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.