I admit it: I get emotionally attached to houses. When they get torn down, or parts of them are demolished during remodeling, I feel a loss. Do you?
Here are some ways to allow an old house to live on:
• Repurpose the old framing lumber. It’s usually extremely good wood, much better than what you buy today. In the Hollywood Hills, designer Chantal Dussouchaud and her husband Harry Dolman asked their carpenter to make a bathroom vanity (pictured) out of framing lumber liberated during a major remodel.
At another home in the Hollywood Hills, it was architect John Sofio’s idea to make moldings and a stairway railing out of the old framing lumber.
• Repurpose old kitchen cabinets for storage in the garage. These cabinets have worked hard all their lives; they deserve better than the landfill.
• Find new homes for your old appliances, fixtures and cabinets by asking the guys on the job if they need anything being torn out, or if they know anyone else who does. Call Habitat for Humanity to see if they can use something.
For more ideas, check out Taunton’s new book “Unbuilding: Salvaging the Architectural Treasures of Unwanted Houses.”
A word of caution: Make sure everyone on your team understands your plans. More than one remodeling homeowner had good intentions for recycling and reusing, but arrived home to find everything broken down and in a dumpster, beyond redemption.