Monthly Archives: September 2012

Eco-Friendly House Plan

This Estate in Extramadura, Spain is spectacular! I think I found my dream house. An Eco-friendly home that is modern, fashionable joined with nature. It was creatively put together to save energy. The great big windows bring in lots of light as well as heat. Their water source… pure river water. They wanted to preserve the walls as they were, but they were falling during the reconstruction, so they built them using concrete.

The brother and sister were looking for a house to build and when they found this place they found it amazing. Coming from the city but raised in the country when young, both loved the idea of the country side. The house was a stable for cattle and since machinery doesn’t work around there, you can’t have a big plot so the stables are abandoned and eventually collapse. That’s exactly what would have happened to this stable if it wasn’t redone.

It was important for them to find 2 streams that produce water all year round. In the front entrance they built a hole and a pond or fountain that is also connected to the house with sliding glass doors which can be opened in the summer and they can listen to the noises of the natural flowing water.

This fountain connects to the water resource outside, a watering reservoir for watering purposes. “The fountain is where they collected water originally so they were trying to recover nature on it’s course. It goes under the house and continues to the river” They use the pure river water for cooling the home, washing, showering and drinking as well as just plain and simple nature’s pleasure. They didn’t have to do much they said, because it’s perfectly oriented.

At the beginning they were thinking of keeping the original walls and structure, but when they were working on rebuilding, the walls started falling down. So they started over and reconstructed the walls in the same way it was originally built. The same original system was used, but instead of using just mud, earth and wood, they added concrete to the middle.

On the inside everything is a very modern style, which makes a great blend for the old fashioned exterior. The sun is what bring the heat. There is a fireplace, but most of the heat comes from the sun through the big windows. The windows have wooden shutters outside and are closed at night to keep the heat in, so it requires very little energy. There are solar panels and a small turbine for power in the summer and winter time.

For a tour of the home, watch this video.

Tree Houses

When picturing a tree house, typically we go on thinking of a little play house for the kids or maybe it’s something like the Swiss Family Robinson’s Treehouse that is built in an oversized tree with rope bridges and are made of grass roofs. I can’t imagine having to find a tree house plan. I mean, it’s probably hard enough trying to find the perfect house plan, but for a tree house… every single tree is a different shape and size and you probably have to make room for adjustments, because trees are living things and that means they might have some growing left to do. I imagine lots of people make up their own plans. So when you are out on your Sunday walk and you see the house with the big tree and the 2×4 wood boards piled up and starting to corrode, just waiting to be nailed together into a magnificent tree house – don’t judge them.

Tree houses are fascinating and creative and can bring us closer to nature. Every tree house is unique and maybe that’s why they are so fascinating. So backtracking a little, when we think of a typical tree house, we will most likely picture a cute little house in that great big tree out in the back yard – maybe we forget logs come from trees too and this makes ideas for building a tree house even more endless. Like for example this “tea house built too high” is built on tree logs harvested from a local mountain in Japan:

“This allowed him to situate the building where he wanted it and to fully integrate the “trees” with the building they are supporting (since they will not grow over time).” 

Hopefully it doesn’t sway in the wind. Maybe it’s easier to go more with this route, but I think it’s okay to build it closer to the ground – especially if it’s for your kids.


Sources: DIY Traditional Tree House Design with a Twist,, extreme tree house,