The New York Times explores the burgeoning trend of parents enrolling youngsters in woodworking classes. Writes the NYTimes: "Just as legions of Americans in cities and suburbs have discovered the joys of working with their hands — building their own chicken coops or brewing artisanal vinegars — many are now encouraging their children to do the same, by giving them the opportunity to learn how to handle a hammer as well as they use an iPhone." Move over Barbie and Spongebob and hello Bob Vila. 

The Wall Street Journal doles out advice on how to perform springtime first aid on homes and gardens that took quite a beating over the brutal winter of 2010-2011. Wendy Bounds talks clean-up and plays with some yard-repairing power tools in the video below. 

Curbed reports that actress Tori Spelling has opened IvenTORI, an antiques/home decor store in Sherman Oaks, Calif. Donna Martin decorates! (No, this is not an April Fool's joke). 

Re-Nest tactfully responds to an email from an unhinged, "sick to her stomach" reader who rants: "Get off my planet and take your high-priced stupid furniture with you. Mother Earth has no need of you or your crap. I believe you can catch a ride out on the next Tsunami."

The Los Angeles Times discusses the intricacies of wine bottle closure (corks, screw tops, foil wrappers, etc.) recycling in the greater L.A. area. Waste-conscious oenophiles rejoice!

Core77 takes a peek at IKEA's 91-page, open-to-the-public 2010 Sustainability Report. "With 9,500 different products, 280 stores in 26 countries, 23 billion Euros in annual sales, and a catalog more widely published than the Bible, Ikea leaves quite a footprint just by virtue of their size. Luckily they're interested not only in minimizing that footprint, but also in making their processes transparent."

TreeHugger reports from the "Lipstick On A Pig Dept" in a Lloyd Alter-penned post about how mammoth home builder KB Home is creating questionable "green sprawl" by adding 1.4 kilowatt solar panels to homes in far-flung, 90-acre gated subdivision in Eastvale, Calif. 

Grist takes a gander at how household energy usage has remained somewhat stable over the past 30 years even though the appliances within them are much more efficient. Explains Jess Zimmerman: "Why? Well, we just have a pantload more appliances. (Seriously, look in your pants RIGHT NOW. Do you have a gadget in them? Chances are you do. I've got a phone in my pocket as I write this.) Also, there are 34.5 million more households in the U.S. than there were in 1978, and we're leading increasingly white-collar lifestyles — air conditioners, dishwashers, washing machines. If our dishwashers are 25 percent more efficient, but we have 25 percent more of them, that about cancels out."

Yanko marvels at the Metrobench, Stephen Shaheen's hand-assembled sculpture/seat made from 5,000 recycled NYC Metro cards. 

Jetson Green welcomes North Carolina's very first Passive House to the ultra-efficient housing scene. Located in Chapel Hill, the Jay Fulkerson-designed/Anchorage Building Corp.-built abode is also the first Passive House in the U.S. to be built from concrete. 


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

Playing catch up: April tools
Stories about tools — whether you're using them to mend a yard battered by a brutal winter or to teach a tyke about the wonders of woodworking — lead this