Eligia McKenna's Home Transformation

Eligia McKenna's Home Transformation

October 2013—Eligia McKenna has owned her house for 25 years. A few years ago, she moved out of state and rented out both floors. When she came back to Boston, she was shocked to find the extent of the damage that had been done. The floor in the bathroom was rotten with water damage. The tenants had removed the cabinet doors, and the sink was falling apart. The floor finish was ruined. There were holes everywhere.

It was overwhelming at first. Eligia didn’t have a lot of money to spend on fixing things up. But she did have the time—and she had Boston Building Resources. "Without the Reuse Center at BBR, I wouldn’t have been able to do this project," she says. "That’s a fact."

The first priority was the bathroom. The water-damaged wooden floor was a safety hazard. Eligia wondered, How am I going to do this? After repairing the damage to the floor, she found a tub at the Reuse Center for $100. "At a regular retail store, I would have had to pay at least $300 for something that was not even as high quality," she said. "I found a sink for $80 that you can see online for $400 or more. I bought tiles for $150, a mirror for $30, and accessories like towel bars."

She bought a large cabinet set and split it up to use in the kitchens on both floors. She got creative with some cabinet doors, building a box for them that hides some pipes while adding storage in the kitchen. The prices were so affordable that she could use the money she had saved to buy supplies for the other rooms.

Eligia has always been handy, so she did a lot of the work herself, with some help for the heavier jobs. She painted almost all the rooms with paint she bought for $6 a gallon. She refinished the floors, too. She got new light fixtures and ceiling fans . . . everything she could from the Reuse Center, which she calls "my favorite place."

"I am so grateful," she adds. "Soon, my mom will be moving in downstairs after six months of renovations." After lots of hard work, they are getting a fresh start. With Reuse Center materials at affordable prices, she could make her house a nice place to live again.