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As we've learned from Lauren Bacall's charismatic character in How to Marry a Millionaire, prime real estate is important. In other words, location is everything. Well, what's one to do when the perfect location includes the apartment next door? Why, knock down the separating wall and expand your own haven, of course. Oh, the life of a millionaire. Atop the historic Merchant House in Tribeca, the duplex penthouse is that haven, boasting six bedrooms spread over 6,800 square feet of space. It's so big that different parts of the property are referred to as the north and south wing. There are also 3,000 square feet of private gardens, a professional-grade kitchen, a climate-controlled wine cellar, and a direct elevator. In case you ever want to capitalize on the owners' non-existent buyer's remorse, you should know that the penthouse sold in early 2013 for a cool 15.8 million. 

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Happy birthday E. Fay Jones!

Euine Fay Jones, (January 31, 1921 – August 31, 2004) was an American architect and designer and a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. After seeing a movie about Wright and and his Johnson Wax Building, Jones embarked on a career which would combine "drawing and building." Jones enrolled in the University of Arkansas in order to study architecture through the university's engineering program.

In his lifetime, 129 of his 218 design projects were brought to life; 84 of his designs were built in his native Arkansas. Jones' most famous buildings are the Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, the Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel in Bella Vista, Arkansas, and the Pinecote Pavilion at the Crosby Arboretum in Picayune, Mississippi.

Photo by Al Drap, courtesy of Fay Jones Papers, Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville

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When Tobias Dahl , a bricklayer, returned to his hometown of Dalarna, Sweden, he was unattached and looking to do some Walden-esque quiet contemplation in a modest log cabin. His plans were somewhat sidetracked, however, when soon after settling in, he met Emma Netterberg, an artist who shared his love of simple design. The two began to renovate the cabin with the intention to sell it, but the finished product was such a labor of love that the new couple couldn't give it up. From the outside, their carefully renovated home is an unassuming cabin. On the inside, modern design has been thoughtfully incorporated into a space with centuries of history.

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Tuesday, 22 January 2013 21:28

The Bunkie: A Non-Haunted Cabin in the Woods

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I only watched about fifteen minutes of Cabin in the Woods, but I understood that the general idea is to ruin everyone's vacation fantasies about spending a quiet weekend at a hunting lodge. Let's not let that happen. Enter the Bunkie, a collaboration between design firm 608 Design and BLDG Workshop which has produced this multi-purpose cabin that can be whatever you want. The Bunkie is pre-fabricated and the pieces fit together like a puzzle. Everything is built in the factory, and then shipped onsite. The final product includes two queen-sized Murphy-beds, and small dining table and chairs which are detachable.You could think of it as the closest thing to The Room of Requirement you'll get as a non-wizard, or the biggest IKEA project of your life. 

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No matter how much you think you've made it in the real world, your inner child will always want to live in castles in the sky, perched on ancient and sturdy trees. Maybe it's your inner Tarzan talking, but there's just something irresistible about a treehouse. Antony Gibbons, architect of the Roost Treehouse, has come up with a design that not only satisfies your Fern Gully fantasies, but also takes care of the tree you've chosen to call home. 

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I haven't spent much time on the beaches of Southern California, but I imagine that everybody of a certain pay bracket who lives on the beach tries to out-California their neighbors by building the best house in sight. After all, why would anyone live on the beach without a luxury indoor expanse? Designed by Steve Lazar of Lazar Design+Build for his family, this contemporary Manhattan Beach home exudes feelings of warmth, happiness and calm - everything the real Manhattan does not.

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If you live in New York and prefer an expensive box in Manhattan to a frugal mega-fortress in the Suburbs, this will bring you a kick. It's a super-efficient micro-apartment designed by entrepreneur Graham Hill and captured on video by Gizmodo. He's a man with a vision for all things modular and he's packed eight "rooms" into this 420 square foot space. If there's anything that can be minimized, rearranged or hidden - he's already thought of it.

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When you see this building, called the "Wind Pavilion", you wouldn't believe such a thing can exist. You are right, it does not. The pavilion is a concept design by inventor Michael Jantzen, who offers this idea unto the world. Jantzen suggests that the building be made out of fabric, allowing the structure to slowly rotate as the wind blows, which would generate eco-electricity. If turned into apartments or offices, the residents could move it themselves, depending on whether they want an ocean-view one day and a view of the office neighbor's cubicle the next.

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The whimsical Cloud House from Australian firm McBride Charles Ryan combines a sharp eye for design with the kind of childhood dreams about the far-off land of "what my life will look like when I'm all grown up" that filled wide-ruled journals with sprawling cursive and some pretty serious colored-pencil projects. The Cloud House is the real life reincarnation of a creative sanctuary, and it is designed to show the history of the site, with clues as to each era of architecture it has undergone. From Edwardian to ethereal, the cloud house vibrantly incorporates the past with the present, and invites you to set up camp within its dreamy walls.

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Two hours outside the bustling city of Beijing, the Liyuan Library offers solitude and a place for mindfulness in a beautiful setting. Designed by Li Xiaodong Atelier, the structure looks not unlike a peaceful temple dedicated to spiritual discovery. In the small village of Hauirou, the library's exterior is modestly clad with locally sourced wood, so that the structure blends well with the rest of the village. Inside, level changes and careful planning make the most of a humble space, with lots of natural lighting to guide the pursuit of knowledge.

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