The Edible Balcony

Summer is just around the corner and we have been reveling in the ample sunshine that Portland has been getting lately! All this sun and warm weather makes me want to get out into the garden and get my hands dirty. I am loving this new book – “The Edible Balcony” by Alex Mitchell. It focuses on small space gardening, which is perfect for your downsized home. Check it out… here.

Here are some inspiring images of gorgeous small space gardening ideas…

I love all these wonderful ideas! Who knew a small space could provide such a rich bounty of produce! So don’t fret if you gave up your acre lot…you can still have the garden of your dreams, just get creative!

Have a fabulous weekend!

 

Images via here and here.

Posted on May 18, 2012 at 8:21 pm
Candace Kramer | Category: downsizing, Garden, Lifestyle, outdoor recreation, Small Space Design | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tiny hillside cottages

Hello everyone! How has your week been? I haven’t had much time to peruse the web but I did find this fabulous post over on Remodelista and I had to share it with you…

Here’s a little synopsis of the project:

On a steep, wooded lot in Mill Valley, California, the challenge was to add two studio spaces—one for an artist, one for yoga—without disturbing the soaring redwood trees that surrounded an existing main house.

“We definitely wanted to make this project as ‘green’ as possible, and to have it be visually integrated into the land,” said architect Jonathan Feldman. The solution was two separate buildings, nestled on flat sites against the hillside. The lower studio, visible from the windows above, got live plants on the roof, mimicking a common style in environmentally conscious European cities. (In Stuttgart, for example, green roofs cover 25 percent of the real estate, the result of public policy originating with Europe’s “green party” movements in the 1970s.) Here’s how Europe’s modern vernacular translates to Northern California:

 

I just love the rooftop gardens!

Ample light and simple finishes help the interior blend well with the natural setting…

Don’t you just love these!? Innovative, green and yes…downsized.

Have a wonderful weekend and Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms out there!

 

All images via here.

Posted on May 11, 2012 at 6:06 pm
Candace Kramer | Category: architecture, downsizing, environmental design, Garden, Lifestyle, Small Space Design | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Take your work into the garden: Shed turned Office Space

Hello there! How have you been enjoying Spring? With the warmer months approaching and the sun showing its face more often, it can be a little dreary sitting in my office. In Oregon, when the sun shines, you need to get OUTSIDE! That’s why I just love this idea of turning an outdoor shed into a work space…

Hackney Shed modern home office
I first saw this on Houzz.com and immediately was drawn to it…
Hackney Shed modern home office
Constructed of simple, raw materials and designed for maximum efficiency, this sweet office space is 150 sq. feet. London Architect, Gurmeet Sian stuck to the budget of $16,000 and gave the owners the perfect work space, nestled into their back garden. The doors fully retract allowing fresh air and sunshine to fill the space and offers a flexible option for outdoor entertaining.
Hackney Shed modern home office
This large skylight reveals the blue sky and brings ample natural light into the office.
Hackney Shed modern home office
So what do you think? Wouldn’t it be nice to work from this vantage point?

 

Have a great weekend!

 

 

All images via here.

Posted on May 4, 2012 at 3:15 pm
Candace Kramer | Category: architecture, downsizing, environmental design, Garden, Remodel, Small Space Design | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Weekend Getaway – The Shack

As the weather warms, many Oregonians begin to plan camping trips – and why wouldn’t they? We are surrounded by beautiful, wild forests, mountains, rivers and lakes. It’s a natural playground that we all cherish…but for some, pitching a tent might be…well…a stretch. So how about a “Shack”?

Constructed by the architectural team at Broadhurst Architects this creative project – aptly named, “The Shack” was the perfect solution  for one family’s desire to have a simple, yet comfortable weekend getaway minus all the tent set up. Located on the southern slope of South Fork Mountain, near Upper Tract, West Virginia the occupants enjoy the year round beauty of the rolling hills and pastures.

Here’s the description from the architects themselves –

“The shack was created as a logical step between tent camping, and the yet unrealized weekend cottage. This fundamental shelter has no electricity. Oil lamps provide light. Heat is provided by a small wood stove, which is also used to heat water that is delivered to the “kitchen” sink by a gravity system. The vertical drop is achieved by using a hand-powered bilge pump to fill an overhead storage tank. Rain water is collected from the roof as part of the outdoor shower system. Acknowledging the constant struggle between mouse (and occasionally rattlesnake and bear) and man, the shack sits upon four wood posts with rodent barriers, a detail borrowed from local corn cribs. The board and batten siding is locally milled pine. The roof is standing-seam terne.

The southeastern façade of the building is opened to a cantilevered wood deck with an overhead-acting aluminum and glass garage door. A removable canvas awning serves to shade the deck and extend the living space during wet weather. Small windows on the northwestern façade allow the mountain breezes to flow through the building, and allow occasional views of cows on the adjacent pasture.”

Clearly, a lot of thought went into meeting the owner’s needs while maintaining a simplistic and environmentally friendly take on the project. Love that!

So wouldn’t you take this place over a tent? I would!

Have a fantastic weekend!

 

 

All images via here.

 

Posted on April 13, 2012 at 4:49 pm
Candace Kramer | Category: architecture, environmental design, interior design, outdoor recreation, Small Space Design | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cool Hotels: Treehotel

Hi all! Hope your week has treated you well!

I’m excited to share this unique and innovative hotel with you today…check out the Treehotel in beautiful Harads, Sweden…

This is just one of the five “tree-houses” that you can book for your stay! So cool! Built on the pillars of green architecture and conservation these amazing, modern structures seem to float midair among the tree tops. Talk about getting away from it all…literally!

The Treehotel guests enjoy an amazing bird’s eye view of the world. Leave all your stress on the forest floor.

I could spend all day in bed with a good book, gazing out through the forest. So peaceful, right?

Guest enjoy showers, hot meals and other modern amenities at the main lodge (on the forest floor) complete with warm and friendly hospitality!

What an amazing experience! I just love seeing such creative use of materials and space! Go check out all the rooms and more information here.

Have a fabulous weekend.

 

Images via here.

Posted on March 16, 2012 at 10:46 pm
Candace Kramer | Category: architecture, downsizing, environmental design, Hotels, interior design, Small Space Design | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Glorified Granny Flat in Seattle

Hello everyone! We had breaks of sunshine today in Portland and it just made my Friday! Finding this fabulous, glorified Granny Flat with wonderful design and green building elements has only added to my sunny mood! I had to share…

Isn’t it gorgeous? With stunning standing seam copper walls and cedar wood…it makes quite the impact on the landscape! The resident family lives full time in the main house but with growing needs and regular visitors, this granny flat with full kitchen, bathroom, guest room, office and play room was the perfect solution!

Love that rolling ladder that leads up to the loft area – it’s made of salvaged wood and parts too!

For the full story and building details check out the article here on Dwell and visit with the brilliant architects – Ninebark – who created this beautiful structure.

Have an inspired weekend!

 

All images via here.

Posted on February 25, 2012 at 7:09 am
Candace Kramer | Category: architecture, downsizing, environmental design, interior design, Lifestyle, Small Space Design | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

French Garage Makeover

Hi all! Happy New Year!

I’m getting back into the swing of things finally and today, I have a fabulous garage make-over to share with you – all the way from Bordeaux! (You all know how I have a thing for garage projects!)

This tiny 441 sq. ft. space was designed by the ingenious team at FABRE/deMARIEN.

Check this out before shot…dull, dingy and dark.

Passage Buhan modern
Not anymore, step into this light, airy, beautifully designed space...
Passage Buhan modern exterior
Passage Buhan modern exterior
Glass walls allow plenty of natural light in and minimal white furniture and cabinetry keep the look crisp and clean.
Passage Buhan modern dining room
That wooden cube houses the sleeping loft, bathroom with shower, washing machine and storage. The small staircases leads up to the bed.
Passage Buhan modern dining room
The built in desk and convertible sofa offer both function and flexibitly – which is SO key when dealing with limited square footage!
Passage Buhan modern living room
Passage Buhan modern living room
The sleeping loft has clothing storage and shelf space. The skylight makes the space fell less closed in.
Project Buhan contemporary bedroom
A simple, but functional bathroom is underneath the bed area. Love the generous counter space!
Project Buhan contemporary bathroom
The deck extends the living space and is a great place for dining al fresco on a lovely evening.
Passage Buhan modern patioPretty fantastic right? To check out the project in its entirety and read more about the process please go here.
Have a wonderful week!

All images via Houzz
Posted on January 17, 2012 at 11:02 am
Candace Kramer | Category: architecture, downsizing, environmental design, interior design, Remodel, Small Space Design | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pdx Love: Kask Bar

Hello friends! You know I’m a total sucker for re-used, re-cycled and re-purposed when it comes to building so when I found this fabulous bar in Portland it was love at first sip! Meet one of the newest, hippest and greenest bars in Pdx – KASK!


This intimate cocktail lounge serves up delicious concoctions on their rough-hewn walnut bar that is supported by a rock-filled gabion wall. I saw this kind of construction when I was in Austria –  it was everywhere! They would make benches and fences out of it!

Can’t go wrong with good ole’ rock!

The eco-friendly cork floors keep the green vibe and instead of wasting paper, ever-changing black boards inform patrons of what’s on the menu. Love that!

Kask is owned by the restaurateurs from neighboring, Gruner – another fine establishment with a focus on the warm, rich flavors of “Middle Europe”. Go check out both destinations for amazing food, drink and a peek at some creative green building materials!

Hope your week is going well!

 

 All images via here.

Posted on October 25, 2011 at 8:29 pm
Candace Kramer | Category: architecture, Community, downsizing, food, interior design, Local News, Portland Love | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My New Old Shed

Hello friends! I’m back! Summer was busy, busy and my time spent with family and friends was top priority! Now that Fall has come and everyone is getting settled back into their schedules, I have found time to work on my blog once more. As I mentioned in a past post, my son and I worked on rejuvenating the garden of my rental home and we were also in the process of building a storage shed. Both projects turned out brilliantly and here are some of the pics to show our fabulous results!

First up, the garden. It was so long neglected, full of weeds and completely overgrown but we brought it back to life!

And yes, that is my “new old shed” back there! Cute right?

Even though our summer was extremely mild, Peter managed to pick a ripe tomato from the vine before heading back to school!

Okay, now for my shed! As you know, I researched sheds online, in stores and just about everywhere! I wanted just the right design. Simple, funky and constructed using some of the salvaged materials from the garage remodel (soon to be granny flat) I’m working on.

Finally, I found a shed builder – Justin Marical – that had great ideas and would build to my specs. Check out his great company here. He was very open to using my salvaged materials and helped me design a 12 ft long and 3 ft deep, lean-to style shed that fit perfectly with the scale of the backyard garden.

This old window was from the main house which I had replaced with a new vinyl double hung.

Peter washed down the old door from the garage, which is now the front door to my shed.

The shed threshold was created with bricks that we found on site. Peter did a fantastic job laying these in.

The beautiful red stained cedar siding was left over from an old condo project I worked on! This siding is usually very expensive but I got a great deal on it and Justin was drooling! ha ha! I added an old flower box that had previously been installed on the main house and the lovely trellis was installed by my very talented Russian carpenter – Eli! He has done some gorgeous work on my beach house too. Even the roof was done with left over composite material. Isn’t it cute!? I’m so happy with the result and it felt good to use materials that most likely would have ended up in a landfill.

What projects did you complete over the summer?

Posted on October 12, 2011 at 5:36 pm
Candace Kramer | Category: downsizing, environmental design, Garden, Remodel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Urban Gardens Galore

Summer is my season to spend afternoons in the garden (when my schedule allows) and really get my hands dirty. I find it both relaxing and rewarding. As many of you know, we are also in the process of downsizing and I often wonder what my next – inevitably smaller – outdoor space will be like? So I thought, why not round-up some fabulous inspiration and share it with you! Ready…let’s go…

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Just because you move into a more urban environment, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t create your own little green oasis. I love how these lush, emerald walls of plant life create an outdoor room and a place to retreat from the world.

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Lucky enough to have private roof access? Don’t let it go to waste! Look how lovely this vista is! Using vibrant colors for your planters only instills the space with more energy and interest.

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The glass walls of this home allow more of the outside in, creating a beautiful flow to the gorgeous rooftop garden.

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Perhaps you have a small yard with your downsized home and you can’t give up that patch of grass? Okay…but keep it reasonable and easy to manage. You didn’t give up that huge house to spend your days behind a lawn mower right?  This modern streamlined approach makes the space feel larger and more open. Built in seating maximizes your entertaining capacity.

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Or go almost maintenance free with concrete pavers, contained beds and crushed granite. I love the use of squares in this very rectangle space…a nice contrast.

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Short on space? Go vertical. These re-purposed paint cans now overflow with lush greenery and don’t encroach on the limited square footage.

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Oh and I just adore this idea! Turn a discarded pallet into a terraced garden wall! Even the tiniest of balconies can accommodate this installation! How to do it? Go here for DIY instructions.

Want more inspiration and ideas…check out these books. (Click on them to go to Amazon). Each is loaded with fantastic designs that will certainly inspire your own urban garden.

Remember downsizing isn’t about giving up what you love, it’s about changing the way you live to encourage a simplistic, peaceful, green lifestyle!

Do you have an urban garden right now? I would love to hear what you have done with it!

 

 

Posted on July 11, 2011 at 9:23 pm
Candace Kramer | Category: downsizing, environmental design, Garden, interior design, Lifestyle, Small Space Design | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,