Couple Marie Granmar and Charles Sacilotto have transformed the meaning of “living in a glass house.” Taking inspiration from Swedish eco-architect Bengt Warne, the family lives in a sustainable and attractive home nestled inside a greenhouse. Living in a ‘Naturhus’ under a layer of protective glass is perfect for staying toasty and comfortable during Sweden’s long winters. The couple was happy to share the benefits and desirability of creating a self-sufficient ecosystem. Using architectural principles and having a defined vision for a space, allowed the couple the ability to live in a customized and sustainable abode.
An Architectural Leap
Charles Sacilotto and Marie Granmar live in Stockholm, Sweden – a city known for its long, frigid winters. Instead of incurring expensive heating bills, the couple felt that a creative housing idea would provide a solution. The pair decided to have their summer home surrounded with a structure using four-millimeter thick glass. The greenhouse enclosing the abode was double the size of the house, leaving ample space to walk about.
Thanks to the nature of the greenhouse, Charles and Marie’s home was kept at a comfortable temperature. The pair only needed to pay for gas as necessary, as the greenhouse kept outside elements at bay. Architect Bengt Warne was a friend of Charles and was tapped to help the couple build their dream home. Warne had extensive experience with building greenhouses and unique architectural concepts since 1974.
Life Under Glass
Having a home surrounded by a greenhouse eliminated the need for traditional heating methods. Additionally, Marie and Charles didn’t have to treat the wooden siding of their home to protect against damage from rain or snow. Inside the greenhouse, Marie and Charles could focus on growing their fruits and vegetables. The greenhouse was outfitted with sliding doors all around the structure, so there was easy access to the outside world.
Aesthetically, the home inside the greenhouse provided a unique view inside and out. The couple was able to create a miniature ecosystem, utilizing sun, water, earth, and composting to create a completely sustainable home. The rooftop of the household was an inviting and spacious area for friends and family to catch some sun, relax, and play. Plants peppered throughout the greenhouse offered visual appeal and fresh oxygen.
Installing four-millimeter thick glass panels around the summer home to create a greenhouse cost $84,000. Having the freedom to live in a way that aligns one’s philosophy and the power of nature is priceless. The couple has a system to collect rainwater, and refuse from the kitchen and garden is composted. The toilet and sewage system collect waste to be used as fertilizer to the plants on the property. Since a greenhouse allows for plenty of sunlight to enter the space, the couple has low electric bills for lighting. Marie and Charles also seek out ways they can harness excess solar energy.
Glass is a strong, sturdy, and recyclable resource. Living under a greenhouse creates a magical space that allows plenty of sunlight to come through and maintains a self-sufficient system. Marie and Charles enjoy spending time with friends and family, tend to their thriving garden, and stay warm during those nine-month long bitterly cold winters at 27 degrees Fahrenheit. Having a home in a greenhouse may not be for everyone, but a Naturhus is resourceful, attractive, and self-sustainable. Creating a space that is inviting and enclosed saves on natural resources and pushes the envelope on what is possible when building a home. Miniature ecosystems that properly use plants, energy, water, and earth allow humans to coexist in harmony with the natural resources of the planet.
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