A small space can house some very big design ideas—witness the new aktiv line of houses designed by ideabox, a six-year-old architecture and design firm based in Salem, OR, and filled with furniture, appliances, and accessories by global giant retailer IKEA.
The design collaboration came about through social media, when ideabox and IKEA Portland connected through Twitter, according to ideabox principal Jim Russell. “ideabox focuses on modern, energy- and resource-efficient prefab design solutions,” he comments. “With an emphasis on lifestyle and a goal of staying cost effective, we’re always looking for ways to offer our clients fun, personality-driven options.
Like countless thousands, we’ve always been intrigued by IKEA’s clever small-space solutions, often visiting their stores for inspiration. We thought it would be interesting if we put together a house with IKEA Portland featuring IKEA systems as a design component inherent to the house.”
The aktiv model home measures 745 square feet with one bedroom and one bathroom. The current model is typically priced at $86,500, having debuted at the Portland Home & Garden Show in early 2012.
Efficiency and environmentally friendly considerations are the dominant design principals in ideabox houses, aktiv included. Its exterior features fiber cement siding with corrugated metal and a standing seam roof, all made from recycled content. The interior also boasts green building staples like bamboo flooring and VOC-free paints.
Appliances, windows, and lighting are Energy Star-rated; heating and cooling systems use ductless heat pumps; and dual-flush toilets, faucet aerators, and low-flow shower heads are standard. The clever floor plan ensures there is no wasted space. Every room features sliding glass doors and window openings with casements and clerestory awnings to let in fresh air and natural light.
According to Russell, consumer reaction to the aktiv house has been extremely positive, and the company is incorporating many of that design’s successful elements into other model homes. “Our originating tag line, ‘the right amount of everything,’ states our operating philosophy,” he notes. “ideabox was formed in 2006 with a premise of offering a residential solution that embraces design, energy efficiency, and responsible construction at an affordable price point.”
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