For all the kitchen projects I’ve performed inside East Hamptons Rentals, homes and other sorts of similar geographic real estate, I’ve had very few requests for reclaimed materials. And I didn’t really find this strange until very recently.
You see, remodeling any part of a household, but especially a kitchen, can be a huge drain on the health of the environment. Using virgin materials for items such as sinks and countertops involves strip mining - blasting the earth open like a wound. Many people nowadays are more aware of such issues and strive to look for ecologically friendly options. In response, many designers now work with reclaimed materials, and the kitchen is an excellent place to do so in your home.
1. Reclaimed Wood Floors
Reclaimed wood is incredibly ecologically friendly, requiring no virgin materials and no trees to be cut down. Not only this, it has the added benefit of having much more character than virgin wood. Reclaimed wood often comes from older buildings that are torn down, and can come from a wide variety of other places like old barns, or railroad tracks. This history behind where your wood comes from contains so much sentiment, and there is a lot of beauty to be found in that. Reclaimed wood, because of its history, often comes with a vintage feel - a distressed look that takes decades to achieve and is truly something to be treasured. Some reclaimed wood also comes from trees that are now protected or rare/expensive - woods like American Chestnut, Dark Cherry Wood, Douglas Fir, and Exotic Mahogany.
2. Reclaimed Counter Tops
Counter tops arguably take up the most real estate in a kitchen, and this is where you can really let your ecologically friendly nature shine. Incidentally, using reclaimed materials means you integrate different materials and textures than are just standard factory fabricated surfaces - so it involves a little more creativity on your part but the payoff in turn is huge - you get a completely unique kitchen that is inimitable. Counter tops can use reclaimed granite from old historical buildings, but these can be hard to find unless you have a contractor that specializes in using reclaimed materials. Another way is to use reclaimed wood as a counter top, although this should be avoided if you are already using reclaimed wood in your floor. An ingenious solution to creating a completely original counter space is this: take an old, preferably antique door with some interesting details, cover it with glass, and place it on a stand in the center of your kitchen for an incredibly eye catching island. This can also do well for a tabletop.
3. Reclaimed Cabinets
Every kitchen needs cabinets, and this is an area where you can reclaim old cabinets for your kitchen. They do not even have to be originally made for the kitchen. There are excellent, and beautiful examples of old hutches or clothes cabinets that have been repurposed for use in the kitchen with a little sandpaper, elbow grease, and a few layers of paint. You can find some neglected cabinets, hutches, and vanities for sale at yard sales and flea markets - look for pieces with potential. Some of them can be divided into separate pieces so that you can use the above part of a vanity over a cabinet for some chic storage/display space. The important thing is to get creative, and be bold!