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I'm often asked by readers how they should add character to their house. My first answer: You're building a log home, so it'll have 100% more character than anything out there...

But I know they want more; countless ways exist, and they include both design (built-ins, bump-outs, bunk rooms) and decor (a burled-wood mantel, for example). One way is to add architectural salvage to your home...that is, reused/recycled material from another building.

For example, using re-purposed white pine from an old barn for your flooring or cabinetry; glorious old doors from a turn-of-the-century factory for one of your rooms; river rock from an old cabin.

I'm writing a small story about how to locate resources for salvaged material in the May issue of Log Home Living, but I thought I'd pass along a great resource to get you started. It's the Building Materials Reuse Association, and the nonprofit's web site will give you links to salvage shops in your neck of the woods.

Enjoy!

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Tags: add, building, charater, homes, log, material, salvage, to

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Comment by Charlotte on February 18, 2009 at 2:57pm
There was a 100 year old hand-dug well on our property. When we closed off the well, my husband pulled out the stacked stone that lined the wall of the well and we used it to build the flowerbeds at the front of the house and a walkway to our main entrance.
Comment by Mitch & Rene Jones on February 13, 2009 at 8:15pm
If you have seen our profile page you know we built our log home after losing our home to a fire.
We took some of the bricks from our old home and used them to line the wood box beside our fireplace. It adds a bit of character as well as memories.

Also there was an old falling down house at the site where we wanted to build our log home, so I took the cut stones out of the foundation and we used them for the chimney on top of our home.

I love the story about the story of the concrete head and the picture of the old door knobs. I actually have an old door knob in a drawer waiting on me to hang it in the mud room. I dug through some trash hoping the door was in good shape because it was a solid wood door with a frosted glass window, but the homeowner had beat holes in the door, but the brass door knob was still beautiful.

I know I told a secret "I'm a trash picker" but if the door was worth saving I might of had a mint!

Thanks,
Rene
Comment by CR (Yona) Dunning on February 11, 2009 at 2:22pm
Mike

You're welcome

It's always one of my favorite stories to tell & after all isn't that what we're about - telling stories? People have been doing from next to forever.

I grew up listening to old men in hunting camp telling stories - that was in the days before cable & I-pod

It made me want to tell stories too

I'm very interested in seeing what other folks have to write about when it comes to adding salvaged pieces of history to their dream-homes

thanks
Yona
Comment by Michael McCarthy on February 11, 2009 at 2:02pm
"The school had a face lift during the 70's & Minerva (& a beautiful Federal eagle & two Egyptian pharaohs) were torn down & discarded...I bought her for 50 cents from a kid carrying it down the street - I don't know why kids carry things down the street. They do."

Yona, this is a GREAT story! I love it.

I love houses with items that tell a story. You know the ones: a table found in an old shop during a couple's honeymoon decades ago, a farmhouse sink purchased from a farmer cleaning out his old barn, vintage b/w photos saved from your grandmother's house during a fire, and on and on.

These are all treasures, and they complete a home.

Thanks for sharing!

Mike
Comment by CR (Yona) Dunning on February 11, 2009 at 1:48pm
Michael

This is almost as good as the last topic - whether or not log houses have spirits - & I trust you'll get some very interesting answers.

You reflected that log houses have 100% more character from day one & I agree.

Though our house is barely built & is still waiting to be finished in & out I anticipate adding a little of this & that as time & circumstance permit.

As for now - rather than build a fireplace, after research we have decided to use a woodstove as a secondary heat source & hopefully our primary source down the road. As part of the wood stove installation we'll have a hearth built of native river rocks - easily enough found in the Appalachians.

Along the way we've picked up a concrete head of Minerva - Goddess of Wisdom. She's been sitting on the north side of Clinch Mountain for a year now waiting to become part of our house.

Originally Minerva was a part of the school I graduated from - a long time ago. The school was built with NRA labor during the Depression. Minerva was a bas relief on the pediment above the auditorium doors & when I graduated I walked under her stern face.

The school had a facelift during the 70's & Minerva (& a beautiful Federal eagle & two Egyptian pharoahs) were torn down & discarded.

I bought her for 50 cents from a kid carrying it down the street - I don't know why kids carry things down the street. They do.

She's been in & out of several gardens over the years.

My hope is to have Minerva to be integrated into the river rock wall behind the stove & become part of our home.

She'll be appreciated.

Take care
Yona

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