behavior · design · learning · Nature · play

The Fantastical World of Fairy Houses | The Etsy Blog

It is in our nature to pick up interesting rocks, sticks, and leaves as part of our exploration of our surroundings. Some people bring their treasures home and display them on a fireplace mantle or little shadow box.

For a husband and wife team, they have been turning their little finds into fairy houses, which is another playful way of exploring their surroundings and getting to engage in make believe play as a grown up. They are also one of the lucky few people who get to sell their play creations. They were interviewed on the Etsy blog about their creations:

Etsy: When did you make your first fairy house? And had you ever heard of one before you made one?

Debbie: I grew up writing poetry and playing musical instruments and I had always loved doing different kinds of crafts like making dolls, handmade books and cards. But no, we’d never really heard of fairy houses before we started doing this 25 years ago. At the time, our sons had just started going to grade school, and when I found I had more time to myself, I was excited to use my creative talents again. The first project I tried was making a full-size Adirondack chair; when that didn’t work out, Mike suggested that I try making a miniature chair instead. I used some materials I had gathered from a couple of acres near my mom and dad’s place in Washington, and it was so much fun I kept doing it.

Mike: We have always loved nature. When we would go for hikes, Debbie was always picking up things she found, so we already had quite a collection of wild grasses and flowers. And Debbie’s mom was our biggest mentor. She always said, “You have so much talent. I wish you would use your talent.” She really encouraged us.

more via The Fantastical World of Fairy Houses | The Etsy Blog.

How wonderful that Debbie’s mom continued to encourage to play and explore with creating these miniatures.

Have you ever built little fairy houses when you go for a walk? Or seen someone else’s creation? Do you build with LEGOs or other miniatures? Or K’nex (Connector) Sets or Lincoln Logs or other building set? Do you wish you still did? Share in the comments below.

architecture · community · creativity

Recycled houses from around the world

I saw this article about a house made out of plastic bottles…

With a serious housing shortage but no shortage of plastic bottles littering the streets, the Development Association for Renewable Energies (DARE) – an NGO based in Nigeria – decided to build this incredible two-bedroom bungalow entirely out of plastic bottles! Although many in Kaduna were dubious when the project began construction in June this year, the nearly-complete home is bullet and fireproof, earthquake resistant, and maintains a comfortable interior temperature of 64 degrees fahrenheit year round!

This led to further searches, and found some other cool houses made out of reused materials:

Architects and homeowners are gradually discovering the benefits of shipping container homes. It turns out that the strong, cheap freight boxes make pretty useful building blocks. They can be loaded with creature comforts and stacked to create modular, efficient spaces for a fraction of the cost, labor and resources of more conventional materials. Shipping containers can be easily insulated and climate controlled, and they are being deployed as disaster relief shelters and modest vacation homes. In stacking configurations they are appearing as student housing and even luxury condos.


Plus for all you survivalists out there, they would be a great start to a less conspicuous (if left au naturale on the outside), possibly fit with a grounding net against EMPs, and generally fire proof.


Salvaged wine corks, which are easy to come by, provide an inexpensive form of cork flooring.
This Boeing 727 carried in the past passengers for South Africa Air and Avianca Airlines (Columbia). Today it is suspended on a 50 foot pedestal on the edge of the National Park, in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica.

Lots more here and here. What other houses made out of recycled houses have you seen?

One question I have, however, is how well some of these houses actually blend into the environments they’re built. Are they actually beneficial to the Earth because they keep this stuff out of the landfill? Does it make the families who live in these places’ lives better? Thoughts?

architecture · community

Developer seeks to create inviting structures | Seattle Times Newspaper

I read an article recently about a very cool developer in the Seattle area. His company focuses on creating buildings and projects that are good for the environment and for the community:

Rogers’… 4-year-old company, Point 32, is developing one of the region’s highest-profile projects: the Bullitt Center, billed as the greenest office building on the planet.

The Capitol Hill project, which broke ground last month, has been designed to produce its own water, treat its own waste, and each year generate as much power as it uses.

“It really could change the nature of green building, nationally and locally,” Rogers says.

He acknowledges his career path hasn’t been a conventional one. But his background in conservation and the arts prepared him well for what he’s doing now, he says.

Rogers and his business partners, Chris Faul and Matt Kellogg, have been working with the owner, the environment-focused Bullitt Foundation, almost from the start. They helped find the site, design the six-story building, obtain permits and arrange construction financing.

Point 32 also recently completed the first project in which it has an ownership stake: a high-end, boutique live-work loft complex in South Lake Union called Art Stable, targeted at artists and art collectors.

The award-winning building’s most distinctive feature: a crane on the roof and enormous, hinged windows through which oversized art pieces can be lowered.

So what’s the thread that ties together Rogers’ eclectic career?

“I think it’s an interest in place-making,” he says.

Creating something that’s aesthetically appealing is part of that, he says, but there’s more:

“We’re interested in helping create places where people can come together naturally of their own accord, places that improve the physical and social fabric of the city, places that provide a greater benefit than just the physical structures.”

He’s already played a major role in creating one highly acclaimed place: the Seattle Art Museum‘s Olympic Sculpture Park. As SAM’s project manager, Rogers oversaw all facets of the $85 million park’s development — permits, financing, design, construction.

more via Business & Technology | In Person: Developer seeks to create inviting structures | Seattle Times Newspaper.