A Reuse Center Door Leads to Much More
July 2012—It all started with a door. When Earl and Ana Williams saw the sliding door for $200 at the Reuse Center at Boston Building Resources, the idea of opening up their dining room wall and building a deck came to them.
Now, the deck is a gathering spot for friends and family, including summer cookouts and church prayer meetings. The Williamses have tapped Reuse Center materials for many other home improvement projects, including opening up and remodeling the kitchen in their Dedham home, which they share with their two sons.
The kitchen project, Earl said, has really made a difference in their quality of life by giving everyone more space to move around comfortably. When they first started thinking about remodeling, they got a price on new cabinets from a big-box retailer of between $5,000 and $8,000—so they started stopping by the Reuse Center regularly, checking out newly arrived cabinet sets and checking in with staff member Miguel Perez. When they saw a light-colored maple set, Ana got excited: “I’m so thankful we got our name on it first!” The price was $600.
With a little ingenuity, they adapted some of the larger cabinets to make them fit and are still working on finishing touches, including a backsplash. Earl and Ana do a lot of their home improvement work themselves, sometimes with help from friends, as they have the time. Other bargains they’ve scooped up from the Reuse Center include recessed lights for $5 each and a sink for $28.
Earl and Ana say the best approach to shopping for used materials is to be patient and to stop by often. A trip to a regular retail store may also be useful for price comparison. “Crown molding, for example, is very expensive,” said Earl. The Reuse Center prices are much lower, “and the quality is there. It’s the perfect place to get stuff for the home.”