Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Imagine building your home from recycled materials

Imagine settling on an island and all you can use to build your "home" is found materials and buckets of paint. Michael and Leda settled on acreage just outside Sedona, Arizona in 1979 and built not just a home but an estate of small home made dwellings from recyclable materials. The complex was turned int a non-profit arts association. Susan and I signed up for an afternoon tour that is done periodically to offset costs. In order to get to the property we had to drive through a stream with an uneven rock bed. The canoe was waiting for us if the stream was running too high.

Leda will be moving to stay with family as Michael has passed away. We were fortunate to have time to spend with her to talk about her 30 years as the property was built upon.

It is so named Eliphante as a friend gave the word elephant a french pronunciation when looking at one of the little dwellings that you enter through a long cave like entrance. Inside there is a built in piano, a loft sleeping area, a wall of stained glass windows made from broken glass glued to clear glass, and a wood stove. Every inch is painted, has colored glass or has design or sculpture made from drift wood or timber ends.

The highlight of two books on handmade homes and a travel feature in the NY times, Eliphante will grow in fame over the years as it is so unique.

After wandering around all afternoon I had to think of how I am going to incorporate some of their ideas into my own home. I have decided to work on my backyard more this spring making it more like a secret garden, add more color to my rooms, and express myself more in my home.