Repeat after us: Shou sugi ban. Devised as a way to make wood less susceptible to fire and to keep away insects and rot, this longstanding Japanese method involves torching your building materials. The results are long-lasting and hauntingly beautiful. And now charred wood is widely available for domestic use. Read more
Of course you may install an enormous live tree in your sixth-floor apartment: Police will escort the crane down the street, traffic can be diverted, and neighbors are welcome to gawk at the sidewalk spectacle.
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