Today it’s commonplace in carpentry and construction to build with materials that are factory finished. In other words, raw materials (flooring, trim lumber, etc.) are delivered to a job site, pre-dimensioned, pre-surfaced, and ready for installation. While there are times (ie. custom windows and doors) that we rely upon the efficiency of offsite fabrication and factory finishing, the icehouse rehab has incorporated an extensive amount of field finishing — on-site material preparation such as re-milling garapa (upcycled from deconstructed deck) into wall paneling and transforming rough cut lumber into finished hardwood flooring — in an effort to repurpose surplus building materials and architectural salvage.
In the photograph above, Calvin Cumm is planing poplar that was harvested and rough-sawn on property approximately a decade ago. We’ve “high graded” the well seasoned poplar, culling the best quality material for finish trim, stair treads and risers, etc. Although the amount of field finishing we’ve undertaken for this project has increased labor inputs and drawn out the timeline, it was one of the defining principles for our scope from the outset. There are quicker and less expensive ways of rehabilitating an obsolescent icehouse into a 21st century work+play hub. But adaptive reuse and upcycling and repurposing are challenges worth investing in as much for ecological responsibility and the enduring value of quality, custom construction as for the merits of collegial collaboration and knowledge-sharing. We habitually eschew “cookie cutter” renovations for creative, consequential challenges that encourage team wide learning. We’re as concerned with process as product. And we love adventures! Reasserting creative control over the ingredients as much as the recipe can yield surprisingly rewarding results. As much for us, the homeowner, as for the remarkable collaborators who’ve contributed to this project.
Thank you, Calvin!
What do you think?