The Resourceful Renovator

Cover, The Resourceful Renovator

Author(s): Jennifer Corson

ISBN: 10890132519

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“The wood floors in older houses are so beautiful — how do I create the same effect?”

“Will used windows work to provide natural light in a dark interior room?”

“We removed some wonderful old wrought-iron grates when we replaced our heating system-how can we use them?”

“Is there an inexpensive way to build a brick patio for my home?”

“Our bathroom needs a new look, but we can’t spend much-what can we do?”

“How can I reuse the granite foundation block from the demolition site down the street?”

The Resourceful Renovator is always asking how basic building materials can be restored, rehabilitated, remodeled, repaired, revitalized, rejuvenated, reclaimed, renewed, refurbished, repainted, repointed, retrofitted, reconstructed, replicated, re-erected, rebuilt, recreated, redesigned, reworked, relocated or reused.

This book contains hundreds of ideas for renovating and decorating projects that reuse wood, stone, metal, glass, brick and ceramics. These materials consumed enormous amounts of energy in their production and building materials are the biggest proportion of all waste discarded in landfills. Instead of throwing them away, why not reuse these items in new buildings or renovation projects, and create furnishings and rooms that are beautiful, functional and good examples for our children and community?

The traditional method of demolishing a building is to use an excavator to knock it down into a rubble pile and then cart the debris away to the landfill. But there is another way. We should consider where building materials originate, how they are extracted from nature and how much energy is embodied in the process of changing raw resources into useful products. Then we can start to reverse the global impact of our use of those resources. Considerable value — energy, ingenuity and plain hard work — has already been added to transform ore or earth or tree into radiators or door knobs or tongue-and-groove flooring. Knowing this, we will be very reluctant to simply throw away such valuable items.

Finding material to reuse can be a fun adventure-in fact, it’s sometimes the most fun part of the project. Half of the joy of showing your finished project to a visitor is in telling the story of where the material came from. There is no end to the affliction called resource recycling-when it sets in, one house may not be enough. The urge to sidestep the new materials aisle at the hardware store, and dig through the neighborhood trash is infectious.

Many of the photographs and stories in this book come from author Jennifer Corson’s first-hand experience at her Renovator’s Resource business in Halifax, Nova Scotia. As well, it features some of the best episodes from her television series, “The Resourceful Renovator.”

176 pages, 2000

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