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Arch.itect.us: architecture from the edge….

Why Essential Oils Are Essential For Your Home

Essential oils have a plethora of uses for the home environment, making it healthier with its healing scents. Image Source: Rose and Partners

Can you smell it? The fresh air floats with hints of sharp citrus blended with cinnamon & clove undertones, invigorating your senses —and possibly making you and your home healthier?

It’s time to come to our senses, our sense of smell, that is.  While the practice of aromatherapy has been around for ages, we are not talking about burning a few candles, rather we are talking about essential oils and all of their essential uses in our home.

When researching this topic, we were surprised by all the uses essential oils have in the home—and it’s not just about making your home smell pretty. These little, viscous, liquid droplets pass the smell test and seem to hold the possibility of actually healing your home! Here’s how:

These little, viscous, liquid droplets pass the smell test and seem to have the possibility to actually heal your home! Here’s how. Image Source: Shed Built

 What Are Essential Oils ?

In the dictionary sense of the word, essential oils are concentrated hydrophobic liquids containing volatile aroma compounds from plants.  Broken into layperson language, it is a plant oil that contains the essence of the plant or the smell of the plant.

For the most part, these oils have been used for superficial purposes such as scenting perfumes, soaps, cosmetics and incense. However, there are those who have historically claimed the medicinal benefits of these oils, ranging from claims of clearing up acne all the way to curing cancer.  One particular historian, Alain Touwaide claims there is archeological evidence “…that both frankincense and myrrh were used as medicinal substances in antiquity; used as healing aids in leprosy and toothaches”.

These claims are still up for debate, but one thing is for certain—the interest in these olfactory oils seems to go beyond smell, and its rise in popularity shows the world has ‘caught the scent’.

cream and blue kitchen den

The interest in these olfactory oils seems to go beyond smell, and its rise in popularity shows the world has ‘caught the scent’. Image Source: Anna Braund

 How To Use Essential Oils In Your Home

There are thousands of useful online sites that list numerous roles that essential oils can play in the home. One site lists the effectiveness of oils in cleaning products, another to keep mice at bay, and another uses scents to keep her family healthy.

With all the choices available, where do you start? We suggest you start small and try just a few of the more well-known oil extracts such as lemon, orange and lavender. These oils have been known (and are quite time-tested) to aid in the cleaning and aromatherapy of your home.

There are numerous essential oil manufacturers that offer starter kits for those who really want to dive in nose-first.

blue black and white kitchen

There are thousands of useful online sites that list numerous roles that essential oils can play in the home. Image Source: JC-Design

 The Disinfecting Power Of Essential Oils

Aside from smelling pretty, essential oils have some magnificent cleaning powers. Here are some of the more popular cleaning methods that oil officiando’s are employing to clean their home:

  • tea tree oil is mixed with water; pour in a spray bottle and use as disinfectant on toilets, sinks etc…
  • lemon oil applied to showers prevents soap scum build-up
  • Mix lavender and lemon grass oil and use to clean windows

As you can see, cleaning your home and keeping your family healthy doesn’t have to involve a lot of harsh chemicals.  This Wiki How site shows you how to make an all-purpose cleaning solution with just lavender oil, lemon oil and water.

white kitchen glass tile marble

Aside from smelling pretty, essential oils have some magnificent cleaning powers. Image Source: Porcelanosa

 Going Green

Speaking of harsh chemicals. Many do not realize the amount of toxins that float throughout their home. Almost all of the content in your home has some form of chemical emission—carpeting, furnishings, cleaning products, insulation, drywall, paint etc…

An article in The Atlantic calls this a ‘silent pandemic’, noting that daily toxin exposure is actually damaging the brains of unborn children, and determining that 41 Million IQ points have been collectively lost amongst Americans due to exposure to common toxins like lead, mercury and pesticides.

Perhaps this should be a wake-up call for us to employ a more green approach to living— and look into ways to use essential oils in place of toxic cleaners. Here is a great link to help you make your home green with essential oils.

modern bathroom tile cabinets tub

Many do not realize the amount of toxins that float throughout their home. Image Source: LBC Lighting

It certainly seems that essential oils should have a place in every home. Not only do they smell great; they can alleviate the amount of toxic cleaners that you use in your home, and possibly eliminate some toxins in the home. Go a little green and try on some of these scents today.

Are you ahead of the trend and already ‘on the scent’ of the power of essential oils?

 

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South California Home Providing Gracious and Open Living Spaces: McElroy Residence

design modern residence
Especially designed for a couple and their two sons, McElroy Residence is a modern retreat nestled in a private community in Laguna Beach, California, USA. The house opens up to take advantage of the ocean views and the Southern California atmosphere. According to the architects, one of the challenges was to “provide gracious and open living spaces despite a restrictive eleven-foot height limit imposed by the homeowners association. The solution was to create a series of horizontally expansive spaces underneath a floating horizontal plane supported on stone masses, wood walls and slender steel columns.” Large windows and sliding glass doors create an uninterrupted visual flow from the rear courtyard to the main living space and pool area.

exterior modern residence

Ehrlich Architects designed a functional home, where each space is connected to the California climate: “Guest and children’s bedrooms open onto the protected courtyard in the rear while the master suite commands a layered view over the swimming pool and of the ocean. The master bath opens onto its own private meditative garden nestled in between the house and the topography behind.  The garage, health room, storage and service areas are all located in the basement which frees up the entire ground plane for living.” Enjoy the views! [Photo credits: Miranda Brackett & Roger Davies]

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Small Flexible O-table Inspired by Antique Brass Candlesticks

design practical table
The O-table by Ola Giertz Designstudio is a small flexible unit inspired by antique brass candlesticks. We usually move this type of candlesticks by inserting our finger into the special eye that allows us to smoothly carry the candle. This is the idea of ​​a sideboard based on the same concept, a sideboard with a handle that creates a removable and changeable furniture. The name of the table comes from the circular shapes that are recurrent in the table top, the rounded legs and the round handle.

ideas practical table
The project started after seeing an increasing need for flexible and easily moving tables. We often move from place to place in the room, and for example, sit and drink coffee in our favorite chair before we maybe move to the couch or the bed. Instead of having a table at each place, you can now instead use one table as you move along. The handle makes it easy to grab and creates a firm grip that makes it easy to carry the table with one hand. The bowl-shaped table top prevents items to easy fall off if you happen to shake or bump into anything.

The handle also breaks the horizontal line in the table top which creates greater dynamism. Together these forms create a soft and graphical furniture with a minimalistic touch. [Information provided via e-mail by  Ola Giertz Studio; Photographer: Carl Magnus Johansson]
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Garden Home Sparkling Under a Curved Roof and Natural Light

Garden Home in Seattle

A garden home, private and beautifully withdrawn from public eyes rises in Seattle, Washington. Designed by Balance Associates Architects, this modern structure reinterprets the way a garden home organizes the owner’s lifestyle. Boasting its light-encouraging shape in a suburban neighborhood, the home with a curved roof sets itself apart from neighboring structures. This Garden House is “one of the two houses set side by side in a park-like setting“, showcasing surprising details in photographs captured by Steve Keating.

The architects explain how both houses “are arranged to take advantage of an extensive garden and a salmon stream that runs through the property.” Imagine having a salmon stream on your property, enjoying sunshine sparkle in the water as birds chirp away. With a peaceful energy, you come back to the house illuminated from within. Double-height social spaces and floor-to-ceiling windows erase visual boundaries between functional, sophisticated interiors  and carefully manicured outdoors.

Garden Home by Balance Associates Architects (1)

Seeing how more and more people imagine their home flooded with light, it’s always inspiring to see solutions like this patented window system that slides around corners. But in the case of these twin garden homes, a warming wooden collection of window frames create a natural vibe. Wooden ceilings complete the nature-inspired, light filled social spaces.

“Curved roofs and similar exterior materials help establish a relationship between the two houses. The building and landscape design are intended to blur the boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces. Both houses are built from a unique concrete building block manufactured from wood chip fibers which allows the building envelope to remain vapor permeable. Healthy home materials and practices are used throughout both homes.”

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Sleek Glass and Wood House Extension With Matching Swimming Pool

House Extension by Aichberger Architektur Studio

This modern glass and wood house extension in Salzburg, Austria, was intended to increase the square footage of a single family house and bring natural light inside. An old house in Salzburg became the perfect playing ground for a game of light and warmth. Aichberger Architektur Studio visualized the two-story structure as elongating towards the garden, opening towards sunlight.

An opportunity to create a different lifestyle arises from this addition. The owner enjoys views of the backside garden through a transparent glass wall wrapped around the corner. Dressed in a wooden skin, this addition acquires views of the rectangular swimming pool through frameless windows.

House Extension by Aichberger Architektur Studio (1)

Contrasting the old structure, this new glass and wood addition brings in light, air and framed views of green surroundings. Harmoniously coming together, the family home addition was carefully integrated in the existing architecture. The inviting swimming pool elongates the idea of warmth by displaying a wooden continuation of the addition’s skin. Stylishly furnished with functional pieces enhancing the use of renewed social spaces, the compact glass and wood box feels like a logical transition to the warm, alluring garden.

For more inspiration, check out this glass and timber addition to a 1950′s Hampshire house or this striking modern addition bringing light and LA views inside. Which one do you find most inspiring?

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Old Building Renovation Project in Singapore with a Modern Twist: 59BTP-House

architecture modern home
59BTP-House in Bukit Timah, Singapore is a contemporary renovation project delivered by ONG&ONG, an architecture company with offices currently opened in 12 Asian cities. Initially built by the owner’s father, the dwelling lack plenty of features needed to accommodate the modern living needs of the current users: “The client wanted to have two master bedrooms along with four bedrooms – this required additional floor area as the original house area could not comfortably fit in the extra rooms”, explained the project developers. The challenge was met by adding an extra volume to the existing building to accommodate the new en-suite bedrooms.
design modern home
Several changes were made in order to ensure a contemporary look and feel, yet quite a few elements were preserved from the old house as well: “A stonewall in the original house was replaced with a concrete wall to give it a more modern finish whilst still staying true to the spirit of the earlier design. Wherever possible, the original material was retained, such as the plaster that forms the upper levels.” Opened towards the lush surrounding landscape through large expanses of glass, the new bedrooms are welcoming and soothing. [Photography by Derek Swalwell]
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Refined Contemporary Design: Self-Supporting Spiral Staircases by Rizzi Studio

spiral staircases
In creating these cement spiral staircases, Rizzi Studio combines a sophisticated design with a perfect technical core. Each of the projects acts as a connection between storeys, enhancing the value of the settings and accommodating the requirements of contemporary living. The self-supporting staircase winds around itself according to the available space in a harmonious upward crescendo to become a fundamental element of interior design as well as a functional feature. Individual prefabricated modules are put together to form self-supporting staircases, with 11 standard diameters of between 125 cm and a maximum of 300 cm, to offer fully customizable projects according to the finishes of the intended surroundings.
ideas modern staircase Rizzi
The logic behind the installation of Rizzi’s reinforced concrete spiral staircases drastically reduces installation times: individual unrefined steps are shipped and subsequently assembled directly on site. They include the tread, the riser and at either end the stringer which, when assembly has been completed, will form two spiral stringer boards notched to accommodate the reinforcement connecting the starting storey to the landing. The treads and risers can also be clad with wood, stainless steel, ceramic, marble and resin. [Photos and information provided via e-mail by Rizzi Studio]

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Perfect Venue for Friend Gatherings: Original Tepoztlan Lounge in Mexico

architecture contemporary lounge
When planning your next friend gathering, wouldn’t it be nice if the meeting “venue” came with fresh air and a swimming pool? Cadaval & Solà-Morales completed Tepoztlan Lounge, said to be the first in a series of buildings especially designed to be rented as communal encounter spaces. This one is located in the small town of Tepoztlan, 50 kilometers away from the vibrant Mexico City, in a relaxing setting, neighbored by and including beautiful mature trees.

contemporary lounge (6)Curious about what this unconventional space has to offer? According to the architects, Tepoztlan Lounge is composed of three separate living quarters delimited by their functional use: “The first holds an open bar with a kitchenette, together with restrooms and dressing rooms; the second is a play area for children that can also be used as a reading room when temperatures drop at night; and finally the largest container is the living area – an enclosed, tempered and comfortable space for conversation, TV, and so on.”

The design of the swimming pool subtly derives from the shape of the lounge unit, contributing to a harmonious nature inlay of this project. Find this idea Mexico escape venue as inspiring as we do? [Photography by Diego Berruecos and Sandra Pereznieto]
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Modern Attic Apartment in Vilnius Disclosing Views of the Old Town: DO Project by YCL

architecture modern homeLithuania-based studio YCL sent us photos and information about a modern collector’s apartment located in Vilnius. The 64 square-meter crib is characterized by dominant white inclined walls contrasted by floors in dark wood finish. Originally entitled “DO”, the attic apartment has a surprisingly open layout, with just a partial wall unit separating the bedroom from the living area. Despite its relatively small surface, the loft appears to be very spacious, due to a visual geometric variety. Each corner seems different no matter what the standpoint and it is exactly this asymmetry that makes the place feel exciting.
design modern homeThe project developers describe the apartment in a more inviting manner: “A long corridor invites guests to come inside where church towers can be seen through the windows. The old town is disclosed by a crooked attic, smokey wooden floor, burning firewood. Space without partitions, doors and stereotypes serves the unusual life. The weight of slopes is overpowered by dominant white and lit trusses. Everything is hidden in a glossy curled up ribbon- what remains is the space for aesthetics and cozy firelight.” [Information provided via e-mail by YCL Studio; Photography: Andrius Stepankevičius]
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Contemporary Forest Home Anchored by Four Stone Walls

El Bosque House by Ramon Esteve

Imagine yourself enjoying the soft summer air turning into a brisk breeze as you lounge outside by the pool. El Bosque House (the House in the Forest) by Ramon Esteve Estudio is a contemporary forest home where you can truly feel safe and comfortable. Surrounded by native vegetation blossoming under the warm Spanish sun, this contemporary forest home feels warm and cozy. Participating to this feeling are the warm building materials that compose a pristine collection of spaces. Four stone sidewalls anchor the geometric structure, two of them guarding the access while the remaining two support a covered outdoor patio overlooking the inviting swimming pool.

El Bosque House by Ramon Esteve (1)

Flawless frame-free windows stretching from floor to ceiling flood the minimalist interiors with natural light. This induces a state of peace as you flow carelessly through the open spaces. Skilled architect Ramón Esteve and his team imagined an enclosed outdoor space filtering light inside the contemporary forest home and connecting different interior areas with a timber-covered ceiling that delineates the rooms, acting as visual hallways. Different degrees of privacy compose an elegant space plan connected to the outdoors, as architect Ramón Esteve describes it:

El Bosque House by Ramon Esteve (19)

The aim of the proposal is the creation of different outdoor areas linked to the rooms inside, according to their level of privacy. Each room is differently high according to its use and spreads its program on a single level, except for the bedrooms’ bay. This operation generates a cross-shaped plan that arranges the external space.”

Internally, the space unfolds elegantly, as captured by photographer Mariela Apollonio. The dining and barbecue tables were designed especially for this contemporary forest home, mimicking the way the architecture supports the harmonious internal planning: “The volumes containing the living room, the dining room and the kitchen, however independents, are visually linked because of their position, making the house wider and more transparent. The other two volumes host the main bedroom, two bedrooms on the lower floor and a studio on the upper floor. A continuous veranda enlarge the rooms, generating outdoor areas that open and extend the rooms.”

A true dream home in the forest, right? And now that your creative juices are flowing, check out the Geometry-Driven Architecture flaunted by this House in Rocafort by the same Ramon Esteve Studio.

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