to get to work, school, and happy hour using another, more eco-friendly mode of transportation instead. Walk, ride your bike, take the bus or train, roller blade or skateboard! Even carpooling is better than chugging gas all the way home and back just so little old you doesn’t have to burn any calories.

earth day, conservation, nature, hiking, recycling, gardening, solar chargers, solar power, alternative transportation, collaborative consumption, e-waste,

2. Recycle E-Waste

By now, most of us realize that recycling makes sense and we should do it. Slowly but surely, recycling has become available in just about every city and town. But what about the stuff that can’t go in the recycling bin? The EPA and other agencies suggest that electronic waste (aka e-waste) is the fastest growing waste stream in the world. Chances are, you’ve got an outdated electronic appliance gathering dust somewhere in your house right now, and your neighbors probably do too. This Earth Day, help make sure those gadgets end up properly recycled instead of taking up space or leaching toxins in a landfill. Use this EPA tool to locate a responsible e-waste recycler in your area, and let your neighbors know that you’ll be happy to take their stuff in with yours.

earth day, conservation, nature, hiking, recycling, gardening, solar chargers, solar power, alternative transportation, collaborative consumption, e-waste,

3. Plant Food

In a world dominated by factory farms and fast food, growing your own food is a revolutionary act. Monsanto and its cronies want to make sure that they decide what’s in the food we eat, whether it’s pesticides or GMOs. Organic and locally-grown food, while vastly better for you and the planet, can be cost prohibitive. The easiest way to opt out of our corrupt food system without breaking the bank is to grow it yourself. This Earth Day, plant one thing that can be consumed by your family. Maybe it’s just a few basil plants, or maybe it’s an entire garden. Put it on your windowsill, your fire escape, or your kitchen wall. But no matter what, get something growing.

earth day, conservation, nature, hiking, recycling, gardening, solar chargers, solar power, alternative transportation, collaborative consumption, e-waste,

4. Share Something

When we think of doing something nice for the Earth, most people immediately think about picking up litter or planting a tree. But an eco-friendly lifestyle comes in all shapes and sizes. Recently, there’s been lots of excitement over a renewed interest in sharing time, money, and resources as a way to increase everyone’s access to things they need. Experts call this “collaborative consumption” or “the sharing economy” but we just call it common sense. This Earth Day, check out sharing services like yerdle, RelayRides, B-Cycle, and Airbnb, all of which can save you money and help you become better connected with your community.

earth day, conservation, nature, hiking, recycling, gardening, solar chargers, solar power, alternative transportation, collaborative consumption, e-waste,

5. Go Solar

You’re probably tempted to skip right over this option because you a) don’t own a house or b) don’t have the finances to install solar panels on it. But wait! Rooftop solar is only one way to turn free solar power into free, renewable electricity. Smaller solar harvesting devices are popping up all over, from pocket-sized phone chargers to portable multi-panel kits. Think about how many times you charge your phone or laptop. Switching just one or two devices to solar power can save you some serious money and take some pressure off the grid.

earth day, conservation, nature, hiking, recycling, gardening, solar chargers, solar power, alternative transportation, collaborative consumption, e-waste,

6. Get Outside

Earth Day is about enjoying and taking care of the planet, so why spend it inside, glued to a screen? This April 22nd, one of the best things you can do for yourself and the Earth is to remember why it’s worth saving in the first place. Despite our best efforts to pollute and destroy it, the Earth is still an amazing, beautiful place to explore. Go for a hike, take a nature walk with your kids, plan a picnic in the park, or a game of kickball with your buddies. Remember how great it feels to have the wind in your hair and the sun on your face! Reconnecting with nature is the best way to remind yourself why we’re fighting so hard to protect it.

Lead image via Joshua Earle, images via lindsaydeebunny | betsyweber | Mosman Council | canarsiebk | denverjeffrey | kiwanjadpangandoyon

Apple's new recycling robot can disassemble 200 iPhones in a single hour

https://inhabitat.com/apples-new-recycling-robot-can-disassemble-200-iphones-in-a-single-hour

https://inhabitat.com/?p=1019731

Apple recycling robot Daisy sorts old iPhone parts

Just in time for Earth Day, Apple has unveiled a new recycling robot — and it can disassemble 200 iPhones in a single hour. Daisy can successfully extract parts from nine types of iPhones — and for every 100,000 devices it can salvage 1,900 kg of aluminum, 770 kg of cobalt, 710 kg of copper and 11 kg of rare earth elements. The robot represents a major step forward in Apple’s mission to someday build its devices entirely from recycled materials.

used iPhones to be deconstructed and recycled by Apple robot Daisy

“We created Daisy to have a smaller footprint and the capability to disassemble multiple models of iPhones with higher variation compared to Liam” — an earlier iteration of the company’s recycling robotics — Apple said in its 2018 Environmental Responsibility Report. Ultimately, Apple hopes to develop a closed-loop production system in which every reusable part of older devices is utilized in new ones.

“To meet our goal, we must use 100 percent, responsibly sourced, recycled or renewable materials and ensure the equivalent amount is returned to market,” Apple said in its report. “Recognizing that this goal could take many years to reach, we remain committed to responsible sourcing of primary materials as we make the transition.” Though Apple has yet to release a timeline for its full transition, it has started active projects to recycle rare earth metals, paper products and more common metals from its supply chain.

Related: Apple is now “globally powered by 100% renewable energy”

Apple plans to add Daisy robots to several locations throughout the United States and Europe. Because the company is currently only able to incorporate used devices that it receives directly, Apple will emphasize its GiveBack program, in part by offering company credit for returned devices. Thanks to its recycling initiatives, Apple has already reduced its primary aluminum consumption by 23 to 25 percent since 2015.

Despite the company’s initial success, some observers have advocated for more fundamental changes in Apple’s model. Greenpeace USA senior IT sector analyst Gary Cook said, “Rather than another recycling robot, what is most needed from Apple is an indication that the company is embracing one of the greatest opportunities to reduce its environmental impact: repairable and upgradeable product design.”

Via Business Green

Images via Apple

Trump official delays protection of endangered species at oil lobbyist's request

https://inhabitat.com/trump-official-delays-protection-of-endangered-species-at-oil-lobbyists-request

https://inhabitat.com/?p=1019711

Texas Hornshell mussel on a bed of dried grass near a sandy shore

A top United States Department of the Interior official appears to have used his position to delay the protection of an endangered species at the request of the oil industry. As reported by the Guardian based on acquired documents, Interior official Vincent deVito acquiesced to a 2017 e-mail from the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) asking that the Texas hornshell mussel not be placed under protection for six months in the interest of continued, uninhibited oil industry activity.

Vincent deVito delivers his keynote address at the America First Energy Conference

While the mussel was eventually placed on the endangered species list in 2018, former Interior officials and government watchdogs have expressed concerns over the ethics and legality of deVito’s actions. Of particular concern is the Trump Administration’s seeming disregard to science in favor of political decision making. “Listing decisions under the Endangered Species Act are meant to be entirely science-based decisions that result from – in some cases – years of review by experts in the field, not political appointees,” former Interior associate deputy secretary Elizabeth Klein told The Guardian. “A delay in and of itself might not be the end of the world – but then again it very well could be for an imperiled species.” In response to criticism, Interior press secretary Heather Swift said in a statement that deVito “maintains that he simply responded with an acknowledgment of receipt on the mussel email and maintains he had no role whatsoever in the listing.”

Related: New evidence shows oil and coal were central in the decision to reduce Bears Ears

There’s a portfolio of instances where DeVito used his official capacity in ways that would appear to be favorable to the fossil fuel industry. For example, DeVito described his close consultation of industry lobbyists before proposing a reduction of royalty rates on offshore oil and gas from 18.75% to 12.5% – a recommendation that was ultimately rejected by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. DeVito was also influential in approving a coal project near the habitat of the endangered Big Sandy crayfish in West Virginia. “It a scientific integrity violation for a political appointee to essentially leapfrog the Fish and Wildlife Service’s process when you have an Endangered Species Act listing involved,” former career Interior scientist Joel Clement told The Guardian.

Via The Guardian

Images via New Mexico State Land Office and YouTube

Bottlenose dolphins spotted in Canadian Pacific waters for the first time

https://inhabitat.com/bottlenose-dolphins-spotted-in-canadian-pacific-waters-for-the-first-time

https://inhabitat.com/?p=1019672

Common bottlenose dolphins jump into the air near the Channel Islands off the California coast

Bottlenose dolphins typically reside in tropical or warm-temperate waters around the world — but researchers recently glimpsed a group of around 200 of the dolphins and around 70 false killer whales off northern Vancouver Island’s west coast in Canada. They said this sighting is “the only occurrence of common bottlenose dolphins recorded in Canadian Pacific waters” — and a warming trend could be to blame.

Bottlenose dolphins seen in Biscayne Bay, Florida

In July 2017, Halpin Wildlife Research, working with Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Department of Environment and Climate Change, documented the dolphins and whales. In research published this month in the journal Marine Biodiversity Records, the three researchers involved said the sighting “is the most northerly record” for common bottlenose dolphins “in the eastern North Pacific.”

Related: A beluga whale living with dolphins learned to “speak their language”

Lead author Luke Halpin said in a statement, “The sighting is also the first offshore report of false killer whales in British Columbia. To see the two species traveling together and interacting was quite special and rare. It is known that common bottlenose dolphins and false killer whales seek each other out and interact, but the purpose of the interactions is unclear.”

Warming in eastern North Pacific waters between 2013 and 2016 could be the reason for the presence of the dolphins and whales. Halpin said he’s documented warm-water species in British Columbia waters since 2014, including a loggerhead turtle and a swordfish. He said, “With marine waters increasingly warming up, we can expect to see more typically warm-water species in the northeastern Pacific.”

+ BioMed Central

+ Marine Biodiversity Records

Images via Gregory “Slobirdr” Smith on Flickr and the National Park Service

Clothing made from recycled water bottles highlights the ongoing crisis in Flint

https://inhabitat.com/clothing-made-from-recycled-water-bottles-highlights-the-ongoing-crisis-in-flint

https://inhabitat.com/?p=1017162

Flint, water, recycled water bottles, upcycled water bottles, recycled plastic, upcycled plastic, Tracy Reese, Unifi, Repreve, Mel Chin, Queens Museum, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style

A new fashion exhibit in Queens underscores the ongoing water-contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan. “Flint Fit” comprises a series of garments inspired by the “power and necessity of water, manufacturing history of Flint, and resiliency” of the people of Flint, who have had to cope with the effects of lead poisoning since 2014.

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Visual artist Mel Chin — with an assist from Michigan-born, New York City–based fashion designer Tracy Reese — conceived of the clothing to highlight the water crisis. Flint has had to resort to bottled water for everything from drinking to bathing, which has also created a tragically bountiful waste stream. Chin enlisted Unifi, which makes recycled textiles, to clean, shred and transform more than 90,000 used water bottles into a performance fabric known as Repreve.

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To manifest Reese’s designs, Chin turned to the commercial sewing program at St Luke N.E.W. Life Center in Flint, where at-risk women stitched the pieces. The items include a trench coat, a wide-leg jumpsuit and swimwear. Chin said, “By opening the door for new ideas, Flint Fit aims to stimulate creative production, economic opportunity and empowerment on a local scale.”

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Jay Hertwig, Unifi’s group vice president for global brand sales, said the brand was “proud to be a part of this exciting moment in art-fashion history.” He continued, “At Unifi, we’re able to transform plastic bottles into Repreve for products that people enjoy every day. And we’re thrilled that Repreve is playing a key role in such a positive movement that came from something so catastrophic.”

Flint, water, recycled water bottles, upcycled water bottles, recycled plastic, upcycled plastic, Tracy Reese, Unifi, Repreve, Mel Chin, Queens Museum, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style

Part of Chin’s All Over the Place exhibit at Queens Museum, “Flint Fit” will be on display through August 12, 2018.

+ Flint Fit

+ Queens Museum

This fine-dining chef transforms food waste into creative gourmet dishes

https://inhabitat.com/this-fine-dining-chef-transforms-food-waste-into-creative-gourmet-dishes

https://inhabitat.com/?p=1019644

Multicolored roasted carrots rest on a baking tray

Around one third of food produced in America is thrown out. But Tim Ma, a former electrical engineer-turned-chef, incorporates food scraps others might throw out, like kale stalks or carrot peels, into dishes at Kyirisan, his Washington, D.C. restaurant. Ma told NPR, “I’m in this fine-dining world, but I spend a lot of time going through my garbage.”

It’s spring in THIS bowl 🍲💚

A post shared by Kyirisan (@kyirisan) on Apr 7, 2018 at 12:40pm PDT

Carrot tops aren’t tossed out at Kyirisan, a MICHELIN Guide 2018 Bib Gourmand awardee. Oh no, they’re given new life in pesto, blended up with basil, parsley, pistachios, water, oil, scallions, and sautéed garlic. Carrot peels become garnishes after they’re fried up into strips. And those kale stalks you might throw out? After being braised and fried, they might find their way into a salad with duck confit, radishes, and pickled shallots at Kyirisan.

Can you improve on perfection? #rhetoricalquestion #always!!! New set-up for the carrots with miso bagna cauda, with black vinegar, honeyed pistachios, and this silky carrot purée.

A post shared by Kyirisan (@kyirisan) on Mar 2, 2018 at 2:31pm PST

Related: OLIO launches revolutionary food sharing app to reduce waste

NPR said a signature dish of Ma’s, crème fraiche chicken wings with sudachi and gochujang, got its beginnings as an experiment to use up food scraps. At his previous restaurant, Ma would pour sauce he’d created on wings leftover from whole chickens ordered for the restaurant, and serve them to staff. They were so popular they’re now on the Kyirisan dinner menu.

Hudson Valley Magret Duck Breast, with three mushrooms, charred shishito, and onion soubise. #duckforgoodluck 新年快乐!

A post shared by Kyirisan (@kyirisan) on Feb 16, 2018 at 12:05pm PST

Reducing food waste makes sense environmentally and economically for Ma. He told NPR, “At the end of the day, it’s a business decision. You do this as a function of saving every penny that you can, because the restaurant margins are so slim right now.” Part of what inspired him to cut food waste was his experience with his first restaurant in Virginia, which almost went under months after opening. He realized he could make changes: for example, instead of ordering in bulk via large distributors, he would order just what he needed from local sellers.

Then this happened!

A post shared by Tim Ma (@cheftimma) on Sep 11, 2016 at 12:37pm PDT

Ma told NPR, “I walk through the restaurant and see, this is what I have and I think about tomorrow and today. How much of something do I really need?”

+ Kyirisan

Via NPR

Image via Jackelin Slack on Unsplash

Evaporative off-grid toilets don't need plumbing, water or electricity

https://inhabitat.com/evaporative-off-grid-toilets-dont-need-plumbing-water-or-electricity

https://inhabitat.com/?p=1016413

Diana Yousef, change:WATER, toilet, waterless toilet, evaporative toilet, off-grid toilet

2.6 billion people around the planet don’t have access to safe toilets. Not only does this impact health, but empowerment as well: women and girls “face high rates of violence when they don’t have access to safe and dignified sanitation,” according to protein biochemist and entrepreneur Diana Yousef, CEO of change:WATER Labs. She’s working on a solution: a portable, off-grid toilet that operates without plumbing, water or electricity.

Diana Yousef, change:WATER, toilet, waterless toilet, evaporative toilet, off-grid toilet

“80 percent of disease around the world is attributable to poor sanitation,” Yousef said in a Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards YouTube video; she’s a 2018 finalist. Indigenous groups, people living in poverty, or refugees don’t have many options to deal with an absence of proper sanitation, according to change:WATER. So they’re working on a low-cost, off-grid, compact, environmentally safe toilet able to evaporate 95 percent of sewage sans energy with the help of a simple polymer membrane. Users wouldn’t need plumbing or water to flush the toilet.

Related: Ergonomically-correct ‘Wellbeing Toilet’ Helps You Poop the Right Way

Cartier Women’s Initiative says that membrane acts like a sponge, “soaking up and accelerating the evaporation of liquid contents without the use of power or heat…The vapors released are pure clean water, while the dried solids left behind are safely contained inside the membrane.” This volume reduction means toilets only have to be serviced once or twice in a month. Yousef said in the video the toilet sends waste water back into nature “in its purest form” in an attempt to promote a “cycle of use and re-use in a more efficient, sustainable, low-carbon way.”

Field deployment could happen later this year; Yousef has three pilot partnerships in the United States, Central America, and in the Middle East and North Africa, according to the initiative.

change:WATER is up for potential funding from the Chivas Venture (you can vote for them on the Chivas website). Yousef said funding would allow change:WATER to get working toilets to 10,000 families by 2019.

+ change:WATER Labs

Via the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards and Chivas Venture

Image courtesy of change:WATER

The Cornelia tiny house is a peaceful writer's studio built with reclaimed wood

https://inhabitat.com/the-cornelia-tiny-house-is-a-peaceful-writers-studio-built-with-reclaimed-wood

https://inhabitat.com/?p=1018782

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One of the best things to come from the tiny home trend is the peace of living in a quiet atmosphere – which is especially important for writers. At the request of renowned children’s author Cornelia Funke, New Frontier Tiny Homes created The Cornelia — which is just 24 feet in length and 8.5 feet wide. Funke’s tiny house is a serene three-in-one space that can be used as a writing studio, a guest house and a library.

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The Cornelia’s high vaulted ceilings provide the tiny house with plenty of vertical space. Abundant windows provide plenty of natural light and stunning views of the surrounding forest. Reclaimed barn wood covers the walls and ceilings, giving the home an inviting cabin feel. A small deck is covered with a wooden awning, creating a serene spot to enjoy the outdoors.

Related: Firefighter’s self-built tiny house is an earthship on wheels

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The designers customized the layout of the compact space to fit Funke’s needs. High ledges span the length of both walls to provide ample space for storing books. Minimal furnishings open up the space and keep it safe from clutter. The desk, which is located under a large window, can be folded down when not in use.

A small, incredibly space-efficient kitchen is located on one end of the home and the bathroom is located in a corner of the living space. The loft, which fits a king-size bed, is accessible by a movable ladder. The efficient, modern design and lush surroundings offer plenty of inspiration for the tiny home’s creative inhabitant.

+ New Frontier Tiny Homes

Via Apartment Therapy

Images via New Frontier Tiny Homes

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