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Using Salvaged Materials for a Fixer Upper Home Purchase

Few would deny that unique style is a bonus for prospective buyers of renovated homes. While quality and function are important, it can be the unexpected touches that trigger a positive response and prompt an offer.

Investors who purchase property with the goal of renovating and reselling for profit sometimes overlook the potential to add character with reclaimed materials and architectural salvage, instead choosing more expensive options that can sometimes be hard on the budget.

Recognize Possibilities  

While most buyers appreciate the style and reliability of modern heating and cooling systems, new appliances and  energy-efficient lighting, there is a certain charm associated with vintage bath fixtures, period chandeliers and wall sconces, and reclaimed beams, flooring, doors, millwork and hardware.

When the quality of workmanship is evident, there is no reason why design items from the past cannot be fully integrated into modern interiors. Even exteriors can be enhanced with older architectural features. The truth is that salvaged materials and vintage home decor can constitute a bargain when used to update a “tired” property. They also add much-needed character to transform a bargain fix-and-flip project from mundane to extraordinary.

Rather than squandering potential profit on high-ticket items, why not exercise a bit of ingenuity to incorporate a stately vintage aesthetic into a modern property, whether that’s through DIY projects or hiring a professional craftsman? Whether your finished design theme is rustic farmhouse, industrial, Euro-tech, distinctively contemporary or vintage elegance, the unique appeal of repurposed elements can add spirit and new life to a renovation.

Be Inventive

The matching look — in home design as in furniture and clothing — is now passe, and color today depends less on popular trends than on personalization and individuality.

Designers and architects, as well as savvy investors and builders, realize the benefits of cost-effective options. Budgeting for a renovation requires keeping a tight lid on costs. Prospective buyers will respond to the unique and unusual. Salvaged architectural materials have the ability to raise the bar of perception: Buyers respond to one-of-a-kind features. Homes with custom features and distinctive personality sell faster and for higher prices than cookie-cutter models.

Look for Multi-use Value

The possibilities for integrating artistic features and period elegance are endless. Just consider these:

  • Add a carved wood fireplace surround as the focal point for a sleek modern fireplace;
  • Incorporate a freestanding armoire into a kitchen filled with standard upper and lower cabinets;
  • Add a kitchen island top of French marble rescued from an elegant hotel’s lobby;
  • Add Victorian tin ceiling panels to spark design elegance in a modern kitchen or dining room;
  • Create an elegant vanity cabinet from an old buffet or desk;
  • Reclaimed glass — seeded or chicken-wire panes — looks great in new kitchen cabinets;
  • Panel a den wall with peeling painted siding from an old barn;
  • Reclaim antique brick or stone to create a patio wall or pave a small entry;
  • Create porch columns from older pilasters and stairway balusters;
  • Hang a antique framed mirror in a contemporary power room;
  • Incorporate transom windows from an aging hotel as interior accents that bring additional light into dark halls;
  • Use a serviceable chest or bookcase as a window seat or bathroom bench; extra storage is always welcome.

When renovating existing property, don’t let your vision be limited to “modernizing.” Keep all options on the table. Sometimes older is better, not only because the price is good, but because the value far outweighs the cost.

Olde Good Things