The Los Angeles Times gives props to Coyote House, a modern three-bedroom home in Montecito, Calif. where "every day is an Earth Day." The knockout home (its owners are an architect and a landscape architect) may boast a photovoltaic array, a mighty rainwater harvesting system, a chicken coop, and a green roof, but as noted by the Times, "the house is notable for its utter normality: On the most basic level, it is simply a comfortable and beautiful family home."

 

USA TODAY hands the mic to "Green House" blogger Wendy Koch, who gives an update of her recently/mostly completed, right-sized family home in Falls Church, Va. Says Koch of the passive house-inspired digs that were built for less than $200 per square foot: "My husband, Alex, and I never set out to build the greenest house ever. We simply tried to build the most energy- and water-efficient home we could afford and would love. Since we're not wealthy, that meant tradeoffs. For example, our house is so airtight and well-insulated that the energy savings from a geothermal heating and cooling system didn't justify its high costs." Congrats, Wendy!

 

Curb sends birthday wishes to the incomparable, 19th century landscape architect/rock star Frederick Law Olmsted (AKA the guy who designed Central Park). Olmsted's 190th birthday was on April 26.

 

The New York Times reviews its notes for a look back at the highlights of the Milan Furniture Fair, Lenny Kravitz-designed armchairs included. Says Julie Lasky of this year's just-wrapped-up show where, more so than ever, do-goodery collided head on with luxury: "A number of companies boasted of earth-friendly materials and showed off efficient packing methods that reduced their carbon footprints."

 

Co.Design takes a gander at the Miss Sissi, Philippe Starck's classic lamp that's been given an eco-friendly makeover by high-end lighting retailer Flos in collaboration with an Italian biotech company. Once made from injection-molded polycarbonate (read: plastic) the new lamp is made from polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), a biodegradable material made from sugar production waste. Writes Suzanne Labarre: "Miss Sissi’s eco-makeover isn’t earth-shattering news unto itself. It’s only one product, after all, and a small one at that. But if PHAs are as squeaky-clean as Flos suggests, they could have a significant impact on the design industry’s carbon footprint."

 

TreeHugger rounds up a few good self-watering planters both high-end and homemade. 

 

Design Milk drools over the Koby Cottage, Garrison Architects' lovely modular guest house in Albion, Mich. Click here for a look at Brooklyn-based Garrision Architects' (sadly scrapped) zero-energy project, Red Hook Green, that was to be completed just a couple of blocks from Matt Hickman headquarters.

 

The Washington Post offers up a handy dandy guide to shopping for a new air conditioner unit. 

 

 

 

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