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The advantage of combining two alternative natural building mediums: load-bearing earthbag walls provide mega-thermal mass, while an exterior straw-bale wrap provides mega-insulation.

This article originally appeared in TLS This article is one of several natural building materials covered in the issue. There are earthbag articles in these other issues: An.

19 Incredible natural swimming pools

Swimming pool filtration doesn't have to involve chemicals, check out these natural swimming pools. What a great alternative to those caustic chemical pools!

Avoid an overly industrial look in your kitchen by hiding the microwave oven, toaster, blender, and other tabletop appliances in an appliance garage with a door:

Conceal Cumbersome Contraptions--Tired of bulky kitchen appliances crowding your countertops? Stow away toasters, blenders, mixers, and more behind an inconspicuous cabinet panel. The appliance garage

Kitchen windows over the sink that open to the deck out back...

Kitchen windows over the sink that opens. Another reason to make sure you have enough other storage space! No upper cabs = more room for these! This is amazing! A kitchen window over the sink is a total must!

This would be neat to have if you had a pool in your backyard or if you entertained often.

Kitchen with Huge Open Window for serving directly to the Outside Bar Area. Love the Pale Blue Patio/Bar Area. Pic # 2 I want a dining area out back and it to connect to the kitchen window like this for easy access.