Couple builds dream retreat with reusable scrap materials
'We are a couple of semi-old hippies and we date back to the time that you reused everything'
On a wooded parcel of land 80 kilometres west of Edmonton, a couple of self-professed "semi-old hippies" are building a family home and retreat using only reused materials.
Sherry Galan and her husband, David Bruns, are doing the work themselves on their property near Darwell.
"We both are a couple of semi-old hippies and we date back to the time that you reused everything," Bruns said.
"I grew up on a farm down by Cochrane; Sherry grew up on Vancouver Island and both of us were in a situation where we grew knowing that you had to reuse stuff."
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The couple is building cabins for groups that are looking for a retreat.
Most of the supplies for the buildings have come from the couple's Edmonton business, Home Reuseables. Bruns said he ended up working with a demolition company and his idea was seeded from there.
The materials come from developers, contractors and homeowners, Galan said.
"All these materials would end up in a landfill otherwise," she said.
The first cabin is made from all reused materials, including the roof. The walls are made from eight-inch-thick styrofoam, the floorboards are made of fir, the door came from an old house in Edmonton, and the windows are from a house in Old Glenora.
Bruns said his nearest neighbour is almost two kilometres away.
'It's rewarding to reuse what is already there'
The couple keeps a record of the addresses of each house they've taken down, including photographs. They end up salvaging materials that are still usable, some which date back to the turn of the century, Galan said.
Some may have a perception that reused materials look junky, Galan said. But it doesn't have to be that way.
Reusing materials is more feasible than recycling, because you're not using any energy to pare something down to turn it into something else, Bruns added.
"You are actually reusing materials that are meant to last for years and years and they don't go to the landfill," Galan said. "You know these are materials that have been around for a long time and they'll be around for a long time."
"It is good sturdy material and instead of us using more and more resources when there is so much out there already, for us, it's rewarding to reuse what is already there."