Renovation and Repurposing Blog

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – Remodeling

As a residential drafter and designer, I make it a priority to share with my clients the importance of being conscious of the three R’s.  Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. 

When going into a project, whether it is an addition, a remodel or a brand-new build, I’m always thinking throughout the process – how I can not only keep the carbon footprint to a minimum, but also how to be resourceful with the new and how to make suggestions for being responsible with the used.   

For those of you who have decided to remodel, keep in mind if you’re doing a kitchen gut, what seems to be outdated or not particularly your cup of tea as far as cabinets, might be just what someone is looking for.  Utilize local builders, architectural salvage outlets and online selling resources if you’re looking to make something out of it. Definitely try to either sell or donate well-working appliances as well.  Again, you may be going brand new, but someone else may be looking for a bargain that’s in good working order.  Habitat for Humanity ReStore and Goodwill happily accept these types of items.

On to the rest of the house – with the ever-growing popularity of “open concept” spaces, many-a-wall has been removed or demolished.  If you’re remodeling a significantly older home, know that copper wiring brings a hefty profit when sold.  Be a homeowner-in-the-know and take advantage of this very valuable commodity.  Being in-the-know works both ways, however.  Get professional opinions on the possibility of asbestos and lead paint as these require a very strict process for removal.  Let’s not even get into the mold conversation because let’s face it…this is about the three R’s – not yuck, but just a word to the wise with older homes, there are dangers that loom so even if you’re the most handy “man” out there…always be aware of the harmful possibilities these types of remodels.

Stay in the walls with me for a minute.  If you happen to find the coveted shiplap wood behind those drywall or plaster walls…recycle!  Or reuse.  It lends very well to decorative trimming, outdoor furniture or planters.  In addition, a shiplap headboard or accent wall can easily warm up a room in need of some character. 

Onto floors… be sure to get a professional opinion on the possibility of refinishing and re-staining existing hardwood floors to get the look you’re going for.  Again, if you just don’t see the potential or have your heart set on something completely different than what exists, consider taking a little extra time in demo mode to preserve and recycle these much sought-after assets.

Bathrooms can be a little trickier.  Tile in older homes do not lend well to removing and reusing simply because of the process used to install them way back when. Trying to pull up old tile usually leaves you with a pile of broken pieces.  Tubs, sinks and commodes, however, can all be reused therefore sold or donated.  If a soaker tub is in your future and that claw-foot tub in your 1940’s fixer-upper just isn’t your style…know that they are in high demand!

Throughout your home there are little treasures that someone is in the market for.  Even with waste – please recycle whatever is appropriate.  Regardless of what project you’re taking on in your home, be mindful of what goes in the dumpster.  Reduce, reuse and recycle.

‘Til next time,




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