Last summer, I spent my weekends renovating a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house on what I call ” my island in the sky” in Southern Connecticut. The house was in very good shape for the most part, but it had small enclosed rooms, as was typical for a home built in 1900. It now has the personality of a carriage house and a cottage.
On the second floor, I made a larger bathroom that could be accessed from all three bedrooms without having to go through the master bedroom. Instead of throwing out the dense, hard, old milled pine, real 2X4s from the downstairs demo, I used them to frame my new bathroom walls upstairs.
I had more than enough nails of all sorts. They came in very handy for every little job that needed one. I have a lifetime supply of kindling for my fireplace because I saved all of that amazing lathe from the plaster wall. Light fixtures were reused or came from second-hand stores. The old vanity was saved and redesigned. Tongue and groove wainscoting was refinished and reused. The original floors were rediscovered and saved. Lead glass windows throughout the house were carefully unstuck and cleaned.
My entire job filled only 40 contractor bags. I looked at every material with its reuse in mind. Old appliances, cabinets and porcelain went to Restore to support Habitats for Humanity. All paper, glass, metal and plastic came back to Brooklyn to be recycled. Best of all, my new old house retained the great warmth of age that I love and respect.
Until next time,