03/17/2015 06:42 EDT | Updated 05/17/2015 05:12 EDT

Luxury bamboo homes are sturdy and sustainable, says TED speaker Elora Hardy

Imagine living in a luxurious home where everything from the walls to the stairs and furniture is made entirely of bamboo — in Vancouver.

Canadian designer Elora Hardy and her company Ibuku has already helped build 18 such private homes in the forests of Bali — and says bamboo can be sturdy and luxurious, as well as sustainable.

"It's my favourite, when people actually go through the homes and then they go, 'You know, I was looking at this house and I forgot what it was made of,'" she told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff.

"They forgot it was actually bamboo, which is a grass."

Hardy, who is due to speak at the TED 2015 Conference in Vancouver on Wednesday, says bamboo poles are as strong as steel, are a renewable resource and can be grown in every continent except for Europe and Antarctica.

The challenge is getting it certified as a building material in countries that don't currently recognize it as such.

Bamboo is relatively cheap in areas such as Bali, but the craftsmanship and labour that goes into building towering, curvy structures can be pricey, Hardy added.

"The art form is quite new and we're really seeing how far we could push it towards making it a high-level craftsmanship and detailed, beautiful work to really show it off," she said.

"And then who knows what will catch on and what people will do with it?"

To hear the full interview with Elora Hardy, click on the audio labelled: Bamboo homes offer a form of sustainable living