The Associated Press shares what's possibly the most cringe-inducing real estate story of the year: Young couple Ben and Amber Sessions move into their 5-bedroom dream home — a steal at $180,000 — in Rexburg, Idaho, only to find that it's infested with garter snakes. Hundreds and hundreds of slithering garter snakes. Explains Amber: "It was just so stressful. It felt like we were living in Satan's lair. That's the only way to really explain it." I'm stressed out just reading about it. 

The Daily Mail relays a particularly horrific taleA resident of Edmonton, Alberta named Denise Thompson leaves town on a weekend trip and returns to find that her lush, green front lawn has been buried underneath a thick layer of dirt. Says Thompson: "'My place looked like I’m a farmer who just ploughed it and was ready to put their seeds down." Was it the work of a vengeful neighbor or a jilted lover? A practical, landscaping-related joke gone too far? Not quite. Turns out, a local landscaping company mulched the wrong house ... on the wrong street. Ummm ... whoops?

Bloomberg comes bearing most excellent news: Savvy-but-not-psychic Silicon Valley investor VantagePoint Capitol Partners anticipates that the retail price of LED light bulbs will "plummet" by the year 2015 "as competition intensifies to satisfy surging demand for energy-efficient lights."

Design*Sponge displays a beautiful salvaged wood wall constructed for $130 in 3 days. Writes Sarah, the crafty Texan responsible for the beautiful, texted wall: "DIYers considering creating something like this will want to make sure they have the right tools (I can’t imagine trying to actually hammer all those nails or cut the lengths with a hand saw) and a helper. We are lucky here in Dallas to have a couple really great salvage yards where we could find the wood all in one go, but if you don’t, be patient and start collecting piece by piece. Of course, humor and a good sense of 10th-grade geometry doesn’t hurt."

The Wall Street Journal confirms that the priciest piece of real estate in America, the $57,000 square foot Los Angeles monstrosity mansion known as "The Manor," has been sold to a 22-year old British race car heiress. The asking price? $150 million. The seller of this totally modest Holmby Hills abode — gift wrapping rooms, bowling alley, flower-cutting room, and "Prince Charles Suite" anyone? —  is none other than Candy Spelling, widow of iconic TV producer Aaron Spelling and estranged mother of Tori. With the sale of the house, Candy plans to move to smaller digs: a $35 million, 15,555-square foot condo in Studio City. 

Inhabitat breaks out the exclamation points again to announce the winners of the Philips Bright Ideas Lighting Design Competition. Taking the grand prize is Edward Chew's painstakingly assembled upcycled Tetra Pak Lamp. Congrats to the big winner and the runners-up.

The New York Times admits to being a fan of fans in a great piece about alternatives to gluttonous air conditioners, which according to the United States Energy Information Administration, consume a staggering 25 percent of electricity used at home in the U.S. Writes Michael Tortorello: "... a growing body of research suggests that fans deserve a bigger fan club. They use precious little energy and cost practically nothing to run: in the case of a ceiling fan, about a nickel for a 12-hour day."

Jetson Green sizes up the Menlo Passive a custom-built, stucco-clad "old world" luxury home in Menlo Park, Calif. that's awaiting Passive House certification. The home, on sale for $2,695,000 is expected to consume 90 percent less energy than traditional homes. As noted by Preston over at JB, the home "supports the notion that a Passive House doesn’t need to look a certain way."

The Seattle Times notes the hottest (or not so hottest, in this case) residential energy efficiency trend: homes built without furnaces. Writes Renee Schoof: "Everyone needs a home, but not every home, it seems, needs a furnace, even in Cleveland." The Cleveland Museum of Natural History just happens to be the location of Cleveland SmartHome, a furnace-less Passive House that's open to the public. 

Re-Nest tours the "beachy chic" (read: mismatched and seashell-strewn) abode of Santa Barbara dancer/choreographer/filmmaker/cyclist/ultimate hippie aunt, Robin Bisio. The one-block-from-the-Pacific home is inspired by "stones, birds, flowers nature, surfing, dance, art."

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

Playing catch up: Horror stories
Traumatic, nightmare-inducing stories of homes plagued with severe garter snake infestations and <i>major</i> landscaping mess-ups lead this week's green home n