You are going to love this Sustainable Home Hub feature, sharing the story of Renovate Restore Recycle. Based in Bendigo, Victoria, owner Christian Bloomfield, says that funnily enough they are probably the only salvage yard in Australia that doesn’t actually have a yard and isn’t open to the general public! Renovate Restore Recycle demolish and strip out old period houses that are going to be demolished or renovated. Building materials such as windows, doors, flooring and timber are salvaged from these jobs and then uploaded onto their website www.renovaterestorerecycle.com.au
This means wherever you are in Australia you can access the amazing salvaged finds these guys come across. Christian says anything that can be recycled will be salvaged! All of Renovate Restore Recycle’s demolitions or strip outs are done without the use of heavy machinery. “Our crew’s weapon artillery consists merely of chainsaws, floor lifters and a bunch of run of the mill hand tools” says Christian. The Renovate Restore Recycle website has been up and running now for about 6 years, but it’s only in the last 3 years that the business has had everything thrown behind it. Up until then Christian was driving trucks full time, whilst weekends were spent working on and building up the business. Christian’s reasons for starting the business were simple – to save old unique building materials from being sent to the tip, and to give them a new lease of life.
Christian describes himself as an obsessive compulsive recycler who always has fifty thousand projects on the go at once. “I hate to see waste, and think everything (no matter how knackered ) has another lease of life left in it. My job list is never ending and I only start to stress when the back of a 1.2kg Weet-Bix box is completely full and I have to start yet another one!” he says.
He has a small crew that helps him with the house strip outs, demolition work and the processing of stock items – “Macca ( Jack-of-all-trades), Rissy Roo ( phantom floor lifter ) and John ( just plain old John ) who works his ass off every day” says Christian.
“I have always loved and appreciated all the old period homes and their unique features. The quality of workmanship and the dedicated hours that must have gone into creating all of these historic dwellings back in the day is truly an inspiration in itself” he explains.
The business literally started off with $3000…”I needed some old bluestone pitchers for landscaping purposes at my own house. By chance I came across a bloke who had about ten times the amount of bluestone pitchers that I needed, but he wouldn’t split the lot up and just wanted them all gone. To cut a long story short – after I had finished landscaping I sold the remaining bluestones pitchers for double what I had paid for them in the first place. $3000- suddenly became $6000!” he remembers.
He then started to think that there must be something in this idea!
Aside from the wear and tear on his body, Christian still loves the process of discovering and restoring these beautiful old homes and building materials, and bringing them new life.
Christian’s tips on having a sustainable home
What I know is this:
Haste makes waste.
Another man’s trash, is another man’s treasure.
Both of the above things keep Renovate Restore Recycle busy.
Everyone in this world is different and the world would be a pretty boring place if we all thought the same and liked the same things.
I wish everyone cared for the earth and treated it with respect like I do, but sadly there are people in this world that simply don’t.
There are so many small things that could make a massive difference in all aspects of our everyday life if everyone pitched in together and were unified with their choices.
Here are a few examples:
- The most important thing you need to do is insulate your house throughout with quality batts. Ceiling, walls and floor batts are essential. Initially there is an outlay in cost to do this, but in the long run it will be well worth it as your house will remain at comfortable temperatures in the cooler and warmer months thus reducing the need to use heaters and air conditioners.
- Pet chooks and guinea pigs/rabbits are also a great idea.
- What the chooks don’t eat the others will. Having these pets reduces household waste and in turn gives you some awesome mulch for the garden, not to mention some very yummy free range eggs.
- Your internet doesn’t need to be on at home or in the workplace 7 days a week 24 hours a day. When you are not using it simply turn it off.
- Lights. The same applies to them “as above”.
- Everyone loves a hot shower, but make it snappy. If you want a long shower, have one with a loved one 🙂
- If possible hook up a pipe from your shower waste that will then divert the water onto your garden.
- Towels can be used more than once. What’s wrong with having a shower and then hanging your towel up to dry so it can be used again instead of having to be washed?
- Toilet paper that has been made from recycled materials should be the only toilet paper on the market that is available to purchase. What do you use toilet paper for that is so precious?
- If you can walk somewhere instead of driving then do it.
- Don’t buy bottled water. I’m just going to repeat that again…… Don’t buy bottled water.
- Start using a reusable coffee cup instead of getting a plastic takeaway one.
- Start using reusable shopping bags wherever you go.
- Never throw a cigarette butt or any other form of rubbish out your car window.
- Wherever possible always bring your rubbish home with you and don’t place it in remote bins.
- Recycle everything that can be recycled and re-used. This doesn’t mean throw everything into your recycle bin!
- I could go on for the next twenty years here, but as most of your readers would have already stopped reading this section. I will stop….. Hahaha!
Christian says when people receive an item that Renovate Restore Recycle has fully restored, they’re always happy with their efforts. “Most people comment on the beautiful timber that has been completely rubbed back to raw and exposed when all the many layers of paint have been stripped off” says Christian. “If it is a house strip out that Renovate Restore Recycle are undertaking for a home owner, builder or a housing development company they’re always gobsmacked with the quantity of building materials that get salvaged from a job. Things can get pretty filthy dirty, but extreme care is always taken to remove items carefully so they can get all recycled and re-used into someone else’s project down the track” he explains.
A year and a half ago, Renovate Restore Recycle renovated a section of a friend’s house and the whole aim of the project was to use as many recycled items as possible. “We wanted the finished result to be functional and create space, because what was there already was absolutely horrible. The renovation also had to be in keeping with the period of the home and also ( as always ) it had to have the WOW factor element slotted in there as well” says Christian.
The mission was to get rid of two dingy bedrooms and make it into one big open bedroom or living area. To begin with the flush panel doors, rotten weatherboards, larden plaster, aluminium windows, brown “vertical striped” caravan ply lining board and some old plastic heater vents needed to go. What they didn’t count on was that 3 out of 4 existing walls had to be completely rebuilt, because they were made from packing crate materials or scraps of timber. Once the main wall that divided the two original bedrooms was removed, the floorboards were sitting at two different heights.
Because Renovate Restore Recycle come across so many recyclable items on their house strip outs, and had been stock piling some of these items for this project for quite some time, they were able to use some fabulous materials for the project.
- 2 different lots of painted six inch baltic pine lining boards.
- A house worth of rare handcrafted decorative scotia/cornice timber moulding.
- Various other timber and scotia mouldings.
- An ancient 1860’s single back door entry with vestibule fanlight.
- Brass milled edge knob set and escutcheon.
- An Oversized Carpenter box lock with bottom snib.
- Various pads bolts and fittings.
- A huge bi-fold servery window – originally salvaged from an upstairs loft and then lowered with a rope through the ceiling, only to fall and smash into a million pieces…. “Macca had written the window off, but I couldn’t part with it” says Christian. “The window literally kicked around in all its pieces for over two years until this renovation came along. It was then completely restored and even though it nearly killed me ( I timed the restoration and it took close to 90 hours to complete! ….. Now that’s dedication! ….. One to me, zero to Macca! ) it’s now getting used and looks unreal” he says.
- A hefty timber quad casement window.
- Hardwood timber.
- Oregon timber lintels.
- Nails! ….. however they gave up on this after a while. Have you ever sat there and tried to straighten out bent nails before you can hammer them in, asks Christian?? ….. Not fun!
- Sanding orbital discs and belt sander pads.
- Electrical wire.
- Power points.
- Light switch and timber mounting block.
- Insulation batts….. “Ew! ….. Now who would want to re-use those? ” you ask….. Renovate Restore Recycle did, and with every batt they simply folded it in half and ended up using it for all four walls and one huge ceiling.
- Sisalation and sisalation clips.
- A whole house lot of stud pine and square edged weatherboards.
- Half a dozen lengths of six inch baltic pine flooring boards 150 x 22.
- Various sheets of plyboard.
- All the brown “vertical striped” caravan ply lining board they took out of the old rooms.
What new materials they used:
- Nails…. ( As described above ).
- Batten screws.
- Linseed putty.
- Tin of Builders Bog.
- Paint stripper.
- Exterior “Selleys” glue.
- Sisalation ( as we ran out of recycled stuff ).
- Radiata pine lining boards.
- Lucci fan with light.
- A length of flywire.
The items salvaged from the strip out of the original two rooms and then re-sold to be used again:
- Five arm glass chandelier.
- Hardwood timber.
- Two aluminium windows.
- Two flush panel doors.
A professional floor sander was brought in to sand up the baltic pine floorboards. “This was done as it worked out cheaper and faster to get a professional in than to hire and buy all the materials ourselves” explains Christian.
The end result -our friend will love Renovate Restore Recycle forever!
We LOVE what the team at Renovate Restore Recycle are doing! Please hop across and check them out and follow across to all of their links