Despite his successes as a “serial Designpreneur,” founder of TreeHugger, world traveler, TV personality, and the force behind those ceramic Greek deli coffee cups (who knew?!), all Graham Hill wants to do is live in a shoebox. But he needs your help.
Harnessing the collaborative power of online crowdsourcing is LifeEdited, a design challenge where the public is invited to create a low-impact living space for Hill; a 420 square foot apartment in New York City that will be renovated to “radically reduce its footprint, while living better and saving money.”
The LifeEdited design challenge just launched at Jovoto (Mutopo will soon follow) where entrants can submit their designs and receive feedback from fellow participants, jurors, and Hill himself. Once the winning designs that meet Hill’s criteria are singled out by a panel of jurors — Zem Joaquin, Yves BeharWilliam McDonough, and Suchin Pak are among them — and the Jovoto and Mutopo communities, $70,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded.
The winner of the Jury Award will snag a contract award of up to $10,000 and be brought on to consult on the renovation of Hill's actual apartment at 150 Sullivan Street in SoHo in mid-2011. Essentially, the Jury Award winner's vision will be realized and inhabited by Hill himself. As LifeEdited points out, Hill needs to really like the winning design “since he’ll be living in the space and paying for it.”
Additionally, Hill will open up his renovated apartment for tours and events as well as sleepovers for the top LifeEdited designers. And after the challenge ends, all of the submissions will stay online “to inspire and encourage others to rethink how they buy, rent, renovate and furnish their future properties.”
So what exactly is Hill’s criteria for transforming 420 square feet of icky, unexceptional living space (as evidenced below) into his tricked-out dream, excess-free "jewel box" of an apartment? Submissions must allow for:
• a sit-down dinner for 12
• a comfortable lounging option for 8 people
• space for 2 guests with some visual and ideally auditory privacy
• a home office
• a work area with space for a rolling tool chest
• a hideable kitchen
Other considerations include shoe storage (Hill wants to maintain a shoeless apartment), space to stash "robot servants" (Hill has a thing for Roombas), bike storage (Hill has a couple of 'em), and low-maintenance houseplants (Hill travels a lot). Hill also fancies a steam room although incorporating one into the bathroom's design isn't mandatory.
On the efficiency front, Hill believes that his living space should consume 70 percent less energy than typical apartments due in part to high levels of insulation, LED lighting, and super-efficient appliances. Additionally, indoor air quality must met or surpass the American Lung Association's Health House certification.
Head on over to LifeEdited to learn more about this unique and totally inspiring low-impact urban-living design challenge. Want the founder of TreeHugger to live in an apartment that YOU designed? The entry period runs until January 10th so get to



Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

LifeEdited: A downsizing design challenge
Have a knack for making the most out of small spaces? Try your hand at designing TreeHugger founder Graham Hill's 420 square foot NYC apartment as part of the L