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One Man's Trash is Another's Castle
Recycled homes made of everything from old planes and trains to junkyard scraps have turned junk into viable living spaces, using less natural resources than the traditional stick building method. The trend has also given homebuyers more choices than the more mundane styles of ranch, colonial or split level.
Found in all shapes and sizes, recycled homes can be affordable, pared-down, four-room tree houses to multi-million dollar custom pied-a-terres. The good news is that they are all made from repurposed scrap.
Consider these modern-day recycled homes:
- A three-story, 2,000-square-foot home made out of recycled shipping containers in the Hamptons. Called the Beach Box, all of the home's window openings, plumbing and electrical wiring were prefabricated in a warehouse, before the collection of containers were stacked onto a foundation by a 75-foot crane.
- Corrugated metal grain silos were recycled for an 1,800-square-foot house in Woodland, Utah. The silos were arranged by architects Gigaplex Design to allow the best view of the Provo River and the southern exposure to ensure passive solar heat gain during the winter.
- A house built almost entirely out of locally sourced scrap, using everything from old billboards to broken umbrellas, was the product of resourceful architects/recyclers in the Netherlands. Steel from the machinery of a nearby textile mill served as the home's framework. Its exterior is clad in weathered wooden planks, that were taken from 600 dismantled cable reels.
- A company called Phoenix Commotion has built a bunch of affordable homes in Huntsville, Texas, using 80 percent of their construction materials salvaged from other construction projects, taken from garbage piles, or found by the side of the road. Some of the roofs are actually tiled with old license plates. Owner Dan Phillips told the New York Times he wanted to build the recycled homes because he was disturbed that there was a lack of affordable housing, while there was plenty of building materials tossed into landfills.
The more recycled materials used, the more sustainable housing can become. Saving money, and sparing natural resources.