I’ll never throw away a piece of wood again

The house that saved Mississippi’s past.

Yesterday, I visited the country home of a friend who practically hand-built her home and gardens using reclaimed architectural features and lumber from old homes about to be demolished. I grieved all the light fixtures, doors and windows I tossed away when I remodeled my own home. What was I thinking?

As I wandered through the rooms of my friend’s home, I felt like I was stepping back in time at least a century. I marveled at the imposing pocket doors she removed from an old home. They now form an entire wall between her foyer and living room. Magnificent stained glass windows, stairway banisters and church pews – all obtained for a song from an old church that was about to be destroyed – were evident throughout. Practically every board and molding had a story. Old cabinetry was built right into the walls complete with original hardware to form delightful closets and nooks in which to display collectibles.

The home’s ceilings featured beaded board, lovingly removed from an old structure strip by strip and reinstalled throughout the new home. Ditto for the flooring. A primitive doorway had been used to conceal the new refrigerator, thereby protecting the character of the new country kitchen. It also featured an enormous old brick fireplace adjacent to a modern oven whose front had been replaced with an ornamental cast iron one we might have seen in our great grandparents kitchens.

Garden theme even reflects Mississippi history

The massive gardens surrounding the home contain bits of recycled history. Everywhere you look there is something on which to feast your eyes. An old hoe has been sunk into the ground to form a stand for wind chimes the home’s owner fashioned from old silverware. Enamel ware pots and pans hang comfortably from walls and fencing.

None of this happened overnight. It took almost ten years for the project to be completed and actually began years earlier as the couple saved items from demolition. They obtained a warehouse to stash the stuff until construction began. And as they explained. It will never really be over…..new “old” items are retrieved continually.

I couldn’t wait to get the the second hand store to look for old implements to add charm to my own home and garden.

4 thoughts on “I’ll never throw away a piece of wood again

  1. Hi Emily,
    Talked to our friend this morning and told
    her how to get on your website. You did a great job at keeping her identity and location
    a mystery.

  2. Kinda milked it, didn’t I? Getting three stories out of one morning was very productive. I have more – but I really need to be able to identify her.

  3. Hey Emily: Where is the house that you featured with all the recycled items? Anywhere near the tri-cities? I would LOVE to see it (if the owner would allow me).

    Also if you discover how to mix concrete and where to get molds into which to pour it, I’d also like to know. That’s such a neat idea for grandchildren! Thanks. Shelby, here in scenic Chattanooga (actually down in Atlanta today)

  4. Hey – yes it in the “GOlden Triangle” – near an area called Cedar Bluff- Penny Robinson is the wonderful hostesses and a tour can be arranged – no fee included. I will call her to get more info on the molds and forward it to you and make a new post.

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