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Hike the Peak in North Scottsdale

Hike the Peak in North Scottsdale

Now, that we’ve officially hit our first 100 degree day, hikers either need to rise much earlier in...
Farmyard Friends at Oakvale Farm and Fauna World

Farmyard Friends at Oakvale Farm and Fauna World

As a girl growing up in Newcastle, I remember many a school excursion to Oakvale Farm and Fauna World....
Seattle’s Cal Anderson Park

Seattle’s Cal Anderson Park

The Seattle weather forecast is for sunny weather this weekend, with temperatures ranging in the low...
New York State of Mind: The Adirondacks

New York State of Mind: The Adirondacks

To some people “I Love NY” is a catchy tourism slogan; in my house, it’s a way of life. ...

Houston

Splishin’ and Splashin’

By Christina Uticone on May 24, 2010
Splishin’ and Splashin’
Cooling off just might be the #1 summer pastime in Houston.  It is positively tropical during the summer months, with temperatures staying firmly in the 90-100 °F range and humidity well over 90%.  Travelers will surely have a pool at almost any hotel they choose, but there are plenty of great water attractions for...

Recent Articles

Architecture Abroad: A look into Sweden’s Stone Houses

In the outskirts of Gothenburg, Sweden, one can find “The Fairytale House”, a perfect harmony of Japanese ingenuity and Swedish sustainability. Taking the best from both worlds Ola Torrång, who both designed and built the house, has managed to create a uniquely flexible house. If you’re interested in architecture, Ola’s stenhus (stone houses) is something you definitely have to see when visiting Sweden.

Sagolika huset

At a glance one quickly notices that the Japanese inspired house is something out the ordinary. With its eight corners, oriental red-tiled roof and connected winter garden it sticks out from the typical Swedish houses. Even more so when you take a look inside.

After getting his masters degree in architecture Ola Torrång moved to Japan to work in an architect office. During his time there he was fascinated by the small Japanese houses. Not only did the design of the houses appeal to him but also the way of thinking and living.

Coming back home to Sweden Ola took all the ideas and impressions he had received during his stay and started working on a project of his own. What came was a Japanese inspired house he designed for his parents back in 1979. It would take another 14 years, however, until he was able to design and build a house of his own.

Innovative ideas make for greater living

Built in 1993 “The Fairytale House” has a foundation made entirely of concrete. When asked why Ola replies that is has several benefits.

  • The heavy foundation works as a heat storage and regulator that helps even out the difference in temperatures during day and night and summer and winter. Concrete is an eco-friendly material, mostly consisting of sand, stone, water and air, that won’t burn, rot or deteriorate making it completely maintenance-free.

Simplicity and flexibility were two big keywords when designing the house, Ola says. The concrete foundation allows for maximum flexibility inside the house as there are no bearing walls.

  • As living conditions change from year to year it can be very beneficial to be able to move doors and interior walls to fit ones needs. When your kids move out, for example, it should be easy to take down and rearrange walls to create new useful spaces.

Japanskt Badkar Vintertradgard

Apart from maximum flexibility the Swedish architect also wanted to design a house that fits better with today’s living situation – smaller plots and tighter city planning. That is where eight edges come in handy. By having cut off corners and placing the windows there one will not look straight into the neighbouring houses windows or walls. Not only that but it also gives increased living space in relation to the building area.

In addition to these innovative ideas the house is full of pleasant surprises. A glass constructed winter garden that allows for unusual growing possibilities (like figs and grapes), a Japanese inspired bathtub and bathroom, a glass cupola that allows for maximized intake of sunlight and a reading table by the toilet are just a few of many innovative and fun ideas that can be found in “The Fairytale House”. A visit here will be sure to bring out your kindred spirit!

New Delhi | Tags: culture | People | Tours | | Comments: 0

Nightwalk: A Look at Street Life in Old Delhi

Nightwalk:  A Look at Street Life in Old Delhi
Witness Heart Breaking Poverty The Jamghat group organizes night walks for people interested in taking a look at the tougher side of life in Delhi, including a look at: Street children abusing and using harmful substances People begging for their living Survival of families on the streets How food...
New Delhi | Tags: culture | People | Tours | | Comments: 0

Stargazing at the Heavens

Stargazing at the Heavens
Look up in the night sky and enjoy an evening of stargazing at the University of Maryland’s Observatory near Washington DC twice a month during the summer. University astronomers adn special guests present an informative half-hour presentation (changing topics) at the University of Maryland Observatory...
Washington DC | Tags: astronomy | Events | Family Friendly | | Comments: 0

Budget Tips for Family Travel

Budget Tips for Family Travel
Traveling with children can be expensive.  Theme parks, souvenirs, meals – it all adds up.  Here are a few tips on saving money while traveling with the family. Plan Ahead of Time Contact the local Tourism Bureau to send you information and potential coupons.  This way you can plan your trip...
budget travel | Tags: family travel | | Comments: 0

Lisbon is Upgrading its Boutique, Charm Hotel List

Lisbon is Upgrading its Boutique, Charm Hotel List
There is no doubt that Lisbon has been setting its standards higher each year.  The city has received many awards lately, including several World Travel Awards and best 2010 destination in Europe .  Hotel in Lisbon have been doing the same.  Along with the old traditional hotels and the international...
Lisbon | Tags: hotel | | Comments: 0

Caffe Boa on Mill – New Chef, New Outlook

Caffe Boa on Mill – New Chef, New Outlook
Caffe Boa located in the “Mill Avenue District” of Tempe has moved up the culinary ladder, thanks to a new chef and new outlook. With more of a focus on local ingredients, Payton Curry, formerly the chef of Digestif, has altered the menu from offering many pasta dishes to more imaginative options. Local...
Phoenix | Tags: restaurant | Tempe | wine | | Comments: 0

Victorian Accommodation at Sydney’s Hughenden Hotel

Victorian Accommodation at Sydney’s Hughenden Hotel
With all the charm of the Victorian era, the Hughenden Hotel in Woollahra is a truly special place to stay. This stunning bed and breakfast was built in 1870, and it retains all the magic of the period. From the black marble fireplaces to the wrought-iron staircase, the attention to detail is superb. The...
Sydney | Tags: accommodation | hotels | | Comments: 0

Aerobatics or Sightseeing with XFlight Auckland

Aerobatics or Sightseeing with XFlight Auckland
If you are looking for a unique way of seeing the city of Auckland, or you love an adrenalin rush then you need to call XFlight! XFlight provide aerobatic and scenic flights over Auckland in ‘the EXTRA 300′ which is famously well known for competing in the ‘Red Bull Air Race’. ...
Auckland | Tags: airplane tours | thrill ride | xflight | | Comments: 0

Dawn Princess World Cruise Journal

Dawn Princess World Cruise Journal
The Dawn Princess quietly slipped out of Sydney, Australia four days ago with 2000 passengers  (and about half as many staff) onboard to begin it’s 104 day World Cruise. As one of the 2000 passengers, I happily stood sipping champagne around the poolside on the Riviera Deck  as the large 44,193 ton...
Cruise | Tags: dawn princess world cruise | princess cruise lines | world cruise | | Comments: 0

Travel News You Can Use

Travel News You Can Use
Summer is here, so it’s important to stay current with the latest travel information. Road trip season is upon us, and like many, wouldn’t you rather have a little more to spend at your destination than on gas that gets you there. Well, be sure to bookmark sites like GasBuddy, GasPriceWatch and...
Road Trips | Tags: News | travel news | | Comments: 0

Different is Good at Hotel Palomar Atlanta Midtown

Different is Good at Hotel Palomar Atlanta Midtown
Oh sure, I can talk about the 442-gallon salt water aquarium in the lobby or the local artwork on display, both representing the “Art in Motion” theme. I can even tell you about the AltoRex Rooftop Lounge, an intimate open-air gathering space with sweeping views of Atlanta’s skyline. Even with...
Atlanta | Tags: accomodations | boutique hotel | midtown hotels | | Comments: 0

Emack and Bolio’s: A Taste of Boston in NYC

Emack and Bolio’s: A Taste of Boston in NYC
This place started back in 1975 amidst Boston’s hard rockin’ scene.  Now NYC is lucky enough to have a couple of its own.  Originally a place for musicians and folks on the edge to visit after the bars closed, some of the flavors are now named after rock star regulars like the Twisted Dee-Light...
New York, North America | Tags: best ice cream | Food & Beverage | | Comments: 0

Yummy Filipino Dining at Rice Terraces

Yummy Filipino Dining at Rice Terraces
A new restaurant has opened in Edinburgh, a Filipino restaurant called the Rice Terraces – named after one of the more popular tourist attractions in the Philippines.  The restaurant is a small place, with an entire wall showing the terraces themselves – something kind of like this: The...
Edinburgh | Tags: Restaurants | | Comments: 1

Divine Desserts in Dublin

Divine Desserts in Dublin
One thing I definitely miss about living in the States is options when it comes to dessert. If you don’t want to sit down to a full meal, but you just want something sweet, and maybe a glass of wine, there is usually somewhere close by in the States. One missing element in the Dublin dining scene...
Dublin | Tags: desserts | Restaurants | | Comments: 0

Antiquing at Aurora Antique Pavilion

Antiquing at Aurora Antique Pavilion
Antique shopping has become a popular past time, and with the increasing popularity of television shows that highlight incredible values found in someone’s basement, it’s no wonder that it’s developing an almost cult-like following.  While there are legitimate stories of a shopper paying $1 for...
Seattle | Tags: Edmonds | Shopping | | Comments: 0

Rocketboating—High Speed Thrills

Rocketboating—High Speed Thrills
PIER 39’s Blue & Gold Fleet will kick-off its 2010 RocketBoat Season Opener on Saturday, May 1. This dual engine speedboat with a mixture of bio-diesel fuel, will blast-off at 44 knots, giving its 127 passengers an exhilarating, heart-pumping thrill ride on San Francisco Bay. Last year’s launch...
San Francisco | Tags: San Francisco Bay | water excursions | | Comments: 0

Hot Happenings: Week of May 24

Hot Happenings: Week of May 24
From wine tastings to restaurant openings to healthy dining options, take your pick on our favorite must-do activities for this upcoming week. Spicy yellowtail at ZUMA Monday, May 24: I was lucky enough to be invited to ZUMA last week for a sneak peek at London’s award winning restaurant, and today...
South Florida | Tags: Restaurants | wine tasting | | Comments: 0

Coffee Please: A Guide to Coffee in Lisbon

Coffee Please: A Guide to Coffee in Lisbon
Apart from water, coffee may just be the easiest drink to get anywhere in Lisbon. In fact it’s said that 80% of the Portuguese population drinks coffee. If you sit in any pastelaria, café or restaurant, you’ll find out just how popular coffee is in Lisbon. The Portuguese started drinking coffee...
Lisbon | Tags: cafe | restaurant | | Comments: 0

Kites Starring Hrithik Roshan and Barbara Mori

Kites Starring Hrithik Roshan and Barbara Mori
The much awaited release of Kites has finally happened. The movie has been shot mainly in Mexico and even has a Mexican lead actress – Barbara Mori Ochoa. The lead actor, Hritik Roshan, has teamed up with his father, Rakesh Roshan, who has produced this movie. The movie will also be dubbed in English...
New Delhi | Tags: Bollywood Movie | | Comments: 0