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Ecolect Sustainable Materials Resource

Ecolect is an online resource of building materials for designers, re-modelers, builders, or anyone interested in using sustainable products. Each material has an overall summary as well as how it’s made, how it’s used, and where to buy it. Keep this one bookmarked for your next project.

Inspiration: Stair Materials

I’ve had these two images in my inspiration folder for a while now. The mirrored stairs shown on the left is from photographer Polly Wrenford’s portfolio, but I didn’t have much luck with referencing the one on the right. If you have info, please let me know.

Oktavilla / Elding Oscarson

Magazines as wall material! Such a great idea. Check out the rest of the project via ArchDaily.

“Besides having a literal relevance to the client’s business, the wall made of stacked bundles of magazines is not only a natural conversation piece in its mere irrationality, but also works as an acoustical absorbent.” -ArchDaily

Architect: Elding Oscarson

Log House Study- Hans Liberg

Here’s an office/study on wheels that proves not all shacks have to be eyesores. Smart.

design by Piet Hein Eek, thomas mayer architecture

[via Make:]

Source: Via

Glass and Timber Houses (Hampson Williams Ltd)

A Grand Designs episode was on the other night featuring two eco houses squeezed into a rather narrow plot in South London. The plan was to build two identical homes, selling one to finance the other in hopes of living mortgage free. Even though the owners ended up way over the original budget (as most builds do on the show), the outcome was spectacular. Despite the small footprint, the use of oblique windows and skylights opened up the space and maximized light, all while maintaining a keen sense of privacy. Plus, seeing as the home owner was also the owner of a joinery/carpentry firm, he was able to construct the houses himself alongside his team, and, as a result, the craftsmanship was impeccable. It was altogether inspiring. If you’re planning on building on a small plot of land, you might want to check it out.

other bullet points: grass covered roof, constructed using sustainable materials and high performance glass and insulation, low impact piling foundation system, rain-harvesting system

list of materials and sources used here

architect: hampson williams, architecture
homeowner’s site: Talisman Manufacturing

TRUFIG flushmount electrical outlets

Oooh, here’s another flush mount electrical wiring systems similar to the Bocci outlets.

I can’t wait until I can make use of these in a project. They make everything look as if every detail was planned out and that electricity was not just an afterthought. This kind of attention to detail pleases me.

TRUFIG presents the ability to take technology supplied by various manufacturers and provide a uniform industrial design, consistent color, and a mounting process to achieve a perfectly seamless installation into a wall or ceiling.

[via Remodelista]

Particleboard and Plywood

Okay, so I’ve talked about plywood used instead of drywall before (also see here and here, but these two photos (via design crisis) have me thinking about them all over again. I’m sure not everyone is in love with the look, but I think it looks pretty fantastic when done well.

Top pic: found via OWI, via design crisis (if you know what house/architect this is, let me know.)
Bottom pic: actually from the Wall House by FAR, which has been posted previously, just not with that room image shown.

Source: Via

Freeman and Feldmann House, Houston TX

Dwell recently featured the Freeman and Feldmann house in Houston, Texas. It’s got a good handful of ideas/resources and even if you’re not remodeling now, it might be worth taking notes for any future projects.


Home made from shipping containers (two 40-foot-long containers and one 20-foot-long unit in the main house).
Redwood shade screen to keep the house from overheating (shown lower right).
Geosystems FilterPave porous pavement driveway used (made from post-consumer recycled glass, water passes through super fast and sparkles a little in the sun).
Wall around the master bedroom made from Enduro Systems fiberglass, giving a nice glow when lights are on (lower left).

Source: Via


In Eric Rasmussen’s home, the material Skatelite was used in several areas, which got me thinking about cost and availability. If you search for it online, you get a myriad of skateboard ramp suppliers, but as far as getting your builder to install it as a exterial cladding/countertop/flooring/screen (some of which are shown above), I’d recommend some further research.

Skatelite is made of plastic-impregnated wood fiber. During its manufacture, the contents are heated hotter than the seven hills of hell, at which point the wood and plastic molecules flow together. Once cooled, they form a super-strong sheet material perfect for ramp surfaces. Available in two types, Skatelite Pro costs about 150 dollars per sheet, and regular Skatelite retails at 95 dollars per sheet. The former is used for pizza trays, and the latter is what you’ll find on most skateboard ramps. –

Skatelite Pro is an eco-friendly material made primarily of paper from certified managed forests in the U.S. Between 98-99.3% of the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) involved in the Skatelite manufacturing process are captured and destroyed. –Skatelite

Pictures shown above, via

To inquire on further pricing/availability: Buy it here.

More information:

View Skatelite here

Salvaged Building Materials (Examples from Phoenix Commotion)

I know that some salvaged building materials don’t exactly ‘fit’ the look of a modern home, but often times they can add more character to a room than something brand new (plus, you know all about how saving items from the landfill is a good thing, so I won’t lecture you on that). NYTimes recently featured an arcticle on Dan Phillips and his construction company, Phoenix Commotion, who together build low-income housing out of salvaged items. Not all of the ideas are applicable in your own home, of course, but it might get your brain thinking about alternative materials for your next remodeling project.

photos (all by Michael Stravato for The New York Times), left to right, top to bottom:

Wood-burning stove from an old ship installed in a new home.
Wine Bottles function like stained glass in a Dutch Door.
Countertop made from slices of osage orange wood, a local East Texas material.
Scrap wood for siding.
Old shingles, arranged by color, reused.


Source: Via

Bocci 22 Outlets

I’m a little amazed I haven’t posted these before, as it was one the best things at the 2007 ICFF. What’s incredibly frustrating is I remember finding a direct retailer some time ago, but now I can’t remember where…if you know, please include link in comments or email me.

The 22 is a complete suite of electrical wall accessories that challenges the traditional, tired and ubiquitous cover plate concept. Power receptacles, lighting control dimmer switches, on/off switches, telephone and data connections, cable and speaker outlets, etc. may now be mounted flush into drywall or millwork with a new CSA approved utility system that eliminates the need for a cover plate. Switches and power receptacles can now be flush with the surface of the wall and be significantly more visually subtle than ever before.

visit Bocci website.
See Creede’s (from Grassroots Modern) pics of installation here.

approximately $16.00 each single outlet, $40.00 removal tool, Buy it here.

More information:

View Bocci 22 Outlets here

Paris Loft (plywood)

More plywood? Yes, please. This loft is an excellent example of utilizing plywood as a finishing element. Also, Remodelista posted this kitchen a while back and linked to a video showing how the islands can be rearranged to fit the homeowner’s needs. It’s a great idea for making the most out of a smaller space. To see the video, go here.

Renovated by architects Karine Chartier and Thomas Corbasson (who trained in the studio of Jean Nouvel–last year’s Pritzker Award winner), the old industrial laboratory (check out the building’s original freight elevator below) is transformed by adding a heavy textual and uncanny element–plywood.
Plywood, a moisture-proof, marine-grade, very low formaldehyde-content pine, certified by the European sustainable forest practices agreement, becomes a strong, almost abnormal complement to what would normally be simply a white, industrial space. It’s hard to see but the plywood kitchen islands are mostly on locking wheels, which creates a flexible space that can mutate from a small cooking area to a larger gathering area. Combined with the other moveable furniture, plywood has stopped looking cheap, and starts looking high-end (or high-grade, maybe?) whether it just sits pretty or on wheels. – LoftLife Magazine

To see more pics, visit LoftLife Magazine.

Recycling the Past

If you’ve ever spent hours searching for the perfect period tub/doorknob/window to replace the rotted/missing piece for the home you’re lovingly restoring bit by bit, here’s a site you might want to add to your list. There’s a myriad of items, and unlike some sites, it’s actually easy to look through most of their inventory. They also have a bunch of odds and ends that would make for interesting furniture pieces and home accessories (if you’re the eclectic-collector type).

Shown left to right, top to bottom:
Farm Sink (Wolff Mfg. Co), $475.00,
Buy it here.
Commercial Stainless Steel prep table, $675.00, Buy it here.
Vintage Oak Mantel, $675.00, Buy it here.
Reclaimed Glass, call for price, Buy it here.
Mahogany Bleacher Boards (from a high school gym), $6.00 per square foot,
Buy it here.
Giant Industrial Workbench, call for Price,
Buy it here.
Claw Foot Tubs, $250.00-$475.00 each,
Buy it here.

search here.

Billy Morrissette’s SoHo loft

Apologies if you look at the The New York Times as much as I do, but they have some of the most interesting slideshows of interiors and I can’t help but post them. Case in point is Billy Morrissette’s SoHo loft: I especially love the plywood used for the kitchen cabinets/walls.

See it here.

Recycled Windshield (Second Glass)

Sure, we’ve all seen some items made from windshields, but actually using the breaks and cracks of damaged windshields as a design element is something slightly new (to me, at least). I really wish they’d come up with better photography, but if you’ve any imagination you can see how this idea would be great as a shower door or, as shown above, as a wall divider or door.

Converting junk or damaged windshields into new glass products is a patent-pending process that we have perfected. While simple in concept it is a complex formula of art and science. We can add color to co-ordinate with other design elements. Second Glass can be framed, lighted, mounted, or hung just as in most glass applications creating attractive and easily maintained walls, dividers, fronts, partitions, and lighting.

Price available upon request. Buy it here.

[via materialicious]