Using recycled and reclaimed materials when building homes and other structures is slowly, but surely catching on. One recent example of just how great such an endeavor can prove is the home in Mumbai, India, which was designed by the firm S+PS Architects. To construct this home they used reclaimed doors, windows and even pipes, which they salvaged from several demolition sites in the area
The home is located on a hill and they left the traditional style of it pretty much intact. The whole home is built around a central courtyard, which offers great natural ventilation and light, as well as privacy for the inhabitants. The facades of the living and dining area were made from salvaged materials. Most of the repurposed windows used in this area of the home are fully operable, so they can let cool air into the home at need. They also reused old fabrics to upholster furniture, while the flooring is also recycled from salvaged Burmese teak materials.
The walls of the central courtyard are finished with tile samples, or more precisely the leftover stone pieces, which they collected from a local stonecutter’s yard. The metal pipes used in this area are also repurposed, and they serve the function of conducting the water to a rock garden lining the wall. They were made to resemble bamboo stalks, which is a nice touch.
The columns of the roof were repurposed from a 100-year-old home, which was demolished nearby. They also installed a solar power array on the roof which greatly offsets the home’s electric bills.
Using all these repurposed and recycled materials allowed for a cost-effective renovation in this case, but it also went a step further in proving that using such materials doesn’t necessarily take away from the aesthetics of a home. Quite the contrary, this home is modern design at it’s best and a great example of what can be done using reclaimed materials.
Living in a mobile home is a dream for many, and there are many ways of living that dream. Filmmaker Felix Starck and musician Selima Taibi are a young German couple hailing from Berlin, and they recently transformed a yellow school bus into a cozy and quite comfortable home for themselves and their dog Rudi. They plan to live in it full time, while traveling from Alaska to South America.
They used a 39-foot long 1996 Thomas International school bus for the purpose, which they purchased online for $9,500. Once they had it, they moved to the US and began the conversion process, dubbing the entire project Expedition Happiness. It took them 12 weeks to create a home out of the bus. Since they had next to no prior construction experience, they got help from online forums and communities, as well as another couple from North Carolina who had also successfully converted a school bus into a home.
Apart from repurposing a school bus, they also used a number of other salvaged and repurposed materials, such as pallet wood. The interior is nicely spaced out, with a sizable sitting area and dining/work table at the front of the bus, behind the driver’s seat.
The kitchen is also quite large, and features an angled counter, stove, sink and a refrigerator. The cupboards offer plenty of storage space. They split the bathroom into two halves along the middle of the bus, which is quite an interesting solution. The toilet is located in one half, and the shower in the other. They tiled the latter with handmade tiles.
They built the bed themselves, and put large storage drawers underneath it. They also placed it right under the emergency escape hatch in the roof of the bus, which makes for a great skylight. The bus can be hooked up to the grid, but it also features a solar power array on the roof.
The couple has already started their journey and vlog about the experience regularly.
Tiny homes are sustainable to begin with, but when they are also made mostly using recycled materials they are pretty much perfect when it comes to eco-living. The home pictured above is exactly that. It was built in New Zealand by American expats Patrick and Cori and about 80% of the materials they used were recycled. It’s a mobile tiny house currently located near Christchurch.
The couple spent most of their time together traveling, so once they decided to settle down it made sense for them to do so in a very minimalist fashion, not unlike how one lives on the road. Patrick works in construction so he was able to salvage a lot of the building materials required to build their home from the sites he worked on.
Among such recycled and repurposed items are a repainted locker they use for storage, crates that they turned into an entertainment center, a cable spool that is now a shelf, a discarded suitcase they fashioned into a bathroom cabinet, and a foldaway dining table stored underneath the kitchen counter.
The home has metal siding, which is reminiscent of a shipping container home, though this is not what they used. A cleverly placed, large roof window lets in plenty of daylight. Heat is provided via a small wood-burning stove. Instead of a bedroom, they decided to place the main storage area into a lofted space. The bed, on the other hand, is hidden away under a raised platform in the main area of the house.
Their home is currently located on a friend’s plot of land and hooked up to his water line. But the couple are planning on making the home completely off-the-grid in the near future. They have already installed solar panels, and creating their own, DIY greywater filtration system, which is not quite enough to take care of all their water needs.
All told, they only spent $10,000 on building this home, which is quite a feat, and goes to show just how little it costs to build your own home when you repurpose, recycle and think outside the box.
Recycling is a must and finding new, and creative ways to do it is always welcome. One example of this is the Stool ZERO concept developed by the KaCaMa Design Lab of Hong Kong. It is a great example of how repurposing hard to recycle trash can lead to a beautiful piece of furniture, which anyone can put together.
Stool ZERO is a unique chair, which is made from discarded ventilator fans and scrap wire, two materials that can be easily found in landfills and local recycling centers worldwide. The fan cage is used as the base for the seat of this stool. The colorful plastic wire casings are then entwined together over this cage to create the finished stool. And even the copper from the wires, which is taken out prior to using the plastic wire casings to make the chair seat, is recycled or reused elsewhere.
The threads of plastic wire casings provide ample cushioning to the seat, though I suppose additional cushioning can also be made from repurposed materials, such as old clothes, discarded foam and more. The wooden legs on this example look brand new, but the wood that goes into making this stool is probably the easiest to repurpose, as it is a very abundant material.
This is definitely a very nice looking piece of furniture, and a great example of what can be done with repurposed materials. I’m also pretty sure this design could be upscaled to make dining room chairs and even sofas. It’s also a very unique stool, which does not in any way show that it was actually made from trashed materials.
Recycling old cars into something useful again requires some out of the box thinking, which is exactly what Holland-based design firm Superuse Studio did. They repurposed 350 disused car windshields (along with a lot of reclaimed wood) to create the interior for a shoe store in The Hague.
The windshields were used as shelves for displaying and storing the shoes and shoeboxes. The final result is a store, which seems to wrap around the customers, while also allowing plenty of light to enter the otherwise quite small area. The whole interior design is built around a central shoe fitting island, which is made from reclaimed wood. There are also a couple of ergonomic sofas with a footrest for trying on shoes with the aid of the store clerks.
They also included a conveyor belt, repurposed from a supermarket, which the customers can use to try on shoes, which is an ingenious design element even without it being made of recycled parts. The shelves surrounding the island were made of Audi100 windscreens and they serve the purpose of giving the fitting area a uniform look and feel. For consistency, even the front desk is constructed out of car windshields.
The whole thing is arranged into a circular pattern, which welcomes customers into this cocoon of shoes. Apart from the sofas, there are also plenty of footrests that can be used for trying on shoes. I suppose these could be made from repurposed car seats too, though I guess they didn’t want the interior to look too much like a car.
This store has been around for a while and I think it should serve as an inspiration for other stores or even homeowners. Using car windshields as shelves and tables could work in many homes.
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