Miami Green Homes


GaiaMa – a LEED Platinum Vastu design by Sebastian Eilert Architecture

GaiaMa is a new single-story home of 1500 square feet located in the Miami Dade village of Biscayne Park. The design is inspired by Vastu principles and has strong focus on sustainability and durability. The house is built out of ICF walls and insuldeck roofing system, making it hyper-insulated.

GaiaMa – A Vastu based design by Sebastian Eilert Architecture. Located in Biscayne Park, Florida.

A central cupola features an inverted roof to optimize natural light into the center of the house and assist with rainwater catching. The windows are designed to be shaded from direct sunlight while allowing a breeze to come through when opened.

The Central Cuploa allows for natural light to illuminate the center of the house.

The LEED Platinum home has a HERS rating of -4. TH project features a full photovoltaic array with independent battery backups.

The home is designed as 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom house with an easily convertible 3rd bedroom by adding one wall and a door.

Cupola and photovoltaic array

The entire landscaping is a edible with a mix of low growth native vegetables, design herbal sections, and larger anchor trees. An underground cistern collects rainwater as well as grey water.

Overall water use has been reduced with the use of dual flush and low flow systems. Finishes include polished concrete, bamboo flooring, reclaimed wood, and recycled countertops.

Edible landscape design and rainwater pond

Sebastian Eilert Architecture is a sustainable architecture and Interior Design firm with its main office in Miami, Florida.  The boutique firm specializes in the quality design and delivery of for custom new residential homes and light hospitality projects. Sebastian Eilert Architecture has significant experience in the design of Miami-Dade County criteria compliance, design for aging in place, durable and minimal maintenance design, as well as waterfront and off-grid projects.

Project highlights include the first USGBC LEED certified project for Miami Dade County, the Lower Garden Building in Pinecrest Gardens for the Village of Pinecrest, a durable focused residence in the Moorings neighborhood in Coconut Grove (no drywall or wood used in the project), a Contemporary style Coral Gables waterfront home with an original canal access boat house, and a major renovation and addition of a 1912 Coconut Grove Mansion (received a Sustainable Design Award from DHT).

Reclaimed wood furniture, bamboo and polished concrete flooring. Recycled material counters.

German born principal, Sebastian Eilert AIA, LEED AP+ has been awarded, among others, the Historic Preservation, Sustainable Design Architect of the Year, and Young Architect of the Year award from the AIA Miami and honorary Emerging Green Builder from the University of Miami. Mr. Eilert was adjunct professor at the University of Miami and a frequent team member of the AIA National SDAT program.

Precision, quality, and dedication to timely completion distinguish Sebastian Eilert Architecture from its competitors… the German Way. Find more projects, and contact Sebastian Eilert Architecture to start your own project, on http://www.SebastianEilert.com



Moorgins Residence Renovation/Addition – Sebastian Eilert Architecture
Moorings front elevation

The Moorings Residence is a wonderful remodel of a 1960’s gem settled in the Moorings community within the neighborhood of Coconut Grove. The original single-story residence boasted with wood details and featured a structural roof made from 2x’s. Supported by only a few bearing walls, the house literally invites the outside in with removed floors and enclosed patios.

Storefront entrance with enlarged concert step and protective overhang.

The renovation focused on bringing more light into the spaces and on controlling the border between inside and out while connecting the building to its site. Clean and clearly defined lines as well as the Florida Modern architectural style were the guiding direction from the owner.

Architectural Floor Plan

S.E.A. incorporated many sustainable features, such as LED lighting, non-toxic cabinetry and finishes, a terrazzo floor, and updated energy efficiency for the entire building envelope (doors, windows, walls, and roof).

With a strong focus on durability, there is no drywall in this project. All interior walls are constructed with 4” masonry units and stucco finish, and the ceiling is finished with fiberglass board. The kitchen features a solid poured-in-place concrete counter and waterfall edge with stainless steel cabinetry and glass shelves.

Poured in place concrete counter and island. Stainless steel appliances and cabinets

Concrete counters were also utilized in the bathrooms. The master features a sunken shower as well as a soaking tub. All fixtures are dual flush water sense rated.

The house has improved energy coating in all glazing, a reflective exterior paint, and increased rigid insulation in the roof. Air conditioning equipment was selected with increased SEER to further improve the energy performance. The house is PV-ready with installed piping and mounting brackets for a future system.

Primary Suite recessed shower and concrete counter with stainless steel vanity

Sebastian Eilert Architecture is a sustainable architecture and Interior Design firm with its main office in Miami, Florida.  The boutique firm specializes in the quality design and delivery of for custom new residential homes and light hospitality projects. Sebastian Eilert Architecture has significant experience in the design of Miami-Dade County criteria compliance, design for aging in place, durable and minimal maintenance design, as well as waterfront and off-grid projects.

Project highlights include the first USGBC LEED certified project for Miami Dade County, the Lower Garden Building in Pinecrest Gardens for the Village of Pinecrest, a durable focused residence in the Moorings neighborhood in Coconut Grove (no drywall or wood used in the project), a Contemporary style Coral Gables waterfront home with an original canal access boat house, and a major renovation and addition of a 1912 Coconut Grove Mansion (received a Sustainable Design Award from DHT).

German born principal, Sebastian Eilert AIA, LEED AP+ has been awarded, among others, the Historic Preservation, Sustainable Design Architect of the Year, and Young Architect of the Year award from the AIA Miami and honorary Emerging Green Builder from the University of Miami. Mr. Eilert was adjunct professor at the University of Miami and a frequent team member of the AIA National SDAT program.

Precision, quality, and dedication to timely completion distinguish Sebastian Eilert Architecture from its competitors… the German Way. Find more projects, and contact Sebastian Eilert Architecture to start your own project, on http://www.SebastianEilert.com

Outdoor shower and pool. Beveled window edge for natural light transition.


Eco-Friendly Renovation Options

Renovating a home provides an excellent opportunity to adopt eco-friendly design principles. Making sustainable choices is not only the right thing to do, it’s surprisingly easy and affordable. Reducing a home’s environmental impact has several other benefits for the homeowner.

Greener homes are more energy-efficient, resulting in significant savings in heating or cooling — but this is just one such benefit. Almost every item on this list is beneficial in more than one way. Options that are good for the environment are often also good for the people in it.

Here is a brief list of some excellent renovation options that provide lasting benefits to both the homeowner and our shared planet.

Go Solar

Solar power is an obvious option for homes here in the Sunshine State. Solar panels are now more effective, efficient, and affordable than ever before. From larger professional installations to smaller DIY panels that can be installed with a bit of assistance from an electrician in a matter of hours, there are many available options and packages to choose from.

Breathe Easier

When choosing renovation material, it is best to always opt for nontoxic options whenever possible. Sourcing for things like flooring, upholstery, and cabinetry free of dangerous chemicals like formaldehyde or benzene has gotten significantly more accessible in the past few years.

Even though many of these chemicals appear in many household products, they commonly have much higher concentrations in building or renovation materials. In some cases, they can continue to pollute indoor air by outgassing for decades.

Likewise, paint that has low or no volatile organic compound components is a much healthier and increasingly accessible choice. Conventional paint, which is high in VOCs, can cause headaches, throat and sinus irritation, and has even been linked to some cancers. Avoiding these chemicals is not only the best choice for the environment, it is the healthiest option for the homeowner.

Energy Efficient Appliances

Replacing older appliances with newer, more energy-efficient models is an easy way to reduce a home’s carbon footprint while also providing convenience and energy savings to the people who live there. Newer designs use energy more effectively and are typically manufactured with greener materials and techniques.

Even replacing a single air conditioner, refrigerator, or dishwasher can provide significant environmental benefits and also save considerable amounts of money in the long run.

Use Recycled Materials

Using materials that have been salvaged from existing construction is an excellent way to reduce a renovation project’s impact on the environment. There are many different options, from recycled wood flooring to recycled glass windows and beyond. These materials are intrinsically green because they prevent the need for new product manufacture — and prevent the recycled materials from ending up in a landfill.

Choose a Low-Flow Toilet

Low-flow toilets are a great way to contribute to protecting the environment. They are affordable, available in a range of models with various features, and can be installed quickly and with little effort. They provide significant water savings and prevent energy consumption that would ordinarily go toward treating excess wastewater.

To discuss eco-friendly options available to you and get expert advice on your next renovation project, contact Sebastian Eilert Architecture to discuss your project needs. Mr. Eilert is dedicated to sustainable, eco-friendly design and construction methods and would love to discuss the many green options available to you.



Greener Kitchens

The kitchen is, in many ways, the heart of the home, and it’s a fantastic place to make environmentally-friendly changes. Much of the energy consumed in the home is used in the kitchen, and positive changes there can bring significant benefits. It’s more than just environmentally friendly — it’s fiscally friendly as well, and even small changes can add up to considerable savings over time.

Eco-Friendly Cooking

Increasing the energy efficiency of kitchen appliances is one of the best things you can do to reduce a home’s carbon footprint. Of course, the best options are newer, energy-efficient appliances, but there are various other ways to conserve that are nearly as effective.

When possible, choose smaller model appliances that require less energy. A two-burner stove uses significantly less energy than a conventional four-burner cooktop, and smaller refrigerators can be excellent choices for energy conservation if the capacity of a larger model isn’t necessary.

Small Efforts, Big Impacts

If relying on older appliances is a necessity, simply unplugging them when not in use can prevent a significant amount of energy from being needlessly consumed. Use a microwave for smaller meals or for reheating food — it uses less energy than a gas stove to do nearly the same job. Avoid heating a larger than necessary amount of water, and always cover pots so they will heat more quickly.

When storing food, always let it cool before placing it in the refrigerator or freezer. Freezers work best when full, and refrigerators work best when there’s sufficient room for air to circulate, so try to store food accordingly. Avoid leaving refrigerator and freezer doors open for longer than necessary, and make sure to defrost regularly and check to ensure food is kept at the proper temperature.

Food stored at warmer temperatures will spoil faster, but food stored at temperatures colder than necessary can waste a considerable amount of energy. Refer to your appliance manual for the proper temperature ranges and control settings.

Cleaner and Greener

There are many opportunities for more environmentally conscious behaviors when we’re cleaning the kitchen as well. Using washable, reusable cloth dishtowels and napkins is more sustainable than paper products. Similarly, avoid using plastic cups or utensils whenever possible, as non-disposable alternatives are always more environmentally responsible.

Use glass or metal storage containers when possible, as they can be washed and reused, preventing plastic from entering the waste management cycle. Remember the three Rs — reduce, reuse, recycle — and always try to get more than one use out of packaging or containers before recycling.

Only run dishwashers when they are full, and if possible, run them at off-peak hours. It’s worth noting that rinsing plates before putting them in the dishwasher is seldom necessary and should be avoided. Likewise, spending more on higher-quality detergent can be a more sustainable option, as cold water can be used instead of hot.

Eco-Friendly Kitchen Design Expertise

To discuss eco-friendly kitchen design options available to you and to get expert renovation and remodeling advice on your next renovation project, contact Sebastian Eilert Architecture to discuss your project needs. Mr. Eilert is dedicated to sustainable, eco-friendly design and construction methods and would love to discuss green options with you.



Eco-Friendly Housing Design Principles

There are many different ways to increase the environmental responsibility of our housing and minimize the negative impact that new home construction can have. Whether reducing scale and minimizing possessions by adopting micro-living ideals or replacing appliances, thermostats, and lighting with smart, energy-efficient alternatives, we can each find some small way to make a meaningful contribution.

Here are a few of the most popular green, eco-friendly home design ideas that have gained popularity recently.

Passive House Design

The concept of a highly efficient home that minimizes unnecessary energy use through improved insulation materials and methods isn’t a new one, but it has gained traction and increased exposure in recent years.

The principles or standards that go into Passive House design are intended to optimize energy efficiency by incorporating elements like highly effective wall insulation, limiting heat transfer with superior materials, and heat recovery through specially designed devices built into the heating and cooling system.

The exterior walls of the home and the windows and doors must be made of high-quality material and constructed with exacting standards to ensure optimal energy use and conservation. Passive House design even extends to the physical orientation of the house. Windows which are correctly aligned to make the best use of available sunlight are central to some Passive House designs, and similarly thoughtful design elements make this one of the most popular eco-friendly design philosophies in housing.

Use Natural, Renewable Materials

Many more environmentally friendly building materials are commercially available now than they have been in the past. Sustainably sourced wood and plant products such as bamboo flooring are excellent alternatives to conventional materials. They cost less to produce, require less energy in production, and are free of any harmful or toxic chemicals that may have otherwise been needed for processing.

There are high-quality insulation options made from recycled materials and many natural options for flooring, wall coverings, window treatments, and interior and exterior wall paint. These green alternatives have the additional benefit of being free from toxic chemicals and volatile organic compounds.

These chemicals present in conventional building materials in significant concentrations can contaminate living spaces for decades and cause serious health complications. These sustainable options are not only better for our environment, but they are also better for us and everyone we share it with.

Less is More

The Tiny House movement started as a design response to issues raised by worsening climate change conditions. Smaller houses require fewer construction materials and are designed to optimize energy use and incorporate renewable alternative energy sources.

These houses require much less energy to heat and cool and are easier to insulate more effectively than larger homes. Though Tiny House living may not be for everyone, many of the principles can be adapted for more conventional living spaces and inspire people to be more thoughtful about the way they use energy, especially at home.

Putting Principle Into Practice

If you would like to explore tiny house or other sustainable design options, contact Sebastian Eilert Architecture to discuss ways you can reduce your environmental impact. Mr. Eilert is proud of his commitment to sustainable housing and would love to be able to help you meet your conservation goals.



Small Spaces, Big Changes

One of the many ways we can reduce our impact on the environment is to minimize the amount of space we require for day-to-day living. Fewer belongings in less space need less energy to maintain. Though adopting smaller living spaces may pose some initial challenges, transitioning to a more minimalist lifestyle is less complicated than you might think.

Smaller Appliances, No Empty Spaces

You don’t have to sacrifice convenience or comfort, but successfully adapting to smaller-form living spaces may require a more strategic approach. Whether you’re moving into a tiny house or a smaller apartment or condominium, you’ll need to downsize your thinking to fit your new environment.

Smaller appliances, like compact, front-loading combination washer-dryers, smaller stoves with only two burners, and refrigerators designed for smaller living spaces can make the transition much more manageable.

Plan on making use of every available space for storage. Detergent and other laundry supplies can be kept in a washer-dryer unit between uses, and cookware can be stored inside an oven. Avoid storing items in a refrigerator or freezer, as it’s wasteful to spend energy cooling items that don’t require refrigeration.

Embrace Essentials

Tiny homes and other compact living spaces require a more thoughtful and informed approach to minimizing household items. Micro-living doesn’t leave room for unnecessary clutter or anything that doesn’t serve a useful purpose.

Eliminating extraneous household items is often easier than you might think, and the sense of liberation many people feel when streamlining their possessions can be its own reward. A more minimalist lifestyle requires less time and energy to maintain, and many who have made the move find that fewer things mean fewer worries.

Think Vertically

The amount of floorspace in micro-living and tiny home habitats is much more limited than in more conventional housing. Good use must be made of every bit of space on both the horizontal and the vertical.

Building up and not out means integrating design elements like recessed shelving and stacking containers to make the most of all available space. Use shelving along walls wherever it won’t impede movement. Store infrequently used items higher up and larger or heavier items on lower shelves where they’ll be easier to retrieve when needed.

Up and Out

Look for opportunities to stack items or make the most of unused vertical spaces above or below other surfaces or storage containers. An easy place to accomplish this is in bathrooms and closets. Excellent use can be made of storage caddies designed to hang from shower fixtures or inside doors.

Whenever possible, prioritize shelves and storage along exterior walls to keep precious interior spaces free. Storing items high up on exterior walls may require a footstool or stepladder to access, so bear this in mind. Look for collapsable or folding stepladders that can be stored when not needed.

Stacking isn’t just for stuff — you can stack yourself, too, by integrating a loft bed into your living space design. Even in single-level tiny houses or apartments, beds can often be placed directly above other spaces without sacrificing usability. Any under-bed space should always be used for storage.

Good Things in Small Packages

Though many people are motivated to adopt micro-living principles out of environmental concerns, there are numerous other personal benefits from a simpler, lower impact lifestyle. It’s more affordable for various reasons, leads to less waste, greater energy efficiency, and better use of precious (and expensive) urban real estate.

We must all do what we can to live more sustainably, but it doesn’t have to be unpleasant or require much sacrifice. Most of us can live much more simply and with fewer possessions than we realize. Smaller living spaces mean more efficient living, which translates directly into more free time — and more freedom.

If you’re ready to make a move into tiny housing or want to remodel your existing living space to be more sustainable, contact Sebastian Eilert Architecture for expert advice in adopting micro-living principles into your life.



Which Renovations Add Value to a Home?

There are many different reasons to remodel or renovate a home, but most typically, people will consider a remodel if they plan to sell in the near future. Some remodeling projects can dramatically increase a home’s market value — but not all.

Carefully considering which renovations to make before putting a home up for sale can help avoid expensive and time-consuming projects that won’t ultimately provide a return on the investment put into them.

Some home improvement or design projects can increase the amount a home will sell for, while others will likely leave prospective buyers unimpressed. It’s good to know which is which — here are the best renovations to make to a home before putting it on the market.

The Heart of the Home

Even people who aren’t enthusiastic cooks spend a great deal of time in the kitchen of their homes. It’s one of the most significant factors potential buyers base decisions on and one of the rooms they will typically look at first. A small, worn kitchen with outdated and inefficient appliances will likely turn buyers off.

Something as simple as newly painted kitchen cabinets and trim can help, but few things increase a home’s market value and buyer appeal like new, energy-efficient appliances. New granite countertops are lovely, but saving money month after month and minimizing environmental impact in the process will likely appeal to many more homebuyers than just cosmetic improvements.

Go Green

Increasing the overall energy efficiency of a home can start with the major appliances, but it doesn’t have to end there.

Replacing or increasing the amount of insulation in a home and installing new windows with a low U factor (which indicates how well they insulate) are excellent investments. Other options like installing solar panels or adding features like smart lighting or a smart thermostat are other excellent ways to add considerable value to a home being put up for sale.

New energy-efficient heat pumps, water heaters, washing machines and dryers, and other large appliances that provide significant energy savings will increase the amount a seller can expect from a home. The initial investment will pay off both in terms of immediate gains and environmental impact over time.

Update the Bathroom

Most of us start and end each day in the bathroom, and a bathroom that feels outdated can make a house feel vaguely rundown and lackluster. Luckily, the bathroom is a great place to make renovations before selling a home. They’re generally some of the smallest rooms in a home and are more affordable to remodel or renovate.

Small cosmetic improvements like new faucets, upgraded tiling, or new window treatments are all excellent options. More considerable value can be added to a house by upgrading the bathroom appliances to be more eco-friendly (and economical). Low-flow showerheads and toilets save money over the long term and are excellent for the environment, as they reduce the amount of wastewater that needs to be treated.

Expert Advice

Whatever your reasons for wanting to renovate, bigger projects call for professional expertise. If you live in Miami or South Florida and are thinking of making a significant renovation, contact Sebastian Eilert Architecture today to discuss your immediate needs and how he can help.



Passive House Design Principles for New or Existing Homes

Passive House Design began in the 1970s as a response to the energy crisis and increased awareness of climate change. Based on incorporating principles intended to reduce energy needs for heating and cooling, this type of construction can be found all over the world and can be applied to anything from single-family homes to larger buildings. Here are some of the more accessible principles to incorporate.

Continuous, High-Quality Insulation

Perhaps the easiest passive house principle to include in existing structures, the concepts behind continuous and high-quality insulation are chiefly concerned with keeping heat or cooling inside the home and providing an energy barrier between external sources of energy transfer. The effectiveness of insulation is rated by its R-Value—the higher, the better.

When using cavity insulation, the framing material can still transmit energy through a process called thermal bridging. Thermal bridging detracts from energy efficiency and is especially problematic when metal framing is used. Continuous insulation, the more efficient system, can counteract this effect. It refers to a single continuous layer of insulation wrapping an entire structure.

Airtight Construction

While insulation helps guard against losing the energy needed to heat or cool interior spaces, it can’t do its job if the structure it’s installed in is leaking air. Airtight construction ensures direct air transfer, minimizing the amount of heating or cooling needed. Every home has necessary design elements like drains and vents that penetrate roofing or exterior walls and windows and doors must be fitted with adequate sealing (like gaskets or caulk) to avoid unintended energy loss.

Solar Heating and Shading

An ancient design principle, examples can be found in early architecture all over the world. Capturing the sun’s light for heating or blocking it to provide cooler interiors can be as easy as installing larger windows in an appropriate location or planting a tree outdoors to shield parts of a house from direct sun. Deciduous trees work well for this, as they’ll block the sun’s light in the hot summer months, but after losing leaves in late autumn, they will allow it through in the winter months.

Energy Recovery

An airtight house requires ventilation to bring in fresh air and vent CO2, moisture and built-up pollutants. This venting means air exchange, representing energy losses in heating or cooling air taken into a structure. A heat recovering ventilator continuously replaces stale air with fresh air without mixing the air streams, resulting in significant energy retention, sometimes as high as seventy-five percent.

Have a Passive House Project in Mind?

If you’re thinking of remodeling or redesigning an existing structure to incorporate passive house principles or would like to pursue a new construction project, contact Sebastian Eilert Architecture for assistance. Committed to sustainable and ecologically responsible design, Sebastian is recognized as one of the thirty most influential sustainable design architects in the world, he is also available for consultation via email or phone.



Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Options

There are plenty of reasons to drive more fuel-efficient vehicles. Rising fuel prices are just one motive, as is a concern for the environment. Awareness of the damage that internal combustion engines and traditional power generation can cause is generally the inspiration most people have when adopting greener personal vehicles.

Zero Tailpipe Emissions

Most vehicles on the road today are internal combustion engine cars; this is one of the most significant sources of non-industrial pollution. Conventional vehicles produce pollution from tailpipe emissions and in the form of fuel evaporation. Electric vehicles (or EVs), which have zero tailpipe emissions, are among the best options available for individuals looking to reduce their environmental impact.

Long Range Choices

Recent studies have shown that 95% of all daily travel in the US could be made in electric cars. Most of us—roughly 85%—travel fewer than 100 miles on a typical day. Nearly all electric vehicles can travel more than 100 miles on a single charge, and newer models can travel well beyond 200 miles on a fully-charged battery.

Electric vehicles typically use one or more electric motors which draw power from large lithium-ion batteries. These batteries are super-sized versions of those found in smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Like their smaller cousins, they’re rechargeable.

Charging, From Home to Work

Electric vehicles draw most of their power from charging stations, both publically available ones and electric vehicle chargers installed in the home. Public charging stations are typically found in places like shopping malls, in the parking lots of many government buildings, and in locations close to public mass transportation, like train stations.

A growing number of workplaces are installing charging stations, as are many condominium and apartment buildings. Many universities are also providing facilities with electric vehicle chargers. The University of South Florida offers charging stations, and maps of recharging facilities are available online, like this ChargeHub page listing charging stations in and around Miami.

These chargers are commonly called EVSE, or Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment. There are three types, with the fastest—Level 3—most widely used in larger public installations. Level 1 and Level 2 chargers are more commonly installed in homes.

Bringing it Home

Level 1 EVSE allows an EV driver to plug into a standard 120-volt socket. These types of chargers are entirely sufficient to meet the needs of most commuters, charging a typical battery from empty to full overnight, or in around twelve hours.

Level 2 EVSE relies on a dedicated 240-volt circuit, is more powerful, and can charge a typical EV battery in just under four hours. Level 2 chargers can be installed virtually anywhere and use the same power supply and wiring used for larger home appliances like washers or dryers.

Great Options for South Florida

There are around 28,000 electric vehicles in Florida, making Florida second in the US, just behind California. There are many publically available Level 2 and 3 EVSE locations, with almost 2000 charging stations in the greater Miami area alone. Florida EV drivers currently qualify to travel in the state’s HOV and Express Lanes for free, and state and local governments plan more incentives.

If you drive an electric vehicle or are thinking of purchasing one and would like to have EVSE installed in your home, contact Sebastian Eilert Architecture to discuss your options. Also available by email or phone to help with all of your architectural and interior design project needs, Mr. Eilert is proud of his commitment to the environment. He is recognized as one of the thirty most influential sustainable design architects in the world, is US Green Building Council accredited, and is proud to serve on the City of Miami Green Commission.



Residential Toilets—A History And Options

The flush toilet is now ubiquitous in modern homes, and it’s hard to imagine anyone living without one. Though historical examples date back as far as the 26th century BCE, toilets as we know them weren’t invented until 1596. The first design was created for Queen Elizabeth I by her godson, Sir John Harrington, but she reportedly demurred from using it as it was too loud for her royal sensibilities.

Though the Romans were among the first to build underground sewers around 4500 BCE, there weren’t many improvements to the “hole in the ground” bathroom architecture for thousands of years. Toilet paper as we know it wasn’t even invented until 1857 (which makes for some uncomfortable musing).

Found in the Finest Castles

Though the common people wouldn’t have indoor toilets for many years, Medieval castles incorporated special rooms starting in about the 11th century CE. Built along outer walls and directly above castle moats, these toilet rooms would frequently cause unfortunate accidents resulting in wastewater accumulation.

The warning cry “Gardez l’eau!” (or “watch out for the water!”) could be heard all over Medieval Europe, and the special rooms where one did one’s business came to be called “l’eau,” which eventually became “the loo,” a term still in everyday use in the UK and former Commonwealth countries today.

The first public building in the US to have indoor plumbing was the Tremont Hotel in Boston. Its eight “water closets” were installed in 1829 by Isaiah Rogers, who would later become the Supervising Architect of the United States in 1863. Coincidence? Maybe he was just flush with luck.

Interior design incorporating toilets became increasingly common throughout the 1800s as people realized that improper sanitation could cause disease. Recommended by the medical experts of the day, flush toilets connected to underground sewer systems became a priority to legislators who began passing laws dictating their installation and use.

Inventors and engineers responded by designing “new and improved” variations, but indoor toilets were uncommon in all but the wealthiest homes until around 1840.

American Standard

As late as 1940, nearly half the houses in the US lacked an indoor flush toilet, and people still relied on the outhouse, which was little more than a rough wooden shed featuring a bench with a hole in the middle of it, built above a large pit. Thankfully, toilets are now standard in all homes, though there are many options.

The traditional round-bowl design has largely made way for more comfortable (and ADA-compliant) elongated fixtures. Both are available in economical floor-mounted or space-saving wall-hung designs. Recent innovations allow for the use of specialized fixtures and connections that bring benefits like cost savings, quieter operation, and minimized water consumption for planet-friendly bathroom visits.

Planet-Friendly Options

If you’re in Miami (or anywhere in South Florida) and you’d like to upgrade your “necessarium,” contact Sebastian Eilert Architecture to plan the bathroom of your dreams today.

Also available by email or phone, Sebastian is recognized as one of the thirty most influential sustainable design architects in the world, is US Green Building Council accredited, and would be happy to discuss ecological (and hygienic!) options like the Toto Washlet C5 or other bidets, available both as attachments or standalone fixtures.