Today I saw the house of my dreams online, a circa-1900 bank redeveloped into a funky, gorgeous “playground” for an old house junkie like me. The sellers even reused the bank vault door as the master bedroom door and old pennies to create a beautiful “rug” inside the threshold and as the master bathroom floor. So clever and creative!
Because “redevelopment” is part of our name, many would consider what we do to be recycling because, in keeping with our mission, we’re taking a sad house and making it happy again, but I like the term “upcycling.” When you upcycle something, you’re giving it a new, positive purpose, like when the sellers of the bank took pennies and turned them into flooring. As much as is possible in our work we reuse/improve upon existing materials, so we’re giving them new purpose. It not only saves us money and saves the environment but it also adds charm and value to a property.
For example, rather than pour concrete for a new backyard patio, I laid bricks that I had salvaged from a demolished restaurant in the Little Italy section of Baltimore—and hauled home through city streets very slowly (especially because of the potholes) in the trunk and backseat of my Toyota Corolla. The bricks had been manufactured by the Baltimore Brick Company and some were over 100 years old. All the patio cost me was my salvaging and bricklaying time and the cost of paving sand; pouring concrete would have cost thousands of dollars. Granted, the bricks were already beautiful, but they got upcycled to make a lovely, mossy-fern-y patio that a new family is now enjoying.
Upcycling has a positive bent to it (because of the “up” prefix), and we work diligently to positively affect the lives of everyone we work with. If you know of someone with a “sad” house whose burden we could relive, or if you would like to work with us as we renovate one, we would love to upcycle along with you. Call us! 512-807-8777
Anita McCabe is an experienced home renovator whose family was in the construction industry when she was growing up. She works with Hermit Haus Redevelopment as a project manager and tracks our incoming leads. She and Sue Ann have been friends since they were 14 years old. Anita has recently relocated from Baltimore to Austin, Texas, along with her small but powerful dog, Pickle.