Author

Lillian Connors

If one thing is true about Lillian Connors, her mind is utterly curious. That’s why she can’t resist the urge to embark on a myriad of home improvement/DIY projects and spread the word about them. She’s also deeply into green practices, cherishing the notion that sustainable housing and gardening will not only make us far less dependent on others regarding the dwellings we inhabit and what we eat, but also contribute to our planet being a better place to live on. When she is not trying to improve the things around her (and herself, for that matter), she likes to lose herself in a good book and sip on an occasional appletini.

When it comes to good gift giving, there’s three main types that are well received: visual, edible or an experience. That could be, flowers, chocolates and tickets to an event. However, if you’re looking to explore beyond the realms of ‘tried and tested’ – home décor gifts can be a great hit too.

With gift giving in general, the type of present that you’ll be giving is hugely dependent on the type of person who’ll be receiving it – and the aesthetic of their home; so, we made a few different categories.

Here are some ideas that are sure to be a hit!

Home Décor Gift Ideas:

The Classic Look

To achieve the classic look, your home décor gift should be described as timeless and effortlessly chic. If you’re not sure what makes something timeless or effortlessly chic, there’s a few things you look out for:

Firstly, is your item something that’s always been fashionable? Something that isn’t a fad and can be gifted at any time of year to any person – like a scented candle perhaps? That’s a timeless gift.

Credit: The White Company

Next, classic home décor gifts should have the ability to fit within almost any interior design theme – because they’re often neutral in design and aesthetic. Therefore, features to look out for are clean lines, neutral tones (like cream, black and grey); and classic materials like glass, metal or wood.

A great classic home décor gift idea would be a sleek hanging lantern, accompanied by a white scented candle.

 

The Unmissable Gift

Perhaps you like to make a statement or your friend loves things that are out of the ordinary? If you’re looking to have an impact then your home décor gift should be unmissable!

You’ll need to think BIG and think different; and this doesn’t mean expensive either.

If you’re looking to spend a little more on your unmissable gift, this contemporary human sculpture from InStyle-Décor will certainly hit the spot. It’s custom-made and will make a great addition to any wall.

 

Credit: InStyle-Décor

The Personal Home Décor Gift

If you’re looking for a home décor gift idea that’s a little more personal, perhaps it’s for a close friend, then our best advice is to make something; nothing shows through like researching and making a present!

There’s tonnes of tutorials out there, like these DIY shabby chic home accessories that are easy and inexpensive to make.

Credit: unsplash.com

 

The Stylish Gift

Are you buying a home décor gift for an interior design fiend with a carefully curated array of decorative items? Fear not, a stylish gift is easy to find!

For a gift that successfully stylish, it needs to be one part classic (neutral, timeless, tasteful) and one part quirky (not found in every home).

These three delicate hanging frames from Cox & Cox hit the nail on the head perfectly. You can either gift them as they are, or choose some of your favourite images to place inside to add a personal touch!

Why not go the extra mile and help them hang the frames too?

All stylish people drink wine right? This geometric wine rack is a delightfully stylish way to display wines.  

Credit: The Little House Shop

The Fun Home Décor Gift

Last, but certainly not least, on this list is the fun home décor gift. This is perfect for a goofy friend, a young homeowner (like a child that’s recently moved out), or as a light-hearted and economical present.

A mini cinema light box is a fun gift that’s small, sweet and will make a great addition to any room!

Other Considerations

Each situation is different, and while we’d all love to gift a handmade ornate home décor piece to everyone – there’s a few variables that could limit this.

First and foremost, consider your budget; you don’t want to fall in love with an item that you can’t afford!

Next, what’s your timeline? If you only have a few days until your gift-giving event then ordering something that’s handmade might not be the best idea.

Lastly, don’t make it too good a gift or you’ll never want to give it away.

Happy gift giving guys!

 

If your home can use a good thorough cleaning but you can’t really afford a professional, don’t worry. There are many cool cleaning tips pros use all the time that will make your cleaning fast and easy.

Remove clutter

The best way to start cleaning your home is to remove the things from counters, desk, coffee tables and shelves. Otherwise, you might be tempted to just clean around them or lift them and put them back on a wet surface. This can leave nasty ring marks and look like you haven’t done anything.

10 House Cleaning Tricks That Save Time

Do as much as you can in one take

It might seem easier, but don’t clean your living room today and leave the bathroom for tomorrow. This method actually takes more time than doing everything in one day. It’s better to do as much as you can in one take, so that you can relax tomorrow in your clean home.

Get organized

You’ll waste a lot of time running around your home to get the tool or cleaner you need. However, if you get a cleaning caddie, you’ll have everything at hand for fast and easy cleaning.

10 House Cleaning Tricks That Save Time

Remove distractions

Your home is full of distractions – from your TV, phone and music to rearranging figurines on the shelves and folding linen. All of these can make a two-hour cleaning job last four hours. So, turn off your electronics and leave detailed projects for another time. Concentrate on cleaning, and only cleaning, until your home is spotless.

Don’t forget the electronics

Many people forget to clean their electronics which either stay dirty, or they remember them in the end. So, turn off your electronics and wipe them with a lightly dampened microfiber cloth and remember never to spray cleaning products on the screen directly.

10 House Cleaning Tricks That Save Time

Invest in good cleaning supplies

If you want your cleaning to be fast and effective, don’t hesitate to invest a bit more money in high-quality cleaners and cleaning supplies. They will do a much better cleaning job, and they usually last longer than cheap cleaners. If you want your children to help you with cleaning, get products that are non-toxic and natural. There are even cleaners you can make yourself with only a few household items and they remove all sorts of stains.

Follow instructions from the label

Many people want to make cleaning easier and faster, so they tend to “overuse” the cleaning products. However, this will only result in greater expenses. So, if you really want to be effective, read the recommendations from the manufacturer, thus avoiding expensive mistakes. The instructions will tell you just how much product you need and where can you use it. Many products today are of better quality and employ more advanced technology, so they are much more effective.

Invest in good cleaning tools

Don’t use cheap knockoffs of professional cleaning tools. Of course, you don’t need industrial-quality tools, but don’t hesitate to invest in tools that are tested and guaranteed to do the job. If you opt for well-made tools they will last you a long time, and will be much more effective than their cheap counterparts. So, throw away that old sponge mop and opt for a terry-covered mop. Also, chuck or recycle your old vacuum in favor of powerful and practical Shark vacuums that are light and easy to handle, yet strong enough to tackle every cleaning job.

10 House Cleaning Tricks That Save Time

Vacuuming tricks

While we’re talking about vacuums, make sure you’re doing a good vacuuming job. The best way to tackle the room is to remove everything from the floors, move furniture and area rugs. Clear floors will allow you to move quickly and efficiently. Another vacuuming piece of advice is to do the dusting before vacuuming. This way you’ll get to pick up all dust particles that fall on the floor during dusting and save some precious time.

Continue with maintenance

Most households need thorough cleaning every two weeks. However, if you do a good maintaining job, some chores can be reduced to once a month!

Who needs expensive professional cleaners with cleaning tips like these? So, roll up your sleeves, grab your cleaning products and tools, and get to work. You’ll be done before you know it and your home will be sparkling clean.

 

At last! You decided to sell your house.  Don’t congratulate yourself yet and expect to move out right away.  The world of real estate is highly competitive and it is very unlikely that you seal the deal with a limited budget, time and exposure.  Preparing yourself and your house for effective home staging could potentially open the door to selling your house for a good deal with a good price – and fast.  Here are 10 tips to guide you:

Getting ready To Sell - 10 Home Staging Tips

1. Assess the marketable status of your house

Salesmanship is a skill that cannot be expected from regular homeowners.   For whichever out of the many reasons that finally made you want to sell your house, it is important to recall that special reason which made you want to live there in the first place.  You’ve lived in it.  You’ve had kids in it.  You’ve had friends over. You’ve dined, wined, slept and even cried in it.  Being too familiar with our homes makes us forget its value and take it for granted.  Take a good look at your house now and evaluate its marketable points.

2. Appraise the value of your house from your perspective

Go through your house from room to room, space to space and corner to corner. Reminisce on moments that the property became more than just a house to you (a prize for hard work, a neutral ground for your parent’s war, the territorial limit of your in-laws, a fortress that your boss could not penetrate or a melting pot for your friends). Bottom-line is you will not be able to sell something that you don’t find value in.  Evaluate each area as to usefulness and functionality.  This will also help you decide which stuff will go to the moving van and which will stay for the open house.  Now, it’s time to declutter and start the inventory.

3. Consumerism is always visually driven

Now is the time to air out those antiques, branded tea sets and expensive dinner wares. Set them up in places conducive for receiving guests and help you engage discussions. Buyers go by what they see but you can manipulate their vision through some optical strategies.  Put mirrors in tight corners to create an illusion of space.  Remove the things that may incite controversies in religion, race or politics. Instead, handpick conversation-starter photos and memorabilia that would make them want to live there as well.

Install artworks that will direct their attention to intricate details of the house (mosaic tiles, wood carvings, handpainted walls).  Lounging areas and places of rest are best adorned with fluffy pillows, soft and clean mattresses.  This will make your house seem cozy and warm.

4. Cleanliness should be prioritized and never compromised

Mildews, stains, dust bunnies and cobwebs instantly decreases market value on sight. Cleaning routines should be established and upkeep should be calculated at the outset (water supplies, water closets, household plumbing, electrical circuits, drainage, garbage disposal, pest control and similar issues).

5. You can control the overall atmosphere and ambiance

Each house exudes certain moods when you enter it for the first time. Naturally, buyers will be looking for any feeling of relaxation and comfort.  This is where proper ventilation and adequate lighting comes in.  Avoid heavy draping and redundant decorations that obstruct the view in order for the buyers to see the flexibility of the spaces therein.  Live plants help make your place fresh and airy.  The smell of freshly baked cookies, brewed coffee and light jazz background music will also certainly work wonders for you.

Getting ready To Sell - 10 Home Staging Tips

6. Allow the buyer to see his home in your house

A minimalist design, well-kept solid wood furniture elegant and classy, would be appropriate.  Total motif should be kept in neutral tones.  A splash of color should only be used to accentuate details in architecture.  Minimalism gives a touch of sophistication and sense of luxury, giving your buyer the idea that your house will improve his lifestyle.

7. You can stage your area and community

Your house’s market value does not actually depend on where it is actually located but how it is situated. Your community will help you stage your lawn, garden, fences, and outer walls.  Buyers will be looking at safety, health, social acceptance and convenience.  Think ahead of any seasonal occurrence that you have to prepare for based on location (overflow of streams, falling of leaves, height of snow, garbage collection, road closures, etc.).

8. The quality of your lifestyle can be staged

Any lifestyle is dependent on accessibility and community. Access to key places (work, school, hospital, police station, grocery stores, banks, etc.) and key services (internet, telephone, cable television, etc.) will always be considered.  The impression of the community (social status, personalities of neighbors, traffic, population, etc.) is also an influential factor.  You do not need to avail of all it, what is important is that your house has open and ready access for these considerations.

9. There are inexpensive ways to advertise and promote your home

With limited budget, you can always take advantage of your social media accounts and online circles.  It would help to learn from online promotional strategies of established realtors like karkanja. Set up visible posts at allowed public places.  Flaunt your house to attract prospective buyers by installing outdoor decorations and lightings on the nearest holiday or turning your garden lights on every night.

10. You should know how to address depreciation

Staging your home also requires staging yourself. Here are some questions to help you prepare:

  • Why would I choose your house over one that is newly built?
  • Why would I want something that somebody is willing to let go?

As a seller, you’re looking at your house as a property. For any buyer, they will be looking at your house as a possible home.  Stage your home in such a way that you are offering an exclusive opportunity rather than a commodity.  The value of a thing increases when it is unlike any other.  Your house is unique from other houses because it is your home.  A recent shift in lifestyle merely reminded you that others also need to have a good home.  The value of a house will always depreciate but a home will always remain priceless.

Contrary to popular belief, automating your house doesn’t take away from it’s homely atmosphere. If anything, turning your abode into a “smart home” can literally transform it into a haven of relaxation, comfort and safety. That’s why air purifiers, sleep enhancing devices and high-tech sound systems are becoming standard features at some of the world’s top luxury villas and resorts. Let’s look at how these and other amazing technological gadgets can turn your home into a comfortable oasis.

360 Degree Wireless Speaker System

Ever walked into a hotel to hear relaxing melodies wafting as if through the walls? Well, they’re probably using a Bang and Ofulsen wireless speaker system. With an elegant aluminum design that looks more like a sophisticated contemporary art piece than an audio device, these 360 degree speakers create an immersive audio experience. The sound system connects to streaming services like Spotify, Deezer and TuneIn to create customised playlists. So you can choose your music according to the ambiance you want to create, whether it’s vibey, therapeutic or calming sounds. You can find Bang and Ofulsen wireless speakers creating a bespoke atmosphere at some of the world’s best spas and hotels, including Cafe Royal in London and d’Angleterre in Copenhagen.

5 Smart Automation Gadgets For Your House

Nest Learning Thermostat

This energy saving smart thermostat is fast becoming a favourite among property owners all over the world, and it’s not surprising to see why. Not only does it come with a convenient round dial design, but as the name suggests, it also “learns” what your preferences are and automatically creates a customised schedule to suit those preferences over time. However, you don’t have to use the dial as the device comes with an app that allows you to alter your home’s temperature and control settings from anywhere. The App also gives you an overview of how much energy you’re using so that you can control your energy consumption to meet your family’s needs. My favourite feature about the Nest Learning Thermostat is that it can sense when everyone is out of the house, and turns itself off automatically, saving you even more in energy costs.

5 Smart Automation Gadgets For Your House

Luna Smart Bedcover to Improve your Sleep

The Luna Smart Bedcover acts a central nervous system for your bedroom, adjusting the lights and temperature of your bed and the room to suit your preferences, making it warm in winter and cool in summer. Throughout the night, the bedcover tracks your sleep and then sends the information to your Luna app, which you can then view the next day. Basically, it calms the entire atmosphere of your bedroom as you fall asleep, helping you to optimise your sleep so that you can wake up feeling well rested and revitalised every day.

Kuna Outdoor Camera

The Kuna is a tiny Wifi camera that comes camouflaged inside an outdoor light fixture. This smart camera immediately notifies you when someone’s at the door by sending an alert to your phone. This way, you can ask the delivery guy to leave your package at the door for you to pick it up later, or spot intruders without them even knowing it. You can even set off a 100+ decibel siren alarm if you see someone trying to break in or speak directly from your phone into the camera’s speaker to deter them. In fact, you can use your phone as a remote control to speak to people on your property at any time, from anywhere, thanks to the Kuna app.

5 Smart Automation Gadgets For Your House

The camera is weatherproof, and comes in three different styles and two different colors, namely bronze and black. So it looks chic whether you place it at your front door, gate or at your garage. Lastly, Kuna gives you live and recorded video in HD quality, and crystal clear sound with motion detectors that are programmed to only notify you when an actual person is at the door. No more annoying alerts from random dogs or joggers passing by your door.

Awair

Awair is a nifty device which purifies the air in your house, eliminating toxins and chemicals so that all you’re left with is refreshingly clean air. It comes with an app that lets you know which factors affect your air quality from temperature, to humidity, chemicals and dust. It also helps you track air quality as it changes, while actively following the improvements in air quality over time. With better air quality comes improved sleep, better health and even the cessation of allergies. I especially love that the device is made from natural materials and can connect with other smart devices like Nest and Alexa for easy integration into your smart home.  The Awair comes in various sizes, from big units that can cater to entire floors, as well as smaller devices can be placed in compact spaces like nurseries and bedrooms.

5 Smart Automation Gadgets For Your House

With smart home devices like these, life has truly become been easier and more relaxed. From optimizing sleep or livening things up with customised sounds, and enjoying peace of mind with stylish safety features, we have officially entered the Home IQ Tech age. And there’s never been a better time to enjoy a smart home than today.

As an increasing number of people are starting to incorporate eco-friendly, planet-conscious notions into their everyday lives, the demand for environmentally friendly products and eco services is constantly growing. It’s not hard to do your bit for the planet, and with a little bit of thought and working with the right business, you can quickly achieve a well-decorated, eco-conscious home too. Looking for some inspiration? Look no further.

After a tiring day, we probably just want to relax on our patio or on our deck. Additionally, we spend most of our time there while entertaining our friends and relatives.  Being said that, making our deck comfortable is very crucial. The best way to start doing a patio or deck make over is through your flooring.

Here are some flooring ideas for you.

Traditional Wood Decking

Wood flooring is one of the most adaptable kinds since it looks good on any furniture and fixture. It can also be very versatile in terms of appearance because it can give a rustic ambiance that can be very laid back but with a modern touch. With wood, you will be sure that your choice will not go out of style.

Outdoor Flooring Ideas for Style and Comfort

Tile Flooring

Making tiles as your flooring can have many benefits. First, tiles can be very flexible because there are countless of designs you can choose from. There are tiles that look exactly like a stone to give your patio a natural looking one, or you can select a contemporary design. Second, it is very affordable, especially when compared to other floorings. Applying tiles can only cost you around $2 – $15 per square foot depending on the design, quality, and size that you want. Lastly, tiles are very easy to maintain as you just have to occasionally sweep or mop the area. Sun and rain don’t damage them, unlike wood floorings.

 

Сродна слика

Artificial Grass

A high-quality artificial grass looks and feels like a real one already. Additionally, using this kind of flooring can also be very convenient for you. Unlike real grass, you do not have to worry about spending a lot of time mowing the lawn just to maintain the grass. You do not also need to water or set up a sprinkler for it. It can be a great alternative if you have allergies to real grass. While it is true that artificial grass is more expensive than that of a real one, just imagine how much you can save from maintaining it all throughout the year.

Concrete

If you are thinking concrete can be very boring for a patio floor, think again. You can use staining or stamping methods to vamp up your concrete and create a stylish design on your patio. Firth an expert in concrete paving says that another reason why you should choose concrete is that you will undoubtedly be able to keep it for the entire time you live there. It can also be very easy to clean and it is a super cheap option.

Outdoor Flooring Ideas for Style and Comfort

Brick

Bricks can give you a lot of flexibility in your flooring because there are so many designs and patterns you can do with it. As a very durable material, it can cost you a lot up front but you will still be able to technically save money from it because it doesn’t break unless you do it intentionally. It is also a slip resistant material. You also just have to do minimal works to maintain your flooring.

Outdoor Flooring Ideas for Style and Comfort

Rubber Flooring

Rubber flooring can be a very affordable option for you. It will just cost you $2 per square foot but there are still more expensive choices but they are still cheap enough compared to other flooring types. Additionally, rubber floorings are very comfortable for walking. It is highly advisable to use this if you have small children or older people in your house because rubber floorings are slip resistant even if it gets wet. Just do not expect that much longevity to your rubber floors and you might have to replace it after some time.

Foam Tiles

Even though foam tiles are not created the same, there are still a lot of benefits. Just try to be specific if you will put it indoors or outdoors. Foam tiles are best for floorings beside the pool area because they are very slip-resistant and they are anti-mold and mildew. However, the downside is it is the least durable materials on this list.

Outdoor Carpet

Carpets can generally feel you more comfortable as it gives the more homey feel. It can make hanging outside more relaxed compared to other materials like bricks and tiles. When it comes to style, carpets have a lot of styles available in the market. You can mix and match the design to make it look better. It is a very cheap material because it can cost as low as $1 but it requires a lot of maintenance to keep it in good shape.

Stone Steps

While the stone material is very expensive, buying one can ensure that it will last for a very long time and it doesn’t need extensive maintenance. For some cases, you don’t even have to sweep or clean it. It can add a simple but natural feel to your home. Just consider putting in some natural designs for your outdoor flooring needs.

Резултат слика за Фотографија

Patterned Patio

You can use different materials to make a patterned patio. For instance, a checkered flooring design with an oversized green and white color can be best for red handprints on the edges. With this kind of patio, your imagination is the limit. You can do a lot of design whether you want a retro, contemporary, or modern ambiance to your whole deck.

 

Decorating can be a fun task, especially if one really enjoys it. Let’s decorate your living room like your dream room. Here, we are talking about how to find the perfect carpet, which gives an outstanding look with a white sofa. Yes, I am going to tell you some easy tips, which will definitely help to find out the perfect carpet for your living area.

Select the color combination

This is one of the most important things to figure out. Imagine picking the right color combination for a rug that will match a white sofa. One can use bright, vibrant colors and something that pops, however one really has to be careful whilst picking a good quality handmade rug that matches the decor and interiors, keeping a white sofa in mind. Some of our suggestions are as under:

Woolen carpet in vibrant colors

If you have kids and pets then woolen carpets are the best for your living room. The combination of dark color with light color is always a great idea and gives a beautiful look. Handmade woolen carpet is made of the finest quality of New Zealand wool and provides a cozy feel to your room. A hand-knotted carpet contains an intricate pattern with small motifs. The carpet below has a medallion design, which is a traditional pattern. If your home interiors are in traditional style then this is the best choice for your room.

Silk carpet in pink colors

Imagine a white sofa with pink color carpet which is a perfect combination for making its focal point in the room. If your room has less traffic area then you can use this silk carpet. Silk carpets are very exclusive and give a royal look. It can add a luxurious look to your home. Silk carpets are made of pure silk, which is produced in China. China is the best exporter of pure silk. Pure silk is produced by cocoon. That’s why these are expensive. These type of carpets contain multiple designs, ” One of a kind” design pattern in multiple colors but the color combination of pink and white is always unique, especially in silk material.

Now, this is for a traditional home décor style. Now I am going to tell you the perfect carpet in modern style.

Select a modern carpet

I told you that, if you have a stylish sofa which contains design in white color, it is a perfect match for today’s contemporary home decor.  Now I am going to tell you that how to choose a carpet if you have a plain white sofa. You can select geometrical pattern carpet. These are suited with for a white sofa. Modern carpets and Rugs are made of the finest quality of wool with very less design pattern. You can select a carpet, which has the combination of white, gray and black. This color combination provides a calm look to your home. But this color combination is suitable if you don’t have a pet otherwise you can select dark colored carpet or multi-color, which are not easily ruined by pets. Multicolor always matches easily with any colored furniture. Use this carpet and transform your living room like heaven.

Hence, with the above-mentioned ideas, one can easily use different kinds of rugs that would easily match with a white sofa and enhance the interiors of a home decor.

Author of the article is Sakshi Talwar, the editor of Rugs and Beyond blog

When artist Jorge Bakker came up with an idea to fill an aquarium with floats containing model trees, little did he expect his installation to turn into reality. Trying to raise questions regarding the relationship between nature and people living in cities, Bakker surely couldn’t imagine that his concept would be recognized as something that should actually be given an opportunity to thrive in real life through groundbreaking architectural concepts.

Naturally, such recognition could only have come from people who understand, love and respect nature and who had to learn so much about it before making the most of what it gave them. So, if you find yourself in Rotterdam and see floating trees rooted in buoys next to the Floating Pavilion, another landmark in this Dutch city, it doesn’t mean your mind is playing tricks on you. On the contrary, you’ll be treated with one of the most eye-catching and original installations in this part of the world.

Image Credit - uncubemagazine.com

Water Square

Moving towards the modern city center, you might come across a square tucked in between a 19th-century church and a long linear block containing houses, offices, a theater and two schools. This unused and dull space often used to be flooded, since it rains quite a lot in Rotterdam.

Most other places would have solved this problem differently, but not the local city council. A significant investment was made to convert this square into one of the most interesting and vibrant places in Rotterdam. Namely, three pools were created which fill up with water when it rains, and are then used as sports playgrounds and dancefloors. The Water Square is now one of the most popular attractions among both the locals and tourists.

Floating park, hotel,…

Another fascinating idea related to water and its preservation is the emerging Recycled Park, whose purpose is to use recycled plastic to create litter traps for marine litter, thus preventing it from entering the North Sea. The more plastic is retrieved, the bigger the Park will grow. However, the most important impact is, by all means, the protection of water.

Image credit - inhabitat.com

And it is more than obvious that Rotterdam is not going to stop there. The list of projects being currently developed includes a floating subdivision of houses, a floating dairy farm and a floating hotel, deep down in the harbor, at the Innovation Dock.

Water management

Now, you might wonder how come the citizens of Rotterdam are so keen to manage water so carefully. The answer is pretty simple, actually. With almost two-thirds of their country below the sea level and their own town situated around six meters below the sea level, it’s clear that local authorities have to make the most of the advantages that water provides.

As we have seen, they often have to come up with innovative solutions, such as those for emergency storage during heavy downpours and systems for a delayed discharge of rainwater, which ensures that the city has enough high-quality water even during the driest spells.

That’s why the water storage is omnipresent in Rotterdam, with green roofs doing their part in creating a healthy, sustainable environment. They absorb rainwater, lower the runoff, which in turn leads to less pressure on the sewage system.

For almost a decade now, the City of Rotterdam has been running a subsidy scheme for supporting the installation of green roofs on private residential buildings, so more and more people are using this opportunity to improve their living conditions, help the environment and lower the installation costs.

It’s pretty obvious that Rotterdam has not only turned its potentially most dangerous enemy as a means of improving the quality of life of its citizens but has also made it a tourist attraction. It’s widely accepted that Rotterdam’s example is one of the best in terms of collaboration among key stakeholders and experts. Many have been calling it the “water city of the future” for quite some time now, and rightfully so. The way this city uses water should also help us all in our struggle to deal with the climate changes and the consequences they bring.

After winning the IHP (Internationaler Hochhaus Preis) Award in 2014, the residential highrise Bosco Verticale by Stefano Boeri was proclaimed the “2015 Best Tall Building Worldwide” by the CTBUH (Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat) at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. The decision was the culmination of a year-long juried selection process, considering more than 120 buildings from more than 30 countries. The members of the jury especially applauded the Vertical Forest for bringing more than 900 trees and over 2000 plants to the Milan skyline, as well as the exceptional implementation of vegetation at such a scale.

The Urban Ecosystem

Bosco Verticale is a pair of sustainable residential towers in the Porta Nuova district of Milan. The two constructions stand at 360 feet (110 meters) and 250 feet (76 meters) respectfully and host an astonishing range of floral plants and shrubs. Namely, each tower equals an area of around 7000 square meters of forest. According to Boeri’s official website, the Vertical Forest’s vegetation system absorbs dust particles and CO2, produces humidity, oxygen, and aids in the construction of a microclimate.

The US Environmental Protection Agency defines a sustainable building as the “practice of creating and using healthier and more resource-efficient models of construction.” To truly understand the benefits and the effectiveness of the Vertical Forest, let’s take a closer look of the history of sustainable architecture.

A Short History of Sustainable Buildings

The roots of green architecture could be traced back to the 12th century, when Khmer King Suryavarman II built the Cambodian temple complex Angkor Wat. It featured a rainwater irrigation system that collected water during the monsoon season, allowing workers to grow rice during the drier months. Furthermore, according to the Federal Commitment to Green Buildings report, in the early 20th century, several skyscrapers, such as the New York Times Building in New York and the Carson Pirie Scott in Chicago, used deep-set windows to control the interior temperature and lessen the buildings’ impact on the environment.

However, the modern sustainable industry evolved in the mid to late 80s, when significant oil usage spurred radical studies to increase energy efficiency and discover some new, renewable energy sources. The concerns surrounding the oil industry, combined with the environmental movement of the 70s, led to the earliest achievements in the field of sustainable architecture. A few early milestones include the formation of the Committee on the Environment in 1989, the introduction of BREEAM standard in Britain in 1990 and the founding of the Green Building Council in 1993.

The BioMilano Project

Italy is one of the most polluted countries in Europe. In fact, the country had more than 84.000 pollution-related deaths in 2012, according to the EEA (European Environment Agency). The situation in Milan is not any better. As the BBC reported , in December 2015, the city even banned all motorized vehicles for six hours a day over the course of three days to reduce the smog levels. Only the cars deemed environmentally friendly were exempt from the ban.

The Bosco Verticale not only provides dramatic energy-savings year-round, but also contributes to the regeneration of the environment without the implication of expanding the city. Still, the two towers are just the first step in a grand sustainability plan. According to Stefano Boeri’s personal website, the award-winning architect also hopes to build an agricultural greenbelt around the city eventually, utilizing over sixty publicly owned and currently abandoned farms, which will be worked on and opened to the community sometime in the future. With such safety measures, the air quality in Milan may start to improve rapidly.