New York Times | The Elegance of Eco-Living
Imagine if you could bask in the glow of the Mediterranean sunshine, embrace the tranquility of the Dutch woodlands or behold the drama of the Rocky Mountains, all while reducing environmental impact and saving money?
Good news: With the following eco-friendly properties, you can. Located around the globe, each is on the cutting edge of living green by utilizing a range of technologies to increase energy efficiency and reuse valuable resources. At the same time, these properties offer the highest standards of luxury, proving that living with an environmental conscience doesn’t have to mean living without comfort.
851 Wilson Way, Telluride, Colorado, 81435 United States
Gracefully set upon one of the most dramatic 35-acre sites in the spectacular Telluride region, this masterpiece of eco-friendly design is exceptional in its setting, quality and accommodation. The home overlooks a reflective pond that mirrors views of a towering cirque of rolling meadows and 14,000-foot peaks, and its soaring spaces showcase the very best in sophisticated mountain living.
It’s the result of a collaboration between its owners and a team of talented design and build professionals. Featuring the very finest materials from all over the world, including custom-quarried marble from Italy, limestone from India, exotic granites, bluestone and native rock, the construction process was uncompromising in its commitment to efficiency and quality. In addition, the property leverages low-voltage lighting, recirculating water features and rooftop gardens with native plants to maximize efficiency.
Aesthetically, center-pivot glass doors wrap the home and give way to large outdoor spaces ideally suited for entertaining or quiet reflection. Sumptuous master and guest suites seamlessly blend intimate living areas with epic outdoor spaces. Amenities include a fitness room, spas, salon, home theater, wine room and outdoor fire pits. The kitchen is fit for a top chef with its suite of top-of-the-line appliances.
The sum of these remarkable efforts has created a striking and efficient sanctuary nestled gracefully in the mountains — the perfect balance between privacy and proximity.
This modern, spacious villa has stunning views that stretch beyond Ibiza’s Morna Valley to the island of Formentera in the distance. Located on a magnificent 64-acre plot, the property offers an eco-conscious approach to luxury living combined with absolute privacy and tranquility.
The property’s meticulously designed layout consists of seven bedroom suites structured around a substantial open-plan living area. State-of- the-art sliding window systems open on extensive terracing — complete with infinity pool — that provides breathtaking views of the Mediterranean landscape. Only the highest-quality fixtures, fittings and materials were selected to ensure luxurious standards of living. The property is largely self-sufficient, as it uses solar power and a private well. Native fruits and vegetables on the property are produced organically.
It consists of a double bedroom, living room and kitchen, and it offers an even more comprehensive view of the surrounding valley and the sea in the distance. The property’s other features include an outdoor bar, a barbecue and an all-around security system, adding up to the perfect blend of seclusion, efficiency and comfort.
Just a stone’s throw away from Amsterdam, on the edge of Huizen and in the Gooi Nature Reserve, lies one of the most unique houses in Holland. Built into the side of a hill called Mol’s Hoop, the home seamlessly blends with its woodland surroundings. The name is a play on words that references both the Dutch term for molehill and the hope for a greener future.
Garnering international press, the house is commonly referred to as Dutch Mountain. Due to its unique form and hyper-sustainable functionality, it’s been the subject of a documentary and has been featured in TV shows, as well as news articles. Now, eight years since the owners — a couple who work in architecture and art history — drafted the original plans, they are offering it for sale in order to take on a new project.
This self-sufficient house remains ahead of its time. With their creative and humorous approach to design, the owners used things that few would consider to create a state-of-the-art, but timeless, interior. Much of the home’s efficiency comes from being built into the adjacent hill, which allows it to store energy while using passive solar technology to heat the house through the prominent glass facade. Less obvious eco-friendly features include photovoltaics, LED lighting, wood pellet heating and more.
This, combined with the owners’ collection of acquired or created art and design — often made from recycled materials — complete the home’s organic aesthetic. A prominent feature is the 30-year-old Daimler Double Six automobile. After being driven by the owners for years, it has now been repurposed as a kitchen cupboard. The property also includes other custom-made furniture. With such a focus on its natural surroundings, wildlife is plentiful: foxes, owls, buzzards, woodpeckers, moles and bee colonies all live nearby. On three sides, the spacious garden merges with the woods and heaths of the Gooi Nature Reserve.
Toad Hall Estate
Built among the mysterious boulders of Spring Bay National Park, this property seems to melt into its stunning natural surroundings. Toad Hall Estate is graced with international character and charm, and it currently operates as a popular, secluded vacation rental. While conveniently located 10 minutes from the main ferry dock in Spanish Town, the estate imbues its guests with a sense of escape via the long private driveway.
Built in the original West Indian style with covered outdoor spaces, Toad Hall includes three enclosed bed/bathroom pavilions and one smaller studio pavilion. You’ll feel part of nature as the property’s unique indoor/outdoor layout allows for naturally cooling air flow. Rainwater is collected off the roof for greater efficiency, while water captured from the driveway is used for irrigation.
The estate was designed to allow guests their privacy inside personal pavilions, while having the option of congregating outside in the shared spaces, just steps from their bedroom doors. Inside these Caribbean-style houses, the rooms have been tastefully decorated with elegant, contemporary furnishings. Each pavilion features an outdoor shower built between large boulders, and fenced in for privacy. Kitchen and living areas are open-plan.
Taken as a whole, Toad Hall Estate is more than just an investment opportunity for deluxe rental accommodations: It is also a possible business venture for entrepreneurs who want to expand on an existing vacation villa. The villa includes its own on-site restaurant, Mad Dog. While the establishment is owned by Toad Hall Estate, the daily operations, finance and logistics of the business are managed by restaurateurs.
Renowned Residence at Troon Village
At an elevation of 2,600 feet, this eco-friendly masterpiece seamlessly integrates with the natural, boulder-strewn landscape of Troon Mountain. The 5,000-square- foot residence is located within the private gated community of Tusayan at Troon Village, and features extensive use of green technology. It is constructed of steel, concrete, stone and glass at different levels on the five-acre cul-de- sac lot. It boasts jaw-dropping views of the valley and mountain ranges, and it also features rooftop gardens and solar panels to increase energy efficiency.
Interwoven between the buildings are walkways, staircases surrounded by foliage, exterior patios, pergolas and cabanas. A canal-like waterway feeds the pool, which features a cantilevered negative-edge water feature, spa and rope swing. In keeping with its luxurious setting, the home’s rooms — including four bedrooms, den, library, separate workshop and game room — are comfortably and elegantly appointed. The large kitchen/dining room features vinegar-stained walnut cabinets, limestone counter tops, modern kitchen appliances and dual islands. Outdoor dining is a breeze, with multiple outdoor lounge areas that include a full outdoor bar with grill.
Among the eco-friendly features: clay walls, maximum ventilation with roof openings and transom windows, interior and exterior spaces designed to channel natural mountain air, solar energy, tankless water heater and decomposed granite driveway.
A true example of collaboration, research and forward-thinking eco-design, this is a one-of-a-kind property in North Scottsdale.