Being eco-friendly as far as is possible is a growing concern for many these days as global warming hits the headlines increasingly. And if you’re planning on doing some home renovations this year or perhaps you want to have your own low level tree houses built, it might be worth looking into just what materials you can repurpose and reuse to reduce your carbon footprint a little.
We’ve just stumbled across this article on the Today website about an amazing five-storey treehouse on Bainbridge Island in Washington, just outside Seattle, that took some of its accent pieces from a salvaged ship.
Homeowner Jason McLennan explained to the news source that it has lots of different levels, good light and some incredible views, so could be just the inspiration you’re looking for where your own treehouse design is concerned.
Apparently, the property uses reclaimed wood as its base, as well as four huge wooden posts to keep it anchored. Mr McLennan – who is, in fact, Leonardo DiCaprio’s architect and currently working on the actor’s new eco-friendly resort in Belize – thinks that the beams are actually old-growth Douglas fir and can be dated back to over a century ago.
Other accents in the house were taken from an old ship – such as the doorknobs (brass handles from a sailing vessel) and the windows, some of which once served as portholes for those at sea.
Discussing his house, Mr McLennan said: “It’s just nature’s paradise. Everything is nestled in the trees, so the trees are intact and the ecosystem is intact. You do feel like you’re in a special place when you’re there.”
If you’d like to salvage parts for your own outdoor structure, make sure you seek out good quality timber or you could find your house falls down around your ears… which nobody wants!
It makes sense to buy more than you need as it’s very unlikely that you’ll be able to source timber that’s entirely uniform. You won’t be able to use all of it so having too much is certainly wise. Make sure that the timber you do buy is given a good once-over before it’s used so you can remove any old nails. Your salvage yard should do this for you but they miss a couple – and you’ll destroy your sander or saw if you go over a nail quickly.
If you’ve got painted timber, you should just assume that the paint is lead-based since the wood is likely to be old. Chop this bit off and throw it away, or coat it in polyurethane to hide the paint. This will also give your wood shine and durability so perhaps do this as a matter of course on all the timber you’re going to use.
When choosing your wood in the first place, be fussy and cast a discerning eye over it before putting up the cash. Look out for cracks and splits that are too big or can’t be filled in, and make sure it’s all completely dry and free from rot.