The Scrap House

Looking back. | April 30, 2009

I’ll make my first post one of back-peddling. We’ve been building the house for about two weeks, and collecting materials for about a month. What one finds in a dumpster is an amazing thing. So far we’ve ammased windows, doors, a toilet, a stove, sinks, switches, outlets, and lots of lumber. We’re not trying to make a policitcal, social, environmental, ecological, mystical, indivisible, or inedible statement with this project. We simply wanted to see if a fully functioning house, while albeit small, could be built for nothing. Even the nails mostly have come out of the lumber we got from the dump, and then reused. Because we’re hardcore like that.

All right. From the beginning. The floorplan.



Pretty basic. The one nuance is the bathroom door. It serves two purposes. The door can of course close and lock where indicated on the plans. However, there will be a second striker plate ninety degrees from that, on the entrance to the kitchen. This way, if someone is in the kitchen, you can still close and lock the bathroom door. But if you need a place to get dressed or use the sink, you can close the door in the kitchen opening so you then have the entire back of the house for privacy.

One Source

Shelves Loaded

Shelves Loaded

Fences using stud length 2×4’s? Great!
One Source
Fences using stud length 2x4's? Great!

Where do we get lumber? Wherever we can! Old shelves, the dump, and jobsites. I love jobsites. Aim for the expensive ones. When you’re building a two million dollar house, you don’t car about a little scrap, do yah? We found 26 8-foot 2×6’s in one dumpster once!

The Build:

Day one. Squaring up a foundation. More work than it appears.


Progress, got the shower in.


As it stands now:


I’d also really like to thank Kent Griswold at for the publicity. It’s a great site he runs. I’ll post daily updates on progress. Let me know what y’all think. -Ted


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  1. Hi, this is a comment.
    To delete a comment, just log in, and view the posts’ comments, there you will have the option to edit or delete them.

    Comment by Mr WordPress — April 30, 2009 @ 10:00 pm

  2. What are you using for a foundation? It doesn’t show below the flooring… is this on a trailer, on piers, on blocks?

    Comment by jpatti — October 28, 2010 @ 10:04 pm

    • Just 6×6 pilings sunk about 3 feet into the ground and concreted in. Nothing fancy. Thanks for reading!

      Comment by austinminiman — October 28, 2010 @ 10:23 pm

  3. Hi, I know this is an old thread, but what are the outside dimensions of your small cabin? I absolutely love it, especially the kitchen!


    Comment by lindercroft — April 15, 2016 @ 5:42 pm

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About author

This blog is dedicated to an experiment a group of three other fellow students and I are doing at our school in Buxton, NC. My Drafting III class and I set out to see if we could build a house for free. It's small, but functional. All the materials come out of dumpsters. And most of all, it's working.







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