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Building with Reclaimed Materials—Get Inspired!

Building with Reclaimed Materials—Get Inspired!

Lately, I’ve come across several inspirational stories of people building homes or other structures with reclaimed materials—materials that would have otherwise been hauled away to a landfill.

Some common materials include wood from old barns that were being torn down, wooden beams, old sinks or bathroom fixtures, bathtubs, windows, bricks, and rock or cement pieces. When building with such materials, you not only save money, but you can also feel a sense of history in what you’re creating. In the photo above, the kitchen counter was hand-built using reclaimed wooden blocks.

The story of Guy and Kay Baker is especially impressive. This Alabama couple built their family’s home—a gorgeous cabin in Alabama—using almost entirely reclaimed materials. Guy had long had a fascination with the antique building materials he saw while working on tear-down buildings in the area. He was impressed with the materials’ quality and durability. He saw the antiques he’d collected as heirlooms of a bygone era that valued craftsmanship over speed.

Read the Bakers’ story and learn about the many different kinds of reclaimed building materials you can use in The Joys of Building a Home Together.

For resources on where to find reusable items, visit Build or Remodel with Salvaged Materials.

Photo by Michael Shopenn

3 DIY Projects that Keep Your Stuff Out of the Recycling Bin

Read more: Conservation, Green, Home, Materials & Architecture, Reduce, Recycle & Reuse, , , , ,

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Shelley Stonebrook

Shelley Stonebrook is an Associate Editor at Mother Earth News—North America’s most popular magazine about sustainable, self-reliant living—where she works on exciting projects such as Organic Gardening content and the Vegetable Garden Planner. Shelley is particularly interested in organic gardening, small-scale, local food production, waste reduction, food preservation and cooking. In her spare time, she posts in her personal blog, The Rowdy Radish.


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6:18AM PST on Nov 23, 2012

Great ideas .

4:03AM PDT on Jun 29, 2012

Thanks for the info.

8:24AM PDT on Apr 19, 2012


7:55AM PDT on Apr 19, 2012

Great ideas.

7:22PM PDT on Apr 17, 2012

I've seen some amazingly creative (small) homes made out of "trash." There are limitations, but it's amazing what you can do with "junk."

11:35PM PDT on Apr 16, 2012

my house is ALOT of reclaimed wood and materials. My living room (prior occupants) used old houses from and old district that used the housing for the workers that helped take care of a dam in Washington State, thus makes up the cathedral ceiling. When I have used new materials I feel my house might go into shock! My house is old, but warm and humble.

7:18AM PDT on Apr 14, 2012

Thank you =)

7:43PM PDT on Apr 13, 2012


12:22AM PST on Mar 10, 2012

Thanks for sharing.

1:06PM PST on Feb 24, 2012

Thank you for sharing.
I would love to create a mantel piece from reclaimed wood - that would look very cool.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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