I'm currently reading a book called 'The House You Build', and it mentions
and has industrial windows for a home, for example, which look pretty decent
incorporated into the design, and I thought to ask you guys what you think
about using "industrial", recycled, or otherwise unusual elements for the
home, and in *your* designs specifically if you do or don't.
In this regard how do you approach it-- practically or theoretically or at
Where do you get your stuff, and look for inspiration? What stands out for
you and makes you choose something over something else.
What might be the cost differences, and how easily/readily-available for
home use are they, or where would they be acquired? I presume it's a matter
of knowing the right suppliers and that there are those (both architects as
well as suppliers) that specialize in
Ditto to what Don said...
But I've also found that with some things, like windows, that the cost
per sq. ft. is almost the same, but it does change the aesthetic. I
have storefronts in my house, along with more standard residential
But I've also used a few commercial items, like commercial vinyl for our
kitchens and baths (we don't like the hardness of ceramic, I don't think
laminates are durable enough, and wood won't take the wear).
It can be done, you just have to be selective about it. Often, it won't
be less expensive, just more durable.
That's the sense I get.
And it appears that when designers and consumer-oriented manufacturers,
etc., get wind that some consumers are using items outside the usual, they
end up incorporating it into their selection-- perhaps at a greater premium
and lower quality (durability). What do you think?
Look at industrial glass block. GLass block used to be one of the cheapest
things in the world to put into a window frame. I liked it years back,
because it was hard to break, "pre-insulated" (dead air space inside), let
in light, yet allowed for privacy because of the surface patterns. It used
to be incredibly cheap, becuase most people thought it was "tacky".
Then, it became "sheek" =:-p - now look at the cost of it...
I thought it was more obscuring than that - or were there no details?
Hopefully they couldn't see in (unless of course you were charging for the
We could have gotten block (diamond-patterned surface) in the bathroom of
the new place, but they wanted $750 for the 4'X4' window. I was apalled by
the price. The standard for our model is a double-paned windone where one
pane is "rain glass" (looks like droplets), so we kept that.
I saw some pics of pool spas that used glass block, and had lights in the
spa, so the effect at night was interresting. I thought of that for our
pool, but ended up nixing the spa in favor of swimming space (the pool will
be 30'X15' - the steps and the water-wall are in notches off to the side).
But that glass block looked good. I saw something on TV where the spa wall
was made from wine bottles - sounds tacky but it also looked good, esp.
backlit at night.
I'm trying to think whether I can put some sort of glass'n'concrete
construct in the back ((just what the world needs - I bought a book on how
to make concrete yard thingies, various concrete receipes, and so on)),
just because I like the look of glass when it's lit. That's one thing I
also like about glass block in a house - it can, if well-designed, look
beautiful when lit at night.
((Maybe I can make up a "bottle henge" <LOL!>))
Yup. Also, I don't get much at all out of the spa here. First, all the
jets are near the top of the water, so the bottom is always cold (well,
when it's chilly outside). Second, if I'm going to be in the water, I want
to be *in* the water, not sitting thre with my butt wet and my upper body
sticking out. The seating is not curved, as it is in those molded plastic
hot tubs, so it's not like you can lounge comfortably. And making a curved
spa as part of a pool would be obscenely expensive.
With the stairs and "under-waterfall seating" being off to the sides, if I
do want to sit, I can sit there - but when i want to swim (not that I swim
well, but that's not relevant), I won't be constantly kicking something.
The other thing I really hate about pool-spas is trying to get into and out
of them. It's completely annoying and for me, an accident just begging to
happen. I know that The Ubiquitous They opine a spa is "good for resale
value", but I don't think that's at all important, esp. compared with the
other features of the property.
I had considered some of that sort of thing but decided against it. I'm
considering some of those "light fibers" that I could put around, since the
fibers themselves don't carry current. Also, given that the pool perimeter
is 95' and the water-wall is 12', also the upgraded stone coping and the
pebble finish interior, and the additional equipment (the thing will be
rapid-heating and also self-celaning and self-sanitizing, ozone purifier
plus electrolytic chlorine generation from rock salt) the thing is already
quite expensive enough. If I want to add lighting, there are solar lamps,
candels, low-wattage landscape lights, and those fiber lights mentioned
here a while back (I kept the link).
We just have the one main light at this point.
Of course, I don't really "entertain". For someone who does entertain,
esp. if they do so often, elaborate lighting would prob be more important,
since it'd be part of their frequent life experience.
Having sold architectural antiques for many years and having just restored
15 windows on an old cowboy bunkhouse dating back to 1930 I can say as a
matter of fact that it is not an easy job locating the right thing,
restoring anything old or retrofitting something from the past into a new
design, but it is well worth it. Architectural antiques provide character,
saves something valuable from our past, save natural resources and are often
made of better quality materials with greater craftsmanship. In the end it
gives one a very good feeling and a much more interesting project. There is
no way the cowboy bunkhouse I mentioned would come close to what it should
be with new windows. The old wavy glass gives the whole structure it's true
Interesting, although I suppose that nowadays they are.
I imagine that if technical drawings and designs were made specifically for
something unusual in mind already, that they would be easier and cheaper to
incorporate into the finished structure, especially if they were, say,
stock, and restoration was (more or less) unrequired or you wanted a less
I'm not an architect, but over the years I've watched a lot of
this being done.
1. Generally speaking, *anything* -- regardless of its original
aesthetic -- can be re-used in a sound and stylish manner.
2. A useful lateral-thinking/training exercise is to take
something that seems uninteresting, and see if you can find an
entirely different use for it.
3. Sometimes, these experiments work. Re-using salvaged elements
-- either for their original purpose, or for something entirely
different -- can be wonderful.
4. Sometimes, these experiments don't work. Just because one has
re-used salvaged material doesn't automatically confer
"wonderfulness" status on the result.
(Never forget point No. 4; it also applies to "hand-made"...)
Architectural and topographical historian
Oh, absolutely: but the important bit is to recognise that you've
failed, and to move on.
I've never understood why one is supposed to admire persistence:
"Lemme tellya son: I've built over 30 flat roofs on this
mountain, and every one of them's collapsed under the weight of
the snow -- but I'm damned if I'm gonna give in and design a
bloody pitched roof..."
Architectural and topographical historian
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.