Category Archives: Reuse Design

Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World

 Since 2008, Hayes-Chute has been building these quirky huts, hermitages and shacks while exploring themes of self-sufficiency, self-preservation and self-exclusion. Built completely out of salvaged wood, found materials and vintage and antique goods, the huts are piecemeal – as though they were constructed slowly over time. Hayes-Chutes builds these shacks inside museums and galleries so visitors can tour through them and experience a mode of living that is normally inaccessible.

via Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World.

City Museum – St. Louis, MO

The City Museum is the Mecca of all reuse destinations. The creativity, scale, craftsmanship, and sheer amount of material reuse is breathtaking.  If ever there is a place that will restore faith in the ingenuity of humans, the City Museum is in the top two (the first being developing countries). 

Check out the site and then get in a car, bike or take a flight to St. Louis and see the City Museum – it will change your life!


1-to-1 Conversion: Single-Piece, Reused-Wood Pallet Chair | Designs & Ideas on Dornob

They are so commonplace within industrial districts you almost don’t notice them – stacks of usable and broken pallets made of plastic, metal and wood, just waiting for someone to program them into something fresh and useful again.

Younger cousins to the increasingly-famous cargo container (widely used both in shipping and, more recently, architecture), the wooden pallet is used to transport things like furniture from place to place via ships, trains, trucks and fork lifts.

Using pieces from precisely one pallet per seat, this design was modeled after careful structural considerations, scale model testing and much thought about how to take the fewest steps possible from old to new uses.

Pierre Vede preserves the appearance (and thus: the associations) of these ubiquitous building-and-transport blocks, modifying them minimally and adding a few off-the-shelf IKEA cushions to the chair as a finishing touch for human comfort.

via 1-to-1 Conversion: Single-Piece, Reused-Wood Pallet Chair | Designs & Ideas on Dornob. Where recycling meets design | Tree House




Tree House

‘When Christiana Wyly was in high school in Switzerland, she read the Italo Calvino novel “Il Barone Rampante,” or “The Baron in the Trees,” and was captivated by its story of a boy who climbs into the trees and stays there for the rest of his life. Nearly a decade later, Ms. Wyly, an investor and a director of Zaadz, a sort of MySpace for the spiritual and environmentally conscious set, was still thinking about the book when she commissioned a 150-square-foot, $75,000 treehouse to serve as both a guest cottage and a refuge for herself and her daughter, Viola, at their home in the Santa Monica Mountains in Los Angeles County. Designed by Roderick Romero, an artist and musician in Manhattan who builds treehouses under the name Romero Studios, the house, completed in February, is shaped like a Moroccan lantern (to match the Moroccan furniture in the main house 100 feet away) and made of salvaged redwood from old olive oil tanks (the top and bottom are copper). Mr. Romero covered the staircase — eucalyptus branches fastened to eucalyptus railings and arches by hidden screws — with resin and salt; when the salt dissolved, it left little indentations, giving the steps traction. Ms. Wyly, 25, said she visits her treehouse retreat daily, to read, meditate and practice yoga, and to spend time with Viola, 4. “It’s a quiet space,” she said, “completely silent except for the wind moving through the trees.” ‘

Quoted and picture:

via Where recycling meets design | Tree House.

Submissions Wanted for ‘ReNew ReUse ReConnect’ Public Art Initiative | The Jersey City Independent – NJ

The High Line in Manhattan — a defunct elevated railway retrofitted into a dynamic public park — is a raging success. While said success is a complicated equation, for art lovers, one of the major attractions the High Line offers is a revolving schedule of temporary artworks in and around the park — for the pleasure of visitors and neighborhood locals alike.

Here in Jersey City, the 6th Street Embankment is the rogue cousin of Manhattan’s High Line. While experts and architects differ on whether a redeveloped Embankment could actually replicate the High Line’s success, the six-block former rail spur, long abandoned and overgrown with foliage, is an untapped resource begging for artistic intervention.

That’s where ReNew ReUse ReConnect (RRR) comes into play. The project, organized by Anne McTernan and Sophie Penkrat, is a Jersey City public art initiative dedicated to the Embankment with a curated program of temporary installations that are designed to draw attention to the structure. McTernan and Penkrat were awarded $695 at one of last year’s Pro Arts Art Eat-Ups by for their RRR proposal, and now they need artists.

RRR will be a two-day temporary exhibit taking place during this fall’s Jersey City Artists’ Studio Tour on the evenings of October 1 and 2, from 7 to 10 pm. The site-specific installations will be located in the alley adjacent to the Embankment, running between Jersey Avenue and Monmouth Street.

Initially, the deadline for participation was July 29. McTernan and Penkrat have extended the deadline to solicit more proposals, so if you have an idea, email them ASAP at annemacdesign (at) or sophie.penkrat (at)

via Submissions Wanted for ‘ReNew ReUse ReConnect’ Public Art Initiative | The Jersey City Independent.

Supermodel Tatjana Patitz reuses salvage in her California home –

Tatjana Patitz’s kitchen with salvaged wood sink and 1960s stove [photo Living etc

California, USA – Hidden away among towering pines and orange groves, Tatjana Patitz’s California home, full of flowers, foliage and double-height windows that draw the outside in, is at one with the nature on her doorstep. An outdoor bamboo rainshower and reclaimed stone tub create an indulgent, Japanese-style bathroom, French doors open onto a plant-filled outdoor terrace with a cushion-strewn daybed and views over the garden to the ocean beyond, writes Living etc.

Furnishings are an eclectic mix of old and new, antique and bespoke, faded rugs, wind chimes, stacks of books, and swathes of fabrics in earthy tones and textures.

Tatjana has brought old-fashioned cosiness into her kitchen (see photo) with a 1960s stove and rough-hewn sink, both from a scrap yard. Cupboards and shelves are made from salvaged wood.

Living etc: Take a tour around supermodel Tatjana Patitz’s ranch

via Supermodel Tatjana Patitz reuses salvage in her California home –

Furniture made the green way – Telegraph

Seeing the potential: Max McMurdo turned a bath into a chaise longue

Seeing the potential: Max McMurdo turned a bath into a chaise longue  Photo: JOHN LAWRENCE

‘The problem with much modern furniture design is that it is not built to last,” says Dr Jonathan Chapman, author of Emotionally Durable Design (£24.99; Earthscan), a book that asks people to reassess their relationship with the items they fill their homes with.

Dr Chapman argues that one of the reasons for the environmental “mess” we are in is “the way we design, manufacture and consume objects… we are hopelessly seduced by the glow of all things modern, be it a flatter screen or a smarter plastic”.

Furniture never used to be “throwaway”, replaced every few years either because it was too shabby or had ceased to be fashionable. Dr Chapman says that in the Thirties economists came up with “planned obsolescence”, meaning that if people had to replace items more frequently, they would buy more and thus stimulate economic recovery. The past few years of recession and stagnant growth have underlined the flaws in this theory: building an economy on consumer spending does not necessarily result in sustainable growth.

Maybe it’s time to make our purchasing decisions on how durable and Earth- friendly an item is.

One idea being pioneered by the New Forest Trust is to give every tree felled for furniture its own GPS reference so people can pinpoint its provenance and even visit the stump.


Green home appliance help save money 04 Aug 2011

How to insulate your home 27 Jul 2011

Are bamboo products really the eco-friendly option? 20 Jul 2011

Historic homes at risk from climate change rules 15 Jul 2011

Sustainable ideas from young designers 12 Jul 2011

How to get the community involved with energy efficiency 06 Jul 2011

“It’s about getting people to think differently about their new bed or coffee table,” says trustee Donald Thompson. “Rather than just seeing it as a commodity, to see it as wood that was once a tree growing in a forest, that what you have is unique.” Furniture makers using New Forest timber now have access to this service (

So what is eco furniture? There isn’t an official definition but some of the elements eco-friendly design must include are:

The reuse or sustainable use of materials: using reclaimed wood or wood from certified forests; using renewable materials such as flax, jute, hemp and cotton instead of plastics; reusing items that are otherwise thrown away.

The use of local materials: the fewer miles a piece of furniture and its components have to travel the better.

Emissions during manufacture: much mass-manufacture of furniture results in toxic pollution from dyes, paints, glues and chemical treatments. Techniques such as traditional dovetailing in carpentry – rather than using glue – minimise emissions.


Max McMurdo has a knack for seeing beautiful potential in builders’ and retailers’ salvage. He has made coffee tables out of washing-machine drums and chairs out of shopping trolleys. His latest creation is a chaise longue made from a Victorian cast-iron ball-and-claw bathtub.

“Because they are so heavy, cast-iron bath tubs are often sledgehammered in situ and removed from Victorian properties in pieces. It’s such a waste of a classic design,” says McMurdo. “The ball-and-claw feet are a lovely feature and it’s a shame so many are destroyed. I’ve turned them into sofas before but I was experimenting recently, taking more off the back to create a chaise.”

McMurdo is acquiring a name for himself among the house-clearance brigade. “I get calls from plumbers and scrap merchants offering me baths. Some people just turn up at my workshop with them.” His designs can be seen on


Traditional bed makers Harrison Spinks ( have been manufacturing mattresses and divans in Yorkshire since 1840, but recently decided to try to source materials more locally. “We were importing our mattress wool from Australia and our wood and other mattress fillings were either imported or partly synthetic,” says Simon Spinks. “We wanted our beds to be natural and our raw materials closer.”

The firm purchased a 300-acre farm near their Leeds factory, where a thousand Texel/Leicester and Swaledale sheep graze before supplying their fleeces for bedding. “We’ve reduced a 12,000-mile trip to 15,” says Spinks. “What’s more, Yorkshire wool is better than Australian for beds, it’s more springy.”

The firm has now bought a nearby wood which from next year will supply the pine and spruce for the bed bases.


Working in futuristic fabrics after graduating from the Royal College of Art made Inghua Ting ( think about the impact of design on the environment.

“I witnessed factories in Japan overproducing tons of material just because it was the wrong shade or specification,” she says. “There is so much waste that just ends up in landfill.” Ting makes fabulous hammocks, cushions and stools out of car seat belts that have not passed vehicle safety or colour tests. She also makes parquet flooring and furniture from second-hand leather belts sourced from flea markets and charity shops.

via Furniture made the green way – Telegraph.

Habitat’s ReStore Offers New Options For Dorm Decor

The last bit of metro college students moved in today at Creighton University. Last week UNO students moved in and chances are students are spending time organizing and getting their new living space in order. But there is a popular decor option that gives back to the community.

“And we made it into a magazine rack,” Volunteer Jessica Duce said. “I love the idea of using things at the restore that have been donated, and repurposing them for somebody’s home or dorm room.”

She spends her time helping people find ways to re-use hundreds of home improvement supplies.

“We can be so creative, make doors and cabinets and spray paint lamps and make old news again,” Duce said.

She showed us how to make a desk using bathroom cabinets and an old door, jewelry storage using old shutters and old artwork into new.

“This is the before and what we did was took out he center, flipped it around and we created some custom art for a girl,” Duce said.

But for every item she helps sell at Habitat’s Restore, she’s helping fund habitat for humanity homes.

“If you think about one of the big box home improvement stories, the Lowes, Home Depot or the Menards. It’s really anything that you would see down in those, only some of these might be gently used,” ReStore director David Klitz said.

They have old and new appliance, tiles, artwork, you name it and they’ve probably got it.

“And just the wide variety of items that come down here. Anything from furniture and home décor items,” Klitz said.

So far, money from sales this year alone, have funded 4 and a half homes in the Heartland.

“It’s a great time for people to come down here,” Klitz said.

He says now more than ever, college students are coming in to find ways to liven up their living space.

“People are really really creative and they see something and they really run with it,” Klitz said.

“And everything that you get here, gives back to habitat for humanity so it’s a win win,” Duce said.

A win for volunteers, college students and Habitat for Humanity.

Restore is open to the public Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. They are closed on Sundays. You can also drop off donations at their location at 1003 South 24th street.

via Habitat’s ReStore Offers New Options For Dorm Decor.

Building awareness and a cabin – Regina, Canada

Take a stack of old pallets, the lids off some old car trunks and the plywood off old, worn-out signs and what have you got?

For most of us, it’s a big pile of garbage.

But for a group of inspired builders and Tyler and Parise McMillan of Weyburn, it’s a home away from home.

Looking to build a cabin this summer, the McMillans looked to Waalnut Construction to see what could be done.

That got owner Eric Penner de Waal thinking about how to build on the cheap and in the most environmentally friendly way possible. He teamed with Regina’s Habitat for Humanity ReStore and Robinson Residential Design Inc. to come up with a plan to build the cabin entirely out of recycled materials.

So over a three-day build which ended Sunday at the ReStore, those pallets became the exterior siding of the cabin. The trunk lids from a Honda Civic, a Ford Mustang and a Chevy Nova? Window awnings. And the old signs are the sheeting that surrounds the wooden frame.

All told, building the small, loft-style cabin with two bedrooms will cost less than $30,000 (thanks in part to plenty of donated labour).

The McMillans weren’t to arrive in Regina until Sunday night to get their first look, but even before then Tyler knew – at the very least – they’d have a conversation piece on their hands.

“Once you step past thinking of them as pallets and start thinking of them as building materials, it changes and you don’t feel all that uncomfortable,” Tyler said, noting the couple’s five-yearold son Calder is “pretty fired up” about the loft.

“As long as you’re comfortable with the guy doing the work, it’s not too much of a stretch for us to think wood pallets can be used as an exterior on a cabin.

“(The trunk lids) were a total shock and I have no idea what those are going to be like, but you have to have a little fun with it.”

For Penner de Waal, a regular customer at the ReStore, the project became less about money (his company is making no profit) as much as it was about building awareness for the Habitat for Humanity store. Used and new materials are donated to the store and sold by Habitat to raise funds for its other endeavours.

“We want to show everyone in the city that this is what you can do with that stuff we’re throwing in the big hill northeast of town,” said Penner de Waal, referring to the city garbage dump.

All of the windows in the cabin were donated, the flooring is multi-coloured as it is made of a range of hardwood project leftovers and the flooring underlay, while a new product, is made of recycled materials.

“Having to source all the material was a challenge,” said Penner de Waal.

“The stuff that people are throwing out (is surprising). We’ve got a pallet of shingles – enough to do a whole roof – and RoofMart can’t sell broken bundles that are weird colours to clients. So they have all these saved up in the yard and what do you do with them? They usually end up in the dump.”

While the McMillans are paying for the materials that are coming out of the ReStore, the ReHouse project, as it has come to be known, wasn’t about money for Habitat for Humanity, either.

“It wasn’t a project about the money; it was about awareness,” said Habitat volunteer co-ordinator Cindy Covey. “Some people know about it, some people don’t, which is sad because some of the product is unbelievable. You can get 80-per-cent discounts on some things.

“When we were at our old store we had that ‘Garagesale perception’ but as we’ve moved here, we’ve been trying to changes people’s perspectives. A lot of it is brand-new product when in the past it wasn’t.”

The cabin has a narrow design so it can be easily loaded on a flatbed truck and taken down the highway to its permanent location at White Bear Lake.

“If you’re willing to let them try a bunch of things and step outside what the normal building materials might be and at the same time feel like the skeleton of the building can be recycled too and be comfortable with that . we were convinced,” said Tyler.

© Copyright (c) The Regina Leader-Post

via Building awareness and a cabin.

Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World


Inspired by the cooper tradition of barrel making, an old whiskey shop in London’s Covent Garden has been given a new life that pays tribute to the sauce. Redesigned by Anonymous Artists, the whiskey shop was transformed into a cozy bar, using only recycled materials. Donated by the Balvenie Distillery in Dufftown, Scotland, the team used 3,500 recycled slats of packing wood and 50 barrels to outfit the shop’s interior.

Read more here

via Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World.

It ain’t easy building a green kitchen – Lifestyle – Style – Food and Wine – The Canberra Times

Gino Monteleone from Select Custom Kitchens in his Hall workshop. Photo: Andrew Sheargold

Gino Monteleone from Select Custom Kitchens in his Hall workshop. Photo: Andrew Sheargold

Building an environmentally friendly kitchen takes research and persistence.

So, let’s cut to the chase. What exactly is a sustainable kitchen? The short answer is, not necessarily a brand new one. In fact, the less material that’s ripped out during renovations and sent to landfill, the higher the overall sustainability score.

But if those old chipboard cabinet carcasses must go the toss, a new sustainable kitchen can be any style – minimalist modern, faux Provencal, Shaker-inspired, Aussie recycled retro, Nimbin natural, farmhouse rustic or boldly quirky with a splash of Frida Kahlo colour. But whatever the final design, it definitely won’t be a spotlit culinary power stadium with a massive stove the size of a small aircraft carrier and energy bill to match.

A green kitchen has a conscience. Everything should be able to be recycled at the end of its useful life.

There’ll be no toxic glues or surface sealants, stove and lighting will be energy-efficient, and the design will reflect practical, everyday needs.

Details in Rosslyn Beeby's kitchen built from sustainable materials - recycled blackbutt for the benchtops, with Osmo oil, and plantation hoop pine for the cabinets.

Details in Rosslyn Beeby’s kitchen built from sustainable materials – recycled blackbutt for the benchtops, with Osmo oil, and plantation hoop pine for the cabinets.


As Grand Designs host Kevin McCloud remarked in a recent episode broadcast on ABC television, building or renovating ‘‘to a philosophy’’ is a difficult task. It means lots of research – months of it – and a determination to ruthlessly probe the validity of vague claims that building products are green, eco-certified or possess multi-starred green energy ratings. It can be discouraging, even humiliating when salesfolk scoff at questions about recycling or waste production involved in manufacture.

Stick to your principles, and use the internet to check out green bona fides. A recent British survey found 50 per cent of environmental marketing claims about ‘‘green attributes’’ were misleading. The survey, by Cambridge Consultants, says a product’s ‘‘life-cycle analysis’’ is the only way to assess sustainability – this includes mining, logging, processing, waste management, transport and potential reuse. The triple bottom line is impact on resources, ecosystems and human health. How much greenhouse gas is produced during manufacture? Are there respiratory risks to workers?

via It ain’t easy building a green kitchen – Lifestyle – Style – Food and Wine – The Canberra Times.

Recycling+Building Materials – International Business Times

In today’s world “going green” has become a top priority in our society, and sustainable buildings and design are at the forefront of this green revolution. While many designers are focusing on passive and active energy systems, the reuse of recycled materials is beginning to stand out as an innovative, highly effective, and artistic expression of sustainable design. Reusing materials from existing on site and nearby site elements such as trees, structures, and paving is becoming a trend in the built environment, however more unorthodox materials such as soda cans and tires are being discovered as recyclable building materials. Materials and projects featured after the break.

Most common building materials today have recyclable alternatives. Concrete, metals, glass, brick and plastics can all be produced with some form of the previously used material, and this process of production lowers the energy requirement and emissions by up to ninety percent in most cases. Studio Gang Architects’ SOS Children’s Villages Lavezzorio Community Center utilized the ability to use left over concrete aggregate from construction sites in the surrounding Chicago area. The project features these different types of aggregate in an artistic expression of how and when the concrete was poured during construction.

Another popular trend regarding recycled building materials is the use of site provided materials. As environmental designers, we continually replace natural landscapes with our own built environment, and today our built environment is embellishing the natural environment in a responsible (while still aesthetic) manner. Projects such as the Ann Arbor District Library by inFORM Studio and the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation Synagogue by Ross Barney Architects are reaping the harvest of their sites. The architects at inFORM researched the site for the Ann Arbor Library to find that ash trees from the surrounding forest were being destroyed by insects and could be salvaged into various surfaces within the building. Ross Barney Architects responded to the more urban site of the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation Synagogue with a similar tactic by repurposing demolished trees into exterior sheathing, torn up paving and pre-existing structure into gabion walls, and even reusing part of the existing building foundation.

When a site has little to give, designers have begun to search within other demolished environments. Juan Luis Martínez Nahuel has found new uses for building elements from other architectural projects in his Recycled Materials Cottage in Chile. The design revolved around the available materials from demolished buildings including glazing from a previous patio as the main façade; eucalyptus and parquet floors as the primary surface covering; and steel and laminated beams from an exhibit as the main structure for the house.

While these methods of reused building materials have become popular in sustainable, contemporary architecture, other designers are experimenting with more unorthodox materials. Archi Union Architects Inc. have developed a wall system that contains a grid of empty soda cans in their mixed-use project,Can Cube. The can filled façade is even adjustable for daylighting by occupants.

Alonso de Garay Architects also discovered a new use for an uncommon object in the building system of their Recycled Building in Mexico City. A series of hanging car tires are constructed to possess and grow traditional species of Mexican plants. While creating a sustainable green wall system, the tires also define exterior space within the complex.

As the process of recycling materials continues to increase as a fashionable and sustainable statement in the architectural world, designers are proposing groundbreaking and futuristic methods that push the boundaries of how we think and build. NL Architects submitted an idea for The Silo Competition that transformed the structure of an old sewage treatment silo into a rock climbing facility and mixed-use residential and commercial spaces. This design addresses the structure and form as a reusable material able to contain an extremely efficient program.

Architects: Studio Gang ArchitectsinFORM StudioRoss Barney ArchitectsAlonso de Garay ArchitectsNL Architects
Photographs:  Paula BaileySteve HallJustin Machonachie, Juan Luis Martinez Nahuel, Sheng Zhonghai, Jimena Carranza, NL Architects


via Recycling+Building Materials – International Business Times.

Reuse Alliance Expands Board — NEW YORK, Aug. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ —

Two Reuse Leaders Extend Commitment to Sustainability, Join National Reuse Nonprofit

NEW YORK, Aug. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Michael Meyer of Goodwill Industries International and Nathan Benjamin of PlanetReuse and PlanetRestore are furthering their commitment to the reuse movement by joining the Board of Reuse Alliance — a national nonprofit working to increase awareness of reuse by educating the public about its social, environmental and economic benefits.

Michael Meyer is Vice President of Business Development and Strategic Sourcing for Goodwill Industries International Inc., which provides services to 165 independent, community-based Goodwill® agencies. Meyer’s work focuses on creating business relationships that support four key areas of the Goodwill social enterprise: leveraging buying opportunities through strategic sourcing; contract opportunities for the employment of those served by Goodwill; Goodwill’s retail business, through the acquisition of goods and services for its more than 2,500 store locations, and business models for reuse, repurpose, landfill diversion and sustainable consumption for the billions of pounds of donations that enter our donation stream. “Reuse Alliance establishes another platform through which organizations and consumers can engage and participate in meaningful reuse/repurpose activities that directly impact the very communities in which they live and do business. I am pleased to have been appointed to serve on its board and am looking forward to supporting the strategic direction of the Reuse Alliance,” said Meyer.

Nathan Benjamin (LEED AP) is the Principal and Founder of PlanetReuse and PlanetRestore. PlanetReuse is a reclaimed construction material brokerage and consulting firm with national reach, to help commercial designers and architects incorporate reclaimed building materials into new projects. PlanetRestore serves the residential construction market by offering reuse centers (e.g. Habitat for Humanity ReStores) throughout North America, technology and services to instantly post reclaimed building materials to the web, sell more materials, faster by dramatically increasing inventory exposure and simplifying point-of-sale. A staunch believer in the necessity and value of sustainable design and construction, Benjamin created these companies to take that ideal a step further. PlanetReuse and PlanetRestore are predicated on a simple but revolutionary idea: make it easy for people to use reclaimed materials and they’ll do more of it, keeping those materials out of landfills. He holds an architectural engineering degree and has been a fixture in the construction industry for more than a decade, focusing on sustainable and LEED-certified projects. He has presented on the topic of reclaimed materials at industry conferences nationwide, and is also well known for his passion for sustainability, the arts and community involvement. “Reuse Alliance is a remarkable organization that provides a great way to bring together local, regional, and national communities to raise awareness and create partnerships around reuse. I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with the Board to advance the critical work that has been accomplished in its initial years,” said Benjamin.

As Reuse Alliance board members, Meyer and Benjamin will support a national movement to increase public awareness and access to innovative reuse and waste prevention services. Rounding out the board of directors is Ann Woodward, The Scrap Exchange; Harriet Taub, Materials for Arts; Joe Connell, Portland Metro Habitat for Humanity ReStores; Lorenz Schilling, Deconstruction and Reuse Network; Mary Ann Remolador, Reuse Marketplace; MaryEllen Etienne, Reuse Alliance; and Stefanie Feldman, Waste Management. “I look forward to working with such a knowledgeable and enthusiastic team that shares a common commitment and passion to promote the triple bottom line benefits of reuse,” stated MaryEllen Etienne, Executive Director of the Reuse Alliance.

via Reuse Alliance Expands Board — NEW YORK, Aug. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ —.

Reclaimed lumber adds history to new home – Canada

Wide boards of reclaimed wood from the Canadian Heritage Timber Co. provide a warm base for this sunlit kitchen.

Wide boards of reclaimed wood from the Canadian Heritage Timber Co. provide a warm base for this sunlit kitchen.

Photograph by: Handout, Vancouver Sun

EDMONTON – Dear Leanne: We are planning to build a second home in Canmore and would love to use reclaimed lumber for the floors. Do you have any comments on this product and where to get it?

We have talked to a few flooring companies and have not received positive comments on the product.

A: Reclaimed wood is more than flooring, in my view; it is an art form that pays homage to our heritage. Reclaiming wood refers to salvaging the wooden remains of deconstruction sites such as historical homes, old buildings, mills, warehouse or barns.

The wood that is reclaimed holds the story of the building it had originally supported. It reflects a place in time and honours the craftsmanship involved in the original construction.

Another major interest people have in using reclaimed lumber is the eco-friendly nature of this resource. There are a few companies, with the closest Canadian companies being in British Columbia, that take great pride in restoring previously used lumber for various applications.

During the salvaging and restoration process, the lumber is categorized into suitability for interior flooring, decking, beams, mantles, stair rungs or furniture. In addition to determining structural integrity, the process is quite elaborate involving hand-grading each plank, sizing for both random and custom lengths and sanding to bring out the natural beauty each plank possesses. See a slide video at

There is a great deal of labour involved to get the wood from its original state to one that can be reused in homes today. It is no surprise that this product also costs more than the prefabricated wood floors that are a beautiful and readily available alternative.

One video I suggest you take a look at is offered by another B.C. company, Second Wind Timber. This video shows the splendour and versatility of reclaimed wood as an Alberta client takes you on a tour of her beautiful home overlooking Shuswap Lake.

I suggest you contact the companies that process these products directly to gain a greater understanding of the specific availability, limitations and costs involved. They can also give you names of clients that have used their products to get a truly unbiased view of choosing reclaimed wood.

Dear Leanne: I would like to add a solarium on to my home and wondered if you could tell me how to make sure it is energy efficient.

A: Adding a solarium or sunroom onto your existing house is a great idea. Planning is the key to longterm enjoyment. When it comes to building onto your home I always recommend you seek the advice of a professional who has expertise the in the area you require — and a client list you can call as a reference check.

There are a few steps you need to consider regardless of who will build the solarium.

Step 1: Determine how you want to use this room. Is it intended to grow plants, be used as a sitting room, a kitchen nook, house a hot tub or increase your current floor space?

Step 2: Consult with a contractor and designer if you are intending to construct this from scratch. This expertise will ensure you have adequate foundations, electrical/ plumbing, insulation, ventilation (important for room temperature as well as moisture control), window construction and security. If you currently have a security provider, ensure you inform them of this new project as it should be protected as well.

You may have decided to use a prefabricated room addition. See your yellow page listings or Google local solarium manufacturers.

Step 3: Ensure you have all permits in place for this construction. An experienced contractor can guide you effortlessly through this process.

Step 4: Plan a product list that will ensure the maximum effectiveness regarding energy efficiency. With glass being the predominant building material used in this structure you can understand why this room will not be the most energy-efficient room in your home.

There are a few things you can do to ensure the solarium is cool in the heat of the summer and yet warm in the winter without taxing your energy bill. Many all-year-round prefabricated solariums offer state-of-the-art window construction to improve temperature fluctuations during seasonal extremes.

If you are building yourself, ensure you use high quality windows. This is the most critical building product for reducing energy losses.

Other considerations include incorporating a stone floor to absorb heat and window treatments that can allow you to control the sun and heat throughout the day, while increasing your privacy at night.

An electric ceiling fan will also aid in moving air, and although does not have the same results as air conditioning, it is more energy efficient.

Leanne Brownoff is an Edmonton interior design consultant who welcomes your questions at Answers will be featured in her column as high volumes prevent individual e-mail responses. Also follow Leanne at

© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal

via Reclaimed lumber adds history to new home.

Give building materials another go – Oregon

Christa Summers prices items while working at the Albany Habitat ReStore. The ReStores offer new life to previously used materials, a growing trend. (David Patton/Democrat-Herald)

Old blue jeans. Wine-stained barrels. Aged, weathered boards.

Most people would see these things and toss them in the trash. But a growing number of builders, artisans and homeowners are looking at them and seeing not an ending, but a beginning.

As reclaimed and recycled building materials grow in popularity, more and more old components are being saved from eternity in a landfill and given new life in someone else’s home.

“It’s about the lifestyle,” said Ben Metzger, owner of Metzger Green Build, a Corvallis construction company that has worked extensively with recycled and reclaimed materials. “It’s not just that you’re not using a new thing. It’s about saving an old thing from death and bringing it back to life.”

Anyone who has walked by a work site knows that construction generates waste: a Dumpster full of wood scraps and carpet pieces is a normal sight. And if an old structure has to be torn down before a new one is built, even more trash is generated. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, building construction generates 170 million tons of waste annually – almost 60 percent of the nation’s nonindustrial solid waste.

Over the past decade, however, more and more builders and homeowners are finding ways to take what would be trash and turn it into treasure.

‘Re-building’ options

Mike Baylor said that from doors to windows to light fixtures, Habitat for Humanity ReStores see thousands of items come through their doors rather than into landfills every year. Across the nation, Habitat ReStores and other re-building centers are part of a growing network of places where contractors can drop off their leftovers, and bargain hunters can come search for secondhand building materials.

“You see a lot of fun stuff come and go,” Baylor said.

The EPA estimates that more than 1,200 re-building stores are in operation nationwide. The Albany ReStore celebrated its 10th year in business in March. Baylor said the Albany store alone has saved more than a million pounds of building material from the landfill.

Metzger said that consumers in the environmentally conscious Pacific Northwest are especially receptive to the idea of using reclaimed and recycled materials. He’s been in business five years and in the construction industry for 15 years, and he said he’s seen a continued growth in the use of reclaimed and recycled materials.

Metzger said that he often looks for reusable pieces on the job. For instance, paperstone, a Corian-like solid surface counter top material, can only be sold by the piece, and he often sees excess chunks of it.

“The leftover piece from one person’s kitchen counter might become someone else’s small bathroom vanity,” he said.


Of course, it’s not always that easy.

“The trouble is warehousing. You can’t necessarily just take it from one job to another. You have to have a place to keep it, and that’s the challenge, getting it from point A to point B,” he said.

What’s more, it takes time to pick through old structures in a process called deconstruction – more time and manpower than it does to bring in heavy machinery and smash it to bits.

“There is an embodied energy involved in getting it back in as a second or third life,” Metzger said.

But when it does happen, the traces of those previous lives can add value to the reclaimed product.

Chris Vitello, owner of the EarthSmart store in Corvallis, sells many items that used to be something else, from insulation made of shredded blue jeans to furniture made of old barn wood. He said that some customers come in looking for reclaimed and recycled materials mainly for environmental reasons, while others want something more.

For instance, the furniture made from old barn wood – it’s not just any barn wood, but wood from a barn in Brownsville, a barn that, legend has it, once contained buried treasure. You can still see the original sawmill marks on the boards that make up the chairs.

“It’s a local story,” he said. “There’s a connection to the product. And when you tell people about the products, they just love the story.”

Metzger said that materials can come from anywhere – flooring from old gymnasiums, wood from sunken bays in the Philippines, barrels from Jack Daniels distilleries in Kentucky. “When you use something like that, it becomes this huge conversation piece,” he said.

He’s currently working on making furniture out of old wine and whisky barrels. “They’re still perfectly great pieces of wood,” he said. “The smell is almost overwhelming, and it’s this deep wine purple. It’s a very tactile experience to work with.”

Read the rest of the article here

via Give building materials another go.

India’s ‘recycled’ school teaches environmental lessons – The Times of India


Almost every part of the school premises is made out of recycled material, including roofs made out of old hoardings, walls built from plastic bottles and hand-stitched uniforms made out of eco-friendly ‘khadi’, or handspun, cloth.

“It isn’t a marketing thing, it’s what we believe and how we live,” says Madhavi Kapur, who started the school in 2008 with just four students. The school now has more than 140 students studying up to grade five.

“We didn’t have too much money to begin with, and one of my (former) students, who is an architect came up with the idea of using recycled materials to build the school on a piece of land leased to me by my brother,” she said.

via India’s ‘recycled’ school teaches environmental lessons – The Times of India.

Six residents get certificates in Hamden in deconstructing old buildings – Life – Post-Chronicle

HAMDEN — After nine weeks of training, six formerly unemployed adults are on their way to making a new livelihood with a new way of doing business.

It’s called deconstruction, and the concept is carefully to take down, not tear down, buildings so that materials can be saved and reused.


The Workforce Alliance provided a $49,500 grant that paid for tuition and materials to Gateway, and DeRisi taught the class once a week at the M.L. Keefe Community Center.

McCullough and Blakeslee said they were in the construction field previously.

“I was out of work for 2½ years. I really enjoyed it,” McCullough said of learning the new skill. “You can save 95 percent of the materials, and they’re reusable.”

See video here


via Six residents get certificates in Hamden in deconstructing old buildings – Life – Post-Chronicle.

How Do I Choose the Best Recycled Building Materials?

Recycled building materials can cut down on the environmental impact of construction projects when they are chosen wisely, with an awareness of the distance traveled, resource use involved in their production, and composition. Many large communities have a facility or facilities that handle reclaimed and recycled materials, and it may also be possible to go directly through a contractor for some products. Consumers who want to use recycled building materials should be aware of the risk of greenwashing, where companies make environmental claims that are not actually backed by the products they produce.

It is important to distinguish between recycled and reclaimed or salvaged materials. Recycled building materials are made with some percentage of post-consumer content and can include things like glass, engineered wood products, ceramics, and so forth. Reclaimed and salvaged materials are used materials that are removed during demolition and other activities, cleaned up, and sold for reuse. It is possible to use a mixture of recycled and reclaimed materials, depending on the need.

via How Do I Choose the Best Recycled Building Materials?.

Shopping | Personalize your wedding with recycled materials at The RE Store’s Salvage Bride workshop | NWsource


The second annual Salvage Bride workshop is a two-hour class designed to inspire creative ways to make a wedding distinctive and personal with recycled materials.

Rachel Levien, former manager of The RE Store, dreamed up the original workshop last year when she and then-fiancé Ben began planning their own wedding. “I started seeing everything around me in terms of potential ‘wedding value’,” she recalls.

Since she spent her workdays among the recycled building materials for sale at The RE Store, “I guess it’s only natural that I started fixating on things like vintage plumbing, chandelier crystals, skeleton keys and old doors,” she says.


via Shopping | Personalize your wedding with recycled materials at The RE Store’s Salvage Bride workshop | NWsource.

NASA Sustainability Base opens


NASA’s Sustainability Base, a US $20 million unique building that incorporates technology used by astronauts, is expected to open in mid July in the Silicon Valley of California. NASA set out to build the federal government’s most sustainable building. It will generate more electricity than it consumes, and each part of the building performs an environmental function. Local building materials were used to help reduce emissions from transportation, and construction waste was recycled.

The building uses recycled glass, carpeting and furniture. The oak flooring was salvaged from a demolished wind tunnel facility.

via NASA Sustainability Base opens.

Reclaiming Design –


Watch the video here

This event at HauteGREEN in New York was a big success, thanks to the thought-provoking design and insightful discussion from Dwell Editor-in-Chief Sam Grawe and designers Carlos Salgado of Scrapile, Tejo Remy of Droog fame, and Matt Gagnon. The conversation touched on a variety of issues surrounding the concepts and processes behind using reclaimed materials in different scales of design, and its implications for both environmental sustainability as well as more conceptual and cultural themes.

via Reclaiming Design – ! Lifeguard Chair from Recycled Lumber

Lifeguard Chair from Recycled Lumber

The inspiration for this chair came from seeing one on a pier at Lake Tahoe. It’s big – seating two pretty comfortably – and tall, affording a nice view along with protection from cannonballs and wet dogs.

This one is made from lumber recycled from a redwood deck we ripped out. The weathering, stains and screw holes all add to character of the chair even after rigorous sanding on the seat, footrest, arms and back. With ‘free’ lumber, the cost for this chair was two boxes of screws, some glue and sand paper. (And in my case, a belt sander – but that’s an investment, right?)

via Lifeguard Chair from Recycled Lumber.

Raumlabor’s ‘Big Crunch’ is an Incredible Building Made from Discarded Materials | Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World

“The Big Crunch” by Raumlabor is a recycled building made from a heap of discarded objects. The mound of materials is condensed in a theater plaza from all over the area, seemingly to move like a small wave cresting on the Georg-Büchner-Platz grounds in Darmstadt, Germany. Made from cast away household materials ranging from fridges to windows, furniture, and doors, the installation is a stormy, absurdist habitation.

via Raumlabor’s ‘Big Crunch’ is an Incredible Building Made from Discarded Materials | Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World.

Boeing Plant Camouflaged Beneath a Fake Neighborhood Tapped as Salvaged Lumber Source | Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World

Boeing Plant 2, eco lumber, Duluth Timber Company, FSC certified wood beams, Seattle deconstruct, green building, salvaged lumber yard, deconstruction, green lumber, green materials, reclaimed lumber, salvaged lumber

South of downtown Seattle is an old Boeing airplane assembly plant that produced nearly 7000 Flying Fortresses while hidden beneath a roof with a fake suburban neighborhood on top. The site is now the source for a huge lumber salvage operation – Duluth Timber Company is now deconstructing the 1.7 million square foot facility and reclaiming the lumber for real homes. The beauty of reclaimed lumber is not just in its quality and size but in its history – and the 1/4 million board feet that will come out of this deconstruction has a lot of tales to tell.

via Green design will save the world | Inhabitat – Part 2.

Reclaimed Wood Hostel Bridge Awaits The Return Of the Emscher River In Germany | Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World

Ten years from now the Emscher River in Germany, currently a canal between two dykes, will be returned to its natural state as a river. In celebration of the renaturification, the Dutch art group Observatorium built a habitable wooden bridge from reclaimed timbers to span the space where the river will eventually flow again. For the summer of 2010, Warten auf den Fluss was open to visitors and overnight guests so they could explore the area and experience the land that would soon be taken over by the river.


via Reclaimed Wood Hostel Bridge Awaits The Return Of the Emscher River In Germany | Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World.

Centennial Woods Has Reclaimed and Repurposed Over 5 Million Feet of Fence | Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World

centennial woods, reclaimed fences, reclaimed materials, recycled materials, snow fence, green building, green materials, green products, green design, eco design, sustainable design, eco products, recycled products

Centennial Woods reclaims wood from snow fences across Wyoming and sells the sustainable harvested wood for both interior and exterior applications. The wood is a stunning mixture of grays and browns in unique grain patterns that are characteristic of the windblown state of Wyoming. The company has repurposed more than 5 million feet of snow fence, saving snow fence owners more than $9 million and avoiding more than 9,000 tons of CO2 emissions. Unlike other reclaimed woods, Centennial Woods’ have never been painted or chemically treated, and are completely free of lead and other hazardous treatments common in older barns and other structures.

via Centennial Woods Has Reclaimed and Repurposed Over 5 Million Feet of Fence | Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World.

Chez Chuichui: The coolest upcycled doghouse in Shanghai | MNN – Mother Nature Network

ChuiChui's upcycled refrigerator doghouse

Most recently, the Y-town team’s upcycled home appliance prowess took a turn for the heartwarmingly cute when one of the designers transformed an old Bosch refrigerator turned on its side into a spacious shelter for an adorable stray pup named Chuichui. Chuichui’s new digs come with a carpeted entrance/exit ramp, a slanted roof, and distinct living areas including a roomy “bedroom” that the Y-town designers outfitted with a plush pooch cushion.

via Chez Chuichui: The coolest upcycled doghouse in Shanghai | MNN – Mother Nature Network.

Outsider Architecture: 1 Man + 30 Years + 20,000 Sq Ft = | Designs & Ideas on Dornob

Slated for forced demolition, can the colossal  Phonehenge West yet be saved?

Marvel at the work that goes into such decade-spanning, single-person construction projects, the authorities are not always as impressed – one man may learn this lesson the hard way.

This specific dilemma raises a more timeless question, however, for historic preservation: at what point does personal or public interest play a valid role in creating exceptions to rules? One man’s scrap heap is another man’s castle of trash, after all – and asking someone to demolish their abode is a rather big deal. It would be unfair to call the work a pile of unsafe junk – much of it is traditionally-framed and solidly-built, even if it does not conform to traditional typological norms.

via Outsider Architecture: 1 Man + 30 Years + 20,000 Sq Ft = | Designs & Ideas on Dornob.

Smile Stools Take on a Cheery Form with Eco-friendly Recycled Wood | Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World


zero waste,social design,Recycling / Compost,Recycled Materials,Green Resources,Green Products,green furniture,indonesian design,smile stool,recycled wood,furniture industry,chinese industry,coconut oil

Designed by Studio Hindia, the Smile Stool is made from scrap wood left over from local Balinese furniture maker studios and finished with coconut oil. Standing happy and always smiling, this bent wood stool is in fact a comment on the sad situation of the declining Indonesian furniture industry.

via Smile Stools Take on a Cheery Form with Eco-friendly Recycled Wood | Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World.

Glass ‘Odyssey Lamp’ Gives Recycled Bottles a New Life | Inhabitat



"green furniture”, contemporary furniture, eco-friendly design, fire hydrant lamp, Furniture Fair, green design, green lamp, icff 2011, icff 2011 nyc, icff new york city, inhabitat icff, inhabitat icff reporting, International Contemporary Furniture Fair, Ismael Quintero, new york city furniture fair, nyc furniture fair, Odyssey Suspension Lamp, recycled lighting, sustainable lighting, bright ideas, bright ideas lighting competition

Shortly after 9/11, designer Ismael Quintero spotted a fire hydrant lid on the sidewalk that gave him the inspiration for this poetic Odyssey lamp. Made from recycled green beer bottles and embossed with the phrase “Nostri Lumen Est Una” which means “our light is one,” the lamp was designed to help people remember that tragic day while at the same time healing from it.


via Glass ‘Odyssey Lamp’ Gives Recycled Bottles a New Life | Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World.

Not just any old rubbish –

I love Salvo News!

London West, UK – Eat your heart out Albert Steptoe: architects and clients alike are seeking discarded materials for their buildings, driven by environmental concerns, the recession and the look of it. But it’s more than cosmetic: if you want to use recycled stuff in your project you’ll have to start thinking differently about design.

When Martin Pawley wrote Garbage Housing in 1975 he thought of using all sorts of consumer waste, from car tyres and body parts, the Heineken World Bottle which stacked as a brick and newsprint cores. But there’s an easier way: use waste from the construction industry.


via Not just any old rubbish –

Architect and Author Alejandro Bahamon – Inhabitat

Material reuse has been a wildly popular trend in sustainable architecture over the last decade. Using old materials and giving them a new life in a building not only keeps those materials from wasting away in a landfill, but also adds a considerable amount of character to the finished project. Architect Alejandro Bahamón and artist Maria Camila Sanjinés were fascinated by the use of waste in architecture and decided to document 33 projects from around the world that extensively utilize a wasted material in their new book, REMATERIAL From Waste to Architecture. We had a chance to catch up with Alejandro Bahamón about his latest work — read on for our exclusive interview!

via INTERVIEW: Architect and Author Alejandro Bahamon on ‘REMATERIAL From Waste to Architecture’ Rematerial Book Review – Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World.

BottomFeeder and Garbage Fish

I just finished reading BottomFeeder: How to eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood by Taras Grescoe.  I fancy myself well informed when it comes to oceanic issues and the health of the world’s oceans (focusing mostly on garbage gyres).  But I was blown away by how much I didn’t know about the state of the world’s fish!  Environmental reporting literature usually sends me into a spiral of species-hatred (my own), depression and finally lingering guilt.  However, Grescoe has accomplished what other reporters have missed, which is to leave me feeling informed and eager to try out my newly uploaded knowledge about seafood.  For example, I will eat more sardines, anchovies, mackerel and smaller mid-level zone fish.  I will never touch another can of tuna, unless the world governments and fishing industry make some serious changes.  That is not to say that BottomFeeder isn’t a powerful book full of stories that will depress you about both fish and people.  But the information is balanced out by the notion that you can immediately address your impact – become a bottom feeder.

To celebrate my newly acquired knowledge, I present to you two artists work of garbage sculptures of fish, which I found on a great site called

yukari1 Rubbish fish art : Yodogawa Technique

yukari2 Rubbish fish art : Yodogawa Technique

yukari3 Rubbish fish art : Yodogawa Technique

Artists Hideaki Shibata and Kazuya Matsunaga came together in 2003 as Yodogawa Technique to create works from the rubbish and miscellaneous objects found along Osaka’s Yodogawa River. Working with discarded consumer goods and driftwood, the crafty duo made sculptural pieces that are like physical collages and that initially do not even appear as if they are made from garbage.

++ Yukari Art Contemporary

ReUse Haus, a miniature dwelling made with used materials, on display at AltBuild | L.A. at Home | Los Angeles Times


When it comes to green building, energy efficiency gets most of the attention. If reused building materials are discussed, it’s usually in context of de-construction, not re-construction using materials from demolished or remodeled homes.

The ReUse Haus on display at the AltBuild Expo running through Saturday in Santa Monica focuses on the reconstruction. The mini house, left, is meant to show that a recycled home “doesn’t have to look like a tree house,” said Ted Reiff, co-founder of the Oakland-based deconstruction firm the Reuse People.

via ReUse Haus, a miniature dwelling made with used materials, on display at AltBuild | L.A. at Home | Los Angeles Times.

T.O.M.T. Refitting the Planet

In the mail today I found The Other Man’s Treasures waiting for me.  T.O.M.T. is a studio located in New York.  Reuse inspiration never came in a cooler package!

T.O.M.T.™ (or The Other Man’s Treasures) is the best friend for trashed or forgotten objects and anything else you might throw away or overlook in your garages, pantries and other storage spaces.

Because of this orientation, T.O.M.T.™ has been referred to as a recycling company on occasion.

Well … we see ourselves as more than that, and something altogether different. Beyond bags of bottles and cans, beyond the corrugated cardboard boxes tied with string, beyond the papers and organic waste bins, lies a whole world of objects that are discarded with no regard. We find these objects, considered too “difficult” to recycle, all over this great city of Gotham. Our vigilante mission has been to recover and reassign the purpose of these objects. T.O.M.T.™ is our abandoned-object Batcave, and the endeavor of refitting the planet™ is already underway. The key to saving these forgotten objects is just keeping our eyes open and being open and ready to spot what we like to call “objects of desire” – old appliances, tires, whatever! We at T.O.M.T.™ like to think that we’re giving old junk and ordinary objects a new lease on life. In fact, after they’ve gotten the T.O.M.T.™ treatment, these objects take center stage as useful, beautiful, “high-end” furnishings. “It’s time for some of this stuff to live in the limelight!” says Trice. “No object has been neglected too long, been tossed too far or is too ordinary to be a star.” We don’t promise to know what to do with every misplaced object out there in the world, but we do believe there is some purpose to everything. Nothing is truly garbage. That’s fundamental to our philosophy. via About T.O.M.T..

T.O.M.T Refrigerator Door Dressing Mirror (one of my favorites!)