A Fascinating Look at New York Apartment ArchitectureNew York architect Michael Wyetzner is well-versed in the history of New York City buildings. He explains the basic layouts of the most common types of apartments in the city, which are brownstones, railroad apartments, the classic six, lofts, and studio apartments. But more than descriptions, he gives us the history that explains why they are all different. They each had an original purpose to fill a need at the time they were designed. They all have their quirks because so many are historical landmarks that are grandfathered into today's zoning laws and building standards. In other words, there is no way you could afford to replace these buildings at anywhere near their original quality to get them up to code. Together, they contribute greatly to the unique vibe of New York City. -via Laughing Squid​
Exploring Hygge for Your Home's Interior DesignThe word "hygge" is a recently-global trend from Denmark that has no direct translation, but speaks to the state of wellness, feeling comfortable and safe, with a spontaneous social flow. In the US, the word is most often used in relation to home life, as in a cozy and comfortable space designed for the benefit of those who live there. So how do you incorporate hygge into your home? That involves deciding what's going to make you feel comfortable, like your home is the best place to be, regardless of what anyone else thinks. But if that leaves you with no idea what to do, you can take some cues from Moss and Fog to get you started. They have four starting points to get you into the mood to put your home on the path to hygge.(Image credit: News Oresund) 
A New Homeowner Discovers Some Old House FeaturesBritish immigrant and new American citizen Laurence Brown, who recently bought his first house, shows us some features of his 1942 home that are not seen in houses built today. These include a basement toilet, a coal chute, and a phone nook. But they need some further explanation. A basement toilet is often accompanied by a sink or a shower or both, but rarely this much privacy. Sure, these were used by workmen who wanted to get clean before entering the living area, but that's not what they were originally built for. These are often called Pittsburgh toilets. An extra toilet in the basement was handy because when the municipal sewer system backed up, which was often, sewage would flow into the concrete basement, where it could be washed down the floor drain with lots of water once the sewer was functional again. Without that release, the backup would occur upstairs, flooding the living area where it would ruin wood floors, carpets, and your family dinner enjoyment. Once the plumbing was available in the basement, sinks and showers could be easily added for cleaning up after work. The "coal chute" he pointed out looks a lot more like a septic tank cover to me. But this is an urban area, and many commenters pointed out that it is a sewer access point called a cleanout. Coal chutes were built into the foundation of the house, and had much lighter doors of wood or metal for easy access. The phone niche is more often called a phone nook where I'm from. Some commenters said it was for the doorbell chimes, but I believe that was only a secondary use. There's no need to put doorbell chimes where they can be easily reached. Mine are hung on the wall near the ceiling. Still, mysterious remnants of the past in your home are a bonus if you ask me. 
The Homes That Stay Warm in Maine Winters Without a FurnaceThere's a kind of house that will stay warm even when it's freezing outside, by combining several modern building techniques. It's the passive house concept, that uses naturally-available heat to keep the interior a pleasant 70 degrees year-round. A passive house is situated with windows that allow sunshine to warm the house, and an airtight construction with highly-insulated 15-inch thick walls. Solar panels provide what electricity the home needs. The passive houses being built in Maine have no furnaces, just a small heat pump to aid the ventilation system.Maine Public Radio talked with a family who lives in a passive home, and their power bills are the minimum charge to stay connected to the grid- $13 a month, winter and summer. A passive house must be constructed from the ground up, and costs about 10% more than traditional construction. That cost will be made up over time, but the real savings can be seen in the construction of large buildings- apartments, dorms, hospitals, etc, where the extra construction cost is negligible. Still, there are already around 100 single family passive homes in Maine, saving their occupants thousands of dollars in heating costs. -via Nag on the Lake (Image credit: GO Logic)
The Most Unique Apartment in St. Louis is For Sale​City Museum in St. Louis is a famously quirky attraction. Artist Bob Cassilly bought a defunct shoe factory and turned it into an art museum and playground by repurposing industrial equipment and structures. A generation of St. Louis kids have enjoyed the City Museum. What many people don't know is that Cassilly designed an apartment inside the building for his family, and his heirs are selling it.
This Home Was Created To Wrap Around An Apple TreeThis place is stunning.Montreal-based studio ACDF Architecture created a low-slung contemporary home that was designed to wrap around an apple tree. Even cooler, residents of the house will get a glimpse of the tree from all rooms around the living space! It’s like a modern and stylish version of a fairy grove, where cool mystical beings gather. The home also has an all-black exterior, which is quite unique compared to other homes out on the market. Additionally, ACDF Architecture designed the home for its residents to experience and enhance a deeper connection with nature. The owner of the home, who commissioned the project, wanted the apple tree to be part of his home. “The owner embraced vivid childhood memories of growing up in an orchard environment. The apple tree was symbolic of his earliest encounters with nature as a child, and of the continuity of that connection years later while picking apples with his own children,” the company explained.Image credit: ACDF Architecture #homes #architecture #interiordesign #realestate