The Los Angeles Times sits down with a recent study from the Water Environmental Research Foundation that examines what types of outdoor plants thrive best when irrigated with gray water. Bermuda grass, peach trees, and black-eyed Susans fared the best (yay nitrogen!) while avacado, lemon, and scotch trees reacted poorly to water recycled from dishwashers, sinks, and washing machines (blame the salts.) 


AOL Real Estate pays a visit to the radically self-sufficient Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in part three of an intriguing five-part series dubbed, aptly, "Off the Grid." Says Dancing Rabbit co-founder Tony Sirna of the impetus for founding an untethered intentional community in the middle or rural Missouri: "We wanted to demonstrate a positive alternative to our modern American culture's relationship to the environment. We wanted to do more than take small steps towards reducing our impact. We wanted to develop a full-fledged human society with sustainability as its core value."


EcoSalon says a final goodbye.

Architizer takes a peek at New York-based Israeli designer Dror Benshetrit's absolutely bonkers concept for  HavvAda, a "cutting-edge net-positive-energy residential island" that would be built off the shore of Istanbul using excavated soil from a canal project connecting the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara. The island would have 3,000 housing units spread across six manmade hills each "supported by a mega-dome structure inspired by Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome, allowing for a 'three-dimensional grid' that aims to maximize energy and structural efficiency." 


Co.Design marvels at the latest from Dutch firm i29: an eclectic assortment of secondhand furniture and home accessories procured at flea markets that have been slathered in gray matte paint (or, rather, a solvent-free polyurea coating) and resold for a pretty penny. The message behind the collection of previously owned monochrome wares dubbed AsGoodAsNew: To give "some attention to to using re-used and recycled materials." That's the GoodAsNew pop-up shop in Amsterdam pictured above.


Dwell publishes the first in a seven-parter on San Francisco's LEED Platinum-targeting micro-apartment project from prefab build-design firm ZETA Communities and developer Panoramic Interests. I took a quick look at the highly anticipated, under-construction project which will consist of 23 factory-built 300-square-foot units back in February and I'll check back in as it reaches completion. 


EcoHome profiles the high-performance renovation of an affordable 1970s-era apartment complex in the country's second most expensive county, Fairfax, Va. The $6.6 million project includes the addition of solar hot water heating, Energy Star appliances, low-flush toilets, and revamped common areas. Says Chris LoPiano, senior vice president of the Community Preservation and Development Corp.: "It’s a great challenge across the region to be able to provide housing to the folks that really make the economy here run. To be able to have them live here and walk to work is a huge green driver." 


Movoto calculates how many Big Bird nests would fit into Mitt Romney's proposed 11,000-square-foot beachfront mansion in La Jolla, Calif. The answer (presuming Big Bird is a bit over 8-feet-tall and lives in a 23-square-foot nest)? 495 times. And now you know. 


The Guardian gets wind of the first home in the U.K. to be built completely from locally sourced construction and industrial waste. Says project architect Duncan Baker-Brown: "There is a huge pile of construction waste that's building up in this country and to ignore is quite frankly sinful."Through this project we are going to show that there is no such thing as waste." Construction is expected to commence next month on the University of Brighton campus. 


Jetson Green welcomes Declare, a new "nutrition label" for building materials from the International Living Future Institute spreads word that the Brandes Home, a classic Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home built in 1952, has hit the market in Sammamish (it's only one of only three FLW buildings in the region). The asking price for the 1,950-square-foot Usonian residence is $1.39 million, and yes, the chronically leaky roof has been fixed. 


And on that note ... TIME has the latest on the unfortunate, FLW-related real estate soap opera playing out in Phoenix's Arcadia neighborhood. At the moment, the city and a small army of preservationists are still scrambling to prevent a relatively obscure Wright masterpiece, the David and Gladys Wright House, from meeting Mr. Bulldozer. For now, demolishment of the home has been delayed for another month, another month in which the developer who purchased — and plans to raze — the home can continue to feel like the biggest creep in the entire state of Arizona.



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

Playing catch up: Gray matter
This week: Gardening with gray water and secondhand furnishings gone green with a fresh coat of gray non-paint. Plus, a green building 'nutrition label,' a Brit