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Beer Can House is Ultimate Houston Recycled Decor: Over 50,000 Recycled Beers!
Sustainable Travels

Beer Can House is Ultimate Houston Recycled Decor: Over 50,000 Recycled Beers!

gift shop outside of beer labels of beer can house in houston, texasWhat would you do with 50,000+ beer cans?

One man turned them into his house.

I had the opportunity to visit one of my best friends this past weekend in Houston and wanted to check out some off-the-beaten-path tourist opps. When I stumbled upon the ultimately sustainable Beer Can House, I was sold.

Driving through downtown Houston, it looked like we were in any other neighborhood (similar to Chestnut Hill) until we pulled in front of 222 Malone Street. There an aluminum wonderland awaited us:

beer can house made of recycled cans in houston, texas

John & Mary Milkovisch resided in this gem in downtown Houston. After John retired from the Southern Pacific Railroad as an upholsterer, he decided that he should just start ‘upholstering’ his house with beer cans. His wife wasn’t crazy about the idea at first, but then decided to join in with the drinking. Mary even contributed this witty ‘Lemon Tree” in the outdoor space to match the Beer Can House theme:

mary's lemon tree in beer can house

The beer can decorations didn’t stop on the actual house. John created walls around the house as barriers from the neighbors. This one included all parts of the beer as well as a few glass bottles, appearing like an actual bar:

beer can house wall decorations

The tops of beer cans & tabs were tied together carefully to have the same effect as wind chimes, perched on top of a concrete statue. At one point, wind would catch the top of it and spin it around like a carousel:

beer can wall and wind chime - beer can house

Truly a recycled house, every beer was drank before it was used. (Apparently John & Mary put a big dent in their stock, but had the assistance of friends & family as well. Only the outside is decorated with beer can labels, tops & tabs. Not limiting his recycled & reused goods to beer, John also enjoyed inlaying marbles, brass, rocks and metal pieces in cement for a truly interesting image:

marble decorations & house number at beer can house houston texas

Luckily, Houston non-profit Orange Show Center for Visionary Art maintains the grounds & preservation of this fine estate. Now complete with a gift shop with recycled products, you can enjoy the grounds and reflect on one man’s mission. John made sure to make his mark on the world with his Beer Can House. Although they have both passed, I was happy to take a moment for the ultimate recyclers in between Mary & John’s ‘territory’, appropriately close to a recycling bin:

recycled beer can house in Houston, texas

Simple as the “Beer Can House” name, his motivation was simple: I just thought it was a good idea. And it’s easier than painting. Never wanting to make anything elaborate, his favorite beer was always the one “on special”.

The garlands around the house not only provided a decoration and wind chimes, but also lowered the family’s energy bills.

Overall, John proved the ultimate lesson that you can recycle & make art out of anything. While this house reminded me of Philly’s own Isaiah Zagar’s Magic Gardens, it was cool to see a similar concept out in the Lone Star state. Twenty years after John began his project, it was complete. And definitely an area to check out if you’re in the Houston area or visiting old friends: Houston Beer Can House Made of recycled Cans

If you go: the Beer Can House is located on 222 Malone Street in Houston’s Rice Military neighborhood. Plug it into your smart phone or GPS & get there!

Open Wednesday-Friday from 10 AM – 2 PM, Weekends 12 – 5 PM. Admission is $2, but you can also hear a 30 minute tour for an extra $3. I highly recommend the splurge so someone (like our awesome tour guide Christian) can give you a few insider tips and point out some gems you may miss otherwise. Contact the Orange Show with any questions.

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Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher

9 thoughts on “Beer Can House is Ultimate Houston Recycled Decor: Over 50,000 Recycled Beers!

  1. Seriously clever “reuse, recycle” idea! I can’t wait to check this out in when I’m in Houston this February.

  2. It was really cool indeed! I definitely prefer these ‘off the beaten path’ tourist stops over the typical “aquarium, art museum ones” (although both are very interesting.) And these independent artistic finds are always so inexpensive!

  3. I live in Houston and I deliberately go out of my way to drive by this house. It puts you in a good mood no matter what. The Orange Show Car Parade is a must see parade to visit Houston.

  4. I love this idea and house. I have lived in Houston for a very long time and if you look than there are many unique house like this around Houston. The Heights is a great artist community and great old houses.

  5. Hi Julie I will have to make a list of some of the houses I have seen but on the out skirts of downtown Houston are the interesting ones and in the Heights. In the 80’s I knew an artist who lived in the heights and showed me many houses that artist lived in and he would took me to some and they workshops and backyards were cool. There are also many interesting and unique shops in the Heights and even in the Montrose area. I will start getting address to post soon.

  6. It is not a house but check out the Orange show in Houston off the Gulf Freeway by Loop 610 South.

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