I was given a copy of a new book and enjoyed reading it, so I want to share it with you.  The book — Housing Reclaimed: Sustainable Homes for Next to Nothing — was written by Jessica Kellner, who is an editor of Natural Home and Garden Magazine.  In Housing Reclaimed, released on October 4, 2011 by New Society Publishers, Kellner explains why the standard housing model is broken and how readers can find an alternative housing model in the form of salvaged materials and sweat equity.

Kellner documents several projects, but these aren’t necessarily to be read as case studies or design guides.  The book includes several photos (a mix of black/white and color), and Kellner talks with project owners to share more of the human story behind each project.

For example, one of first homes detailed in the book is a cozy cottage built by a couple and their three teenage boys in Alabama.  The family worked together for about five years to create their “handbuilt home” and learned a lot about perseverance, thrift, and hard work in the process.  One of the sons reflected, “Money isn’t what’s needed when you do something like this — the main thing you spend is time with people you love.

As a country, generally, we’ve gotten away from putting this kind of time into our homes.  We outsource construction to someone else in exchange for a mortgage or a lease and, perhaps, miss out on significant benefits in the process.  Kellner explains why this is happening and has a few suggestions for readers interested in a debt-free homestead.

Kellner includes a resource section in the back of Housing Reclaimed for readers looking to find more about using salvaged, recycled, and existing materials.  The section includes a state-by-state list of companies, outlets, and organizations dedicated to materials reuse.  If this is something you’re curious about:

[$] Buy a copy of Housing Reclaimed on Amazon.com.

[Ed. note – the giveaway of this book has concluded.]