Gizmag escapes to the latest and greatest in treehouse design: ErlebNest, a ladder-accessible arboreal retreat from German rope and bridge course outfitter, Cambium GmBH. A Cambium rep explains the appeal of hunkering down in the ErlebNest, a design that's built from natural materials and includes both sleeping quarters ("The Cocoon" and entertaining space ("The Lounge"): "The end users do not necessarily have to be adrenaline addicts. After all, spending a night in the ErlebNest is not primarily about the thrill of being high up but about the very special experience of sleeping in completely natural surroundings." That's an ErlebNest in all of its glory pictured up top.


The New York Times keeps on milking the media hoopla surrounding Michael Bloomberg's micro-apartment proposal with a visit to two lovely, pint-sized urban gardens that offer a leafy refuge from claustrophobic interior spaces.


EcoHome profiles Whitehorse, an off-the-grid home constructed by Park City-based nonprofit DesignBuildBluff from materials such as dirt, recycled telephone poles, aluminum, and shipping pallets. The super-efficient 1,025-square-foot home was built on a Navajo reservation for a single mother and her three children for $45 per square-foot.


Curbed publishes "A Brief History of All the Crazy Crap Ikea's Done Recently." Where to even begin ...


Smart Planet sits down for a chat with Sam Hagerman, president of the Passive House Alliance United States. When asked "what's next?" for the stateside passive house movement, Hagerman responds: "We’re at the point where we have proof of concept. Those of us who are practitioners have known this all along, but it’s taken this long to get enough structures so the proof of concept is on the ground. That you can measure for air tightness and calculate the heat load for a building, the whole built community is developing this knowledge across a broad base. These are the kinds of things we need to understand and practice to build Passive Houses."


Stylist Home delights with a bunch of photos snapped at the "10 Most Beautiful Botanical Gardens Across the United States." On the list? The Chicago Botanic Garden, the Atlanta Botanical Garden, the UC Davis Arboretum, and the National Tropical Botanical Garden.


TreeHugger shares "10 Design Tips to Live Without (Or Use Less) Air Conditioning" including installing awnings and exterior blinds, planting trees and vines, and slinking about in sexy underthings just like Elizabeth Taylor in "Cat on a Hit Tin Roof."


Jetson Green tours Neptune Norte, a LEED Platinum home in Encinitas, Calif. that offers hefty energy savings, but also comes equipped with a hefty price tag of $6.995 million. The 5,347-square-foot abode from Wave Crest and Adams Design Associates is only the third custom home in San Diego county to receive LEED Platinum certification.


Grist relays the latest city-forces-homeowner-to-remove-edible-front-lawn horror story. This one comes not from the U.S. but from Drummondville, Quebec, where the town brass has given a couple two weeks to remove their code-breaking "gorgeous and meticulously-maintained edible landscape full of healthy fruits and vegetables.”

Gizmodo advises on how to protect your electronics when utility companies "choke" the flow of electricity coming into your home during summertime brownout events. Explains Patrick Di Justo: "You're not the only one who sweats during a heat wave. The power company feels the burn too — in the form of skyrocketing demand from those air conditioners, fans, and stressed out refrigerators. Not to mention all the TVs clicking on as we cower in front of our media stacks to escape the cruel, cruel sun. What you may not know, though, is that, because of the way our grid is designed, utilities sometimes have to throttle our power allowances to keep all of our gadgets a-humming. And though it rarely happens, that very act could put some of them in danger."



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

Playing catch up: Hot summertime links (no AC required)
Cool of this weekend with heavenly treehouse escapes from Germany, AC-reducing (or eliminating) design tips, beautiful botanical gardens and insightful chit-cha