A home should be a reflection of the people that live inside it, so designers should feel free to break away from traditional forms to include new and unique features. Plenty of them are starting to do that, and there are a few of their methods that stand out for their potential when it comes to creating unique homes.
Earth walls are an ancient building technique that is slowly becoming more common. They offer a huge amount of thermal mass, which causes homes that have them to have an internal temperature that is close to the average of the day’s external temperature. That usually cuts down on the heating and cooling bill, which combines with the relatively low cost of building the walls to make this a highly cost-effective design choice.
There are a few different ways to build these walls. Rammed earth is one of the oldest techniques, and produces walls with a unique, layered appearance. Adobe is a common choice, and one that is convenient for people who want to hire contractors to help with construction. Earth bags are a recent innovation that are easy to use, and thus a great choice for novices that want to handle the construction on their own.
Earth-sheltering is a construction technique that either builds a home into the side of a hill, or builds mounds of dirt around some of the building’s walls. Plants can then be grown on the mound to help the home blend into the environment. It offers the same practical benefits, but it comes with a unique appearance that appeals to people who want a natural look for their property. It combines well with gardens and other landscaping techniques that take advantage of the environment to create a cohesive look for the entire area.
Passive solar design makes it possible to create a home that can heat and cool itself. The details vary depending on the site, but most buildings will use a complex set of windows, insulation, and other tools to keep the home and a constant temperature without using any heater besides the sun. The best results come from designing the entire home to take advantage of passive heating, but partial implementations are possible on existing buildings. It also combines well with many of the other leading techniques in green design, so it is fairly easy to find designers who can help to create a viable plan.
Most homes are essentially squares or rectangles, possible with a few additions that adjust the shape. One of the best ways to design a home that stands out is to break that paradigm by building a home in an unusual shape. An octagon house is one of the most efficient designs that does so, but they remain rare enough that relatively few people will have seen one in use.
Compared to traditional houses, they tend to offer a more efficient use of materials, which can translate into increased space. Builders may want to charge more due to the unusual shape, but it is possible to save money on this type of house if you can find workers that will not increase their prices. A good octagon house will also offer an excellent level of ventilation and natural lighting. The home’s performance will depend on a variety of other factors in the design, but the octagon will form a solid foundation on which those other features can build, especially with a designer that knows how to take advantage of its unique features.
Gardens lend a natural and pleasant appearance to buildings, but most people keep them away from the main structure. You can break away from that pattern by integrating your garden into your home. Internal beds for plants, a garden on top of a flat roof, or even an attached greenhouse can all bring a little bit of nature into the building. Fragrant flowers can be planted to provide a natural layer of perfume for the home, while fruits and vegetables can be cultivated to save money and provide a constant stream of fresh produce for the kitchen, especially if the plants are chosen to ensure that something is ripe in every season.