DesignBoom has the skinny on Tokyo's stunningly slender 2-story Horinouchi House (pictured above). The Mizyuishi Architect Atelier-designed home makes the best of an awkward, triangle-shaped lot measuring a mere 52-square meters with innovative, super-efficient design features and plenty o' natural light.


Earth911 mans the help desk with a guide on "How to Troubleshoot Your Compost." Issues — and recommended solutions — include stinky compost, pest-attracting compost, and ant-filled worm bins. 


Jetson Green ogles the loveliest reclaimed bathroom in all of Portland, Ore. 


The Wall Street Journal recommends a handful of "fresh, low-maintenance alternatives" to autumn's porchside staples, mums. 


The Los Angeles Times celebrates the myriad low-waste joys of bulk bin food shopping. Check out my recommendations for bulk kitchen storage solutions here


Re-Nest shares 15 Hideaway Storage Ideas for Small Spaces.


Dwell is agog over the IdeaGarden Eco-Farmhouse, an "old and leaky" 100-year-old farmhouse in Healsburg, Calif., that's now a gorgeous "model of energy efficiency," thanks in part to the handiwork of Arkin Tilt Architects and Earthtone Construction.


TreeHugger ponders if older homes and other landmarked buildings should be outfitted with solar, provided it doesn't ruin their historic charm. Writes Sami Grover: "As long as we live in a society that values historic buildings and wants to keep a certain amount of traditional character and charm, it makes sense to have ordinances and laws about what can, and what cannot, be done to a cherished, older building. But that doesn't mean that time has to stand still. If we can convert an old barn into an (efficient!) modern living space, why can't we also install aesthetically appropriate solar solutions too?"


The New York Times picks the brains of folks like TreeHugger architecture blogger Lloyd Alter, Inhabitat EIC Jill Fehrenbacher, and the Good Human's David Quilty on eco-consumerism during financially trying times. Writes the NYT: "In a bad economy, what used to seem essential can quickly become optional. At the same time, what was once merely fashionable can become a matter of necessity. Activities like growing and canning food, raising chickens and making your own clothes and other household goods — which in recent years have been exalted for their artisanal qualities — are now seen by many as a way to economize while staying true to green values."


The Washington Post has the latest on the battle between Mark Grapin and zoning officials in Fairfax County, Va., over a not-up-to-code 58-square-foot treehouse that Grapin erected on his property for his sons. Grapin, an Army National Guardsman, has spent $1,400 on the treehouse itself and another $2,000 in permits and other costs after a neighbor complained about the structure. "Am I disappointed in the process that it’s so red-tapish? Sure. But you live by the rules," says Grapin.


Image:  Hiroshi Tanigawa via Designboom


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

Playing catch up: The box and how to think outside of it
This week: Building on seemingly impossible lots, seeing the eco-potential in 'old and leaky' farmhouses and decorating your porch with autumn blooms that <i>ar