Clearly, my vote is for creativity. There is the “green” argument for reducing waste, and capturing the embodied energy in salvaged materials, but there is also another very compelling reason. It
is the act of breaking loose of the shackles of remodeling for resale, allowing some personality to shine through, and putting a little character into the neighborhood.
I grew up in a suburb of Dallas, but had it not been for learning about the Alamo in school, it could have been anywhere in the USA. Every other house the same, community pool down the street. A few years ago, I had a chance to go back to the old neighborhood. The trees had grown and softened the landscape – but the houses had all taken on personalities. New porches were added, brickwork filled in some drive areas, bay windows had been popped out. And even more personal touches - a unique paint color, ironwork fences. A visit to some old neighbors uncovered changes in walls, pass-through windows added. And the most memorable were the mosaic countertops of broken tile, the grape arbor made of old radiator pipe, and the walls finished in old plaster.
Some areas of the country are more supportive of an “individualist” culture to home design. I remember a trip to Las Vegas, New Mexico (yes, NM) where the houses seem to all be their own distinct personas, with a respectful nod to the neighborhood culture. It was refreshing, since at the time I was in Salt Lake City, where conformity is key.
|Re-use of an old church|