9 Amazing Recycled Houses That You Wish Were Yours

by Kathy Adams ; Updated August 31, 2017

This recycled home is eco-friendly and surprisingly modern.

Mark Seelen

Cookie-cutter houses are so last century. Houses made from repurposed materials break the mold with their unique take on recycling, turning landfill-worthy scraps into luscious dwellings of diverse styles. Recycled homes run the gamut from petite abodes to palatial post-consumer-product creations, causing passersby to do a double-take as they figure out the secrets of these crafty constructions.

Related: Find out more about this upcycled home at Dwell

9. Lakeside Shiphouse

Your eyes haven't deceived you. The Benson Ford Shiphouse juts out over the cliff on one of Lake Erie's islands, much to the surprise of passing boaters. The 1924 ship originally owned by Ford Motor Company once hauled vehicles through the Great Lakes. The salvaged forecastle (or top section) serves as a current 5-bedroom, 5-bathroom house.

Related: Learn the history behind the Benson Ford Shiphouse

8. Eco-Friendly Earthship

The ultimate in eco-friendly living, this Earthship is designed to minimize reliance on utility companies. Cooling tubes and exterior walls made from old tires packed with dirt keep costs to a minimum in this home near Taos, New Mexico -- its manufacturer, Earthship Biotecture, guarantees utility bills of less than $100 per year. Colorful glass bottles create a stained-glass effect on one wall. A greenhouse attached to the home purifies the air.

Related: Find out more about Earthship Biotecture

7. Swanky Monte-Silo

Two connected grain silos comprise this Woodland, Utah home designed by Gigaplex Architects. The house is arranged such that a nearby river can be clearly seen and heard from the larger of the two silos to capitalize on the beautiful, natural environment. South-facing windows allow plenty of daylight into the home while adding passive solar heat during the winter.

Related: Read more about the Monte-Silo and view other Gigaplex Architects projects.

6. Chic Chilean Cottage

Scrap building materials comprise this cottage in Chile, built by Juan Luis Martínez Nahuel. Beams and steel from a temporary exhibition serve as framework for the home, while old patio doors and 1970s parquet flooring cover the structure. This lofty home is perched atop a wooded hillside, capitalizing on the view of the natural environment, as well as privacy.

Related: Learn more about this chic Chilean cottage at Arch Daily

5. Stunning Shipping Container Beach House

This Redondo Beach home began as a recycled steel shipping container. As a rustproof, fireproof and termite-proof structure, this beautiful space inspired an entire housing line based on upcycled shipping-container construction. De Maria Design Associates created this home to develop a kit-style, cost-effective system for home building.

Related: Find out more about this Redondo Beach House at De Maria Design Associates, Inc.

4. Cozy Cob Cottage

This fairytale home is built entirely from natural and unwanted materials using ancient building techniques. Sand, straw, clay and soil comprise most of the cob house, including its thatched roof; reclaimed windows and castoff materials make up the rest. As an ultimate recycling project, this home built by farmer Michael Buck cost less than $300 to build, and only because he had to purchase some of the straw and nails to complete the roof.

Related: Read more about this cob cottage at the Daily Mail

3. Castle of Castoffs

While the Junk Castle looks like something out of a cartoon, it is a real-life abode, built by high-school teacher Vic Moore for his Master of Fine Arts thesis project. The entire structure is built from scrap material collected from a county dump, including appliance parts, car doors and metal storage drums.

Related: Learn more about the Junk Castle at TreeHugger

2. Modern Scrap Home

Scrapped materials from industrial machinery to broken umbrellas and billboards serve as building supplies for this home in the Netherlands, built by architects Jan Jongert and Jeroen Bergsma. The dynamic duo estimates that the home contains 90 percent repurposed materials, including items used for its interior.

Related: Find out more about this upcycled home at Dwell

1. Former Missile Silo Underground Abode

If underground living suits your tastes, a former missile silo provides all the home space you'll need, complete with a decoy house above ground. This upstate New York missile silo, decommissioned in 1965, offers more than 3,000 square feet of below-ground living space, accessed from a stairwell hidden in a closet in the house above ground.

Related: Read more about this middile silo turned home on Zillow

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  • Mark Seelen

About the Author

Kathy Adams is an award-winning journalist. She is an avid DIYer that is equally at home repurposing random objects into new, useful creations as she is at supporting community gardening efforts and writing about healthy alternatives to household chemicals. She's written numerous DIY articles for paint and decor companies, as well as for Black + Decker, Hunker, Kroger, SFGate and others.