Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Door, A Wall, + Some Vino: Part 1

One of my favorite things about old bungalows are their charm. That is what attracted me to the historic neighborhood I live in now and specifically my tiny little house from the 1920s. However, with this charm, also comes quirks… Our home is just over 1,000sf, but fortunately very efficient so seems somewhat larger. When we moved in there was just one “efficiency” that I couldn’t quite understand. There were two doors going into our bedroom. (I mean, it isn’t as if our home our bedroom is so large that we need to access it from a separate wing!!!)

The Door aka The Problem
One of these doors opened off of our living room and was juxtaposed just next to the door that enters the sun room. Here is where the inefficiency and modern technology forced my better half and I into action. We had a small living room with at least one door and / or window per wall with no where to put our TV… clearly our home was built pre-televised college football season. We decided to turn the door that went into our bedroom into a wall, and reuse the door in a creative way.
The New Wall

The doors next life will be as the table top for a bar-top-height table in our recently renovated kitchen. We are also planning to incorporate a wine rack that my brother-in-law built us as a wedding gift. (Note that Part 2 of this post will be the construction of the table... gulp!) 

Wine Rack or Storage Shelf???
I encourage anyone who is doing a renovation project, small or large, to think about a creative end use for items being replaced or to consider if what you are building requires new materials. Think of the resources that would be conserved, the money that could be saved, or the deserving family that could benefit.
Stay tuned for more adventures in home reuse + rehab... Part 2 of this project and the labor of love known as our kitchen!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Life (cycle) of a Bathroom Vanity

Re-used vanity/sink/faucet
A few months ago one of our volunteers approached me and said that he had a bathroom vanity that he had just replaced in his home, and before he got rid of it (i.e. sent it to a landfill) he thought the Fuller Center could use it in one of their projects. Duane was hesitant about tossing this vanity because it was still in pretty good shape, and he found that by donating the item, another family in need could be helped.  I asked him if  he could store the vanity  in his garage until we found a project where we could re-use it. I wish we had a space, where, instead of turning away  in-kind donations, we could simple warehouse it and retrieve it when we need it for home repair projects. A Lifecycle Building Center, perhaps?  Think of all the items such as appliances, furniture,  fencing, pipes & gutters, bathroom vanities, glass & mirrors, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, lumber, trim, siding, windows, doors, kitchen cabinets, door hardware, hinges, cabinet hardware, ceramic tiles, carpet remnants, tools – these are all things that can be re-directed, reused and re-purposed, instead of ending up in a landfill. 

Mrs. Henderson's Home
This past weekend, the Henry County Fuller Center for Housing, Inc. worked on Mrs. Henderson’s home located in McDonough, Georgia.  She is a 66 year old mother and grandmother struggling to make ends meet with the limited resources available. Despite the 35 degree temperature and rain on Saturday, approximately 20 volunteers showed up to assist with the project. While the rain prevented us from making repairs to the rotted soffit, facia boards and some general clean-up around the property, we were able to paint the living room, kitchen, hallway, dining room and bathroom. The team focused on patching holes, installing a new bi-fold door on the Hot Water Closet, install base boards and painting. We also installed 2 new smoke detectors in the house. These were obtained from the Fire Department at no cost. By the way, the paint was also an in-kind donation from the Behr Plant in Henry County. We simply took the 5 gallon container to Home Depot and had them tint the paint.

Dedication to Mrs. Henderson. Members of the Henry County Fuller Center for Housing, Inc.

So, next time you replace something in your home or office, please think twice about whether the items you are throwing away could be reused. Organizations such as the Fuller Center for Housing of Greater Atlanta, and the Henry County Fuller Center for Housing can use some of these in-kind donations for upcoming  home repair projects for families in need.

Shane A. Persaud,
President/Volunteer, Henry County Fuller Center for Housing, Inc.