A micro home with a green roof sits atop a granite wine cellar in rural Portugal – Inhabitat

Porto-based firm Diogo Aguiar Studio has breathed new life into a granite wine cellar by topping it with a minimalist holiday home complete with a natural green roof planted with native vegetation. Located in Guimarães, Portugal, the brilliant Pavilion House is a timber-clad micro home with large windows that connects the residence with its bucolic surroundings.

Working in collaboration with Andreia Garcia Architectural Affairs, the architects placed the unique micro home on an existing granite wine cellar that sits on a small hill. Although the minimal building size certainly restricted the floor plan, the elevated structure allowed the architects to maximize the home’s stunning views, which are comprised of expansive vineyards to the front and a dense forest backdrop.

Related: A dilapidated garage transforms into an industrial-chic micro home

The home is clad in thin timber panels to create a modern log cabin feel. The cube-like volume is punctuated by four large windows that look out onto the surrounding landscape. The house was also installed with a green roof planted with native vegetation to blend it into its natural setting.

The architects outfitted the micro home with just the basics: a small living space, kitchenette and bath. Keeping true to its minimalist roots, the beautiful design features a living room that doubles as a sleeping area with a fold-out bed. Both the kitchen and small bathroom with a skylight can also be completely concealed behind bi-fold doors. Plenty of storage is also incorporated into the walls.

According to the architects, the inspiration for the design came from its idyllic setting. “Pavilion House is a guesthouse. The only true requirement was to emphasize the sense of recollection in the forest, a refuge from urbanity,” lead architect Diogo Aguiar told Dezeen. “The idea of creating ​​a log cabin was behind all the project decisions — it is a wooden minimal house in the mountain.”

+ Diogo Aguiar Studio

+ Andreia Garcia Architectural Affairs 

Via Dezeen

Images via Fernando Guerra

Eye-popping ‘maximalist’ tiny house suggests that ‘more is more’ – Treehugger

Full of vibrant colors, patterns and eclectic decor, this tiny house is not as minimalist as its exterior might suggest.

More often than not, tiny houses tend to lean in toward the more minimalist side of things, in order to maximize space and to fit in a variety of functions. But once in a while, one will come across tiny dwellings on the other end of the spectrum: going for the maximum — at least visually, as this eye-popping 190-square-foot tiny house has done.

© Mark Menjivar

Created by designer Galeana Younger of San Antonio, Texas-based Galeana Group, this small “maximalist” dwelling is intended not as a full-time residence for one client, but as a short-term rental to host guests from all walks of life, explains Younger on Lonny:

For the purposes of my project, I wasn’t faced with the day-to-day realities of living in a tiny house. Nonetheless, I still had to think about it from a functional and hospitable perspective. How could I create a well-designed, comfortable, and interesting space that lots of different kinds of people could enjoy?

The exterior of the house has a deep blue facade, paired with a contrasting yellow door. There’s a sloped roof to give it more of a mid-century modernist look, while still providing more headspace at one end of the home.

© Mark Menjivar

Inside, the home’s layout is pretty conventional: bed at one end, kitchen and shelving in the middle, and bathroom and secondary loft at the other end of the house. What’s different is the generous use of patterns here: inked black-and-white wallpapering surrounding the bed; geometric patterns in the kitchen as background to the counter and workspace; bold floor tiles in the bathroom and even a requisite “howdy y’all” slipped into the shower.

© Mark Menjivar

© Mark Menjivar

© Mark Menjivar

© Mark Menjivar

Designed with the mantra of “more is more, less is a bore,” this in-your-face tiny house shows that going tiny might not necessarily mean going all austere and spartan, but very possibly revelling in a visual explosion of colour and pattern to spice things up. To see more, visit Galeana Group.

Via: Lonny & Curbed

Full of vibrant colors, patterns and eclectic decor, this tiny house is not as minimalist as its exterior might suggest.

Best compact SUVs for the money in 2019 – CNET

If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the past few years, it’s that Americans love their SUVs. And these days, compact offerings seem to be all the rage. To that end, we’ve gathered up some of our favorite small-ish utility vehicles that hit all the sweet spots, from utility, efficiency, luxury and yes, even sportiness.

Subaru Crosstrek

The 2019 Subaru Crosstrek starts at $21,895, offers standard all-wheel drive, and hey — you can even get it with a six-speed manual transmission. Equipped with the continuously variable transmission, the Crosstrek is pretty darn efficient, returning 27 miles per gallon city and 33 mpg highway.

The 2019 Crosstrek now comes with automatic emergency braking on all models, as well as adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard across all trims.

Land Rover Range Rover Velar

Starting at $49,950, the 2019 Velar is clearly not cheap. But this compact SUV feels far more expensive than it really is. Its minimalist design inside and out makes it one of the most aesthetically pleasing vehicles on the road.

The Velar delivers a comfortable, quiet ride with reasonable athleticism and more off-road ability than any owner will ever ask of it.

Porsche Macan

The Macan does the small-sporty-SUV thing better than pretty much any of its rivals. It’s handsome, spacious and super fun to drive. Plus, that Porsche badge ain’t for nothin’ — the Macan will outdrive any other sporty crossover on the road today.

For 2019, the Macan S got a brand-new turbocharged V6 engine, and some slightly refreshed style. It’s an SUV we’d love to drive every day — and on some of our favorite roads, too.

Honda CR-V

The latest-generation CR-V features a lot more style, has a roomier backseat, boats class-leading cargo space, and starts at a reasonable $25,000.

A strong engine lineup includes a 2.4-liter naturally aspirated base engine with 180 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque, or a punchy 1.5-liter turbo with 190 horses and 179 pound-feet. The good thing about the turbocharged engine is that peak torque is available from just 2,000 rpm.

The CR-V provides a well-damped ride quality, while also being competent through corners.

Volkswagen Tiguan

The Tiguan is softer than it used to be, but it’s also much more spacious, comfortable and quiet than the previous generation. The new look is bold, but also very classic VW.

VW’s Car-Net and Digital Cockpit are basically scaled-down versions of the amazing Audi tech we’ve been raving about for years.

A rare thing among compact SUVs, the Tiggy can actually be optioned with a third row of seats.

Mazda CX-5

Starting at under $25,000, the Mazda CX-5 offers tons of style, inside and out.

A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine offers 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. Whether in all-wheel or front-wheel-drive guise, the Mazda serves up genuine driving fun and excitement behind the wheel.

The post-refresh model is now considerably quieter and better riding than earlier models, with blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert standard across all trim lines. 

Mazda CX-3

The smaller Mazda CX-3 can be had starting at $20,390. While it’s been updated for 2019, Mazda didn’t mess with the good stuff. The same 2.0-liter engine is under the hood as last year, though power and torque have increased just slightly.

The rear glass is thicker, which should result in a quieter cabin. The LED taillights out back get a new design as well. 

Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are standard on all trims. The base Sport model can be had with an i-ActivSense Package, including such active driving aids as full-range adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and rain-sensing wipers.

Volvo XC40

A brand-new Volvo for $32,000? Sign us up.

The XC40 doesn’t scrimp on kit, even though it’s the cheapest Volvo, coming standard with the Sensus Connect infotainment system and the always-great “Thor’s Hammer” LED headlights.

Not only does it look good, the XC40 drives really well, too. Fuel economy isn’t the best, but life is full of tradeoffs. 

Nissan Kicks

Starting at just under $18,000, the Nissan Kicks is a lot of car for the money, and can be had with a truly outstanding Bose Personal Plus audio system.

The Kicks is a great, honest little crossover — and it’s not too shabby to drive, either.

Aside from moderate noise over bumps, this budget crossover is a lot quieter than many of its competitors.

Subaru Forester

The Forester still has enough of its tall-wagon DNA to make it enjoyable to drive, yet it offers all the practicality of an SUV, starting at $24,295.

Subaru’s EyeSight driver-assistance package is among the best available in this category, and while the rest of the Forester’s in-cabin tech is a little tame, support for both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay mostly mitigates that.

A number of 2019 model-year upgrades make the Forester an even better offering in the compact SUV space.

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Best 10 Pairs of Swimming Goggles for Pool Workouts and Racing – Men’s Health

Paul BradburyGetty Images

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Vanquisher 2.0

Speedo amazon.com


Find your perfect fit with a pair of goggles that includes four interchangeable nose pieces. This low-profile pair also features an anti-fog coating to keep your vision clear lap after lap. And if you have to take your session outside, rest assured the lenses will block harmful UVA and UVB rays.

RX Optical Prescription Swim Goggles

View+ amazon.com

Swimming isn’t just for guys with 20/20 vision. This pair of prescription swim goggles gives you the power to see without glasses or contacts. Plus, you have the option to use mixed lenses in case you need different strengths in each eye. These goggles also feature an anti-fog treatment and 100 percent UV protection.

Aegend Swim Goggles

Aegend amazon.com

These no-leak goggles are made with a flexible silicone frame for maximum comfort. And the straps feature a back clasp to ensure they won’t pull or get tangled in your hair. Choose between mirrored, tinted or clear polycarbonate lenses.

Kayenne Swim Goggles

Aqua Sphere amazon.com

Get clear 180-degree visibility, along with comfort and durability with this oversized pair from Italian company Aqua Sphere. You’ll get a snug, leak-free fit without the dreaded racoon eyes. Need to adjust mid-stroke? Their convenient push button makes loosening and tightening the straps a cinch. These goggles are also scratch-resistant and fog-free.

Wide View Swimming Goggles

AqtivAqua amazon.com


$18.95 (63% off)

These goggles are for guys who prefer a wider lens. You’ll snag maximum visibility with a 180-degree field of view, as well as a secure, comfortable fit, thanks to soft silicone gaskets that conform to the contours of your face. Plus, you can adjust the strap on the go with a single click.

U-FIT Swim Goggles

U-FIT amazon.com

This pair from U-FIT checks all the boxes: anti-fog, no-slip, no-leak and UV-coated. And with a quick-release strap, these goggles are a cinch to get on and off. Bonus: They come with nose and ear plugs.

Anti-Fog Racing Swimming Goggles

Resurge amazon.com

Featuring a minimalist design and durable bungee strap, this pair is ideal for competition days. The shatterproof polycarbonate lenses offer anti-fog technology and a wide angle for maximum visibility. Customize your fit with three interchangeable nose pieces, and easily adjust the strap as needed.

Swim Goggles

Swim Elite amazon.com

No slipping, leaking or pinching with these goggles. This pair features a comfortable ergonomic design that offers the right amount of suction to keep water out, along with a no-blur, no-glare finish for great visibility—both in and out of the water. For a limited time, you’ll also get a reversible swimming cap and protective case.

Speed Socket Swim Goggle

Speedo amazon.com


$19.95 (33% off)

With their low-profile, inner-eye fit, these flashy goggles are a great choice for competitions and speed sessions. Score 180-degree visibility, anti-fog technology, UV protection and reduced drag for your fastest time yet. If you’re swimming outside, opt for the mirrored lenses to minimize glare.

Cobra Ultra Mirror Swim Goggles

arena amazon.com


These goggles are built for speed. The low-profile frame and curved lenses provide an expansive frame of view, while the five adjustable nose bridges ensures that you’ll have a perfect fit. 

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Trudeau’s budget misleads pensioners whose companies go bankrupt – rabble.ca

The Trudeau government’s last budget before the fall election has produced a scattershot series of measures designed to burnish its progressive credentials. It has everything from aid for first-time home buyers to the beginnings of a national pharmacare program to more generous loan repayment terms for students.

But the budget is a big-time fail for one group the government promised to help: workers and pensioners for companies that go bankrupt.

When Sears Canada folded its tent in 2017, its non-Ontario pensioners lost 30 per cent of their income. That is because, as it stands now, if a company goes bankrupt the workers and pensioners are at the back of the line when it comes to dividing the spoils. The preferred creditors are the banks and other financial institutions that have lent the company money. Those businesses often get everything that’s owed them, plus interest. Pensioners and active workers who have contributed to pension plans get the leftovers, sometimes nothing at all.

The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) and seniors’ groups such as the Canadian Association for Retired Persons (CARP) have long urged the government to make pensioners preferred creditors, to give them “super-priority status” in the event of bankruptcy or insolvency. That would put them at the front of the line. The government has chosen to not heed that advice.

Nor have the Liberals taken up the suggestion that they institute, federally, what Ontario has provincially: mandatory pension insurance to look after pensions and benefits in cases of bankruptcy. It is because of that insurance plan that Sears’ retirees in Ontario were protected.

In last year’s budget, the Trudeau Liberals promised to do something about situations such as that of the Sears Canada bankruptcy.

They bemoaned the fact that we see “companies, such as Sears Canada, entering the insolvency process with substantial unfunded pension liabilities. As a result, workers and pensioners … are faced with unexpected financial losses that impact their retirement security …”

The Liberal promise of 2018 was to seek “feedback” from pensioners, workers, and companies, and take a “whole-of-government, evidence-based approach” towards what it called “assuring retirement security.”

Interested groups came up with some robust suggestions, including Ontario-style mandatory pension insurance and front-of-the-line treatment for workers and retirees.  

Tinkering, but no real change for pensioners, despite confusing language

Budget 2019 does not deliver either of those or any other effective solutions. In fact, it does very little to protect pensioners and employees in the event of bankruptcy. It offers some micro-measures that play around on the edges of the problem. But nothing in the Liberals’ 2019 budget will prevent another Sears fiasco.

However, if you were to read the relevant section of the budget document, on page 67 to be exact, you could be forgiven for believing it tells workers and retirees the exact opposite — that the government intends to fully protect them in the case of bankruptcy.

The relevant section of the budget document is called “Protecting Canadians’ Pensions.” It states, in black and white, that the government “will protect Canadians’ hard-earned benefits by clarifying in federal pension law that if a plan is wound-up, it must still provide the same pension benefits as when it was ongoing.”

That sentence seems to mean: Do not worry, pensioner, if your company declares insolvency or goes bankrupt, we, the government, will make sure you continue to receive exactly the same pension and benefits you have been receiving.

Sadly, that is not the case.

That statement in the budget does not, in fact, enunciate a new policy on bankruptcy. It only affirms what is already the case for companies and employee groups that jointly and voluntarily decide to wind up their defined benefit pension plans. (Defined benefit plans are those that provide a guaranteed pension payout to retirees, as opposed to defined contribution plans which are, in essence, glorified retirement savings plans, which do not guarantee any specific level of pension benefit.)

Current federal law provides that all retirees and workers who are part of a defined benefit plan at the time of a voluntary wind-up must continue to get exactly the payments and benefits provided by the plan. Any new regime only applies to those who are hired after the wind-up.

But here’s the rub. This law only governs companies that are a going concern, not those that are going bankrupt.

When bankruptcy happens, we do not get an orderly, rules-based wind-up of a pension. We get something grimmer: termination. And in such case, bankruptcy law, not pension law, applies. Without belabouring the point — federal bankruptcy rules put workers and retirees at the end of the line, after all of those preferred creditors, who must be paid first.

Salutary small measure, but a missed opportunity according to the CLC

What the 2019 budget does provide for is more openness and transparency in the bankruptcy process, and more flexibility for companies going bankrupt.

There is, for instance, a specific measure that will give bankruptcy courts the “ability to review payments made to executives in the lead-up to bankruptcy.” That might prevent outrages like the Sears case, where executives got generous bonuses, while the company stiffed retirees.

The budget also allows company pension plans to “transfer the responsibility to provide pensions assets to an insurance company through the purchase of annuities.” This measure, the 2019 budget says, will better protect retirees’ pensions from the risk of employer insolvency.

Those measures do not get at the heart of the issue, which is the fact that those receiving pensions and those contributing to pension plans have scant protection in the event of bankruptcy.

The CLC has praise for a number of the budget’s measures, such as one that will allow low-income seniors who receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement to earn up to $5,000 rather than the previous $3,500 before any of their pension income is clawed back. But the labour group considers the paltry and minimalist announcement on bankruptcy and insolvency to be a “missed opportunity.”  We can expect groups representing Canada’s seniors to concur, once they have had a chance to study what the government is offering.

The budget does make vague reference to planned but non-specified changes to several  pieces of legislation that govern bankruptcy. However, the cruel fact for workers and retirees whose companies might go bankrupt is that there will be little time to make any of those changes before the October election.

Bankruptcy law is of great interest to big banks and other major financial players, and you can be sure the government will tread very lightly indeed when those powerful institutions are affected.

Any changes to the bankruptcy regime will certainly raise alarm bells on Bay Street and throughout the halls of financial power in Canada and elsewhere. If and when this or any future government looks at even tinkering with bankruptcy law, in any way that could have an impact on the “rights” of lenders and investors, you can be sure there will be many, many months of consultation first.

What is most disappointing about the measures in budget 2019 that deal with bankruptcy and pension plans is not their minimalist nature. What is most disturbing is the misleading way the government has announced them.

When the budget states that the government will “clarify” federal pension law, it means just that — clarification of what exists, not creation of something new. The government plans to reaffirm that in cases where going-concern (not bankrupt or insolvent) companies move from a defined benefit pension plan to another regime, all those inside the plan must be protected. That’s all the Liberals plan to do: reaffirm what is already the case.

The current law does nothing to protect workers and retirees in cases of bankruptcy. For those folks, there are only some marginal, minimalist measures in this year’s budget, despite the confusing language that might lead some to think the government is doing a lot more than it is.

Karl Nerenberg has been a journalist and filmmaker for more than 25 years. He is rabble’s politics reporter.

Photo: jasonwoodhead23/flickr

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