Dezeen isn't quite sure what to make of Isolée, a self-sufficient three-story country house on stilts with a facade that opens like a cupboard and a moving 'solar tree' on the roof." Explains Amsterdam-based design and architecture firm, Tjep.: "This house is a new architectural design delivering an ecologically friendly retreat from the modern world. Combining intelligent technology with elegant sophistication, this design creates a habitat that barely impacts its environment." That's the odd-looking abode in question pictured up top.

The Atlantic Cities shares a "Brief History of Bottle Recycling" in a great piece from Finn Arne Jørgensen.

The Los Angeles Times has the latest in "germaphobe couture:" Handmade, 100 percent wool needlepoint hand sanitizer cozies from Jonathan Adler. "All of my friends are having babies, and they all have big ugly bottles of sanitizer all over the place. I knew there had to be a more couture way to approach the situation," explains Adler. The non-machine washable antiseptic sleeves (they fit over 12-oz bottles of Purrell) are available for pre-order at the JA website for $42.

EcoHome talks shop with awarding-winning home rehabber and founder of G Street, Philip Beere. Says the Phoenix-based developer when asked how he survived as a green remodeler during the housing crash: "My first attempt was one of the first LEED-certified remodels in the U.S. However, the timing of the remodel met with the market crash and failure. My second attempt at rehabbing old homes to green standards was in 2009. The second time, my focus was on areas that are near mass transit or light rail systems. The market responded well and the success attracted others who were interested in similar development. This shaped G Street for today's business model, which is helping builders and rehabbers bring their high-performance homes to market and providing them with our G Home green consulting and marketing tools to help highlight their work."

Fast Company files a dispatch from the future site of Stand East, IKEA's planned 26-acre housing development in London. Explains Greg Lindsay: "Strand East will indeed be wholly owned and operated by the Inter Ikea Group, the closely held parent company of the $34-billion-a-year home furnishings giant that colonized our living rooms with Lack side tables and Billy bookshelves. The company now aims to do the same for cities by replacing derelict hulks with privately managed, all-rental neighbor hoods of vaguely Scandinavian provenance. And while the houses won't be assembled with Allen wrenches or land scaped with lingonberry bushes, company executives insist they'll be offered in the same spirit as the furniture--with high (enough) quality and low prices for all."

On a somewhat related note, Curbed wrangles up "12 Brilliant, if Obvious, Twitter Jokes About Ikea Horsegate." If I had to pick just one, my favorite IKEA Horseballs™-related tweet would be from @BrentO: "Inspectors find horse meat in Ikea meatballs. Probably just didn't assemble the meatballs correctly."And as noted by Curbed, the L.A. Times wins in the headline department. 

Apartment Therapy spells out the ten commandments of buying — or salvaging — used furniture. Commandment numero uno? "Though Shalt Look For Tags."

SmartPlanet weighs in on the prefab vs. stick-built debate. 

Co. Design marvels at Richard Neutra's Hailey House. Built in 1959, the 1,129-square-foot home in the Hollywood Hills seems rather spacious despite its relatively petite size thanks in part to a floor-to-ceiling glass wall that "lets the interior stretch out visually into the hills below."

Architzer has it on good authority that ethereally coiffed it-boy architect Bjarke Ingels will be designing a museum celebrating his home country of Denmark's most famous export: LEGO blocks.

The Atlantic Cities chats with green-minded architect Sebastian Mariscal about his plans for a car-barring apartment in the Boston student ghetto neighborhood of Allston. City regulations require that the five-story, 44-unit building with ground-level retail — it's to be constructed, ironically, on a lot that's home to a used car dealership —  include parking for residents. In turn, Mariscal would have do away with porches, patios, and communal gardens by minimizing the size of the building to make room for surface parking. Or he would need to figure in an underground garage beneath the complex. But Mariscal has another idea: Why not do away with parking completely and have tenants sign away their right to own cars? He says: "When you remove the car component as the main design challenge your way of thinking about design is completely different. The possibilities that open for a more environmentally friendly and human design — they are endless."

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

Horseball tweets and needlepoint Purrell sleeves [Friday news clump]
This week: The finest IKEA horseball tweets, delightful needlepoint cozies for Purrell bottles and the oddest looking country retreat you ever did see.