Thursday, September 12, 2013

Not a Flip....

I continue to search for a term to replace 'Flip' for the work we do on houses.  Whenever we hear 'Flip', it conjures up an image of  quick, cheap (aka low quality) updates.  I keep thinking there has to be a better term!  But recently, NY Times Travel editor Suzanne MacNeille came up with a great quote in her article about Portland.  She was talking about restaurant design, but I thought it was a perfect way to describe what we try and do with these houses.

Corner Cabinet - 1892 New Englander
Reclaimed Materials:  I'm on a first name basis with the folks at the local salvage yards and Habitat's ReStore.  Our most recent projects have used antique beams from local buildings as well as old doors and hardware.  We also try and reuse all of the existing materials from each house.  Our current project has some wonderful hardware and a built in corner cabinet that we think dates back over 100 years.
Doorknob - 1900 Victorian

Restoration:  Rather than gut each building and replace all the elements with new, we try and restore old plaster, woodwork and architectural elements.  We love steam heating systems and the wonderful old radiators that go with them (seriously, don't you love the heat they throw off in the middle of a cold winter - without drying out the whole house?).  
Window Hardware - 1892 New Englander
Rosettes - pre restoration
Doorknob - 1932 Cottage, pre restoration

Newel Post and Balusters - 1892 
Closet Built Ins
Tapered Columns - 1930 Cottage

Local Craftsmanship:  The team of folks that work on our homes truly are craftsman.  We don't complete a renovation in a few weeks.  It takes months and months to do it right.  The work that these guys do (and they're always guys.....not sure why more women aren't in this business!) is beautiful.  They really care about the quality of the work they do and it shows.  
Waterhouse Builders
So, maybe we don't have a one word replacement for the term 'flip'.  But Reclaimed Materials, Restoration and Local Craftsmanship says it all.

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  1. I think it's great that you respect the old buildings. The final product says it all.

    How do you deal with old painted woodwork? Chemically strip, sand, scrape?

  2. Thanks so much!!

    I've started using a product called XIM Peel Bond. I learned about it from the guys that did the lead safe painting for us. You simply put it over the old peeling paint and it creates a tough new surface! So far it has worked really well.

  3. I'd say you rescue these houses. Your work is beautiful and always quite interesting to watch the transformation.

    1. Rescue - now that's an interesting way of looking at it! Thanks Elena!!! Appreciate it!


  4. You might be R&R&R'ers....Restorers, renovaters, rejuvenators :-)


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