With the house construction entering the final stages, it’s obvious where David uses reclaimed timber to add natural bling.
Reclaimed timbers used for cladding.
Walking around the outside shows what can be done with timber salvaged from the roof of the old house David dismantled. The wood just needs a bit of tender loving care to bring it back to life. After removing any nails, the crew sand the timber to remove the outer layer of weathering. A couple of coats of Organoil then makes the surface sing.
The front of the house is a reclaimed timber smorgasbord. Start with the unique handcrafted front door.
Board and batten cladding wraps around the curved wall leading away from the door. Finish with a light smattering of decorative strips on the Shadowclad cladding that curves away down the side of the house. There’s something for everyone in this design.
Several neighbours wanted to know the source for this beautiful wood. They are surprised and pleased to hear it’s reclaimed from the property’s original house. A common response is the former owner would be happy to know parts of his home live on in the new house. We also like the connection to the history of the site.
Round the back of the house, more decorative strips add interest to the Shadowclad wall.
On the north-western corner, the wall finishes with what we affectionately call the “fin”. From a purely functional perspective, the fin shades a kitchen window from summer sunlight. However, David thought it could be beautiful as well as functional. Adding the reclaimed timber board and batten cladding makes the structure an eye-catching addition to the back wall.
Note the western side of the fin is clad with Colorbond steel. Steel is the low maintenance cladding of choice for an area exposed to the hot summer sun.
Old floorboards come back to life.
The 1920’s tramway depot floorboards sat patiently in the garage for a couple of years.
Laying them on top of the concrete floor in the bedrooms hinted at what they could become.
Sanding revealed more of the character of these old-style floorboards.
Oil the boards and voila! The deep, rich colours are revealed. Hard to believe that something nearly 100 years old could shine so brightly again. The finished floor highlights the quality of timber used in old Melbourne buildings.
We think laying floorboards in the bedrooms was a good decision since the concrete in these areas doesn’t get much direct sunlight. The kitchen and family area is bathed in sunlight during winter.
Sunlight warms the concrete floor (thermal mass) in this area and transfers some of that heat to the slab under the wooden floorboards, helping to keep the bedrooms warm. Seeing the concrete floor after the second polishing was another pleasant surprise as the suppliers of our enviro-concrete weren’t sure what polishing would do to the surface. They needn’t have worried because recycled aggregate in the mixture means an attractive range of pebble sizes and colours.
The polished concrete floor provides an attractive contrast to the Timber floorboards in the bedrooms.
Messmate timber is a bathroom feature.
The tram depot floorboards weren’t the only reclaimed timber we purchased from Recycled Timber Specialists. David spied a stack of messmate timber that came from demolishing an old Melbourne building. Messmate (aka Tasmanian Oak or stringybark) is a useful timber for construction, joinery or furniture. At the time, David wasn’t exactly sure how to use the planks, but he knew they’d come in handy for something special. We popped these planks into the garage where they waited for their turn to come back to life.
A few weeks ago, a batch of dusty, slightly shabby Messmate planks disappeared and ended up at the joinery workshop. That’s where the magic happens.
The planks returned last week. Drum roll please. Ta dah! The bathroom vanities are a stunning feature that blur the line between joinery and art.
Spoiler alert. We know the joinery crew are using more of the messmate planks to build the bench-top for this island bench in the kitchen. Looking forward to seeing the finished product.
Reclaimed timber is a winner for us.
Using reclaimed timber instead of off-the-shelf plantation timber isn’t an economic decision. New wood is always going to be cheaper and quicker to install than going through the process of reclaiming old wood. It takes time to select suitable planks for a particular job, remove the nails, sand the surface and then shape the plank to suit the job. Spending extra time (time = money) couldn’t be justified if we wanted maximum return on investment.
However, if the objective is to be more sustainable by reclaiming existing resources, then we heartily recommend this approach.
The beauty of the finished products add so much to the ambiance of the house. There are also the connections with other places and times that give a home its character.
The story of this house is special because it starts nearly a hundred years before the foundations were poured.