Obsessing about the four Rs when you’re building a green home can be frustrating to tradespeople. For instance, Peter and Jonas, while embracing our philosophy, in general terms, would sometimes rather just use new materials.
We managed to recycle/re-use:
Metal: When we bought our good quality Weber barbecue, oh, say 25 years ago, it was state-of-the-art. Now, not-so-much. But, it still works. Why would we buy another for our built-ins? Jonas spent too many hours cutting it apart and custom-building it in to our outdoor patio kitchen.
Between Jonas’s junk storage at his house, and our junk pile, we managed to find the following metal bits to add to the BBQ frame and the patio built-ins:
- An old bed frame – together with square tube steel, some of which we unearthed when digging behind the patio retaining wall! (I think our lot was used as a dump site for drunks and gardeners (!) before we bought it.) We used the metal to build the frame and attach elements to the concrete wall.
- Some 2″ steel tubing that Jonas welded to steel plates to anchor to our steel wall to support a floating bench.
- Peter had on hand some old clear cedar panelling that was replaced in a client’s remodel. Jonas routed a middle groove into it to accommodate my cupboard door design that D suggests is so 70’s Sunset Magazine! Matches the vintage BBQ, I say.
Concrete: Although the pros (Peter and Jonas) were not sold on my “leftover concrete” countertops, I believe I have DIY’d a pretty little countertop. Here’s how:
2. I bought a wet stone polisher (expensive at $400 all in, but a bargain if I can make our house’s countertops for a fraction of the cost of almost any other custom countertop material.) You’ll notice that it has a hose connection so that water can spray out of the polisher’s centre while I grind.
3. D cut off the “arm” of the small countertop with an angle grinder, because it was no longer going to fit around the BBQ. You may recall that I hastily constructed the moulds on the day of the pour.
4. Using a big metal blade, I started smoothing the pebble-y surface. I loved the way it revealed the pretty green and other-coloured stones almost immediately. It looks like granite countertop. In this picture, you can see where the big grinder adds striations that need to be further smoothed. I donned D’s rubber hip waders for this process, but, alas, I was alone, so no embarrassing photos!
6. After drying overnight, I attempted to get creative. We’re having a bit of a cedar and maple theme here at This Green House, so I laid cedar branches and broad-leaf maple leaves on to the concrete, then sprayed on acid stain.
And, that’s my countertop! (I’m taking a bow now, just so you know. Applause appreciated.)
Where Jonas and Peter weren’t so willing to re-use our materials:
Driftwood logs for “roof”: The driftwood, although it had the look I was after, would be too time-consuming if each log had to be crafted to fit the upper section of the patio structure. We went with dimensional cedar milled locally and shaved to give a more rustic look.
Cedar. I bought a pile of cedar from the Petals Flower Farm before it became “The Beer Farm” (a.k.a. Persephone Brewing, a fabulous new attraction, on this side of the ferry!) Plus, we had a fair quantity of mostly stained cedar left over from house trim. Jonas started to cut, plane, and otherwise prepare some of it (admittedly a lot of work) before sending us to the local cedar mill to buy nice fresh local cedar from which to craft our patio furniture.
This is a detail of how Jonas assembled the floating bench on the pipes. He cut spacers from abs pipe that just fit over the pipes protruding from the wall. Then, to add strength and provide a smooth front and level slats for the top, he attached a long bolt through 3 places along the bench. You can just see them through the spaces between the 2x5s.
(Please ignore, if you can (!) that glorious pizza oven under construction – the DIYers will write a guest post on their how-to’s real soon.)
Sharing with these hospitable link parties:
Coastal Charm’s Nifty Thrifty Tuesday, Little Red House’s Mosaic Monday, Boogieboard Cottage’s Masterpiece Monday, Dwellings’ Amaze Me Monday, Savvy Southern Style‘s Wow Us Wednesdays, Brambleberry Cottage, From My Front Porch to Yours, The Homeacre Hop