Recycled materials add interest for Humphrey Homes

26 Mar 2019

Recycling certainly isn’t a new concept, but it is finding new purpose in the home design industry. One person’s rubbish has become another person’s architectural gold.

Used building materials like red bricks from period homes and jarrah timbers from historical structures are being repurposed into exciting and innovative features within modern abodes.

Homebuilders like Humphrey Homes are at the forefront of this contrasting aesthetic between old and new, having recently recycled 6000 bricks from a 1940s Mosman Park build to be re-purposed into a new design.

“Recycled materials add texture, warmth, history and character,” Humphrey Homes Owner and Director Dean Humphrey said.

“They influence the design aesthetic by providing personality, which is more often less likely to be obtained when building with entirely new materials.”

Although using recycled bricks has always been popular, Mr Humphrey said there had been a burgeoning acceptance of using them in large quantities.

“We love working with clients who embrace recycled materials, as it opens up the possibility for the architecture to influence the environment,” he said.

“What was once old, introverted, subtle and understated is now dynamic, extroverted and bold.

“You can have fun with it, and that ultimately is what designing and building a home should be.”

Recycled bricks at the Mosman Park home were used to create 3.5m-high feature walls – and it’s certainly been a labour of love – with each piece cleaned by hand using a pick hammer and bolster.

With one person able to clean approximately 30 bricks per hour, about 200 hours were required in total to prepare the bricks.

“Each brick has a story to tell and the stories can last longer now that they have had new life breathed into them,” Mr Humphrey said.

“There is something comforting about using materials that have once gone before us, and recycled bricks are becoming the obvious choice to do that in new home design.

“Recycled elements such as brick have a natural imperfection that gives warmth to solid elements common in contemporary homes.”

As well as finding innovative ways to use recycled bricks, Humphrey Homes has sourced defunct timber bridge posts and re-purpose them into design features at abodes in Sorrento and South Perth.

Mr Humphrey’s personal home features a massive jarrah pillar from the Busselton jetty incorporated into the interior with stunning results.

“It is the first thing you see on entry, as it contrasts with the polished concrete benchtops and concrete floor,” Mr Humphrey said.

“It’s used for structural reasons as well as aesthetic reasons and is always a talking point.”

If you are not comfortable with using recycled materials so boldly, Mr Humphrey said you could consider smaller touches to the design.

“Timber doors, jarrah benchtops or even vanities are all ways you can introduce a recycled aesthetic into a home,” he said.

“Using limestone sourced from siteworks is also another great way to introduce a recycled aspect into a home, and that material can be used for retaining walls or decorative features.”

Humphrey Homes is an architecture and building company based in Cottesloe.  As a Perth local architect and builder, Humphrey Homes primarily designs and builds homes in Cottesloe, Mosman Park, Dalkeith, Peppermint Grove, Nedlands, Subiaco and Floreat. 

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This story first appeared in The West Australian's New Homes liftout on March 23, 2019.