One of the trends Eastmark Construction has seen in home building recently is the use of reclaimed materials for interior finishes. There is an authentic charm to old salvaged materials that make them ideal centerpieces for the rooms in people’s dream homes. Reclaimed materials can be more challenging to incorporate into a home, but we have been able to make them fit and function both artistically and practically.
Searching out Vintage Treasures
One of the most enjoyable aspects to building a house is selecting the design elements to incorporate within and without. When you use reclaimed materials, this process turns into a treasure hunt. It’s best to keep an open mind and look for materials that will complement the overall look you are envisioning. This will give the time you spend perusing architectural salvage a feeling of serendipity. You don’t know what you will find – or what will find and speak to you – making the hunt more intriguing and meaningful.
Wood is an especially warm material to work with. Vintage wood, like that taken from old tobacco barns in the South, has a character and patina that cannot be recreated with any modern construction technique. Every nail hole, scratch, or smoothed place adds visual charm and depth wherever the wood is used, whether for flooring, paneling, ceilings, or trim. Wood mantelpieces are a common element many people like to incorporate. They center a new home and give it a connection to history. Old factory bricks are another material people are using for their kitchen floors, interior walls, and outdoor patios and walkways. The results can be stunning.
Some salvaged pieces may be wonderful – but large or oddly shaped. This is where working with an experienced builder pays off. A builder who is comfortable working with reclaimed materials will be able to give you ideas on how to incorporate them within your home or recommend places to search for additional pieces. He will also be able to tell you when working with new materials such as energy efficient windows makes more sense than using old windows with glass panes.
The Challenges of Reclaimed Materials
There are a few complicating factors to selecting and using reclaimed materials in your dream home. The first is that the materials can be harder to find and sometimes more costly. You may find it difficult or even impossible to locate the exact porcelain bathtub you saw online for your bathroom, for instance. Reclaimed materials have to be sourced. There is a finite amount of vintage wood and bricks available, and it often needs to be treated in order to be safe to install in your home.
The installation of vintage pieces is often more complicated as well. It’s harder to incorporate vintage plumbing or lighting fixtures with modern plumbing and electrical systems and make them compliant with current safety codes. Again, this is where working with an experienced contractor makes a real difference in navigating red tape and facilitating your build.
There are challenges inherent in incorporating reclaimed materials in your dream home, but vintage materials and fixtures give a home a unique and interesting look and feel that cannot be duplicated by other people. They also lend a maturity and dignity to a new home. Those old pieces have a history and a presence. They connect the stories of the people who used them with the new story you are beginning by building your dream home. That’s why so many people are making the choice to use reclaimed materials today.