Recycle, Repurpose, Reuse

Recycle, Repurpose, Reuse are words that get a lot of press these days. Many people participate in these practices today, but some people take it a step further. I have a good friend, Carol, that runs a business in which she assists people with getting organized and make decisions about how to deal with having too much stuff. Very little of that stuff makes it to the landfill. She has become an expert in parsing out usable items to get the most cash for her clients and to find people that can make the most use of those items. She recently turned me loose on a project to reuse some doors she has been collecting to design and build a small storage building.

There is more new materials than we wanted to use, but the need for storage space took residence over taking time to seek out more materials to repurpose. The platform for the structure is made from connecting pallets together and boxing them in with treated lumber. There are 2×4’s providing the surface to connect the doors together, and these panels make a very strong support for the roof. The roof is covered with corrugated sheetmetal and one sheet of clear acrylic to make the inside more visible in the daylight.

It took a bit longer to construct the building using the doors to make walls. The first thing I had to do was figure out how to arrange the doors to get the parallel walls to at least come close to being the same size. Although the effect of having walls of disparate lengths could make a more interesting building, it could also drive up the cost. If I were doing it myself I could afford to take the time to figure it out, but this was someone else’s money I would be spending. I started by carefully measuring each door, down to the 1/16th of an inch, and photographing each one. I then “built” each door in a computer program called Sketchup and pasted the picture of the door it represented on the face. I could then arrange the doors into panels and build the rest of the building around them.

So with my computer generated plans on site I built each panel on the ground and checked all my measurements. I then built the platform from the pallets I had picked up around town and laid out where the walls would be placed. Even with my computer generated plans, there were still enough variables that I could not plan too far ahead. That is one unique aspect of building with repurposed materials, and one reason it is possible to create such interesting things by doing so.  I planned as I went for much of the project. It could have been less costly to Carol for me to use new materials in the floor, because I had several hours in getting the pallets fastened together, pulling up boards from one pallet and nailing it to another, but very little new lumber was used.

Please check out my gallery to see construction pics.