Homes Immersed in Nature

We often think of our homes as an escape from the elements, a way to be removed from the discomforts of nature. For Earth day, we wanted to highlight some homes that flip this notion upside down and instead are built amongst nature in ways that celebrate the natural beauty of our planet.

Here’s our favorites:

Mountain Retreat

Jackson, Wyoming


Residents of this mountain retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyoming wake up to the sun rising above the Grand Tetons. The home sits on a mountainside, 800 feet above the valley.


A sprawling floor plan with huge glass windows allows the home to feel like it opens up right into the wilderness.


Cabin on the Gorge

Hrensko, Czech Republic

Photo by Jakub Fišer

Photo by Jakub Fišer

Sitting on the edge of a gorge in Bohemian Switzerland, a picturesque region in the north-western Czech Republic, this Walden-esque escape from traditional society is a nature-lovers dream.

Finca Bellavista

Costa Rica


Immersed in 500-acres of jungle on the southern coast of Costa Rica, Finca Bellavista is the world’s first modern sustainable treehouse community.


It serves as a resort and escape as well as a as a local community and features a community center, restaurants and homes, all amongst the trees.


Every structure is one-of-a-kind, built to accommodate the necessary elevation and available trees. The community places a huge emphasis on sustainability, encouraging small homes, utilizing rainwater collection and solar power.

Tye Haus

Skykomish, Washington

Photo by Andrew T. Kearns

Photo by Andrew T. Kearns

Tye Haus is located between the pines in the private cabin community of Timber Lane Village just outside Skykomish, Washington. It’s just like camping, but without the mosquito bites and jagged rocks under your sleeping bag!

Photo by Andrew T. Kearns

Photo by Andrew T. Kearns

With hot tubs that run on natural hot springs and amazing views, the cabin is the perfect place to relax and take it easy while you enjoy the sounds and sights of the woods.



Nagano Prefecture, Japan


Every kid, at one point or another, dreamt of having a treehouse in their backyard. This is that dream in real life. Built by Terunobu Fujimori, Takasugi-an, which literally means “a tea house too high,” sits atop three chestnut trees in Chino, Nagano Prefecture, Japan. It’s accessible only by ladder and serves tea to local guests.

Lake House

Banff, Alberta

Photo by Monica Healy

Photo by Monica Healy

A cabin gives the phrase “lake house” a new meaning. Located in the middle of Lake Minnewanka, a glacial lake in the eastern portion of Banff National Park, this home is probably not ideal for those who are weak swimmers. The view though, is sublime.

Cabin in Grotli

Skjak, Norway

Posted by Dwell

Posted by Dwell

Anka Lamprecht and Lukas Wezel’s rustic cabin in Grotli, a tiny, mostly abandoned village in Norway, features a view that looks like it’s straight out of Westeros. While living conditions are far from convenient, the tradeoff for a life of simplicity in the mountains is pretty extraordinary.

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7 Tips for a Successful International Move

Moving is usually stressful and complicated, but moving internationally is a different beast altogether! After all, you’re dealing with a whole new country, with a different set of laws and regulations, governing everything from banking practices and medical insurance to traffic laws and school systems.

To help you with your upcoming international move, we’ve put together the following list of 7 tips. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it’ll certainly get you started.

  1. Plan, and budget, far in advance: This is a good tip for any move, but it is especially prudent advice for those moving internationally. The costs of flights and shipping alone call for extreme budgetary measures, and the bureaucratic complications of passports and visas can take months to deal with.

  2. Lock down cheap airfare: Sign up for travel alerts on budget travel sites to receive emails letting you know when your flight is selling for an especially low price. Our favorite sites to use for this are Kayak and Skyscanner. Skyscanner is particularly helpful, as it can find you the cheapest flight in an entire month. Splitting up your travel can save you a lot of money as well.

  3. Stock up on your favorite brands: No need to go overboard here, as you do have to carry all this stuff with you! But if you’re attached to a particular brand of shampoo, peanut butter, candy, face wash, etc., you may want to bring some along.

  4. Stay aware of baggage-weight limits: While you may get lucky and find a nice staff member who will waive your overweight baggage fees, I wouldn’t count on it. Airlines typically charge $50–200 for overweight bags, so plan ahead and pack your bags using one of these handy tools.

  5. Storage or shipping?: While price is an obvious factor in this decision, it also depends on how long you’re moving abroad for, and where you’re moving. For example, if you’re moving to Europe for multiple years, it might be worth it to ship your vehicles and all your furniture abroad. But if you’re moving to Canada for a year-long stint at a new job, you might be better off leaving your stuff in storage.

  6. Pack smart: Certain things you’ll want to keep with you in your carry-on bags, just in case your checked bags are sent to the wrong place!

  7. Carryon bags: Essential items to bring with you on board include: laptops, phones, chargers, medicines and prescriptions, important documents (birth/marriage certificates, medical records, school records, insurance documents, etc.), jewelry and other small valuables.

  8. Checked bags: If you’re freight shipping the bulk of your stuff, your checked bags should include everything you’ll need to live comfortably until the freight arrives. That means clothes, shoes, toiletries, books, toys and schools supplies, etc. If you’re not shipping anything, then your checked bags will include everything else you own!

  9. Research the culture: There are many small cultural quirks you won’t experience or fully understand until you’re actually living abroad, but there is plenty you can learn before you arrive to ease the transition. Ask friends who have lived or traveled there, and scour the internet for helpful blogs and guides. And if they speak another language where you’re moving, 5–10 minutes a day on Duolingo or Memrise can work wonders in just a few short weeks!

For more help with your international move, most of the other guides on this site will still apply to you, so check them out!

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How to Properly Load a Pick-Up Truck for a Move

Moving with a pick-up truck is not quite as simple as tossing your stuff in the back and riding off into the sunset. To avoid damaging your vehicle or losing your items on the road and causing accidents, you need to prepare adequately and load your things safely and correctly.

Here’s how to do so:

  • Don’t overload your truck. Check the edge of your driver’s side door panel for a factory sticker that will list your vehicle’s load capacity, or GVWR. This number will be the vehicle’s weight plus the maximum weight it can carry. So, if your Toyota Tundra has a GVWR of 6200 lbs, and weighs 4100 pounds, then its load capacity is 2100 lbs, including the driver and passengers. If there is no sticker on your door, check the owner’s manual or look online. Whatever the load capacity is, don’t exceed it! You could seriously damage your vehicle otherwise.

  • Add air pressure to your tires to compensate for the extra weight. Too much weight and your tires will start to bulge, decreasing their handling and steering capacity at high speeds. Estimate how much weight you’ll be adding to the truck and check your owner’s manual for details on the appropriate amount of air pressure to add.

  • Load the heaviest items, like refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers, etc., first, and try to keep the weight evenly balanced on each side. Put lighter boxes in the back and on top, but don’t stack things too high, or they will blow off on the road. Keeping the heavy items up front will keep the front of the vehicle weighted down, which helps steering and handling stay effective. I don’t know about you, but I find steering to be pretty important when driving!

  • Disassemble bed-frames, furniture, etc. and tape or tie them together before loading them up.

  • Strap everything down so it does not move around (or fly away!) during the drive, using the holes/hooks in the interior bed. For local moves, simple rope and bungee cords will do fine, but for longer moves, it’s best to invest in some high-quality ratchet straps. You can rest assured your stuff will not move an inch when using these, even if you have to swerve or screech to a halt.

  • Tape all boxes shut, even plastic containers, and avoid packing the truck with lots of random, small items. Small items are more prone to being picked up by the airstream and flying out of your vehicle. Even if you are sure this won’t happen, act on the safe side and keep things securely packed in boxes or inside your vehicle. If anything flies out and causes an accident, it will be your responsibility. If you have no other option, at least use a sturdy cargo net or tarp to keep everything secured.

  • Ideally electronics and valuables should be packed inside your vehicle, so that you can keep them safe if/when you stop for a meal or stay in a hotel overnight. If you can’t fit everything inside, load boxes so that the labels are hidden. You don’t want would-be thieves to be tempted by boxes clearly advertising “Electronics”.

  • Finally, don’t be this guy!

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Moving by Yourself? How to Ask Your Friends for Help

Just because you’re not using a moving company doesn’t mean you have to move all by yourself! What else are friends and family for, if not to help you move?

Follow these guidelines to ensure that the friends who help you move continue to be your friends when the move is done!

Ask Early

When asking your friends for help, don’t wait until the last minute — ask well in advance of the move. Give them a timeframe of when you want to move, and ask when would be convenient for them. If you absolutely need help with heavy items, you’re going to need to be flexible and work around their schedules.

Give Them Choices

Make a list of what you need help with and ask them what they’d like to do. Different friends and family could help with planning, organizing, packing, moving heavy items, or driving. Giving them the freedom to choose is a powerful move, even in small scenarios like this. It gives them some space to do what they want to do, and what they’re best at.

Just be honest when you tell them what you need help with. They’re already doing you a favor by helping out — don’t give them a nasty surprise when they show up!

Be Prepared

Once you’ve told friends what you need help with, and you’ve all settled on a moving date, make sure you’re ready for them. Get up early, have supplies ready and boxes organized, and make sure everything you can pack yourself (clothes, silverware, dishes, small items, etc.) is packed. Unless people have agreed to help you pack, get everything done so that basically all that’s left when they show up is to load the truck.

Keep Them Fed and Hydrated

Keep your friends well-fed and hydrated throughout the day, especially if the weather is extreme. Nothing keeps up spirits like hot coffee on a freezing cold day or an ice-cold lemonade during a brutal summer. Snacks will keep everyone happy and energized so that the move keeps moving.

Make sure to keep your speakers unpacked and the music blasting as well! The whole moving process will go by quicker and will be more enjoyable with some good music. Invite your friends to play DJ throughout the day so that everyone’s favorite tunes are included.

Reward Them Afterward

Finally, consider giving everyone a nice reward after a job well-done. Pizza and beer is fine for college buddies, but if you’re a bit older, or perhaps all your friends are gluten-free, then you need to step it up a notch.

A meal at an established restaurant is always a good idea, or you can personalize your gifts, asking each friend what they’d like (within reason!). Some good ideas: Starbucks gift card, a new book, borrow the Xbox for a week, 2 rounds of drinks, etc.


Moving is a long, difficult process, and dragging friends into the mix can be a touchy business. Above all else, remember that they are taking time out of their lives to help you out. Show your gratitude, and be ready to help them move when the time comes!

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How to Move Safely in Extreme Weather

In most cases of extreme weather, we recommend biting the bullet and postponing your move. The hassle of waiting a day or two is not worth the risk of seriously injuring yourself or damaging some of your precious items.

Moving companies may or may not be flexible, so make sure to talk to them about your rescheduling options should a major storm hit on your scheduled moving day.

If they refuse to change the date, or for whatever reason you simply must stick to your planned moving day, we’ve put together the following guidelines to help you execute your move safely.

First Things First

Extreme weather makes routine moving steps, thing you should be doing anyway, even more essential to check off your list. Whether you’ll be dealing with extreme heat or cold, you’ll want to do the following:

  • Keep track of weather reports in the week leading up to the move and check them frequently the day before and day of the move. Keep an eye on where big storms are headed and plan your route accordingly, going out of your way to avoid the worst of it if possible.

  • Wear proper foot-wear in rainy/snowy weather.

  • Lay down cardboard, old carpet, blankets, etc. to protect your floors and carpets from mud and water. You can also set up an assembly line, so that clean shoes stay inside and dirty shoes outside.

  • Keep temperature-sensitive electronics, artwork, and furniture in climate-controlled areas (i.e. not the back of a moving truck) whenever possible to avoid damages.

  • Make sure the utilities are on and working in your new home. Water, electricity, AC, and heating!

Moving in the Snow

  • Make sure all walkways are clear of snow or ice, and spread with sand/salt if necessary to prevent slips and falls.

  • Keep hot drinks on hand for everyone helping you move.

  • Service your car before the move, and make sure you have car insurance with roadside assistance.

  • Have a safety kit for the drive: rock salt, kitty litter, shovels, flares, tire-chains, extra gas, an emergency blanket, jumper cables, pocket warmers, a flashlight, extra batteries, cell phone chargers, food, extra clothing and a first-aid kit.

Moving in the Rain

  • If it’s especially wet outside, consider plastic wrapping your furniture, mattress, and cardboard boxes to protect them from water damage.

  • You can buy large rolls of plastic at stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s for much cheaper than what moving companies will charge for the service, or you can rent reusable plastic moving bins from companies like Gorilla Bins and Bin-It!

  • Have towels on hand to dry off yourself and your belongings.

  • If your cardboard boxes end up getting wet, unpack them as soon as possible to avoid mold buildup.

Moving in Hot Weather

  • Start your move as early as possible to take advantage of cooler morning temperatures.

  • Have water and other cold drinks on hand to stay hydrated and avoid heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

  • Avoid sunburns by covering up, using sunblock and taking regular breaks in the shade.

  • Have a change of clothes, towels and toiletries ready for a shower at the end of the day, because you’re going to get sweaty!

It’s easy to get caught up in the energy of a move, and lose yourself in the desire to finish everything as quickly as possible. This is dangerous behavior during extreme weather.

Follow these guidelines, and above all else, be smart, take breaks when you need to, and be safe!

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Tips for a Stress-Free Move with Kids

Moving can be especially hard for families, no matter what age your kids are. Follow these tips and guidelines to make your upcoming move as easy and stress-free as possible for your kids.


When breaking the news to the family, explain the reasons for the move, and give space for everyone to react and share whatever feelings come up. Children are extremely sensitive and can easily pick up on your mood, so try to maintain as positive an outlook as you can. At the same time, be realistic — don’t oversell the move and set your kids up for disappointment.

It’s best to simply expect this process to be intense, and prepare accordingly. Younger children may be confused and scared at the thought of leaving the only home they’ve ever known. Older children, more invested in their social circles, will most likely hate the thought of leaving their friends.

Your best bet when moving with kids is to include them as much as possible. The level to which you include them in the planning and decision-making processes, as well as the move itself, will depend on how old they are.

If you have leeway in terms of when to move, talk to your kids about whether they’d rather move in the summer or winter. If you haven’t yet decided where you’ll be moving to, include your kids in the decision-making process. Share whatever research you’ve done this far and compare areas of the country, cities, and specific houses with them. If you’re moving locally, bring them along to visit different parts of town and any houses you’re already thinking of.

Respect how difficult this move may be for your children. Organizing some sort of goodbye party with friends is often helpful.


As covered in other Moved guides, moving is a perfect opportunity to purge your home of clutter.

Let your children pack their own rooms, or at the very least let them put together a special box of their most important items. Clearly mark these boxes so you can easily find them when you arrive.

If possible, bring your children’s bedroom furniture with you to your new home, as the familiarity will help calm them in your new place.

Depending on their age, assign kids moving tasks to both involve them in the packing process and keep them occupied. If you have young children, consider having a friend, sitter or family member take care of them on moving day.

Stick to your regular schedule as much as possible throughout the moving process. Moving will be stressful and kids benefit from set times for meals, sleeping and waking up.


When you arrive at your new home, take some time to explore the place as a family. Consider playing a game or going to see a movie to lighten things up before diving into the unpacking process.

Get your kids rooms situated as quickly as possible, unpacking their special boxes. As with the packing process, give your kids projects to keep them occupied and ease your own workload.

Give your children (and yourself!) plenty of space and time to fully settle in. Moving is a massive upheaval and it can take a while for life to feel normal again.

Finally, make sure to keep in touch with everyone you left behind!

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How Far in Advance to Plan Your Move

Moving, like all major undertakings, is much easier when you plan ahead and spread out the process over time. Here are some general guidelines to help you do so:

3–6 Months in Advance

Start Budgeting: How early you want to start budgeting depends on how much you make, how tight your budget is, and how expensive you think your move will be. But generally speaking, the more time you have to save up money for your move, the better. (Related: How To Budget for Your Move in 3 Simple Steps)

2–3 Months in Advance

Start Hunting: How long it will take you to find a new place depends on if you’re renting or buying, what season it is, the skills of your realtor, what you’re looking for, and of course how determined (and lucky) you are. Some people find a new place in under a week, whereas for others it takes months. Best to err on the side of caution and start looking early.

6–8 Weeks in Advance

Start Planning: Decide on a concrete moving date, and start comparing the prices of different moving companies and moving-truck rentals (U-Haul, Ryder, etc.), with the cost of moving by yourself. Make sure to also factor in extra services you may need, like full-service packing, special crating (for pianos, refrigerators, etc.), vehicle-shipping, and storage.

4–6 Weeks in Advance

Take Stock and Purge: Go through your home (starting with closets, garages, basements and attics) and decide what you will bring and what you want to get rid of. See our guides on selling, donating, and throwing away your stuff for more help here.

Make a Decision: Once you’ve taken stock of your belongings, it’s time to decide how you’re going to move: by yourself, with a rental truck, or through a moving company (and which type).

If you’re using a moving company, 4–6 weeks should be far enough in advance to ensure they have slots available for you, and that they won’t gouge your wallet. However, if you’re moving between May-September (peak moving season in the US) you might want to start this process even sooner.

Lock Down a New Home: If you haven’t done so already, now is when you really need to officially have a new place to move to. You might have a little more leeway if you’re moving into a new apartment, but when purchasing a home, it typically takes 30–45 days for the loan process to finalize from the time you make a decision.

4 Weeks

Start Telling People: Notify employers, friends and family, attorneys, accountants, banks, credit card and insurance companies, schools, magazines, newspapers, etc. of your new address. Submit a Change of Address to the post office, and get clear on what your state’s DMV will require of you.

Gather Records: Medical, dental, veterinarian, schools, etc.

Schedule Disconnects: Gas, water, electric, cable, satellite, etc.

2–3 Weeks in Advance

Start packing: If you’re going to pack yourself, now’s a good time to start. Obviously, if you’re moving out of a studio apartment, you most likely won’t need 3 weeks to pack your stuff. But if you’re leaving a 3-bedroom family home you’ve lived in for years, you’ll need all the time you can get!

Pack smart, by starting with what you use the least, and saving the essentials for last. Try to finish the bulk of your packing at least a week before you leave.

1 Week in Advance

Clean-Up: Finish packing, leaving an “essentials box” for moving day. Make sure fridges/freezers are emptied, unplugged and defrosted 24–48 hours before moving day.

Following these steps will get you adequately ready for your move. For tips and advice on what you need and what to do on the moving day itself, head here.

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