Designing The Right Cottage has given me a whole new perspective on “reuse”. Because I am bound and determined that this project is going to be affordable (not just because the cost is coming out of my pocket but because I want to prove it can be done), I’m on a quest for “previously loved” building materials and interior items.
I’m no stranger to our local interior consignment shops and furniture auctions; I have been advocating their use to my clients for some time now as a way to find really amazing items CHEAP. For this project, I have found myself (almost daily) perusing the numerous interior consignment shops looking at furniture, art and accessories. And I have most definitely hit the jack pot! (Don’t worry; I will share my finds with you in a later post as it all comes together.)
As for building materials, salvage yards (Sarasota Architectural Salvage being my very favorite) are chockfull of salvaged building materials that will work beautifully in The Right Cottage. There are choices for flooring, ceiling or wall surfacing as well as any number of other items to consider.
Such places as Habitat for Humanity Reuse Center also have a number of items to offer this project for a fraction of the cost of buying new.
Yes, reuse is definitely a “green” strategy that can make your project truly affordable. It does take a keen eye and a fair amount of patience to spot the materials and interior items that will lend themselves to the design aesthetic we’re looking for. But, hey, The “Queen of Reuse” is getting pretty good at this! And I’m having such fun!
- Connie Allegra, ASID
The concept for The Right Cottage came to me as I was listening to yet another of my friends tell me about his financial plight. How will he pay his rent? He has lost his job, and his roommate is moving out because he has found a less expensive living arrangement (leaving my friend with a place too big and a rent bill too high).
Well of course I certainly have great compassion for my friend’s predicament, and I do what I can to help him. But I also start to wonder what is going to happen to my own children when they begin to try to make it on their own in this oh-so-expensive world? Where will they live? How difficult will it be for them to find a job, get an apartment, pay all the bills? How will they come up with all the required money to even become part of this great rental game- first month’s rent, security deposit, and sometimes last month’s rent as well? Hmm…it sounds like a daunting task for even the brightest and most ambitious young person with a low-paying job.
Yes, they could always move back into my little home, and I would welcome them with open arms. But really, is this the ideal solution? I don’t think so. A young adult needs his own space – to grow independent and become his own person. (On that note, I think I better add a washer and dryer to the cottage’s list of amenities. Nothing says “independence” like doing your own laundry.) And let’s face it, by the time they are on their own, I too may want my own space.
My solution to a problem I don’t actually have yet? Plan ahead! I’ll build a small guest house in my own backyard, knowing that these little darlings of mine may indeed need it at one time or another as they make their way through life.
- Connie Allegra, ASID