written by:
October 1, 2015
British writer Stewart Brand famously said each part of a building has a lifespan: its decays, degrades, or becomes unnecessary. He advocated designs that were simple and easy to modify; residents and architects could easily replace elements as they decayed or turned useless. Similarly, we can lessen our environmental impact by salvaging and re-using healthy materials from buildings that have failed.

When the plan to add a second story to a century-old Montreal house crumbled due to a weak foundation, architect Marc-André Plasse eked out another 500 square feet with a clever multilevel addition on one side. The architect designed the kitchen cabinetry, and used wood left over from the demo of the house’s exterior wall for the dining table. A piece by Nicolas Grenier hangs above a cabinet the residents found at a garage sale.

 

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Modern Seattle home with salvaged wood stairs

Melding corrugated metal with Douglas Fir wood, this sustainable home in Seattle brings nature inside while preserving a couple’s privacy. The architects divided the home into separate floors for sleeping, living, and working. Since the house is situated on a hill that slopes 20 feet from top to bottom, there are plenty of stairs. Those pictured above were crafted using wood salvaged from a 100-year-old bungalow that previously stood on the site. 

 

Courtesy of 
Mark Woods
Originally appeared in Seattle Home Carefully Blocks Out Neighbors, While Celebrating Natural Surroundings
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hardiepanel and charred wood exterior on compact cabin

On Puget Sound, activist and filmmaker Anna Hoover collaborated with Les Eerkes, a principal at Olson Kundig Architects, on a 693-square-foot studio in the woods. Using freecycled materials and a six-footed foundation to rein in construction costs, Hoover and Eerkes created a distinctive structure that treads lightly on the land.

The house features materials, cabinetry, and plants salvaged from homes slated to be demolished. Hoover and her friends completed much of that work on their own. "The process of reclaiming these plants and items and giving them a new life and home is fulfilling on many levels," Hoover says. "Easier on the pocketbook and the environment—and you receive the benefit of a good workout." The facade is clad in T1-11 plywood, which Hoover charred herself using a weed dragon torch. She painted the HardiePanel, too.

 

Originally appeared in An Eco-Friendly Compact Cabin in Washington
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Cruickshank Mount Pleasant House Kitchen and Dining Areas, Toronto

This former flower bulb warehouse became a bright home fit for large-scale gatherings. The kitchen also displays a reliance on natural materials and soft colors. For the wine storage area, Roundabout Studio used reclaimed wood from the original building. The new dining room table also utilizes repurposed studs salvaged from the building’s demolition. The kitchen stools are from Avenue Road, the dining room table is custom, and the pendant light is from Dark Tools. 

 

Courtesy of 
Roundabout Studio
Originally appeared in Flower Bulb Factory Transformed Into Gorgeous Home
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Juliette aux Combles, Montreal

Removing a sloping ceiling adds five feet of headroom to this brightened live-work space. The renovated attic is oriented around a central volume that houses the bathroom. The wooden shelves were fashioned from hemlock planks that were salvaged during the demolition of the roof structure.

 

Photo by 
Originally appeared in A Transformative Attic Renovation in Montreal
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This wood and concrete home in Houston features a number of eco-friendly elements; the metal used for the railing and wood for the stair treads in the hall were saved from destruction and reused.

 

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Houston, We've Solved a Problem
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parisien raymond residence kitchen dining room

When the plan to add a second story to a century-old Montreal house crumbled due to a weak foundation, architect Marc-André Plasse eked out another 500 square feet with a clever multilevel addition on one side. The architect designed the kitchen cabinetry, and used wood left over from the demo of the house’s exterior wall for the dining table. A piece by Nicolas Grenier hangs above a cabinet the residents found at a garage sale.

 

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