Home & Garden Roundup: 09.09.07

Home & Garden Roundup: 09.09.07

Janel Laban
Sep 10, 2007

Six Degrees of Renovation is one of the best features we've seen from H&G. Frustratingly, none of the photos and only part of the article are online, but we'll try to capture the good ideas presented in the hard copy.

Jon and Jennifer Vickers bought a 100 year old former corset factory in Three Oaks, Michigan and renovated it into a home for their family...

It's really an amazing space - open, airy, light, interesting, warm and modern. Home to the couple and their three children at long last, it was a very lengthy process - an original two year time line which eventually expanded to six or seven.

Without sacrificing on the aesthetics, cost effective strategies were sought out and used throughout; "the most valuable example they set was their dogged determination to achieve the highest level of workmanship and design while keeping it as affordable and doable as possible. "You can be frugal without skimping or cutting corners," Jon says."

Here are the excellent renovation ideas from the Jon and Jennifer:

1. Concrete Flooring: less than $2/square foot, great looking, allows the kids to skateboard inside (when your home is 7000 sq. feet, that's possible). Two areas were left unpoured - Jennifer Vickers later created two floor mosaics in the empty spaces - a kind of permanent carpet.

2. Plywood Ceilings: This unusual material choice was used in the kids bedrooms. Aside from looking good it provides warmth and much better insulation than drywall. While the material was more expensive, there was a savings in installation time and labor.

3. Hard Working Windows: Windows were placed strategically to allow for maximum light, warmth and air circulation to save on energy bills. "We rarely turn on a light in the house until after sundown" says Jon.

4. Reused Materials: Another unusual ceiling material was used in the kitchen and master bedroom; Aluminum sheeting picked up at a lumberyard. The stainless for the kitchen island an cabinetry was from an auction. Industrial, medical and food-service auctions were frequented for materials.

5. Easy, Cheap, Stylish Closet Doors: The huge size of the doors needed for the closets in the formerly industrial space meant that custom-built would be prohibitively expensive. Jon built them himself using a framed caster system and brown and silver pegboard.

6. Simple, Inexpensive Lighting: Replicas of sleek metal fixtures were found at Lowe's for low prices, sometimes for less than $5. An antique hanging surgical lamp was $35. at auction and the sconces flanking an entryway were rescued from a contractor about to toss them in a dumpster.

If you can find a copy of H&G from yesterday, grab it. This piece is definitely worth a closer look.

Photos: Scans of Tribune photos taken by Charles Osgood

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