The New York Times pays a visit to the Palm Springs compound of Kenny Irwin, Sr. and his live-in adult son, Kenny Irwin, Jr. Over the years, the latter has transformed papa's "pristine two-acre spread" into a bizarro sculpture garden populated with towering, unearthly creatures (mostly robots and aliens) crafted from upcycled junk — "old phones, cassette tapes, wood, the innards of slot machines, garbage can lids, pool filters, a neighbor’s wrecked glider, an air compressor from a commercial building" — and glue. The Times, which refers to the Irwin property "Grey Gardens with Robot Reindeer," takes a stab at describing Irwin's art: "His sculptures have a Seurat-like quality: a pink Clydesdale looks monumental from a distance; up close, its hooves are revealed as boxy computer monitors, its noble head a printer and fax machine glued together, its mane a tangle of power cords."
TreeHugger notes the differences between Nordic prefab homes and their North American counterparts with a look at Passion House M1 from Tallinn-based Architect 11. Think: Saunas, snow-load requirements, and plus-sized shower rooms.
The Wall Street Journal examines the effect that the
glorious godsend (un)necessary evil known as central air conditioning has on home prices. In a nutshell, buyers will gladly fork over extra cash —as much as 13 percent more on average — for a home that has chilled air running through its veins.
The Atlantic Cities is a touch baffled by the disposal-related peccadillos of would-be recyclers. Interesting enough, a study to be published in a upcoming edition of Journal of Consumer Research found consumers are more likely to throw away pieces of perfectly recyclable waste in the trash if it has in some way been crumpled, cut-up, crushed, or otherwise disfigured. Huh? "One hypothesis is that when the shape of a consumer good is distorted and made smaller, our brains assign it to a category quite different from its original function. The damaged or altered object ceased to be a can, a bottle, or a piece of paper, which are all objects of value. Instead, we think of it as 'more like garbage' and not worth a trip to the recycling bin, say [study authors] [Jennifer] Argo and [Remi] Trudel."
Smart Planet spreads word that two different models of dimmable LED light bulbs from Philips, the 12-watt Endura and the 12.5-watt Ambient, are being recalled. Apparently, the made-in-China bulbs pose the risk of electric shock due to faulty wiring in the bulb's housing. The bulbs, ranging in price from $15 to $30 a pop, were sold from Oct. 2012 through May 2013 at Home Depot and a vast number of other retailers.
Jezebel offers a trigger warning for a recent, potentially traumatic installment of Ask A Clean Person. The topic? Bugs — specifically grain moths and bedbugs — and how to a. get rid of them and b. politely tell your friend, no, he cannot crash at your place while in town for the weekend for a wedding because he may be harboring the dreaded "BB" word and could subsequently infest your apartment with them.
Designboom is smitten with Wedge House, an eco-friendly, asymmetrical home in Surrey, U.K. from Soup Architects. Lots to like here: Massive glass walls/windows, high levels of insulation, a heat recovery ventilation system, rainwater harvesting, and a perfectly lovely English garden.
Curbed notes that yet another Frank Lloyd Wright home has hit the market. This one, listed for $690,900 and located in the Chicago 'burbs, is a "classic relic from the architect's Prairie period" built in 1907 for Stephen M.B. Hunt.