Heating a home can be expensive, especially in places like Sweden where it’s cold for long stretches of the year. And with our reliance on coal and oil for energy, staying warm is very rarely a “green” or environmentally friendly decision.

That’s why one family in Stockholm came up with a completely brilliant plan to save on their heating bills while eliminating the need for traditional fuel. Not only was their solution resourceful, but it was actually quite brilliant!

Heating a home can take a toll on your wallet and the environment. Luckily, Marie Granmar and Charles Sacilotto of Stockholm, Sweden, found a fascinating way around this common problem with a structure that was as groundbreaking as it is beautiful.

Stockholm, like most parts of Sweden, is known for its long, cold stretches of winter. Residents who live there need to make sure that their heat is in perfect working condition or else they’ll be in for some brutally frigid nights.

Swedish National Heritage Board / Flickr

Marie and Charles were tired of the expensive heating bills that came with those cold nights, however. So, they had a brilliant idea for staying warm in an affordable (and eco-friendly) way. It took some creativity and unconventional thinking…

The inside of the couple’s home would probably strike most visitors as being pretty normal upon first glance. Well, the interior would, at least. But there’s something that makes their house incredibly unique. Can you guess what it is?

Believe it or not, Charles and Marie surrounded their home right inside an enormous greenhouse! It functioned almost exactly like any other greenhouse, allowing the interior to maintain a consistent climate that was ideal for growing plants.

Besides the fact that it looked incredible, this unique structure kept the home warm enough that traditional heating methods were unnecessary. Considering that the average temperature in Stockholm was just 27 degrees Fahrenheit, it was pretty handy!

This uniquely designed home was known as a Naturhus, or “nature house.” The heat from the greenhouse kept the home warm all year round, so the couple hardly paid anything to heat it, at least when it came to more conventional means like a gas bill.

Charles came up with the unique idea with his friend and architect Bengt Warne who originated this fascinating concept in 1974. Bengt had developed dozens of these types of greenhouses before helping Charles and Marie with theirs.

Following Bengt’s unique design, the men covered the summer home in four-millimeter-thick glass. The square footage of the greenhouse was just about double that of the home, so there was certainly still plenty of space to walk around.

Because the physical house within the greenhouse didn’t ever come into contact with rain or snow, the wood siding didn’t need to be treated with any special chemical to prevent rot. The untreated wood looked fresh all year round.

The house itself (that is, the family’s actual living space) was completely enclosed in the glass-walled greenhouse, so there were plenty of sliding doors built into the sides. This way, the family could access the outdoors easily.

Marie and Charles could enjoy the beautiful sunshine coming through their home all year long. Even though this “nature house” had an important financial and environmental function, there was no denying its aesthetic appeal!

Marie and Charles knew they would need constant access to the outside world, so the sliding doors were incredibly important. As spectacular as their house may have been, they couldn’t be total hermits!

Still, one of the perks of living in a greenhouse was being able to grow food without once having to even step outside of the house itself. Can you imagine not only cutting down on your heating bills but also your grocery store trips?

The family took full advantage of their unique housing situation by growing all sorts of fresh fruits and vegetables. This saved them a good amount of money on grocery shopping while also giving them an excuse to enjoy some gardening!

Not only that, but growing their own fruits and vegetables right from the comfort of their own home gave this special family the peace of mind that everything they were eating would be totally organic and free of pesticides.

The family’s decision to live inside of a fully functional greenhouse was based on reasoning that went far beyond merely practical measures. “It’s not just to use the nature, the sun and the water,” Charles started to explain.

“It’s all a philosophy of life,” he continued. “To live in another world, in fact.” In other words, building a home inside a greenhouse wasn’t just a practical decision; it was an entire lifestyle change for Marie and Charles.

It almost seemed like science fiction, and Bengt agreed: “Living in a greenhouse gives architecture a fourth dimension, where time is represented by movements of naturally recycled endless flows of growth, sun, rain, wind and soil in plants, energy, air, water and earth.”

There was no denying the greenhouse added so much fulfillment to this family’s life. Just take a look at how this home-inside-a-greenhouse worked in the video below. If you’re not sure you could ever live in a structure like this, just wait until you see the inside…

It may be unconventional and it was quite an undertaking, but this couple really seems to love their home, as they should! Plus, it’s great for the environment.

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