Modern Sustainable Living Showcased at Dwell on Design

June 30, 2011 by

The Modern Living Showhouse at Dwell on Design.

I spent a good part of last week in Los Angeles, absorbing the best of green innovation and design at Dwell on Design. Much of my time I perused a section of the conference, Dwell Outdoor, strolling through a verdant landscape of planters, shrubs, sheds, and not only experiencing a one-of-a-kind green designer home for humans, but also eco-conscious dwellings for chickens, birds, dogs, and cats.

Below overhead solar panels, outdoor carpet underfoot, I lounged on designer patio furniture, exploring the realm of exterior spaces presented with an eye not just toward greenery but also green design.

Wall planters from Wallter.

A testament to high style with low impact, The Modern Living Showhouse, a 520 square foot prefab house, above, was unveiled by ecofabulous under the direction of founder and sustainability expert Zem Joaquin. Designed by leading sustainable architect Jonathan Davis, the showhouse was part of the pieceHomes line of green modular homes built in Oregon by OneBuild Inc. The small but superbly designed home offered a tactile experience into stylish, sustainable living allowing visitors to touch and feel some of the best new green products while learning how conscious design can also improve the health, safety, and beauty of a living environment.

Chicken coops by 100 x Better and Raad Studio.

Each facet of the house was selected for its high sustainability standards and livability. The interior showcased a number of cool things including recycled glass tile from Modwalls which used recycled content grout made from the glass dust that wouldn’t be reusable for anything else. In addition to the anticipated energy-efficient kitchen and laundry appliances, there were gorgeous IceStone sustainable countertops made from 100% recycled glass and concrete, rapidly renewable cork floors from Wicanders, a multi-functioning cork coffee table, Plyboo cabinets by Neil Kelly, and Cradle to Cradle Certified solar shadecloths from MechoShade that allowed in light but not UV rays.

ecofabulous founder, Zem Joaquin, introducing Modwalls glass tiles inside the shower.

Surrounding the exterior was sustainable landscaping by Shades of Green, chicken coops from 100 x Better and Raad Studio (who changed their coop from metal to wood since we last featured them), a beehive collaboration from Walker Rollins of 100 x Better & Riiska Design, a planter bench from Jory Brigham, and other furniture perfect for your urban outdoor rooftop, balcony, terrace, or patio. Let’s just say that the Modern Living Showhouse was an exceptionally eco-friendly dwelling that proved that sustainable can also be very stylish.

Harvest-to-Home, a Los Angeles area vegetable garden delivery service showcased its concept.

Jory Brigham’s planter bench.

Zem Joaquin, who grew up on the same commune as Joan Baez, shared with me her dream of creating a modern eco-friendly and stylish sort of commune. The updated take on the concept would have small houses where children could grow up together sharing communal spaces and experiences. “My kids were happiest,” Joaquin told me, “when we lived in a tiny apartment. They ask me all the time when we are moving back.” The children, she explained, felt safe when they were in earshot of their mom, and were also more connected with each other in the confines of the small space.

Outdoor wood pebble seating by EIS Studio are created with layers of plywood.

Joaquin’s vision for such a community is similar to what the Modern Living house’s architect and the founder of pieceHomes, Jonathan Davis, has planned for Bainbridge Island, Washington. Davis is collaborating with sustainable development and investment company, Asani, in the development of Grow Community, a sustainable neighborhood, incorporating the One Planet Living principles of new urbanism, focusing on energy efficiency , but more importantly, on the creation of an interactive community–a modern eco-friendly commune of sorts. “You can’t just look at the now,” explained Davis, “you’ve got to look at how the community is going to live for years to come.”

Willy Guhls Loop chair, originally from 1954, from Greenform.

Really small space and mobile design: the Airstream featured at Dwell on Design.

To benefit Global Green USA’s green building policy and education efforts in California and throughout the country, the healthy house will go to one lucky bidder, when until July 15th, it is up for auction through eBay Giving Works, allowing the cycle of sustainable building to continue.

About ecofabulous
ecofabulous, dedicated to uncompromising sustainability and style, is a publishing and content development firm. is one of the leading online authorities on stylish, sustainable living.

About Davis Studio Architecture + Design
Creators of pieceHomes, Jonathan and Mary Jo Davis founded Davis Studio Architecture + Design in 2002 to fulfill the promise of green architecture and design. Their modern living spaces connect people with their natural surroundings in a harmonious and healthy way, combining the best sustainable, efficient, non-toxic materials and energy efficient technologies with superior architectural design. DSAD works collaboratively to produce structures that infuse a human and personal approach to modernity with a concern for the environment and for the health of their clients by addressing the need for modern comfortable living spaces that are efficient, work within urban areas, yet maintain a sense of expansiveness.


  1. Annie Haven | Authentic Haven Brand said:

    Always love your Green shares cutting edge of what’s to come in the world of Green design

    — July 1, 2011 @ 09:55

  2. lucy schwartz said:

    well, the Tacoma area is using some ideas for their outdoor displays using recycled items instead of manufactured items. sooo cooooool

    — July 1, 2011 @ 15:10

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  4. Linda Geiser said:

    Thanks so much for including Wallter in the wrap up of Dwell On Design.

    — July 14, 2011 @ 17:57

  5. giay xuat khau said:

    The MODERN LIVING showhouse by ecofabulous featuring pieceHomes is a one-of-a-kind, green pre-fab home that showcases the latest in sustainable design concepts from recycled glass countertops to rapidly renewable cork flooring. MODERN LIVING has been the premiere experience at Dwell on Design for three years now, an event that allows the eco-curious and environmentally advanced a hands-on, interactive experience of stylish, sustainable living

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