Gizmodo fantasizes about stepping aboard a completely bonkers, $4.6 million floating home/private island concept that "combine all the positive aspects of mainland real estate and luxury yachts." Due for an official unveiling next year, self-sustaining Orsos Islands come equipped with extensive solar paneling, wind turbines, a seawater filtration system, and enough super-luxurious interior space to sleep 12 well-heeled seafarers. No word on any sort of pirate defense system. That's a rendering of an Orsos Island pictured above.


The Los Angeles Times gets an eyeful of Vision House Los Angeles, a swank and sustainable demonstration home in Pacific Palisades. Says designer of Jill Wolff of the eco-luxurious abode: "I want people who view this house to come away with a feeling of surprise about its comfort, coziness and warmth. I want them to see that sustainable design really can be comfortable, and that if they’re clever, they can use their creativity to make their own home more sustainable."


Grist enlists sage pun-master Umbra Fisk to answer a burning question: "What’s up with those ‘DO NOT EAT’ packets in shoeboxes and pill bottles?"

TreeHugger wonders: "How does a 'generation of renters'" save energy?" in a thought-provoking piece from fellow faircompanies fanatic Sami Grover.


Design Milk admires the indoor greenery with a roundup the best outdoor living goodies — garden boxes galore! — spotted at last weekend's Dwell on Design show at the LA Convention Center.


The New York Times devotes three (online) pages to the luxury doghouse trend. A choice quote comes from Glenna Hall a retired interior designer, who along with her husband, bought their whippet-borzoi mix a $300 Palladian-style retreat complete with Jeffersonian columns: "We bought the house because it looks a lot like our house. Maggie’s never been in it. She’s a house dog.”


Dwell delves into the deeper meaning behind Mattel's Architect Barbie in a great piece from Alexandra Lange. Writes Lange: "Architect Barbie and other gender-specific toys — pastel LEGOs, Lincoln Logs’ pink-accented Little Prairie Farmhouse — narrow girls’ play to what manufacturers think they already like: playing house, not building one. To become an architect after playing with the Barbie, I thought, would be like choosing the profession because you like the glasses."


Core77 tours the lovely, recently completed LEED Platinum abode of journalist and erstwhile "The View" co-host Lisa Ling and her husband, Dr. Paul Song. Dubbed PUNCHouse 234, the home is the first zero-emissions residence in Santa Monica. Remarks architect Marco DiMaccio of the building process: "To deal with contractors to get this to happen a certain way is the most challenging. It takes an extra level of energy to monitor [contractors], especially those drawn to the glamour of constructing a celebrity home. The details are always a challenge."



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

Playing catch up: The L word
From designer doghouses to swank n' sustainable demo homes to solar-powered floating paradises (just don't call them yachts), this week's news roundup is drippi