Happy Friday, MNN readers! NY Design Week kicked off yesterday which means bright and early tomorrow, I'll be strapping on my walking shoes, charging up my camera, and reporting from the frequently green trenches of the 23rd annual International Contemporary Furniture Fair. I'll also be stopping by a few of Sight Unseen's NoHo Design District events including a special pop-up shop where I hope to get my hands on (anyone like to set one aside for me?!) one on my favorite green design objects from 2010: Hulger's Plumen, "the world's first energy saving designer lightbulb." I have an empty socket just waiting for it ...
See you next week with a new installment of "Home is where the office is," a look at "Nature Framed," a beautiful new book from my pal, architecture writer Eva Hagberg, and plenty of fresh green design finds from ICFF.
Designboom steps inside the gorgeous, green "Ilma Grove House," a home extension project by Andrew Maynard Architects in Northcote, Australia. "Conceived to minimizethe family's ecological footprint, the design heavily revolves around passive solar efficiency and the promotion of a sustainable lifestyle." That's the beautiful Aussie abode pictured above.
Slate publishes an obituary of sorts ... for the McMansion. Architecture critic Witold Rybczynski believes that when the housing market (eventually rebounds) American homebuyers will gravitate more towards "smaller houses closer together on smaller lots in inner suburbs, fewer McMansions, and fewer planned communities in the distant hinterland."
Core77 gives props to Ana White, a homemaker, literally, from Alaska who, along with her husband, "built their own house and just about everything inside of it, motivated partly by creativity and partly by a lack of funds." Check out this DIY doyenne in action for yourself at the Ana White Homemaker Blog.
The Daily Beast gets the inside scoop from 51-year-old Kia Grasty, an "Ivy League Cleaning Lady," who has a few, filth-encrusted horror stories to tell. Grasty, who brings in $140,000 a year cleaning up the messes of Penn's most pampered slobs, says: "Students should be focusing on books not disinfectant and cleaning the bathroom.” True, but they also shouldn't be defecating into bathtubs because they're too helpless/lazy to unclog a toilet.
Forbes marvels at self-cleaning EcoClean panels, smog-eating architectural panels — yep, smog-eating architectural panels — from aluminum giant Alcoa. Todd Woody explains the science behind these ordinary-looking smog busters: "... invisible to the naked eye is a coating of titanium dioxide layered on top of the silver paint. Titanium dioxide particles serve as photo catalysts and when struck by sunlight their electrons become supercharged and interact water molecules in the air. That interaction releases free radicals that break down organic material on the building panel and pollutants such as nitrogen oxide in the surrounding atmosphere."
Re-Nest reaches into its bottomless wisdom bag to share "9 Green Clean Makeover Tips for Garages." Nothing revolutionary here, folks, just a handful of solid, useful tips and tidbits and plenty of exclamation points.
Curbed shares a bit of hot news from the tranquil Texas town of Abilene where a local homeowner has stirred things up with a most controversial choice in lawn ornaments: a replica of The David, strategically placed fig leaf not included. Writes Curbed: "Of course, this is not the first time some overzealous chap has gone a little overboard with the work of Michelangelo, but all Renaissance supremacy and greatness aside, this guy's neighbors are none too pleased that the genitals of David greet them every time they drive down the block."
The Los Angeles Times delves into the intricacies of plastic plant pot recycling in the latest installment of Susan Carpenter's mucho insightful (at least for Southern Californians) "Can I Recycle This?" column.
Jetson Green admires the handiwork of prefab Seattle-based design-build firm Stillwater Dwellings. The firm, which just completed a project in Santa Barbara, differentiates itself from other modular home builders/designers "with a trademark soaring butterfly roofline, energy-efficient designs, sustainable materials, and a predictable construction budget."
The Wall Street Journal hands to mic to Ellen M. Kozak for a great essay on her flirtation with "extreme downsizing" and decluttering. Writes Kozak: "To do extreme downsizing, you've got to emulate Mother Hubbard. Your cupboards have to be virtually bare. Lose sight of that, and in no time flat your shelves will be groaning again — with objects you can't bear to give up, and others you can't remember why you kept. Say goodbye to dreams of 'throw your Pucci in your Gucci and let's go.' "