Hawaii…one’s mind goes immediately to the lush landscape, the beautiful ocean, the towering mountains. Maui is all about the outside and LifeEdited:Maui did its best to create a great outside of the house to accompany its inside. Below are the plants, technologies and other gear that we used outside.
Acer/Pioneer – Water Catchment Tanks
We like the idea that the important stuff comes to LifeEdited:Maui from the sky. A nuclear power station in the form of a burning star sends us our energy and sometimes fast, sometimes slow-moving clouds bring us our water. We collect it via our own roof and that of our neighbors and then route it to the 15,000 gallon Acer/Pioneer steel water tank lower on the property. From there, when the sun shines, a solar pump pumps it up to the 5,000 gallon tank behind the house. The tanks are not only of extremely high quality and beautiful, they are also smart…their roofs, different from most tanks, collect their own water. A torrential rain-storm now has the added silver lining that we are collecting gallon upon gallon of fresh rainwater! We’d love to see a lot more of this around the world…it just makes sense.
KOHLER – Foot-washing Station
It’s about the big moves…and about the small ones. Details are important. Sand on the beach…great! Sand on your floors…yech! There’s a lot of beach time in Maui and so we wanted to have a nice set-up for when people return from the beach. We designed a lovely little foot-washing station that is placed by the front door. A polished chrome Kohler “Triton” fixture is complimented by a dark Ipe wood and enables residents to keep that pesky sand outside the house.
Magnum – Electric Bikes
Maui is gorgeous, rugged and….hilly. LifeEdited:Maui needed some ecologically smart transportation to complement its green approach so we talked to Court Rye at the amazing Electric Bike Review site and he directed us immediately to Magnum. Magnum makes terrific electric bikes for the value conscious buyer. Many of them are in the $1,500-2,000 range. They look great and work really well. Pedal assist instead of throttle which we think is smart. They easily help you up steep hills and due to the slower speed limits and curviness of the roads, you can get around at speeds not terribly far from a car’s! Knobby tires allow you to get off-road and go through cane field trails to reach unique, remote ocean and mountain destinations. Add a surf-rack and you can even bring your board to the beach. We love them as they help take the lazy factor off the table..you just grab your bike and go…and end up getting some exercise as a result.
One Earth Design’s SolSource Classic – Solar Cooker
What better way to compliment our off-grid house than with an off-grid, fossil-fuel-free BBQ! The SolSource uses 5 curved mirrors to capture and focus the sun’s rays onto one point where a cooking pot can be placed. It can quickly reach 550F/280C!! This means you can boil a liter of water in 10 minutes. In fact it heats up 5x faster than charcoal so is ideal for BBQing. Saves energy and emissions while providing fun for adults and kids alike!
Plants – Fruit Trees
With help from Evan Ryan of Pono Grown Farm Center, over 25 different fruit trees were planted on the property and over the past year or two they are really starting to come into their own. We planted papaya, improved meyer lemon, tahitian lime, sharwil avocado, malama avocado, yamagata avocado, breadfruit, fairchild mango, star ruby supreme grapefruit, washington navel orange, kari starfruit, eggfruit, buddha hand lemon, surinam cherry, soursop, dancy tangerine, rolinia deliciosa, murta jaboticaba, mamey sapote, biew kiew longan, black gold jackfruit, emperor lychee, kaimana lychee and white indonesian guava.
Plants – Ornamental
Evan also planted a lot of beautiful and sometimes aromatic plants in various places around the property. He planted things such as monstera, ginger, anthurium, native white hibiscus, alocasia varieties, aloe, mini agave, ti (green and maroon), euphorbia, plumbago, jade, bougainvillea, ‘ohi’a lehua, pikake, reina de la noche, song of india and bromeliads.
Plants – Green Fences
In order to maximize visual and acoustic privacy as well as make the place look nice and sink some carbon, we have planted a number of plants on the borders of the property. We planted Textilis gracilis bamboo in one location where we didn’t mind if it got to 15-20 feet and we planted a really bushy bamboo called dwarf malay in some places where we didn’t want it to get over 12-15 feet. Our neighbor has a huge stand of Bambusa textilis that borders the property and must be 60 feet tall! We’ve also used Vetiver in a few places where we wanted a border that didn’t get over 10 feet. We like Vetiver as it’s a great fixer of nitrogen.
Plants – Groundcover
We wanted a groundcover that would stop erosion, provide habitat, sink carbon, look beautiful and require little to no maintenance. For much of the property, the solution was perennial peanut (Arachis pintoi). It takes some effort in the early months to get it planted and weed it regularly enough that it takes over but after it does, it’s virtually maintenance-free. It looks terrific, feels good on your feet and really holds up well in the torrential downpours we get sometimes. We planted it on all the slopes and pretty well all the open areas except for two areas near the house where we planted a more typical grass (kikuya) such that we could have something cut shorter that would be a bit nicer to play on. We set up an electronic perimeter and then our Worx robot mower can automatically cut it on schedule and charge itself. Let the robots do the work!
Resource Furniture – Piano Coat Rack
We’ve worked with Resource Furniture for nearly a decade now because they always have the highest quality space saving transforming furniture. We share the philosophy that every square foot should be awesome. One of the products we used next to the entrance was the very cool looking (and functioning!) Piano coat rack. It’s made out of a beautiful walnut and its various “hooks” can be folded in or out in different patterns. It’s fun, functional and looks terrific.
Rich Brilliant Willing – Crisp – Dimmable LED Lighting
Remember when energy efficient lighting was ugly – compact fluorescents and LED bulbs with big cooling fins? Well, you can forget that now. Witness the gorgeous and energy-efficient Mori Crisp Copper. We used it as our prime outdoor light. Its calming yellowish/orangeish glow on the facade is the perfect compliment to the blueish grey board and batten siding. RBW…beautiful, functional and low energy to top it off.
Slyde – Handboards
Surfing on a surfboard is most certainly a lot of fun. Body-surfing can be pretty fun too. But you know what’s better? Body-surfing with a little help! Enter the Slyde handboards. LifeEdited:Maui has various models that help you go from total beginner to expert body-surfer. And besides how much fun they are…we think they look pretty cool too!
Worx Landroid – Robot Lawn Mower
We’re big fans of robots doing work for us. We’re big fans of solar energy as opposed to fossil fuels. We’re also big fans of quiet. So when the question of how to keep our lawn nicely trimmed came up…we went straight to WORX. This Landroid M Cordless Robotic Lawn Mower is amazing. It runs itself. Most of the time, it rests in its station and is charged from our solar electric system. Then, as often as we want to set it to, it automatically tools around our yard and quietly cuts the lawn to our desired length before returning to its charge station. We set the perimeter of the lawn with a simple wire system that is staked into the ground. The mower stays within the defined territory and stops if it encounters a person or object or if it starts to rain. It even has an anti-theft pin. We love this robot and couldn’t imagine a better solution. It saves us money, time and emissions. Yes!
Mentioned in previous posts but still important parts of LifeEdited’s outside environment:
- Blue Ion 2.0 Energy Storage – The best off-grid battery system on the market, period
- Sunflare SUN2 Solar Panels – Beautiful, highly functional, and the greenest mass produced panels on the planet
- Andersen Multiglide Sliding Glass Door – It beautifully blurs the line between indoors and outdoors
- The Modern Fan Company IC/Air3 Ceiling Fans – Great modern look, very well made – breezy yet nearly silent
- Ann Sacks Stampino and Savoy Tile – Beautiful, green, nearly indestructible, and seriously waterproof
- Richlite Lanai Railing Tops – 65% recycled paper yet highly durable – we used it all over the house
- Vanatoo Transparent Zero Speakers – Amazing sound, highly versatile, surprisingly inexpensive
- Meural Lenora Wi-Fi-enabled Digital Canvas – An art lover’s dream – smart digital art frame that displays artwork of your choosing
- Oliver Yaphe Pillows – Each beautiful, each unique – made from new and unused fabric waste
Kyle Ancheta / LifeEdited