The Making of the Bottle Cottage at VeloGecko

The Bottle Cottage on my arrival.

The Bottle Cottage on my arrival.

When I arrived at VeloGecko the Bottle Cottage was already in construction, the foundations, steel frame and the roof were complete already. I learned that the idea was to build a guest cottage using as much recycled items as possible, the mainstay being bottles. The wall was build up of a few layers of rocks from the property, the front wall was about half way to the roof and made mainly out of a double row of beer bottles. Loraine and Walter will have to comment on that section of the building, I can only write down what I observed from then. Once I was involved in helping Loraine and Walter I saw that this was going to be a “fly by the seat of your pants” type of mission. Loraine had already filled some bottles with food colouring to make the back wall more interesting. I got on a mission to make a clear matrix and my first idea was a disaster; but lead to the development of the broken glass covered panes. My idea came from a Rhodesian chap that taught me that one can dissolve that environmental hazard, polystyrene in xylene and make a waterproofing liquid. My thought was to make it VERY thick and pour it into a mold with bottles. That did not work at all, the liquid when that thick just did not dry. We then found some pallets, and in the spirit of recycling we decided we would find some way of using them. This we did. I was disappointed with the poly-xylene but it reminded me about silicone that I used to build fish tanks with. That would hold the bottles on the pallets! First we coated the pallets with our poly-xylene to waterproof them. Then to make sure Walter and Loraine taught me about Flexicote, and we covered what would become the exterior of the wall with this.  That done we attached some bottles and then attached  the pallets to the roof-beam and build the wall to meet the base of said pallets.

Flexicoated Pallet

Flexicoated Pallet

Polystyrene dissolved in xylene

Polystyrene dissolved in xylene

Mounted pallets

Mounted pallets

While that was been done we also came up with the idea of obtaining glass off-cuts, once we had these in our hands and a huge wooded frame that was going to be used as firewood, we had other plans. The plans for the side walls were done, now we had to think about the back wall and come up with something completely different. Using bottles, off-cut glass, broken glass, poly-xylene and silicon, another type of brick was born.

A Brick in the Wall

A Brick in the Wall

Airvents

Air vents

That done we needed to do the front wall, here the problem is that BOTH sides have to look good. We had the solid wood frame and that was attached to the steel frame and cemented onto the low rock wall. Now the poly-xylene came into its own. First I had to measure each aperture in the frame, it was a pallet, not a builders window frame,  so not very squared off at all. Next using silicone and off-cut glass I build a pane to spec. A hammer and an old pair of jeans got the broken glass I needed with out too much mess or injuries. Mixing the broken glass with a thickish   solution of poly-xylene coated the panes nicely and after a day to dry they could be siliconed  into the frame.

Making a pane

Making a pane

The Frame

The Frame

Walter is our building/handyman boffin and he does the structural attachments and the door and door frame, I do hope he will comment and tell the story of the door frame.

The Door

The Door

Then! Loraine and Walter has visitors from Austria and work had to stop for a while. Cathy and Bernard stayed in the… almost complete Bottle Cottage….. Photo-0017Photo-0018 Work shall continue if you have any questions about The Bottle Cottage or would like to make a booking to stay, you can contact Loraine at Velogecko +27 (0)79 552 1773 .

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3 Responses to “The Making of the Bottle Cottage at VeloGecko”

  1. VeloGecko and the Bottle Cottage | One Man's Opinion Blog Says:

    […] may find a related articles and photos, “The Making of the Bottle Cottage at VeloGecko” and “ Recycling Polystyrene Safely for multiple purpose liquid” […]

  2. Recycling and Off the Grid News. 12 Sept. 2015 | One Man's Opinion Blog Says:

    […] “The Making of the Bottle Cottage at VeloGecko” […]

  3. Wayne Bisset Says:

    Reblogged this on Section Eight Solutions.

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