These cottages in Portland, Oregon are cute and sized right at about 364 square feet, but builders Jeffrey Gantert and Brad Bloom also demonstrate how a little ingenuity and humor make cheap and found materials a lot more interesting than buying new. According to Ruth Mullen in the Oregonian:
The brick foundations, for example, were salvaged from a couple of old chimneys down the street and then set by Gantert into unusual decorative patterns. Windows and doors are set deep into walls to create a shadow-box effect that lends depth and character to the exterior. Interior floors are tongue-and-groove fir, which is traditionally used as subflooring. But Gantert and Bloom stained and finished the 1 1/2-inch-thick planks, giving them the beauty and warmth of hardwoods.
Gantert and Bloom are experts at what Charles Jencks called Adhocism, "the art of living and doing things ad hoc- using materials at hand, rather than waiting for the perfect moment or "proper" approach. As a principle of design, it begins with everyday improvisations, such as bottles for candle holders and tractor seats on wheels for dining chairs."
The ultimate green factor in these houses is the wealth of salvaged materials and found objects reused in such imaginative ways. Even the weathered wood siding and cedar shakes, heavily coated with teak oil, would have most likely ended up in the landfill.
Recycled olive oil cans became rain chains twisted into the shape of cascading calla lilies. Old kitchen vent hoods from The ReBuilding Center became window boxes, and two old Dairy Queen benches were fashioned into diminutive porch swings. Inside, terra-cotta roof tiles were reborn as wall sconces, while flour sacks salvaged from local bakeries became wallpaper in the kitchen.
Nice work at the Garden Cottages of Upper Albina via Apartment Therapy and Ecofriend
More Adhocism in TreeHugger:
Chair made from Brooms: Adhocism in Action
Glowing Adhocism : Lamps From Recycled Materials
Odds & Ends from Jo Meesters
Stair of the Week: Made From Skateboard Decks
Finally a Good Use for Aviator Sunglasses