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It’s a little ironic: as the digital age roars ahead into the future at a breakneck speed, millions of people find themselves needing a deeper connection to the past. This is one reason building a house with reclaimed materials has become so popular, and we’ve discovered many amazing ways to use reclaimed home building materials in new projects.

Here are some interesting recent examples of what some homeowners have been doing with reclaimed house materials:

New Orleans

A June 2016 article by highlighted the work of Zachary Tyson, a co-owner of homebuilding company Tyson construction. He used reclaimed materials, mostly from old homes in the New Orleans area, in his own home to give the house “some of the charm of traditional architecture but without the maintenance and upkeep associated with older houses.”

For example, he used barge-board for shelving in his kitchen, and he used an old beam from a torn-down New Orleans home to make the mantle in his living room. His home includes some old doors as well: a barn door for a master suite door and a rounded door to hide the pantry next to the kitchen. He also used new heart pine reclaimed from a previous construction job to disguise the hood vent over the stove. The back wall of his living room has a silvery wood that was once part of a warehouse on the Mississippi River.

Milwaukee (and Greater Wisconsin)

Kyle Thompson, the owner of WILO Design in Milwaukee, said in a recent 2016 article that reclaiming is a fast-developing culture in Milwaukee. His firm makes furniture from old reclaimed wood. He said this about the trend: “Everywhere there are people who don’t want to waste…Wood that has been milled in the past from old-growth timber — you can’t get that any more. People are trying to save these things…. It’s our connection to the past.”

But it’s also about the look, as Thompson added. The wood pieces get a certain patina–stains, scratches, nail holes–that is impossible to duplicate.

Joseph Amann, the sales manager of Urban Evolutions in in Appleton, Wisconsin, uses reclaimed materials from old factories and barns to make pieces for homes. He said this trend actually started in the ’90s when shabby chic became a hit. He also highlighted the need for people to connect the past: “…you have a story to tell. You can see where your piece came from — for example the old Pabst factory or an old dairy barn. People like to share that information.”

Antique Reclaimed Barnstone-$250

Kevin Fogle, the project coordinator for WasteCap Resource Solutions in Milwaukee, described how his company, besides the usual floors and beams, reclaims old sinks, registers, claw-foot tubs, windows, doorknobs, and radiator covers. Some crafters in the area, according to Kevin, also reclaim unusual items like old slate chalkboards, and they use them for coffee tables. Or they take an old exit light fixture, turn it on its side, and use it as a planter. Some people buy Kevin’s register covers and use them to make table tops or hang them on the wall as art.

Another Milwaukee resident, Stephanie Birr, who works as the marketing coordinator for WasteCap, described one of her favorite pieces: an old brass fire hose that was turned into a key holder. She also zeroed in on the need to connect with the past: “Customers come in here and want unique pieces and they want to know the history of those pieces… They want to keep that history alive.”

Authentic Antique Bricks

Gavin Historical Bricks also loves to keep history alive. We save the past by reclaiming the highest quality bricks and stones from historical towns and cities across America. We provide a beautiful link between the past and the present by making these antiques available for building or restoring residential and commercial properties.

Contact us to find out how we can make your new project unique and fresh with authentic roots in the past using reclaimed home building materials.

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