A bottle-wall of many colours.

August bottle wall

August bottle wall

It was finally time to finish off work on our bottle wall sections this week. We have written a few posts about bottle wall construction over the last few months, and now it was time to add the finishing touches to our largest project. We found a lovely arched sash window as a second in a local joinery and decided to add a bottle wall arch to each side of it for a beautiful composition and also to add more light into our extension.

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Recycled pet bed from an old suitcase.

If you are a regular reader of this blog you know that we like to recycle and reuse as many items as possible. When our newly adopted puppy needed a bed we wanted to make it ourselves. We had an old suitcase in the shed that came with the house when we bought it and up until now had been used to store tiles in for mosaics.

dog bed 002

We started the transformation from suitcase to bed by washing it thoroughly and zipping and buckling it up. Then we turned it over and cut a cross from the four corners and glued the flaps down securely. We cut a piece of plywood to fit inside the suitcase and glued it down.

dog bed wash

dubh bed cut x

dubh bed glue

dubh bed plywood

After that it was time to attach the legs. We made them from a piece of round wood cut into 10 cm sections. The legs were attached to the underside by screws from the inside of the suitcase, through the plywood and suitcase material. Now the bed has five very sturdy and heavy legs that make it stay in place when our dog climbs in and out.

dubh bed legs

dubh bed side

We gave the inside of the bed two coats of washable matt emulsion, adding filler around the plywood bottom after the first layer and ended up with a practical, easy to clean bed.

dubh bed filler

dubh bed painted

We used an old foam mattress, cut it into shape and made a washable, detachable cover for it. After that all the bed needed was a fluffy dog blanket and it was ready for Dubh. We adopted her today and although she has only been in the house for about 9 hours she already loves her bed and has dozed off in it a couple of times in between all the excitement of a new home, a garden to explore and new country lanes to go for walks down. We are hoping she will sleep soundly in it tonight. As she is only about five months old we expect her to grow quite a lot bigger and maybe we need to look for a larger old suitcase in the months to come.

dubh bed matress

dubh bed asleep

You could adapt this method to any size suitcase and use it for cats and dogs. If you have a different type of suitcase with a hard shell you can leave the lid open and secure it in some way so the pet won’t get bitten…

You will be preventing the old suitcase from going into landfill and by not buying a new pet bed you are doing the Earth a favour in the process. It is a quirky addition to your home and you can adapt it using colours and fabrics to suit your own taste and style. Have fun if you decide to try this out for your dog or cat.

dubh bed

Bottling it all up.

bottle-wall decorative bowls

We have come to the stage of our build when it is time to connect the extension to the house. We will knock a hole in the back wall of the cottage but first we are building the walls on the little connection part. We wanted the space to be as light as possible so decided to put in another bottle wall. Two days were spent recently cleaning; fitting and taping our glass bottle and jar bricks. It takes a lot of glass bricks to build a wall so if you are planning a build like this, start collecting jars and bottles at once. Duct tape is best we find, but in a pinch brown parcel tape will do. We have been collecting a lot of decorative small glass bowls on our charity shop rambles, and they are a nice addition to the walls. To make bricks out of them we use big soft drink PET- bottles. This wall will not get a lot of direct sunlight so the bottles should be strong enough. It is only the very thick bottom part that is exposed to the elements anyway.

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Light at the end of the bottles.

We have been hard at work for over a month and finally we are starting to see the results of our efforts. One of the main reasons for our bathroom renovation was to raise the ceiling. It was so low that an adult was unable to stand up in the bath to take a shower. It always had a slightly claustrophobic feel to it. So the old leaking, low roof had to go.

 No roof

Along with a raised ceiling we wanted more light and our choice fell on a wall made out of old wine bottles and jars. Recycled glass is an environmentally friendly, free, beautiful resource. It is easy to come by and easy to use. What is not to like about it. We drank the odd bottle of wine, collected bottles from friends and ate a lot of pasta sauce and mayonnaise for a while. The walls in our bathroom are very thick so we only needed to pop a jar on top of each bottle and tape to secure. It is good to have a similar height to your glass bottle bricks as it makes the building a lot easier. You will need to play around with the different bottles and jars to get them to an equal height.  Make sure all bottles are clean and dry before taping them together.

bottles

After removing all the layers of the old ceiling and roof, we built up next to the window and on each corner with cement blocks that could easily take the weight of the new roof and filled in the sections in between with our made up bottle- bricks.

blocks

bathroom blocks

To save on cement we put insulation on the middle of the block in the same way we did on our bottle wall in our extension. You can read about all our construction techniques in the building category. The bottle bricks acts as double glazing in themselves so makes for a very well insulated wall.

bathroom bottles

over window

We filled in between the bottles with cement and smoothed it out on the inside and out. After that all that we needed to do was put on a 50/50 mix of PVA and emulsion for two layers followed by two layers of emulsion. We went for white and added some sand to the paint in the ceiling to get a similar look to the bottle sections and the ceiling. We added mosaics to the pillars and are very happy with the results. The result is a bright, personal and very cheap bathroom. About 80% of our tiles came from a skip so the main cost for our walls was for the few concrete blocks, cement, the tile adhesive and grout. But the best feeling comes from knowing we have impacted as little as possible on the environment by using mainly bottles and other recycled materials. It takes more time than tiling and building in a conventional way, but if you decide to do something similar, we think you will be very happy with the results. Please post pictures in the comments if you make something inspired by this post. We would love to see it.

bathroom

bathroom painting

bath bottle

bath bottle 015

bath bottle 007