Living Floor Like Heinlein's Grass Carpet

Barefoot on a living floor is Idaho resident Jeri Rutherford's idea of real living. She designed an addition to her house to contain a lush carpet of living plants.


(Morning coffee with bare feet in the moss)

A 170-square-foot dining-room addition has helped cut her power bills by as much as 20 percent. And it brought a lush, if small, island of tropical greenery to her home overlooking the Snake River near Marsing.

"I love the tropics and the fern grottos of the California redwood forest," she said. "I know I can't be there all the time, so I wondered how I could bring those places into my home."

The result is a living floor and wall with plants that clean the air and — paired with a whole-house fan and a heat well that releases hot air through a skylight — help cool the entire house.

What's the best part? "I like to sit with my shoes off and drink my coffee with my feet on the moss of the living floor," Jeri said.

Nurse Jill Boardman, one of the protagonists in Robert Heinlein's 1961 classic Stranger in a Strange Land, couldn't agree more.

Jill stopped, slipped off her shoes, stepped barefooted into the living room and wiggled her toes among the cool green blades. She sighed. "My, that feels good. My feet have hurt ever since I entered training." (Read more about Heinlein's grass carpet)

Heinlein fans should note that, although RAH is the more famous reference, a brief mention of the idea occurs in The Sirens of Titan, a 1959 novel by Kurt Vonnegut (see grass carpet).

From Seattle Times; thanks to Kate for the tip on the story and the sf reference.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/6/2008)

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