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I work in wood a lot. I try to combine or create objects in a smart or new way all the time, and still this idea never occurred to me. Innovative architects Suzan Wines and Azin Valy took 200 shipping pallets and built a small house out of them as the rest of us wind up collectively smacking our foreheads.

For years I always felt bad about not doing something with pallets. You often see them thrown away, broken apart, or burned. I’ll admit I’ve had my share of breaking them up and using them as firewood, scrap, props, shims, and sawhorse materials, but never could I have thought this ambitiously.

They say in the video that, over the course of a year, just the throw-aways in the U.S. could house every refuge in Haiti. That’s powerful thinking and our hat is off to this creative group and their new building material!

The Pallet House [YouTube]


9 Responses to A Genius Idea: The Pallet House

  1. A mate of mine created his shed from pallets, the issues are getting it water tight for that he recommends a double skin of overlapping planks. Also don’t try to make the door and window frames from just pallets or you won’t get clean edges to fit the door and windows into.

  2. mike foley says:

    Great work! This is fantastic and creative and useful. I have always been blown away at the seemingly unending supply of hardwood that is available from the plethora of pallets! Reduce, reuse, recycle! Repurpose. There’s a way.

  3. Reagen Ward says:

    Pallets, long a fun source of exotic woods, are now considered risky by many due to exposure ti various toxins in their use. While a pallet house is better than no house, it is still far from ideal. I remember when I was in a poor area of Mexico in the late 80s, a lot of folks lived in pallet houses if much simpler designs. I’ll try ti dig up some old photos to share.

  4. gary z says:

    The pallets that were used for this house/shed can be recycled. A lot of the pallets are recycled by sending them to distribution centers and trucking companies to be used again and again for shipping. Of course there are those that are made from exotic or figured domestic woods that do end up as a project in our shops. The ultimate recycle that will last for generations.

  5. Tom says:

    Ahhh the hippy spirit is still strong. Yurts, geo-dome, tents, converted school bus, 55 gallon drums.
    Nice effort but try getting a Cert. Occ. in most states, are those pallets stud grade? The labor must be free or its cheaper to buy lumber, due to the extra handling/fitting.
    Lack of money can drive reuse, in the 70’s I roofed several small barns/sheds with aluminum press plates, after they were used to print newspapers (they were about 24×34″). Company sold them for 15 cents each.

  6. Dave says:

    We’ve used pallets for a source of exotic and figured domestic wood for years now. Also, they have a slew of new, identically shaped, undamaged pallets. Let’s see them get a couple hundred irregular and used pallets and see what they can do with it. But still, refugees can/will use stuff like this all the time. We Anglo Saxons think we are clever, but afflicted peoples have been coming up with this stuff for decades.

  7. Boss Hogg says:

    As another poster said, some of these pallets can e sprayed with fungicides and may not be safe to use. Also, here cold be potential issues with burning them.

  8. Chad says:

    i think its great the hipster of our time or hippies reliving the time again — to work out issues and reuse the pallets — ive done a few things with them but im with another poster here lets just see if this passes any city or county inspection — heck i had one hell of a time with my city inspector here in florida wanting instructions on my windows — it took him 2 weeks to finally give in and look at their own ( city ) website for the info even after multiple calls to the manufacture and print outs that were hand delivered — jackass — reckon he thought since i was an owner ” contractor ” of my renovation he could get me on anything and delay me on progress on every inspection — its cool but i just dont think it would pass for some urban setting — maybe in the woods behind your house for the kids to have a cool fort

  9. Patty Cody says:

    I am really liking the idea of these pallet homes.. I found one picture of a long large rectangle one. Very open floor plan, perfect for a single woman. I would like to know where to purchase the ‘plans/directions’ on how to connect and attach to cement slab. I live in tornado alley, so need it strong. 😉 Where i live, if outside city limits, no building permits required. Yay! Thank you guys…. Any help would be wonderful.

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