For someone who considers construction her religion, I really love old things. Specifically, old things that can be loved back into purpose. This is dangerous at times, especially in my line of work when I’m often called into homes undergoing a transition – remodel, relocation, or refresh. I’ve been known to bring home “strays” – beautiful solid wood doors, a sweet bed, even the surround from an overhead kitchen fluorescent light that I have visions of repurposing as a standalone ceiling treatment. You may remember the find I nicknamed the Craig’s List Bed from some time ago – may have been this time last year – but you probably wouldn’t recognize it:
Lifestyle blogger I am not. Those sheets are not ironed and the lighting will tell the tale of how late it is, but the bed turned out even better than I had expected and is being put to good use.
Beyond the salvage items, I enjoy seeing what was transform into what could be. This goes deeper than before and afters (which I will agree, I’m terrible at sharing properly) and love nothing more than seeing the hints of what a home used to look like. Old wallpaper (often a few layers deep), forgotten strip wood flooring, and original layouts absolutely thrill me. I believe that life is filled with layers of varying importance and the character found in a home are no different.
Construction can (and usually should) move at the speed of light, but there are often moving moments on any project – whether it’s incorporating a piece that is of special significance to the client, or seeing just how far we have come. There are also smaller moments, like the underbelly of this lizard that kept the crew company on a late night bathtub install, or these small odds and ends that were left in a vanity prior to it being painted (the client didn’t mind).
Restoration work remains heavy in our part of the world, and for many the first step has been assessing the extent of the damage and determining where to begin. This image is from a home that did not fare well in the hurricane and subsequent flood; the homeowners kept stripping layers from their home until there was barely anything left. The material below is the last layer of defence between the interior and exterior worlds. When the client saw how it was crumbling, he opted to order a bulldozer.
Amid the bad news and chaos, some hope has been restored and many of the projects we undertook have been completed. The final item on the punch list for this home was the stairway to the second level. It took many months, much patience, and plenty of persistence, but the homeowners were finally able to relegate the flood shoes that have lived on these stairs since September to their back entrance.
When it comes to restoration, construction, and transitions in life, it almost always has to get worse before it gets better.
There are layers to everything, and while it can be painful to do the work to get to what's underneath it's almost always worth it.
So, what are you working on these days?