I don’t think there’s any need for me to bang the drum for the need to recycle – certainly here in the Bay Area, we’re leading the way in reducing waste and recycling most of the waste that we do generate…

But how does that apply to historic home rehabs?

Well, mostly it means that if you already have something worth saving in the house, rehabilitating it or reusing it puts way less of a burden on our planet than replacing it.

For our upcoming project at 1566 Sanchez Street, that means that we’ll be keeping our lovely facade as it is (although likely with a newly-inspired paint scheme and Zero-VOC paint, of course).  But where else can we reuse what we’ve already got?


Well, we can’t really know until we strip it down, but refinished original flooring can look just great.  At 1566 Sanchez, that means the original Douglas Fir floors that are currently painted would be stripped down and refinished, if possible.  That’s certainly our first choice.  If that’s not possible due to the condition of the floors, we’ll look for reclaimed flooring (like this Pioneer Millworks reclaimed black-painted oak)

or FSC-certified new flooring (like this ecotimber pecan flooring) to take its place.


The existing windows date back to the construction of the house in 1889 and have the lovely wavy glass to prove it.  Unfortunately, they also offer no insulation and leak so much air around them that it’s just not viable to make a Green, efficient home and keep them as they are.

We will, however, be building new cabinetry in the kitchen and elsewhere and we’ll be needing glass for many of the cabinet doors.  The glass in these old windows will look absolutely gorgeous…and we get to keep more elements of the original home on-site!


The original foundation for 1566 Sanchez is made of brick – as was typical of the era.  But you don’t need to be a San Franciscan to know that brick foundations aren’t a great idea in earthquake country.  So we’ll be rebuilding the foundation with seismically-sound cement made with a high percentage of recycled fly-ash

…but we’ll save as many of those beautiful old bricks as we can.  At our project at 173 Downey, we took the chimney bricks and reused them for the fireplace hearth, rear patio and for a decorative wall in the wine cellar.

At 1566 Sanchez, we’ll similarly reuse the foundation and chimney bricks in the decorative fireplace, on the driveway, in the rear garden and patio…and wherever else we can until we use them up.   Since they can’t really be safely re-used for their original purpose, we can at least keep them where they’ve been at home for the last 120 years.