How to Tape Out Your New Home’s Floor Plan + Our House in the Trees Update

A concrete floor with green painter's tape and an orange measuring tape with the words "how to tape out your new home's floor plan." Click to visit post.

Something I have been looking forward to doing since I started designing Our House in the Trees was the day when we could tape out a simple floor plan and explore how it felt in full scale. After having spent hours upon hours adjusting, aligning, deleting, nudging, massaging and just plain old staring blankly at our plans, you better believe I know every nook and cranny intimately. But I also know from my time spent working at an architect’s office that what you see on paper and what you see in real life can be very different, which is why laying out a floor plan – in full size – is so important.

Eco-Friendly Building Material Magnesium Oxide Board

Magnesium oxide board is an eco-friendly drywall alternative made with naturally-occurring materials using an environmentally friendly process.

Aside from Of Houses and Trees, I also write content for a few other architecturally-minded blogs. One subject I’ve written quite a bit about lately is the building material magnesium oxide board (MgO board). If you’ve never heard of it, it’s essentially an eco-friendly drywall alternative. And, of course, as soon as I see the phrase “eco-friendly alternative” I get all giddy and start geeking out. It looks like we’re going to build our Real Life Home next spring. (Fingers crossed!) And I absolutely want to use as many green materials as possible. Not only are environmentally friendly materials good for the planet, but they’re also good for you and your family as they tend to release little to no VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into your home nor other narsty chemicals. (Did you know synthetic drywall contains formaldehyde? Yuck.)

5 of Canada’s Most Sustainable Buildings

5 of Canada’s Most Sustainable Buildings

Happy 150th birthday Canada! To celebrate our country’s milestone, I’ve put together a list of a few of its most eco-friendly buildings. As far as green countries go, Canada certainly isn’t at the top of the list. But with our government’s shifting priorities and increased public awareness about the impact of unsustainable choices, architects are now designing buildings with the environment in mind.

Interestingly, the current trend in sustainable building isn’t designing structures filled with fancy green technology. Instead it’s about creating smart buildings that don’t need all the bells and whistles. A building’s orientation, amount and quality of windows, square footage and types of materials are all current focuses in sustainable building. So here is a sampling of some of the greenest buildings in Canada. May they be an inspiration to us all!

How To Incorporate Tiny House Living Into Any Home

A tiny home may not be in your future, but what about a tinier, simpler life? Here are a few things we can all learn from the tiny house living movement.

I’ve been infatuated with tiny house living since the moment I heard about it. Not surprising since I’ve always had a love-on for the little. From the plastic toy toilet I used to hide from my sister as a child (I didn’t want to share), to the miniature potbelly pig I desperately wanted for a pet as a teenager. I’ve been cultivating my weird obsession with tiny versions of full-sized things my whole life. And now, here is a movement that not only bolsters one of my many eccentricities – it also validates it. Because tiny houses aren’t just adorable, they could save the planet too.

A tiny home is 500 square feet or less, although I’ve read about people building homes as itsy bitsy as 96 square feet (about the size of a smallish bedroom). Did I mention the average Canadian home currently sits at around 1,900? So… what are we doing with the extra 1,400 square feet? Why, filling it with stuff, of course!