Beautiful living rooms in natural homes around the world, part:


The living room is where people go to relax, sit, stretch out, read and socialise. It's often the centre piece of the house. A place that tells your visitors who you are, your style and taste. It's a place where people often display 'things from their life', one of the design patterns, No. 253. It's a place that must cater for all sorts of different people's shapes and sizes which should be reflected in the seats on offer; Alexander's design pattern No.251. Many of these living rooms have seats built in to the structure of the building but also have occasional chairs to add variety to the room. A living room looks at its most homely if, as Christopher Alexander recommends you, "never furnish any place with chairs that are identically the same. Choose a variety of different chairs, some big, some small, some softer than others... some old, some new".





The living room above right, which belongs to the house above left, has views over the Susquehanna River and was built by David Kin as a centre to Native American philosophy. With some initial design support from Sigi Koko at Build Naturally, David spent seven years of evenings and weekends working on the 4,000 square foot (370m2) straw bale house in Hellam Township, Pennsylvania, USA.




This is Rachel's living room in her off-grid straw bale home called Quiet Earth in Wales. Rachel's home became famous when she won the 2009 Grand Designs eco-house award. Rachel's home is full of curves, soft colours and filtered light as the sunlight weaves its way through the woodland trees. The living room has a very unique feature where one wall sits on blue glass bottles which you can see here behind the wood burning stove.




Matmâta and other desert settlements in Tunisia have wonderful underground homes built to avoid the intense heat and strong desert winds. The homes are made by digging a large pit some 7m (23ft) deep and 10m (33ft) wide and then, around the sides of the pit, tunnelling in a few meters before cutting artificial caves. Matmâta, and a handful of similar towns across Tunisia, is situated on a shelf of sandstone that is soft enough to excavate with hand tools, but sturdy enough to provide homes for centuries.




How wonderful to wake to the sun streaming in the window of the straw bale home you built with your young family as it lights the view of the Welsh valleys. This is Simon Dale's new home in Lammas ecoVillage. It cost about $6,000 to build, maybe a bit less. Here's a video about Simon's first straw bale home.  Simon has built several homes and helped build many others like Charlie's straw bale house.




This home was the first fully permitted cob house in Canada. It was a collaboration between Pat and Tracy of  Cob Works with Ianto of Cob Cottage Company and Elke Cole with a team of volunteers. The roof is totally load bearing on the cob walls. The house, built in 1999, is 600 sq.ft (56m2) on 2 floors and cost about $56,000 (£35,000).




These are beehive homes in Harran, Turkey near the border with Syria. Beehive homes stay cool in the desert heat. Their thick mud brick (adobe) walls trap the cool and keep the sun out. Beehive homes have few, if any, windows. The high domes collect the hot air, moving it away from people at the bottom of the house keeping the interior around 75F (24C) while outside extremes range from 95F (35C) to 32F (0C).