Miami Green Homes


The Psychological Benefits of Filling a Home With Plants

For any homeowner who has gone through the process of decorating their South Florida home, there’s a good chance they’ve picked out furniture, accent pieces, and interior design elements they love. However, one decor element they shouldn’t overlook as they fill up their space is plants. Plants can create a serene, pulled-together home decor aesthetic. But they not only enhance the way a home looks, they can also enhance the homeowner’s quality of life.

Research has shown time and again that filling up a home with plants has numerous health benefits — they even clean the air. However, along with their physical health benefits, plants can also improve mental health. Simply by bringing some greenery into a space, homeowners can actually improve their overall mental and emotional wellness.

It makes sense to fill a home with plants. Here are just a few psychological benefits of houseplants and how spending time around them might help change someone’s life. 

Boosted Mood

Houseplants have been proven to decrease depression in people and boost their mood so they feel better. A study by Urban Forestry and Urban Greeningshows 74% of study participants experienced increased emotional wellbeing and less stress when houseplants were incorporated into their environment. So fill a home with plants, and a home can become an even happier place than it already is.

Decreased Anxiety

Experts know that spending time around plants helps to decrease anxiety. That’s because greenery can engage the senses in ways that a space usually doesn’t. Plants are beautiful to look at, and they often smell good and give people unfamiliar textures to feel, as well. Having all these sensory experiences provided by plants can help increase mindfulness and bring homeowners to the present moment. This is a great way to decrease anyone’s anxiety and help them stay focused and in the present, rather than worrying about the past or future.

Improved Attention Span

House plants can improve a person’s attention span. In fact, a study in The Journal of Environmental Psychology showed that plants in a workspace can decrease mental fatigue and improve people’s ability to stay working on a task. Plus, having plants in a home can boost someone’s ability to focus. It may be especially valuable today since, post-COVID 19 pandemic, more people than ever work from home. For a homeowner who wants something to help them stay on task while they work, enhancing a workspace or home office (in particular) with plants is a good idea. A window can also provide a view of outdoor plants.

Want a Home to Fill with Plants? Work with Sebastian Eilert Architecture

Ready to start filling a home with plants or design and build a new home that can be filled with plants when it’s finished?  Contact Sebastian Eilert Architecture for assistance. We are committed to sustainable and ecologically responsible design, and Sebastian is recognized as one of the thirty most influential sustainable design architects in the world. Sebastian Eilert Architecture can handle anyone’s architectural and interior design project needs. Learn more about our work by visiting www.SebastianEilert.com. Get in touch at Sebastian@SebastianEilert.comor 786.556.3118.

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Top Five Plants That Clean Indoor Air

Plants can do much more than help bring color and life to a home’s interior. They’re a great addition to any room, are more sustainable than cut flowers and offer us a way to bring nature indoors. Though there are plenty of aesthetic reasons to include plants in a home redesign, there are practical ones, too.

We usually assume our indoor air is clean, but harsh or dangerous chemicals can often contaminate it from cleaning products, mold and pollen and volatile organic gasses that leach out of indoor materials like flooring and upholstery. We spend around 90 percent of our time indoors and the concentrations of some pollutants can be as much as two to five times higher than levels found outdoors.

There’s good news, though—house plants are an affordable, effective way to clean your indoor air and act as a natural filter to many kinds of pollution. Having ample greenery indoors also helps you sleep better, helps your immune system be more robust and can even help your ability to concentrate. Here are the top five plants that can help clean your indoor air.

1. Philodendron

There are many different plants in this genus, including the trend-setting large-leafed monstera. These plants were shown to be one of the best at reducing air pollution and purifying indoor air. They’re especially effective at removing formaldehyde, which can accumulate as building materials and home furnishings outgas over time. Perfect for our South Florida climate, these can be kept outdoors as well, but keep children and pets from eating the leaves, though, as they can be toxic.

2. Snake Plant

This household succulent will help filter indoor air in surprisingly effective ways. It’s not only excellent at eliminating toxins like benzene and formaldehyde, it’s one of only a few plants capable of converting carbon dioxide into oxygen without direct sunlight. This makes it ideal for bedrooms or rooms with low natural light access.

3. Areca Palm

This small, cluster-forming palm is one of the most efficient air purifiers and a native of Madagascar, giving it an exotic appeal. It’s a natural air cooler and scrubs indoor air of dangerous chemicals like acetone, toluene and xylene, which can accumulate due to the use of nail polish, certain detergents, some wooden furniture and even cosmetic products.

4. Spider Plant

This little wonder is a beautiful addition to your indoor spaces and is extremely easy to grow. It’s surprisingly effective at removing ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde and xylene, found in some cleaning products and furniture upholstery. One study found that it could remove as much as ninety percent of toxins found in indoor air in just two days.

5. Aloe Vera

Not only does this plant produce a naturally anti-bacterial gel inside its spiky leaves, but it also acts as an effective, natural air purifier. It’s excellent at removing toxic chemicals from indoor air, including benzene and formaldehyde, often present in cleaning products.

Breathe Easier With Sustainable Design

If you’re interested in other ways to make your indoor spaces greener, contact Sebastian Eilert Architecture to discuss design elements you can incorporate in new or existing buildings. Reachable by email or phone as well, Sebastian is recognized as one of the thirty most influential sustainable design architects in the world and is proud to be US Green Building Council accredited.



A New Neighborhood is Being Built in Utah That Looks Like a European ‘One-Car Town’

The 15-minute concept city hopes people will keep “one car” as green paths connect all areas of the city in just a short walk or bike ride.
— Read on www.goodnewsnetwork.org/utahs-15-minute-planned-community-to-be-a-one-car-city-of-greenery/



Top 10 Wins For the Planet in 2021 – These Will Turn Anyone Into an Optimist

Good News Network Gives you our Top Ten Good News of the planet’s recovery, guaranteed to make anyone into an optimist.
— Read on www.goodnewsnetwork.org/top-wins-for-the-planet-in-2021-that-will-turn-anyone-into-an-optimist/



World’s First 3D-Printed House Made Of Local Raw Earth – And it Closes the Roof With a Dome

A Bologna-based architecture firm has used clay and 3D printers to create sustainable domed housing with little waste.
— Read on www.goodnewsnetwork.org/tecla-sustainable-3d-printed-houses-from-cucinella-architects/



Can Architecture Bring Us Joy? – Architizer Journal

It can, and it should!

As communities navigate ongoing health and environmental crises, the ability for architecture to raise spirits has never been more vital.
— Read on architizer.com/blog/inspiration/industry/architecture-plus-joy/



This Wind Turbine Panel Lets You Harness Enough Energy to Power Your Home

The unique optical-illusion generating wind wall, is a cool way to generate renewable electricity for your house.
— Read on www.goodnewsnetwork.org/this-wind-turbine-sculpture-lets-you-harness-enough-energy-to-power-your-home/



Thousands Offer to Host Tiny Homes With Homeless Residents in Their Own Seattle Backyards

At 125-square feet, Block Project homes are designed to house homeless people in the backyards of perspective volunteers.
— Read on www.goodnewsnetwork.org/non-profits-build-tiny-homes-for-homeless-in-volunteers-own-backyards/



Towering Over the City, This ‘Farmscraper’ Will Produce 270 tons of Food from Hydroponics on 51-Stories

A new 51-story ‘farmscraper’ in China, designed by an Italian architecture firm Carlo Ratti, will have food growing for Schenzen city.
— Read on www.goodnewsnetwork.org/farmscraper-schenzen-china-hydroponics/



Design after COVID 19. How the virus may affect architectural design for the home – Part II: work, friends, and family

There is no doubt that the “after” will bring with it some changes and lasting adjustments. After looking at how the home needs to adapt for our personal use, what changes may be needed for work from home and visiting friends and family?

In the home – Part II:

The first part of this question is relatively easy: “Remote work from home” now includes some area with a computer setup that has a reasonably clear background for video calls and conferences. Few homes are designed with an extra room or space with this function in mind, so there is another change that will be forthcoming for future design. A home office or home office nook will be a feature that will be standard in post COVID-19 residential design. Even for professions that do not need this setup for their basic livelihood, the feature is sure to become a standard, much like the entry foyer noted in the related post, in the home Part I. Beyond work, this area can be used for a new type of happy hour, remote classrooms and other social interactions. But what about multiple people working or learning from home in the same schedule? To create a home office space for each family member is not feasible, so creative partitions with sound isolation may be the answer.

Built-In Home Office Ideas by Paul Raff Studio

Integrated Home Office Design

Creating an office nook can present a solution to carve out space in an easy arrangement and configuration to shield from view and sound. Similar to an open studio setup, multiple stations may be created in this fashion. Designating an existing room, where possible, allows for more functional use and setup but may be especially challenging for renovations and existing homes that look to adapt. After all, most homes were not designed with a spare room for future use adaption in mind, a concept that will likely change in new design thinking – adaptability!

work nook
Front Entry to the Left, Office Nook to the Right

The challenge with creating a small space or using an existing room within the home however, lies with the psychological burnout, that is showing up in many workers already who are being “on” all the time. The kitchen becomes the breakroom to fill up on coffee, the living room reminds of the chores that are typically left for the end of the workday and the school books on the dining table remind of homework and classes that need attending to. The 8-hour workday stretched to 10 hours, to 12 hours, and blends with the home life. The workday itself is now part of the design challenge.

A better design solution is to revisit the home office space as a separate structure that allows for a mini commute, by taking a few steps into the office and when at lunch or at the end of the day returning to the home. Planning and zoning codes will need to change and adapt, to allow for this to happen. Auxiliary structures are already allowed under most zoning codes, but property size may restrict this function due to requirements for building separation, connectivity, and setbacks.

Let’s return to the design opportunity of the home office as a separate structure: Former site design program choices such as pool cabanas, covered BBQs, granny flats, or storage sheds now present the opportunity to create the at-home office studio instead. The design should be complete with a kitchenette to include the coffee maker, sink and a small refrigerator, etc. as well as a bathroom. This function can be accommodated within a fairly small footprint, 10’x 12’ to start. If more space is available, multiple stations for all members of the family, as well as a meeting area or miniature conference room may complete the layout.

Garden office ideas – garden office pods and garden office sheds ...

The work from home studio would likely be connected to the home with an open covered walkway and allow for independent direct access for clients and visitors from the outside. The home office transforms into a true work from home set up, and at the end of the day, the commute also reduces the carbon footprint!

Prefabricated design solutions provide a great opportunity for quick installation, rather than lengthy construction, as these spaces have urgent need. Design options are growing in this industry, including modern solutions, like the Coodo.

coodo

What about friends and family? The Home office studio ideally should not become the weekend hangout to maintain a dis-association form the work week. Instead, the transition into the home for visitors should start at the foyer, as noted for the personal use in Part I. Just like for our own use, this space will function as a transitional area that allows for an initial disinfecting and reduction of the viral load that comes into the home. Removing shoes should become standard as is already common practice in many cultures around the world. The focus now, however, is on minimizing the introduction of foreign particles. An integrated shoe storage compartment in the foyer will facilitate this process. Hand sanitizing stations and even a small sink may be items that are incorporated into the design. The latter will most certainly be part of the mudroom transitional space on larger homes that feature a garage. This access point, however, is unlikely to be used for friends and family.

Once the initial shedding has been completed more spacious furniture arrangements to allow for groups to maintain a small degree of physical distancing will influence future designs to create overall larger spaces. The need to fill these rooms with a lot of furniture should be balanced with the function and anticipation of people other than the immediate family. If the in-laws visit frequently or the home is the go-to spot for the crew to watch the game, keep it open and spacious.

powder room

Foyer with Powder Room

Already a popular design feature, the powder room will become an important post-COVIT element for families that have frequent visitors. The private bathrooms need to remain just that – private to avoid contamination. The solution is to provide a half-bathroom near the general living areas. Depending on the layout and adjacent functions, this room may expand to include a shower if connecting to the outside or other uses of the home and yard. The powder room should include a small changing area, think mini locker room, that double serves as guest storage and is large enough to comfortably allow for a change of clothes. Ideally, the location is in close proximity to the foyer as well.

Lastly, the space every party always ends up at. The kitchen! Already a focal point in the home for daily use, this is the spot that inevitably any group ends up at some point. To avoid close quarters, the center island, already a popular feature in larger homes will become the single most important post-COVIT-19 design feature. An accessible island without a cooktop or sink provides an excellent workstation during normal use, easily extends to include informal seating for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and maintains good physical distance for gatherings – the larger the counter, the better.

SEA_SAKA-4664

Oversized Kitchen Island with Integrated lower seating counter – classic design style

Inspired to adapt your space or design your new homes yet?

www.SebastianEilert.com