Whenever we’re in need of inspiration, we turn to Letters of Note.

The blog features correspondence, including scans of original postcards and notes, between both extraordinary and ordinary people. Among our favorites is the one where Frank Lloyd Wright designed a dog house (for free) after a small boy wrote with the request and Kurt Vonnegut’s advice for humans living in 2088.

Now, the letters are being collected in a new book, published by Chronicle Books on May 6. Included are Queen Elizabeth II’s recipe for drop scones, sent to President Eisenhower, and the first recorded use of the expression “OMG,” in a letter to Winston Churchill.

We can’t wait to pick up a copy. In the meantime, Vonnegut’s 7 steps for better living:

    1. Reduce and stabilize your population.
    2. Stop poisoning the air, the water, and the topsoil.
    3. Stop preparing for war and start dealing with your real problems.
    4. Teach your kids, and yourselves, too, while you’re at it, how to inhabit a small planet without helping to kill it.
    5. Stop thinking science can fix anything if you give it a trillion dollars.
    6. Stop thinking your grandchildren will be OK no matter how wasteful or destructive you may be, since they can go to a nice new planet on a spaceship. That is really mean, and stupid.
    7. And so on. Or else.

Images: © Letters of Note

 

One of our favorite quotes—and the best takeaway—that we heard at the T3 Summit last week.

It’s finally getting warm enough to start packing up our sweaters and thinking about the sunny days ahead—and about cooling down our homes.

Treehugger discovered this low-tech air conditioner that relies on clay and evaporation. The designer of the Cold Pot, Thibault Faverie, describes how the unit works:

Based on “bio air-conditioning,” the porous terracotta surface acts as a heat exchange; it absorbs water from the inside and sends it to the outer surface. On contact with air, the water evaporates. The change from a liquid state to a gaseous one results in the cooling of the object and consequently the inner aluminum pipe, where air circulates.

While the air conditioner doesn’t seem to be available for purchase yet, you can see more over on his website.

Our overall takeaway? The Cold Pot is pretty cool.

Images: © Thibault Faverie

1. Forget sprays—wear your fragrance. (mintbands.com)

2. We absolutely love Smeg’s new countertop appliances. (core77.com)

3. Gorgeous photos of cherry blossoms. (fubiz.com)

4. Pen pal meets art gallery—the Postcard Club. (coolhunting.com)

5. Mesmerizing videos depicting urban sprawl. (huffingtonpost.com)

6. Only the most stylish chicken coops will do. (housebeautiful.com)

7. Delicious, unexpected recipes for avocados. (lifehack.org)

8. The most extravagantly dressed dogs. (fastcodesign.com)

9. 30 stunning cocktails. Cheers! (elledecor.com)

Two of our absolute favorite companies have joined forces for a timely purpose: clocks.

Heath Ceramics and type foundry House Industries released a new collaboration, featuring Heath’s signature glazes and forms alongside House’s iconic typography treatments. The clocks (while not exactly budget-friendly) are sure to become heirlooms.

And, if you’re in the San Francisco area, you can celebrate the passing of time with a product launch on April 18. The “tick-off” starts at 6pm.

Sometimes it’s about space constraints, others it’s a question of lifestyle, and then there’s always spite. These are just a few of the reasons behind the slender stature of the world’s narrowest homes.

Our favorites from the selections chosen by Elle Decor include these three homes (from left to right) in London, Montana, and Amsterdam. But our favorite story is the one behind the “Spite House” in Alexandria, Virginia.

“In 1830, John Hollensbury, the owner of one of the neighboring houses, wanted to stop horse-drawn wagons from coming into his alley. To block off the area once and for all, he decided to fill that space with another house—the Spite House. At 7 feet wide and 25 feet long, it doesn’t afford much living space—just 325 square feet in two stories.”

You can see all 12 homes here.

 

Dutch industrial designer Hella Jongerius is one of our absolute favorite creative minds; we’ve coveted her early work with Droog, her sofa for Vitra, and the wall hangings she created for IKEA’s PS collection.

Now, she’s branching out again with her first collection as the newly appointed design director for Dutch firm Danskina. Launched at the 2014 Salone Internazionale del Mobile (also known as the Milan Furniture Fair), the four styles are called Bold, Duotone, Multitone, and Cork & Felt.

The collection also prompted one of the cutest stop motion videos we’ve ever seen about… rugs.