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Ideas from a city greenscape

15 June 2016

There are lots of simple ways to create a natural oasis at home, even in the middle of the city. For Karin and Cord, growing is at the heart of their fifth-floor home in an apartment block built for greener living, which they helped to design. ‘We’ve created our own microclimate,’ says Karin. ‘Lots of bees and birds find their way up here.’

Bring the outdoors in by filling your home with plants
Karin and Cord can ride their bikes straight from the lift into their apartment

Ecologically and socially sustainable

In this award-winning building, each family has a 140m2  floor to themselves – the average size of a house in their city. The lift, which takes you right into the apartment, is bike-friendly. ‘We can ride straight into the kitchen with our groceries,’ says Karin. ‘Living in the city means we don’t need to own a car. When we do need one, we have access to a carpool just down the street.’


Karin and Cord have two balconies so they can make the most of the sun. One of them has been turned into a lush, green oasis. Under the paving stones you’ll find a full 30cm of soil. ‘When we want to plant something, we just lift a paving stone and go for it!’ says Karin. As an easy alternative, try creating planting beds with crates or pallet collars.

Turn a balcony into a green oasis
Soil under the paving makes balcony space adaptable
A glass wall with sliding doors brings the garden into the kitchen

A kitchen made for living

Between the kitchen and the balcony is a glass wall that opens up, bringing the garden into the kitchen (or is it the kitchen into the garden?). The energy-saving induction hob and its controls can be accessed from both sides of the kitchen island. ‘Democratic cooking!’ says Cord. And with the help of a step stool, it’s easy for their daughter Ada to get a kitcheninvolved.


Thanks to some magnetic containers, the steel support column in the kitchen has become a seed and spice storage station, while the space-saving laundry area is hidden behind wooden sliding doors.

Magnetic containers create a smart storage station
The laundry area hides behind space-saving sliding doors
Plants thrive in bathrooms and filter out urban dirt and dust

Plants in every room

Indoor plants thrive in the bathroom and help to keep the air clean and oxygenated. Greenery by the windows also helps to filter out dust and dirt that drifts up from the city streets, which is good because this home gets a lot of air.


Karin, Cord and Ada love nurturing their seedlings. If you plant seeds in containers made from biodegradable material such as paper or cardboard, you’ll be able to put the container directly in the ground when it’s time to move them outside or to bigger pots. This eliminates the risk of ‘transplant shock’.

Karin and Ada plant seeds
Seed containers made from biodegradable material can be planted straight into the ground

Read more about Karin and Cord in Kinder Homes, a new book of 50 ideas inspired by homes around the world, to help us feel good, do good and have fun – all at the same time. It’s packed with creative, simple tips that are easy to incorporate into our daily lives.
ANVÄNDBAR – KINDER HOMES book [503-207-68]