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Casa Verde: Deconstructing a House

DId you know that 20 million tons of material is dumped from the demolition of 245,000 houses in the U.S. alone each year? And that up to 85 percent of the average house can be recycled or reused?

A recent article in the New York Times showcased Washington resident Alison Keller's "deconstruction" of her home. Instead of bulldozing her 1,300-square-foot house, she hired a contractor who was willing to dismantle the home and then rebuild it using the same materials.

If you're planning on looking for some house materials for your renovation or rebuild, check to see if there's a Habitat for Humanity ReStore in your area. There are also other reuse stores across the U.S. and Canada, most run by nonprofit organizations. The stores sell everything from salvaged cherry hardwood floors to clawfoot bathtubs for 50 to 75 percent off what similar products would cost if purchased new.

Check back later this week for photos of my brother's house, which he built almost completely with reused materials.

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beingtazim beingtazim 8 years
I dream of being able to do this! it excites me to be able to have an old wood door, etc in my home! i do realise that these things are not always cheap but I think there are so many benefits when one uses reclaimed materials! can't wait to see your brother's house Casa!
beingtazim beingtazim 8 years
I dream of being able to do this! it excites me to be able to have an old wood door, etc in my home! i do realise that these things are not always cheap but I think there are so many benefits when one uses reclaimed materials!can't wait to see your brother's house Casa!
hihowareya hihowareya 8 years
There are SO MANY 'green' ways of building structures that it's insane. Some are very cost efficient while others are only for the rich or those with lucky connections. Just saying this last part since, for example, when we built our house, we cleared the land, and the trees that were cleared from the area were then turned into lumber that we were able to then use on our house. But to cure lumber is a laborious process, one which was not really financially worth it in the end for us (it would have just been more worth it for us to donate the wood). Also, architectural salvage stores can be very expensive, at least if you're looking for some more classy, antique-y type things like say Tiffany-type lamp fixtures or stained glass windows or special brass doors or I don't know. But, then again, you might be paying for the authenticity of the item, so that's where the bucks lie. And I'm just speaking from limited experience from the Burlington, Vermont area, so that can't be very representative at all :-P. Anyway, also, for our house, all our doors also were salvaged, but they all look nice and new and the same, at least I never noticed until I was told that they were all slightly different, and now I do notice that there are slight differences in the patterns, but they're all finished the same way so it's unrecognizable. Problem there though is that my mom went door happy and we have too many doors, and have had several sitting around downstairs, and have been having to just give them away now since we have no need for these extra doors. Our two bathroom sinks and toilet in the upstairs bathroom are also salvaged, and they look fine and dandy (they're not anything cool or classy looking unfortunately). But yeah, just saying that you can sometimes hit pay-dirt with getting some wicked good deals with salvaging architectural supplies, or you can be taken advantage of (either buying or if you're trying to sell something to the store, like my mom did with an old barber shop lamp).
hihowareya hihowareya 8 years
There are SO MANY 'green' ways of building structures that it's insane. Some are very cost efficient while others are only for the rich or those with lucky connections. Just saying this last part since, for example, when we built our house, we cleared the land, and the trees that were cleared from the area were then turned into lumber that we were able to then use on our house. But to cure lumber is a laborious process, one which was not really financially worth it in the end for us (it would have just been more worth it for us to donate the wood). Also, architectural salvage stores can be very expensive, at least if you're looking for some more classy, antique-y type things like say Tiffany-type lamp fixtures or stained glass windows or special brass doors or I don't know. But, then again, you might be paying for the authenticity of the item, so that's where the bucks lie. And I'm just speaking from limited experience from the Burlington, Vermont area, so that can't be very representative at all :-P.Anyway, also, for our house, all our doors also were salvaged, but they all look nice and new and the same, at least I never noticed until I was told that they were all slightly different, and now I do notice that there are slight differences in the patterns, but they're all finished the same way so it's unrecognizable. Problem there though is that my mom went door happy and we have too many doors, and have had several sitting around downstairs, and have been having to just give them away now since we have no need for these extra doors. Our two bathroom sinks and toilet in the upstairs bathroom are also salvaged, and they look fine and dandy (they're not anything cool or classy looking unfortunately).But yeah, just saying that you can sometimes hit pay-dirt with getting some wicked good deals with salvaging architectural supplies, or you can be taken advantage of (either buying or if you're trying to sell something to the store, like my mom did with an old barber shop lamp).
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 8 years
Wow, that's a lot of waste that could definalty be used for making somethign else! Remember: reduce, reuse, recycle ;)
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