Upcycling and the Home Craft Revolution. Part 2: Upcycles of the week.

Ok. A confession. I’ve got pretty into this upcycling thing. It really is just quite amazing what you can achieve with ingenuity, inspiration and hard work. I love the idea that this is all you need, that its not about necessarily about thinking bigger, it is about thinking differently. Seeing things not as waste but as material. Seeing not rubbish but opportunity, and having a vision and making it happen. For instance, seeing bottles not as this:

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But as the potential for this:

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That’s right. That is a house made of old bottles. Old bottles and cement. That is pretty bloody impressive.

This is the creation of Canadian Édouard T. Arsenault, a potential godfather of the upcycling revolution, who began using old bottles as a building material way back in the 80’s (when he himself was already in his 60’s) after his daughter sent him a picture of the incredible ‘Glass House’ of British Columbia:

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Édouard was somewhat taken with the idea and got to collecting bottles from his local community in Canada. He eventually had enough to begin construction on his first house: a six gabled structure with three main areas that measured 20 feet by 14 feet. He was creative and intelligent with the layout of the colours and sizes of the bottles and ended up with beautiful patterns and light effects:

bottle_house-interior

He used approximately 12000 bottles and 85 bags of cement in this first project, and followed it with a glass bottle tavern and a glass bottle chapel. His creations where beautiful and imaginative. He must be remembered by all who want to follow, however vaguely, in his foot steps. 

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What a guy.

A step to far?

Another that caught my eye this week may not be much of a long term solution, but it undeniably looks fun, and is a whole new spin on the term ‘dumpster diving’:

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That is right. Some brilliant kids somewhere around this little nation of ours noticed a seemingly abandoned skip outside their front door and saw an opportunity. They cleaned it, lined it and filled it. They ended up with their own little swimming pool! Whilst this is more of a bit of fun it is still a very impressive piece of upcycling. If you want an actual pool however I’d get in touch with some professionals (I once worked with Paramount Pools myself, they did a sterling job!) But never the less, well done kids!

More to come! 

My fascination with this whole thing does not seem likely to end here so watch out for plenty more upcycling stuff from Dean Doll’s House design. It is going to be good!

Upcycling and the Home Craft Revolution. Part 1

We had just spent £200 and were now thinking that we had spent about £190 to much. This is not a feeling many newlyweds will like to feel, with the ‘best day of our lives’ now just a massive black whole in our finances that is starting to look more and more like a waste of money comparable to if we’d just burnt suitcases of cash in some sort of rockstar like festival of excess. Now we were here trying to give ourselves a little bit of a present to keep the smiles up as we returned to work after the honeymoon. Summer was coming (we’d had a spring wedding because, well, I have no idea) and we had decided to kit ourselves with some nice new furniture for the garden, we’d gone out to B&Q and got ourselves £200 pounds worth of slightly classy/slightly crappy garden tables and garden chairs (slightly classy/slightly crappy actually describes quite well our wedding and our honeymoon, just hopefully not our marriage).

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Ah stock images. All of life’s troubles, portrayed exclusively by the young and beautiful. 

So we’d done all this, and we were sitting pretty with a fairly standard set of furniture in the garden. Then we were at a friends house telling them about our purchase when they said something along the lines of “Oh you bought some? We’ve actually just finished upcycling some pallets in the garden, want to take a look?” Up cycling what now? What an absolute load of hippy pointless rubbish that sounds like, bunch of nonse-

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What… the… what? 

This is what we found, this! This is the work of my friend who is apparently some sort of handy andy buffalo bill lumberjack superman genius who before now I had known as being about as practically useful as a small dead mouse somehow stuck inside a seemingly untouched pineapple thats been left in the freezer for no apparent reason.

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Not very useful. That’s the point.

But no he said, he was useful, or at least he had become useful and made this miraculous creation for about £10 (the price I think may well be an exaggeration, he has a habit of exaggerating, I do not have time for such silliness) I nearly killed him right where he stood!!!!!!!!!

£10! 10 blinking pound! that’s only around 14 Euro! That’s only about 15 American Dollars! That’s only about 1506 Algerian Dinars! That’s only about 95 Chinese Yuan! Its a bargain! Apparently my friend had got into a fad called up cycling where you convert useless or unused products or waste into useful things of higher value and pallets are an apparently key part of this scene. People make some pretty mind blowing things out of pallets.

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I was starting to take the whole thing a little more seriously, clearly you could really do things here and people were! This wasn’t simply the reserve of a few hobbyists or retired builders or doomed hippies, people were really get involved in this, due to the availability of wood pallets (my friend apparently got his from timberpackingcases.com, information he released to quell my doubts about his claims) and due to this ongoing revolution in how we create our very own homesteads, this home craft revolution. We will be covering the nature and scope of this change in this new series of articles, and I will be trying to get involved and go undercover as a true home crafter. Stay with us, and lets see how deep we can go!

 

Why Not Get A Conservatory?

Since they were first used by the Dutch hundreds of years ago to store tropical plants, conservatories are now quite a standard part of many European homes. While the cultivation of plants, especially citrus trees, continue in some conservatories, orangeries and greenhouses, the vast majority are used instead as a home extension, serving as kitchens, reading rooms, play rooms and much more.

 

For some time after their initial use as cultivation rooms, they become status symbols among the wealthy – and of course the only people who could have them fitted tended to own land. Nowadays they are much more commonplace as a transition between the inside and outside, combining the best of the home with the beauty of outdoors.

 

Planning for a Conservatory

 

You shouldn’t go into buying a conservatory without first laying out your plans and making some important decisions – perhaps the most vital of which is the design of the conservatory. This could be an issue of personal taste although it’s worth remembering that an ill-matching conservatory may lower the resale price of the house later on; it’s much better to for a style that blends in with the existing design of the building.

 

Instead of starting with a style in mind, it might be better to talk to a company about what you want to use the room for, where it’s going and how big it’s going to be. They can then inspect the area and the house and help you to find a style which suits your home and your needs – usually there is a good range of different styles to go with different styles of home. Working with a conservatory business you can have one made that you will really enjoy.

 

Do I Need Planning Permission?

 

Generally speaking, planning permission isn’t needed when building conservatories in the UK. Most properties already have the right to extend, although the limit of how much they can extend varies quite drastically – and if there are any existing extensions you will need to find out if you’ve used up all of your quota. Even though you should be okay, it’s probably best to check with your local authorities, as the potential risk involves spending a lot of money only to have to tear down the resulting structure.

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Direction

 

In the UK and other northern hemisphere places, a south-facing conservatory is the best bet to get the most sun. They will get very hot in the summer, so it’s important to have some windows and vents for ventilation or fitting air conditioning (although this is quite expensive and wasteful).

 

For a breakfast room, an east-facing conservatory would maximise the amount of sun in the mornings, while west-facing rooms will get better light in the afternoon and evenings. Colder winds tend to blow easterly so east-facing conservatories might need to be heated, while a west-facing room would be ideal for plants that need to be in indirect sunlight.

 

A north-facing conservatory, on the other hand, will be without any direct sunlight throughout the year and will be particularly cold in the winter. Strong insulation will help this from being too much of a problem.

 

You should also consider the exact area where you live for geographical conditions. For example, conservatories in Liverpool might be west-facing giving them good evening sun, but are also subject to harsh winds off the Mersey. Discuss your options with friends and the conservatory company.

 

Main Materials

 

There are three types of material which are usually used to create a conservatory – PVCU, Timber, and Aluminium.

 

PVCU is the most popular as it’s highly customisable in different colours and is very low maintenance in terms of cleaning. It’s also the most affordable of all the options and is adaptable.

 

Aluminium conservatories are quite low-maintenance as well, and can be much stronger and with framing capable of supporting much larger panes of glass. Timber is the most traditional and works well as an insulator, but requires a lot of maintenance to keep in good working condition – including taking care for it not to get mouldy.

 

In terms of glazing, you can generally choose between polycarbonate and glass. Glass is strong and completely transparent, and can be bought as double-glazed with improved insulation, solar controlling glass which control heat and condensation, as well as self-cleaning glass. If your conservatory is quite tall it could be much better to get self-cleaning glass which uses light and rainwater for cleaning.

 

Other than glass it is possible to get polycarbonate glazing, the benefits of which are that it’s very lightweight and much cheaper than glass. However it isn’t quite as transparent, or as resistant to sound so it is something you’ll have to decide on.

 

On top of all this you’ll need to consider your heating and ventilation, and then finally it gets to the fun bit – decorating! Before long you’ll have an excellent addition to your house that could serve a number of purposes. Be sure to make the most of it!

Reasons for Hiring a Professional Interior Designer for Your Home

Your home is your safe haven, the place where you retire after a hard day of work and thus, you should do right by it. It should be cozy with an overkill of ambiance to ensure you get happy thoughts when you think of this personal space. Although the internet is flooded with various house designs, not everyone is blessed with an interior designing streak while some don’t have the time to do it themselves. Such scenarios call for professional intervention in the name of an interior designer.

Why you need one

  • Aesthetic advantage

If you are looking for that wow factor in your home, then an interior designer will work for you. They have the knowledge and expertise to transform a drab space to glam by simply changing up the color of the room or rearranging the furniture or art in a room. This will depend on your specification and ideas although it is always best to let them take the lead as they know best.

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  • Professional assessment 

When you enter a space that has been done artfully by an interior designer, you will immediately notice. This is because they bring their professional assessment and touch to a room. It should be tastefully done without being overtly so, unless the client insists.

  • Help tighten your purse strings

Contrary to belief, these designers aren’t expensive; they will save you money instead. Find one within your budget with the best repertoire and you will be on your way to decorating your home to look like those house designs in magazines. If on a budget, lay it out straight to them and let them work their magic. They will find you the best bargains without compromising on the quality as they know where to go.

  • Your space will work for you

Don’t be too concerned about your home being small, let an interior designer in there and you will marvel at the transformation. They only need to look at a room and furnish it in their heads regardless of its size. They will choose the colors to make a room look larger than it is and use furniture that fits well in the available space.

  • Kick back and relax

Shopping for interior furniture, fittings and decorations can be a tedious and time-consuming event for a layman. An interior designer will do all the legwork for you and then some. They have connections to practically anyone related to their industry and they will get you deals and organize your space allowing you to have the perfect home hassle-free.

Conclusion

The benefits an interior designer brings to a homeowner regardless of the house designs are too many to count all of which are positive. The catch is always finding the right fit for you and when you do, you are on your way to happy land right in your home.