"So, you already had your windows before you had designed your house?"
Yes, that's exactly what I did and the hardwood window frames are at least 40 year old. It sure wasn't the easiest way and in this blog I shared how I prepared them prior to placing them in the house. It also turned out the old window slats no longer fitted so I had to make 70 meters of new ones.. But it was so worth all the effort! Reclaimed and natural, of high quality material, and for a fabulous price of 1800 euros for the lot. It was quite the search to find them but having the windows prior to the final design really was the only way to use reclaimed windows.
"Circular" was one of the key words I signed up for in the Olstergaard and it was exactly this vision by the lead group and municipality that I so much resonated with. And it is one of the main motivators for me to want to build the house myself, to have full control over each piece of material, so I can be flexible to work with whatever is available, and be inventive and creative along the way. In choosing materials for each project, I ask myself these questions and the more boxes the material ticks, the better:
- Can it degrade naturally?
- Is it waste?
- Can it be recycled/reused?
- Is it sourced locally?
- What's the environmental price (carbon footprint) of the production and distribution from the origin to my house
- And at the bottom of the list are considering the monetary price, estestics, and ease of use.
Other than my windows, these are examples of other materials I have used that checked (some of) these boxes:
- All the beams of the mezzanine are reclaimed from other buildings
- The bathroom window came from a house in Deventer
- The exterior larks wood cladding came from a forest nearby and were saved from becoming wood chippings
- On new year's eve, my dad and I took down the walls in a storage facility that needed to be cleared before Jan 1st, giving me a variety of wood and plywood that are now reused in the internal walls
- The stained glass windows in the interior walls I found on marketplace
- The triangles that formed the internal walls were left overs from one of Strobox' builds
- The window slats are made from an old floor in a nearby sports hall
- The windows of my future shed came from a building of a family member that was being renovated
- The door to the electricity and water meters came from a nearby house and was headed to the dump
- The barriers around my foundations to make up the crawl space are made from old roofpanels
- And I've recently acquired a stack of old desks (Trespa) from a school in Deventer that I'll use for the North facing wall as well as for the rain boots for around the base of the house.
In addition to getting the right ingredients to site, my goal is to keep and reuse any waste created during the build aswell. Countless times I was able to use material from my trash pile during later projects, but even what I don't end up able to use, I'll use as an insulation filler for the walls of my future shed.
However big a challenge it is finding the right materials for every project that fit all these criteria, the only way to create my dream home is to continue to strive for using natural, local, recycled, and/or wasted materials. My energy and effort spent on this vision means that I'm limiting nature having to pay for my needs!
For me, knowing that the path I have choosen aligns with my vision , gives tremendous energy and drive. Those who have a vision that might seem intimidating, all I can say is follow your heart! Don't worry about whether you are capable, don't be scared off by all the reasons why you shouldn't. If deep in your core it feels right, your internal fire will be lit as soon as you jump in and it will continue to be fueled by your journey. Don't let me fool you, it won't be easy, but following you heart means that every obstacle (because yes, there will be many!) merely becomes a fun puzzle to solve.
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