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The family home made of salvaged car scraps


January 24, 2012

The upper outside walls of the McGee house are made from over 100 salvaged car roofs

The upper outside walls of the McGee house are made from over 100 salvaged car roofs

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While the McGee house may look like any other new designer home in the neighborhood, its walls tell a different story. Designed by husband and wife team Karl Wanaselja and Cate Leger of Leger Wanaselja Architecture, the upper outside walls of the house are made from over 100 salvaged car roofs. In a pursuit to build a house that utilized green technologies and reused materials, the couple sourced car roofs from a selection of gray-colored cars that had been left for parts in local junk yards in Berkeley, California. Their biggest challenge was sourcing car scraps that were in relatively good condition, without dents and with a good paint finish. The scraps were then cut into long tile-like shapes and used to complete the upper outside walls of the house, rendering a similar appearance to slate.

The residential building also features lower walls clad in poplar bark, a waste product from the furniture industry of North Carolina and unique awnings fabricated from junked Dodge Caravan side windows. What was once "America's bestselling minivan" is now a common junk yard item, according to the couple.

The curved exterior walls give the impression that the house is smaller and shorter than an average two story home. However the interior boasts wide open spaces, high ceilings and large open windows. Solar energy harnesses electricity and provides hot water for the house most of the year, with a back-up system that only accesses the grid during rain or heavy overcast periods.

The house was built using resource-efficient and low-toxicity materials including concrete that contains 50% fly ash cement, is colored with natural earth pigments and is sealed with soy-based binder from Soycrete. All insulation is blown-in cellulose except under the concrete slab and the interior doors feature wheat board cores. All wood furnishings throughout the home (including the deck railings) are from locally salvaged wood, and the wooden floors are polished with a plant resin floor finish from Bioshield.

Source: Leger Wanaselja Architecture.

About the Author
Bridget Borgobello Bridget is an experienced freelance writer, presenter and performer with a keen eye for innovative design and a passion for green technology. Australian born, Bridget currently resides in Rome and when not scribbling for Gizmag, she spends her time developing new web series content and independent cinema. All articles by Bridget Borgobello

Very beautiful interior. The photos taken from the backyard give it a house boat appearance. Overall I really like it and give two thumbs and big toes up to the owner architects.


Great job. Excellent use of recyclable materials and the finished job looks good. The interior workmanship tops it. Great post d\'-)


It\'s beautiful, but in my opinion it\'s not ecological because they had to sacrifice threes for the building. I\'m not agree with this.

Iosif Olimpiu

It\'s environmentally friendly precisely because they used trees. These trees were from the neighbourhood and are renewable. You can grow them again!

Compare that to the other 50% concrete cement they used, calcium carbonate which process is inherent with heavy CO2 emissions. You\'d have to plant more trees to offset that.

Fretting Freddy the Ferret pressing the Fret
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