The Renovator’s wife Blog

Renovating with your partner and living to tell about it

When New Doesn’t Mean New November 25, 2010

When you buy a pre-owned car or house, generally speaking, you say something like “I bought a new car” or “we’re moving into a new home” even though it isn’t ‘new’.

Over the past few decades, we’ve grown used to the concepts of reduce, reuse and recycle. While renovting often is a case of ‘out with the old and in with the new’, it is possible to reuse things to prevent them from becoming landfill. Like your “new car” or “new house”, you can create new from somone else’s, or your own, old.

In house # 2, I inhereted an odd little ensuite. I know from the realtor, and my own visual inspection, that the tennants didn’t use this bathroom. The toilet and sink looked brand new. We removed them carefully, I inspected them thorougly, then I cleaned the furiously before installing them in the new main bathroom. No one would ever guess.

A bit hard to see in the photo, but that toilet (and the sink off to the right) are the ones from the ensuite. Another case of recycling in this house came from visiting a new and used building supply store where I bought used pocket doors for a fraction of the price – they simply needed a new coat of paint.

You’d never know

In house #3, everything needed a major overhaul. Little things got our attention, like the handrails on the stairway. The Renovator sanded that ugly dark shiny finish to find a beautiful light wood underneath, we finished and reinstalled the ‘new’ handrails.

Here in house #4, we’ve got some great options for recycling. Many of the big things are ‘bin filler’, like the carpetting and cabinetry, but some things can be saved or repurposed. We’re carefully removing the bricks from the wall downstairs to reuse in a funky new way in a different location. When we replace the windows, we’ll be saving the old ones to build a small greenhouse. Although the lilac toilet and sink will have to go, there are a number of cabinet knobs and hardware bits we’ll be making use of.

Definitely get that dumpster if you’re doing a full reno, but before you decide to ‘toss it all’, take a closer look and see if you can make something old new again.