Co.Exist admires the NOMAD Micro Home, a sustainable house kit from British Columbia that be assembled quickly and with next-to-zero carpentry skills. Compared to "IKEA on steroids," the DIY home kit costs in the ballpark of $30,000 (not including add ons like PV panels and rainwater collection systems) and, thanks to it's lightweight and petite footprint of 10-feet-by-10-feet can be shipped pretty much anywhere and just as easily relocated if need be. Remarks the founder of NOMAD, Ian Kent: “When you move into a small space like that, you are being forced to be less of a consumer. It’s not as good for the economy, but better for the environment. You start thinking of new ways to make your life more comfortable that will likely be more sustainable decisions."

Gizmodo recommends a few standout home improvement apps in which to help harness "your inner handyman." 

USA TODAY pays a visit to the very first "likely" certified passive house in Westchester County, N.Y. After being treated to a deep green overhaul (super-insulated walls, triple-pane windows, LEDs, an energy recovery ventilator, crazy-low utility bills, and on and on) and doubling the square footage of the original property by adding a second floor, the formerly "ho-hum 1960 split level" in the village of Mamaroneck has just been placed on the market for a little over $3.6 million by its jet-setting French-born owners who purchased the home in 2006 due to its fabulous water views. Says owner Veronique Leblanc of the home which, after all that work, will only be residing in the home for a month post-renovation before moving to Hong Kong to join her husband: "It sucks the air in, brings it to room temperature and distributes it throughout the house. You feel like you're in a bubble, it's so silent. The air is totally renewed every three hours. It's so fresh — you don't have that urge to open a window when you get up in the morning."

The Wall Street Journal chronicles yet another egregious luxury home trend: private sports facilities. And we're not just talking about tricked-out gyms but pitching ranges, wrestling rings, indoor basketball courts, racquetball and badminton courts, shooting ranges, batting cages, bowling alleys, and even hockey rinks. Meanwhile, the treadmill in my parents' finished basement continues to function as a clothes hanger.

EcoBuildingPulse reflects with six important lessons learned from this year's U.S. Solar Decathlon which wrapped up last month in Irvine, Calif. with Team Austria taking first place. Two big takeaways: Big challenges require big ideas and Europe, as always, knows best.  

The New York Times talks radiator design. Yes, radiator design.

On the topic of packing up and relocating, Designboom shares Nomadic Chair, a screw-, nail-, and glue-less seating option from Spanish designer Jorge Penades that can be disassembled and worn like a backpack. Says the designer: "Luxury is not anymore a matter of comfort. nowadays, luxury is to be able to decide where you want to have a moment of peace, a chance to escape from hectic activity of contemporary lifestyles."

Apartment Therapy has a whole lot of DIY-minded ideas on what to do with the wrappers leftover from your Halloween candy stash/hoard.


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

Nomadic chairs, artsy radiators and schmancy home gyms [Weekend link clump]
This week: Fanciful designer radiators from Europe, a clever backpack-chair hybrid and luxury homes with gyms that puts the YMCA to shame.