on salvage

as i continue to explore designing around and building with salvaged materials, i continue to bump up against both the synergy and magic that can arise as well as the challenges and conundrums. now that the siding is installed on the two long walls of ps1, i feel pretty wowed by how beautiful and special salvaged wood, specifically, can be. but i also feel challenged by how much extra time in sourcing, processing, processing, processing, and using salvaged wood has added to the construction timeline.

it gives me insight into why so many building materials end up in the construction dumpsters… it’s not necessarily because folks don’t care about resource use and conservation. often there simply isn’t the budget to pay for the labor required to manage and process leftovers, scraps, recyclables and the like.

likewise, though the salvaged wood and other materials certainly exist to make a bigger showing in our buildings, construction projects, and the built environment; folks who hire craftspeople and workers to realize building projects have a hard time justifying the extra costs incurred in the extra labor to their clients. so, cheaper, more easily available and dimensionally reliable materials get chosen and used. the savings can be significant.

i would estimate that my choice to use solely salvaged wood for the exterior siding and trim added approximately 2-3 weeks to the project so far. of course, i’m doing all the work myself, which affords me a bit of luxury here. which is fortunate because i think the extra effort is well worth it. the results speak for themselves. the texture, beauty and uniqueness of these old growth timbers and boards, with their telltale radial saw marks, paint traces and stains add a quality to this pocket shelter’s appearance and feeling that is hard to put a price tag on.

whether or not the next pocket shelter will get the same 100% salvage treatment for it’s cladding will depend on the desires and values of whoever ends up commissioning ps2.


perhaps it’s because not too long ago i was swimming in the pacific ocean under a hot sun in mexico… but darn it’s been cold here lately. the snow and ice bring a beautiful sparkle and freshness to the air, but also make it a little hard to work outside or in the unheated studio. today was downright frozen, even at the height of the sun’s path across the beautiful asheville sky. but the chilly weather certainly hasn’t been all bad, a certain little boy and his mama had their first sledding adventures!

and despite the weather and half-numb fingers… progress continues on the pocket shelter prototype. now working on rough plumbing and electrical, preparing for the installation of the rest of the wall and ceiling insulation.