Happy almost-2012, MNN readers!


Before you start cracking open that biodynamic bubbly this weekend, I thought I'd take a misty-eyed trip down memory lane to review some of the most popular and most provocative posts from 2011. Although it was year marked by financial yuckiness and devastating natural disasters and weather events, it was a super-busy and super-exciting one in the world of eco-friendly architecture, design, gardening, renovation, and real estate with a few notable trends: nefarious billionaire neighbors, heated landscaping disputes, impossibly petite homes, the rise of affordable solar leasing, and light bulbs. Oh-so-many light bulbs. Again, light bulbs. Did I mention there were a lot of light bulb-related stories? Light bulbs, light bulbs, light bulbs! Wait for it ... Light bulbs!


Now that I've gotten that out of my system, I wanted to express a hearty dose of gratitude not only to you, my readers, but all of the eco-minded architects, designers, builders, gardeners, homeowners, planners, business owners, innovators, influencers, game-changers, and energy-efficient light bulb manufacturers for giving me something to blog about this past year. I couldn’t do it without you. And as always, feel free to drop a line with any comments, questions, concerns, and love letters. What stories/trends from 2011 stood out to you? Any personal favorite posts? What would you like to see covered more of in the new year aside from stories about light bulbs?


Looking forward to seeing you in 2012!


• January

Ladies and Gents, the $7,000 toilet • If Martha builds it, will they come? • Swedish family moves into new home, begins strict carbon diet


• March

​A BubbleRoom of one's own • New York's temple of reuse: A visit to Materials for the Arts • Heartfelt horticulture: A Q & A with Margaret Roach


• April 

With Salishan 7, LEED for Homes reaches 10,000 mark • LED vs. incandescent: An Easter time 'meltdown • Legendary 'East Egg' estate demolished


• May

Google's bright new idea: Android-controlled light bulbs • A room with no view: Safe rooms, prefab shelters, and tornado-proof homesBillionaire vs. redwood: The world's most egregious landscaping dispute


• June

​Extreme downsizing: Arkansas family sheds 1,700 square feet • Donald Trump: Building fences, burning bridges in Scotland • NRDC: Cable boxes guzzle more energy than new refrigerators

• August

​Every inch counts: Manhattan architect downsizes to 78-square-foot apartment  • A palace fit for a doll: Barbie gets new green digs in Malibu • The far-out fantasy homes of SunRay Kelley


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

Playing catch up: Adios 2011!
Before popping any corks this weekend, take a few moments to revisit some of the hottest, most commented-on posts from 2011, or, as I liked to call it, 'The Yea