First, I want to say thank you for publishing such amazing books. So very inspiring.
Secondly, I thought you might be interested in seeing the 8'x14' house I'm currently building out of reclaimed pallets. Here's a link where you can see photos taken with my iPhone: http://shltr.net/palleths
In January 2011, I purchased 5.69 acres of forest land, bordered on all sides by the Pisgah National Forest, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina near Asheville. There is currently no road going to my land, but I am able to drive within 1700 feet of it, so all the materials were carried in by hand strapped to a metal-frame backpack.
All the lumber has been purchased from local saw-millers who harvest trees that would otherwise be sawed into firewood or thrown into the landfill. Two rather large logs were given to me by the Gateway Museum in Old Fort, NC and one was used to build the Sycamore timber trusses, which will have triangular windows in them that open. The other is a spalted Maple and is currently planned to become the final interior wall covering.
The pallet's were a bit tricky to gather, as there (was) gas burned driving to industrial complexes, asking for permission to gather the pallets, selecting only hardwood pallets for strength and longevity (the forest is incredibly moist, much like an giant air-conditioning unit and will rot wood very quickly) and only pallets that had been heat treated vs chemical treated to kill any bugs that may have been in the wood when the pallet was built.
The shingles you see in one of the images are made from reclaimed pallets as well; cut from pallet "platform" boards, run through a thickness planer and then soaked in 100% pure tung oil for 5 minutes and tacked to the exterior.
This is the first house I've ever owned, and the first house I've ever built. Yes, I mean I didn't hire a contractor or any sub-contractors. I did hire a few helpers, as you can see in a few of the photos. I've milled all the lumber myself, including the tongue-and-groove flooring made from Black Locust wood. It has been, and continues to be and amazing experience and the main part of the structure should be completed within the next few months. Yet to go, finish the loft, build the doors and install, roof and exterior walls shingled from pallet wood, castiron woodstove installation. Then comes the stairs to the sleeping loft that will contain draws and shelves for storage, the swing down table, the soapstone woodstove/oven/water heater, the wrap around porch with the south facing side being enclosed in glass and finally, the radiant floor heating in the house. I hope to have it fully completed by this time next year.…"