Design Pros’ Secrets for Finding and Using Reclaimed Materials

When you ask Seattle-based house flippers Lora Lindberg and Debbie Cederlind where to find the best home-restoration materials, they quickly reply in unison, “Craigslist.”

Lindberg and Cederlind of Urban Squirrel Residential Restoration have been flipping houses and using reclaimed materials cleverly since 2010, when they purchased their first renovation house in Everett, WA.

Debbie Cederlind (left) and Lora Lindberg (right), the brilliant design minds behind Urban Squirrel.

Although many people are flipping houses these days, Lindberg and Cederlind take a unique approach: a design-first attitude using reclaimed pieces found anywhere, from Craigslist to salvage yards to the side of the road.

“I think what people really want is character – they want a house that’s unusual,” Cederlind says. “A new tract house in Mississippi looks like a new tract house in Minnesota. People want to add character back in.”

Lindberg adds, “I think a lot of builders are good at construction, but they’re not design people. That’s where we feel we’re different – we’re design people first.”

A creative approach to both flipping and using reclaimed materials involves seeing potential others might overlook – and being willing to undertake a transformation. “Twice now we’ve bought an old, beautiful table with big, curvy gorgeous legs,” recalls Lindberg. “We cut it in half, and then we made double vanities. It makes a pedestal sink, so the two legs are out in the room, and the cut part is against the wall.”

Once an old table, now a one-of-a-kind double vanity.

The duo’s interest and work in renovation started when they met through a church project called Trading Graces. The project entailed a small renovation for a church-nominated family, and an all-volunteer renovation team collaborated on the design and construction. Because the project didn’t have a large budget, the team learned how to maximize their renovation budget with inexpensive, used materials.

With a couple of Trading Graces projects under their tool belts, the pair decided to flip houses, and Urban Squirrel was born.

They’ve now completed 14 flips, and have become true experts on all things renovation. Here, Lindberg and Cederlind offer great advice on finding unique reclaimed materials, the best pieces to look for, and DIY strategies.

Where to find pieces for a renovation

 So, where’s the best place to find renovation materials? The answer is wherever you can find materials that inspire you.

“We have great salvage yards in Seattle, but I know those aren’t available everywhere,” says Lindberg. “If you’re in a smaller city without a salvage yard, try Craigslist. We’ve gotten a lot of things there.”

The duo scored a wooden screen on Craigslist. With a little love and paint, the screen became a pair of charming pantry doors that now lend a pop of character to the clean-lined space.

In addition to Craigslist, the duo suggests trying Etsy for interesting lighting and hardware, as well as eBay and garage sales.

“If you see anything cool or unusual, no matter where it is – on the side of the road, at the garage sale – just say to yourself, ‘What can I do with this?’” Cederlind says.

“Sometimes you have to mull it over for a couple days before you come up with something,” Lindberg notes. “But if it speaks to you, and it’s interesting, it’s worth finding a use for it.”

Before: The duo spotted these rustic tin panels and felt certain they could repurpose them.
After: Once dusty and unloved, the tin panels now make the perfect cozy-chic statement in this entryway.

The best types of reclaimed pieces

When hunting for unique reclaimed materials, Cederlind and Lindberg suggest watching for quality pieces of furniture made of solid wood, such as dressers, which often feature intricate carvings or other unique details..

“One of the pieces we’ve used the most is buffets,” Lindberg says. “We use them for islands in kitchens.”

If you find an interesting piece while you’re out shopping, make sure it fits your home’s style. Although Cederlind and Lindberg don’t call themselves design purists, they say it’s best to avoid a style disconnect. If you have a Tudor home, you probably don’t want to put a bunch of mid-century modern pieces in it.

You also want high-quality pieces. “Avoid it if it’s stinky,” Lindberg says.

Some DIY best practices

An important point to remember when working with reclaimed materials: Gather all your materials before you (or a contractor) start the work.

“Let’s say you’re creating a pantry, and [your contractor] makes a doorway,” explains Lindberg. “It’s going to be impossible to find a door that exactly fits that size. You have to have all your materials first, and then have your contractor fit the doorway accordingly.”

Cederlind and Lindberg discovered the antique windowpane on the left in an architectural salvage yard.
Now serving as an interior window, the old windowpane breathes new life and light into the living room and office.

Before installing any reclaimed pieces, such as an old dresser turned into a vanity, be sure you can safely secure it, including finding the studs when attaching pieces to the walls. You may also have to modify the height of pieces to be functional for their new usage.

Above all else, the best DIY practice is just to try, the duo says.

“With all the amazing tools now, like pancake compressors and air nailers, you’d be surprised at how easy it is,” says Cederlind. “There are so many tutorials on YouTube. If somebody is really interested and wants to learn to do this, they can teach themselves.”

If you aren’t the handiest person in the world, reach out to a local handyperson or contractor. You can easily search for a quality craftsperson, but it’s always best to get recommendations from friends and family, Cederlind and Lindberg advise.

Ultimately, a great renovation project is about taking risks and creating a design that you love.

“Be brave. Most people are intimidated or timid about trying things – even paint,” Lindberg says. “But you can always repaint!”

See how Lindberg and Cederlind used reclaimed materials to create a cozy home office while renovating an abandoned 1920s Craftsman home:


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Design Pros’ Secrets for Finding and Using Reclaimed Materials was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home


8 Beautiful Home Projects Using Reclaimed Wood

Reclaimed wood can be recovered from a wide variety of sources, but it most frequently comes from timber framing and decking used in old barns, factories, and warehouses. Some tell-tale signs of reclaimed wood include nail holes, manufacturer stamps, and markings. Other unique qualities, like variation and depth of color or unusual patterning, can be a result of it being stored in vessels like wine barrels, beer casks, and other containers.

Additionally, reclaimed timber is usually cut from strong, mature trees (unlike the younger, weaker trees used today for lumber), and is less prone to splitting. Because of these aspects, many designers choose to use reclaimed wood rather than virgin timber in their projects.

Here are eight different projects that incorporate reclaimed wood in distinct ways.

Ceiling turned to walls

Salvaged wood from multiple origins come together in this project in Buenos Aires by architects Teresa Sarmiento and Nicolas Tovo. They designed the home for their own family with the intention of celebrating recycled materials-floor boards of repurposed Brazilian pine and wall boards from the ceiling of a tenement in a local Buenos Aires neighborhood. The boards were cut down to size and oriented vertically to bring the eye upward to a clerestory window and small white beams.

Photo by Cristóbal Palma.

Repurposed staircase

A small, efficient home in Seattle designed by SHED Architecture & Design incorporated wood on the exterior and interior of the home, and even used salvaged wood from the residence that had previously stood on the site. Although the 100-year-old bungalow was demolished, the treads of one of its staircases were repurposed in the new home as a modern, open-riser stair that lets in light from the windows beyond.

Photo by SHED Architecture + Design.

Entryway elegance

Even a few pieces of salvaged lumber can have a big impact. This entryway in a Brooklyn townhouse, renovated by Bangia Agostinho Architecture, reused hemlock fir joists from the existing building structure as casework around the main entry door. The trim has a simple, modern profile, ensuring that it makes a contemporary statement. In the entryway is another repurposed piece of wood that was charred in a fire more than 100 years ago. It has since been painted and repainted – creating a unique patina and texture – and transformed into a bench.

Photo by Pia Ulin.

Accent wall and headboard

In a project in Quebec, Canada, a 1924 building was renovated by Bourgeois Lechasseur Architects. The renovation sought to modernize the apartment while preserving the historical elements – in particular, reusing wooden boards that were salvaged during demolition. The unfinished boards act as a rustic, earthy accent wall and headboard, while the surrounding white walls and crisp bed linens keep the room contemporary.

Photo by Adrien Williams.

From flooring to doors

This loft in Brooklyn, New York, used almost all reclaimed, recycled, or diseased wood for everything from the flooring – salvaged from a barn constructed in the 1800s in the Allegheny Mountains in Ohio – to the doors, which were saved from a mansion in Greenwich, Connecticut. Shelving, walls, and ceilings throughout the apartment are covered with wood that came from butternut trees in a blighted forest in Vermont, where worm infestations created intricate, unique patterns in the diseased wood. Although the apartment is located in New York, the different pieces of lumber inside come from all over the country.

Photo by Kevin Cooley.

Structural elements and beyond

Different types of reclaimed wood, each from different sources, steal the show in this residence in the Scottish countryside by Glasgow-based architect Andrew McAvoy of Assembly Architecture. Thick, deep oak beams were reclaimed and reused for structural elements, while the maple flooring was salvaged from an old school in the nearby rural village of Aberdeen. The reclaimed wood was a critical contributor to the goal of sustainability in the home.

Photo by Andrew Meredith.

Posts and beams

As barns become obsolete, they become fruitful sources of salvaged wood, like this house in the Catskills in Bovina, New York. Architect Kimberly Peck designed a home for a Norwegian couple that was looking for the perfect mix of warm, Scandinavian design and mid-century modern. The wood boards on the walls and the posts and beams are all reclaimed, but from different sources. The structural elements were recycled from a barn built in 1840, and the reclaimed planks on the walls were stained with a gray wash to match the other wood.

Photo by Torkil Stavdal.

A fine library

High ceilings and natural light prevent this small library that’s clad in reclaimed wood from feeling overwhelming or oppressive. The wood, a salvaged spotted gum, is a durable wood that’s native to Australia and is often used in structural, exterior, and interior applications. It ranges from a deep, reddish tone to a much lighter, almost yellow-white color. The library was part of a renovation of a family residence by Melbourne-based architects Andrew Maynard and Mark Austin of Andrew Maynard Architects.

Photo by Peter Bennetts.

This article was written by Kate Reggev and originally appeared on Dwell.  Check out more of their content on



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8 Beautiful Home Projects Using Reclaimed Wood was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

9 Ways to Use Reclaimed Wood in Your Yard

You’ve seen reclaimed wood used for furniture, but did you realize you can use it outdoors, too? We love the look of it in a backyard because it adds a historic and classic feel. You can find the wood yourself or hire someone to landscape with reclaimed wood for you. Either way, we love this eco-friendly technique.

If you are landscaping yourself, just be aware of where you’re sourcing your wood. Most reclaimed wood comes from old buildings which once upon a time could have held hazardous materials like asbestos. Also, beware of old screws and nails hiding in the wood.

If using reclaimed wood is something you’re interested in, but you just don’t know how, continue reading for some inspirational landscaping ideas.

1. Outdoor Shelves

Plain and simple, use the wood to create weathered outdoor shelves for anything from gardening tools to plants and more.

Reclaimed Wood Outdoor Shelves

2. Space Dividers

If you want to create designated spaces in your yard, stacking planks of reclaimed wood is far more interesting that a solid wall or canvas.

Reclaimed Wood Compost

3. Artistic Fence

And speaking of dividers, if you’re building a fence look into reclaimed wood. Anyone can build a fence, but when you mix in other materials like ceiling tiles for an artistic feel you create a fence unique to your home.

Recycled Wood Fence

4. Vertical Garden

Vertical gardens are very in, and with a recycled wooden pallet they’re very easy! Just use a non-toxic backing like landscaping fabric, plant small plants or herbs and you’re good to go! Plus they have the added benefit of keeping your garden out of reach from pests.

Vertical Garden

5. Artwork

You can try to DIY this, but there are many artists out there who use reclaimed wood to create outdoor art. They can be custom made and transform your yard into an old-world fantasy.

Reclaimed Wood Artwork

6. Outdoor Station

If you love entertaining, you can also use the wood to create an outdoor bar. It’s a great alternative to installing a full outdoor kitchen and are the perfect spaces to serve drinks and snacks. Another option could be an outdoor gardening station as well.

Outdoor Kitchen

7. Garden Gates

Make your guests and family feel like they’re entering and old country garden by using reclaimed wood for your gate.

Reclaimed Garden Gate

8. Patio Frames

Instead of using new wood to create a frame or ceiling for your patio, use reclaimed wood for a country feel. Maybe even plant some climbing vines that will grow beautifully on the old wood.

Recycled Patio Frame

9. Retaining Walls and Garden Beds

Make your raised gardens or backyard walls feel less installed and more natural with the knotted look of reclaimed wood and reclaim your backyard.

Reclaimed Wood Garden


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The post 9 Ways to Use Reclaimed Wood in Your Yard appeared first on Blog. Blog

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9 Ways to Use Reclaimed Wood in Your Yard was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home