Jezebel shares a few ideas on "Holiday Decorating for the Lazy and/or Penniless." Try decorating pinecones, making a popcorn garland, or buying a bunch of plain candles as they "work for almost every conceivable winter holiday and in a pinch can be used for roasting marshmallows and accidentally burning your house down."


Co. Design gives huge props to Cook + Fox Architects' Live Work Home, a small (1,400-square-feet) LEED Platinum residence in Syracuse, N.Y. with a super-flexible floorplan designed to meet its inhabitants shifting needs over the years and to reverse urban blight while re-energizing the community around it. That's a rendering of the game-changing home pictured up top.


The San Francisco Chronicle does its holiday shopping ... at the dollar store. Among the noteworthy and not-so-noteworthy dollar store finds? Greeting cards, holiday decorations, iPhone chargers, and pregnancy tests. 


Re-Nest goes a bit bananas with the holiday gift guidance. Among the 20 separate, super-specific green gift guides? Gifts for DIY'ers, gifts for cooks, gifts for gardeners, gifts for residents of Minneapolis, gifts for over $50, gifts for under $20, and gifts costing between $15.75 and $23 and weighing less than ten ounces. Okay, maybe not that last one. 


Dwell flips through a series of photographs documenting the one-day installation of a two-bedroom, Marmol Radziner-designed prefab home in Mendocino County, Calif. Says homeowner Bill Burton on the process: "It was instantaneous. We went from having just a foundation on our site to walking around our house a few hours later. You never see architecture come together like that."


Core77 unveils a totally awesome hard times-themed holiday gift guide appropriate for the end of the year ... or the end of days. Among the 77 picks? A Stanley flask, a pocket stove, heirloom seeds, and a folding ukulele. 


The Wall Street Journal marvels at a wood-clad modern home in Portland, Ore. that includes a three-room "bicycle garage" with storage for 22 bikes, a sauna, a repair shop, and a fitness room with floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors.


Earth911 wonders if running a space heater in lieu of central heat can help you save on utility bills. The short, not-very-complicated answer? It depends. 


The Los Angeles Times tackles palm frond recycling and toppled tree prevention in the wake of this week's record windstorms in Southern California. Useful info indeed but what this former L.A. resident and Raymond Chandler and Joan Didion reader wants to know is: are the Santa Ana winds really a crazy-maker? 


Gizmodo has some ideas for those gift shopping for urban gardeners that range from $30 (a top-notch hose nozzle) to $3,000 (a solar hybrid Husqvarna Automower).


Inhabitat is smitten with Little Compton Retreat, the cutest little passive house in all of Rhode Island. 


The New York Times admires the most up-market garbage cans in all of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. In order to keep the trash and recycling receptacles outside of his apartment building from being pilfered, he branded them with giant gold stickers replicating the logos of Fendi, Prada, and Gucci. One would think these knock-off designer bins wouldn't last long but so far they've stayed put.  

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

Playing catch up: Living in a gifter's paradise
This week: The onslaught of holiday gift guides begins. Plus, trash can branding, dollar store shopping, budget decorating and Syracuse's mighty morphing green