‘House Recycling’ Progress Report – They didn’t destroy the old house on their lot – they actually recycled it into a totally new home. Find out why, right here …
Some of the old house’s flooring was made into cabinets; the best boards were laid in the new bathrooms.
Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Board by board, the old ramshackle Westmoreland house on SE Rex Street that Shannon Quimby purchased last year has now been recycled into a brand new home.
During our latest inspection, we found a beautiful, functional home getting the finishing touches. What we didn’t see was a Dumpster – that huge metal box typically found at most construction or remodeling sites.
Quimby, the star of the “Q-Renew” programs on HGTV, reminded us of her premise for this house: “We call it the ‘REX Project’ – it stands for the ‘Reuse Everything eXperiment’. The rule here is that we don’t throw anything away. We’ve successfully dismantled the old house, and reused the parts and pieces – we didn’t need a Dumpster,” she says.
“You haven’t thrown away anything?” we questioned her.
“What we couldn’t use was the plaster; it had lead paint on it,” Quimby answered. “The plaster filled up the back of a pickup truck. Beyond that, we fill up about one large garbage bag with things like calking tubes and product packaging about every 10 days. It’s amazing the amount of material that we can recycle.”
New home a showplace
As we toured the house, workers were doing “finish” carpentry work, painting, and sealing.
Quimby pointed out a built-in cabinet in the dining room. “It was originally a corner cabinet in the old house’s kitchen,” Quimby observed. “We really like the leaded glasswork. And, we’re using all of our old cabinetry and infusing it into the house.”
Shannon Quimby says she fell in love with the leaded glass in this cabinet – they saved it intact, and it is now in their new dining room.
New room features old flooring
In a tiled bathroom, Quimby pointed out the flooring. “This is one of the rooms where we were able to salvage the old tongue-and-groove flooring. Even after decades of use, it is still in great shape. When it’s sanded and finished, it will look like new – but it’s not!”
Some of the other recycled flooring is being used as backing on walls, and for manufacture of cabinetry. “We’re using the flooring in a variety of ways to reincorporate in the house and save money,” she said. “We’re not throwing away the scrap pieces; they’ll be burnt in the outdoor fireplace in our backyard.”
This mud grate was formerly a furnace vent cover. Quimby says it symbolizes the REX Project perfectly.
House has grate entrance
On the way out, Quimby pointed out the “mud trap” on the front porch near the door. “It was the main furnace grate in the old house,” she explained. “We wanted to reuse it, instead of it becoming just another piece of scrap metal dumped into a landfill.”
Although it is a steel floor grate, Quimby said it’s a fitting “welcome mat” for their new home. “It’s the first thing you’ll see you when you step into our house. It embodies the principles of the Rex Project.”
Watch for our next installment: The finished REX Project home. For more information, check her web site: www.ShannonQuimby.com .
© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News