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A New Approach to Affordable, Sustainable Housing

exterior landscape view of a row of tiny homes on a hill surrounded by trees, metal and wood cladding, yellow and orange front doors purple siding

If you've been following GRAY for any time at all, you know we're big on championing the efforts of the design community in developing solutions for social challenges—particularly the challenge of homelessness. So, we were thrilled to see the latest initiative coming from Coates Design, an architecture and interiors studio based on Bainbridge Island, Washington.

The ReHOME Project is part of Coates Design’s nationwide movement to promote the reuse and repurposing of scrap material from existing homes and new builds in an effort to provide more housing options for underprivileged populations.

According to Matthew Coates, president of Coates Design, the industry's building processes generate a substantial amount of waste, but he believes things can be done differently. By reclaiming material otherwise headed for the landfill—and by material, he means every bit of it, from nails and lumber to windows and weatherstripping—we can increase the inventory of affordable, comfortable, and well-designed housing.

tiny home interior of sitting area, bedroom, ladder to loft, large windows

The ReHOME Project structure relies on community engagement and volunteers. Its future residents will not only live in the homes but will learn construction and management skills as members of the volunteer work teams. Volunteers will then be introduced to industries where their new or enhanced skills will aid in employment opportunities.

The idea is sweeping up recognition. The ReHOME Project has received the gold medal in the Rebirth Project category and additional honors in low-cost housing and sustainable design categories from MUSE Design Awards, as well as an AIA Merit Award in Research and Innovation.

Coates envisions this example being replicated throughout the country. He will provide all the tools, information, and lessons learned to anyone interested.

rendering of the building and design process

ReHome Project

Design and Architecture: Coates Design

Location: Bainbridge Island, Washington

Photographed by: David W. Cohen Photography


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