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Deconstruction, Reuse, Recycle – The Alternative to Demolition.

When part of the building process includes clearing the way for new construction, we approach the task in the most socially responsible way for our community and the environment.
With the approval of our homeowners, we called in Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity  for this extraordinary project. The process of deconstructing a home and donating the materials to Habitat is fascinating!  So are the countless people who volunteer and make it all possible!

1 habitat volunteers and plannning.jpgIt all starts bright and early with a crew of over 30 volunteers, 2 trucks and buckets of tools.

1 Cindy G and Scott
Cindy Gear, volunteer Deconstruction Product Processing Leader, meets with Scott Lowell to review the days activities including a recap of items to be donated and the “do-not-take list”.  We learned from Cindy that to volunteer at Habitat one must be relatively handy, the crew members actually brings their own tools.   Most volunteers are retired or have part time business interests, and all are dedicated to the task of providing quality homes and products to the community.
Photo Dec 06, 11 53 52 AM this is a production staging .jpg
One of the most interesting tidbits we learned – every item is sorted, cleaned, priced packaged and entered into inventory before it is even loaded on to the ReStore Milwaukee truck.  Typically donations hit the sales floor the same day!  That makes products and materials available to savvy shoppers asap! The proceeds are used to “build homes, communities and hope locally and around the world”.

Along with plumbing, lighting and appliances, this donation included high quality Wood-Mode Cabinetry, and SubZero refrigerators.  All contributed by our very generous homeowners!

Salvaging Materials for Reuse & Recycling

On demolition day, a careful salvaging process is used for materials that will be reused or recycled. Watch this fancy bucket-work from excavator Bobby Stewart as he starts by dismantling the stone fireplace and carefully removing the chimney piece.  This is aluminum and can be reused or fully recycled.  The decorative face stone is removed and can also be reused. Concrete blocks that form the structure along with other concrete will be broken to small bits and recycled to use as road bed.

1 Melissa and Bobby from steward from day 1 worked togeher.jpgAmidst the deconstructed material, Melissa Lowell pauses for a hug from an old friend Bobby Stewart!   Stewart Excavating has been a part of the Lowell Custom Homes family since Day 1!
1 removing and seperating materials during demo .jpg
While this may look a bit messy, there is a method to the work that is focused on identifying and separating material for recycling.  Workers pull wire, copper and other metals from the debris. Ductwork, appliances, air-conditioners can all be sent for recycling.  Steel beams can be reused if not bent or be scrapped for recycling.
1 lumber seperated and reused when suitable .jpg

Undamaged lumber is stacked for reuse.

1 recycle scrapped metal .jpg

Copper is one of the worlds most recycled and reusable resource.

When remodeling we remove roof shingles and place them in a designated dumpster for recycling.

 

Protecting the Natural Environment


Before and during construction, we take steps to preserve the surrounding landscape.  This is critical for property adjacent to the wetland areas in Lake Geneva.  We work with Conservancy to implement the best practices for erosion control using silt fence and straw bails to slow water run off to the lake and reduce sediment.

The Special Character of Reclaimed Material

1 recycled brick reclaimed from streets of Iowa.jpg
Once material has been reclaimed, it can contribute to some of the most intriguing architectural details.  This antique reclaimed brick from an old midwestern street has a rich history,  it will be a definite conversation starter when the homeowners entertain on their terrace.
1 board and beam montage .jpg
One of our favorite sources for reclaimed material is Heritage Beam & Board in Elkhorn, WI!  The backstory for this reclaimed lumber is touching and meaningful.  The Hubbard family farm has endearing memories connected to the barn they called The Grand Queen and now the barn boards lives on to create memories for an entirely new family.
Lake Geneva is rich in opportunities for families to build and establish a home that is beautifully integrated into the natural surroundings.   We take on our role in this process enthusiastically and continue to advance our socially responsible commitment to the community.

To learn more about building in the Lake Geneva area,

contact Lowell Custom Homes at 262-245-9030

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Should You Remodel or Tear Down & Rebuild Your Home?

Before and After original lake home tear down for new home by Lowell Custom Homes Lake Geneva WI
Does your home need a little TLC or a  bulldozer? The final decision often comes down to budget. But the cost to renovate can be deceiving. It rarely includes as much space, or all of the sought after features of your dream home.  Before you start tearing down walls, we encourage you to consider these questions for guidance.

Tear down and rebuild with the location is ideal

Do you love the property?

Location, Location, Location! When the location is ideal and vacant land is limited, tearing down clears the site for a fresh start. Many older homes in the communities surrounding Geneva Lake, WI are ideal candidates. Lake property is at a premium and surrounding homes support the investment of rebuilding.
Does a house have good bones -if not starting fresh is best

Does the home have good bones?

Have the home inspected by an experienced contractor, one who really knows what they’re doing and gets dirty in the process. When repairs to the foundation or structural elements are needed beware of the escalation of commitment, commonly known as the money pit. Building from the ground up eliminates the hazards and physical constraints of an existing structure. Starting fresh also opens up a world of design possibilities.
Architecture will guide you decision to remodel or tear down and rebuild Lowell Custom Homes in Lake Geneva

Is the home architecturally appealing?

Not to be unkind, but all old homes are not charming. When the architecture is historic or has great character, by all means renovate! Even a quirky kind of appeal is ok, but nostalgia can quickly loses its attraction when cost intensifies.   To invest and not have the perks of completely new construction could lead to renovator’s remorse.
Rebuilding a home provides a modern open floorpan Lowell Custom Homes in Lake Geneva

Is the floor plan to your liking?

Sometimes you just can’t get there from here. When the floor plan is divided into small rooms without logical flow, the overall function of the home suffers. Even when an addition increases space, the original structure often needs to be upgraded to offer support and satisfy codes. There is a point where the architectural benefits of tall ceilings and a spacious open plan will actually save money.
Building a new home includes new plumbing heating electrical and mechanicals Lowell Custom Homes in Lake Geneva

Does the home have good plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems?

Renovation is about more than increasing space. Older homes have dated systems. Upgrades to plumbing and electrical are often needed to support new design features. Unexpected expense is not uncommon when problems are exposed during partial demolition. It is heartbreak when a homeowner has to give up something on the wish list because of unforeseen expenses.
New homes have energy efficient windows and materials Lowell Custom Homes in Lake Geneva WI

How energy efficient is the existing structure?

Construction materials have advanced in recent years and bring added savings to a new home. Improved insulation, energy efficient windows, and smart systems for heating and cooling improved the quality of life and reduce operating expense.
Building a new home opens up options for modern lifestyle like a master bedroom suite Lowell Custom Homes Lake Geneva WI

Does the home compliment your lifestyle?

The real question is, how do you want to live in your home and is it possible in the existing structure? A completely private master suite, indoor-outdoor great room, whole house accessibility – these and many other lifestyle amenities are difficult to retrofit into the footprint of an old home. No need to compromise when the investment will justify new construction.
Tear Down and rebuild for open plan and a fresh new home features Lowell Custom Homes Lake Geneva WI
Over the years we have been involved in numerous renovations as well as new home construction after a tear down. Every home is unique and the right decision weighs all of the influencing factors. This includes the homeowners personality, budget and tolerance for disruption.

We enjoy the entire process and are here to help.   When you are ready to look at all of the possibilities, talk to Lowell Custom Homes for an experienced and professional evaluation.

Browse our Gallery of Homes & call us at 262-245-9030

 

Our lovely photography was done by Shana Wolf S, Photography and Styling

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