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You can recycle a whole house

A home's parts can be recycled. You just have to take the time.
by: SUBMITTED PHOTO ESLINGER HOMES / STAFF PHOTO VERN UYETAKE, Above, the original home — minus an addition that wasn’t in good enough shape to move and re-use — was gutted and transported just down the hill to a new lot. Virtually all materials within the home were recycled.

Below, after rebuilding the home and adding a garage and bonus room to the right side of the original home, the once-1980s home in Lake Oswego’s Bella Terra neighborhood off Stafford Road was reborn and is currently for sale.

Reduce. Re-use. Recycle. We've all heard those words and how important the three 'r's' are to sustainable living for a better planet. Recycle this newspaper. Take shorter showers. Donate items you don't use to someone who will. It sounds so easy.

But Chad Eslinger with Eslinger Homes, Inc. wanted to test out the formula with his homebuilding company - re-using as much of a home as possible and then moving the remainder of the home to a different lot in the development and finishing it in his signature, classic design.

The result?

Another important 'r' word - 'rebuilding,' which Eslinger learned can be as easy as sorting materials and making the right phone calls.

Located off Stafford Road and between the Rosemont round-about and Christian City Church, Eslinger's new development called Bella Terra contains 15 lots on seven acres.

Last summer, a 1980s farmhouse sat on the border between two lots and Eslinger was faced with a decision - should he knock the whole thing down and start over? Or, recycle as much of the home as possible and move the remainder of the home onto a new foundation on a nearby lot?

The house was moved to accomodate the development's layout.

'We took components out of the house and either donated them, sold them or used them in our own homes,' Eslinger said. 'It was an experiment in a lot of ways. It was something we've always wondered if it's worth doing.'

As it turns out, it was.

'Tearing down a house costs a lot of money,' Eslinger said, noting that if they had started over and 'built from scratch,' it probably would have been the same amount of money.

Eslinger said his company, which he bought from his dad a few years ago, has always believed in green building - such as installing zone heating and cooling to lower costs. But this project had his crew determined to remodel a home in a 'more responsible manner,' he said.

The main body of the existing home - the two-by-four wood framing, 'bones,' so to speak - was saved as the main objective of the project, Eslinger said.

They basically gutted the house and picked it up and moved it onto a new foundation down the street.

'Before we literally picked up the house and moved it, we went through the house by hand so that we were able to salvage almost everything,' Eslinger said, 'everything, down to the insulation in the walls - which I took to my house because I have an area under my house that's unfinished.'

And the rubble finished the recycling project nicely.

Saving what was

worth saving

Hardwood floors were saved by McGee Salvage.

'I've given them probably 10 floors over the years,' Eslinger said. 'I go over and visit them and get old barn rafters when I need them for authentic detail.'

The landscape lighting controls and fixtures were also salvaged and re-used. Cement and asphalt was sent to facilities to be crushed and re-used. Fill dirt was delivered to the Hazelia Field Dog Park across the road.

'It makes economic sense. They needed dirt. We were right across the street. It saved us money; it saved the city money,' Eslinger said.

The water heater, furnace, wood stove and venting materials were posted on the Internet and sold.

'Craigslist was great,' he said.

Repurposing materials

In the project, Eslinger Homes saved everything that was worth saving, they said. One valuable resource was The Rebuilding Center in Portland.

The center takes construction and demolition waste and makes it available to the public. The business accepts reusable building and remodeling materials from contractors, homeowners and other property owners and provides a tax-deductable receipt for everything donated.

'I was looking for some older windows for my own house and it's just a huge warehouse,' said Dwight Schwab said of The Rebuilding Center's 60,000-square-foot space. 'There's walls of doors. Walls of sinks. Tubs. Toilets. Showers. Windows.'

Schwab - a principal broker with The Hasson Company Realtors - is marketing the completed, remodeled home for sale at $1,274,500.

On this particular project, Eslinger said his crew did the majority of the demolition and salvage work before the home was lifted and moved - which lowered its weight. All interior materials were sorted by hand to be recycled.

'We had everything dismantled and in the garage,' Eslinger said. '(The Rebuilding Center) came in with their big truck and took it away.'

And it cost nothing, Eslinger said, because his crew did the grunt work themselves. When the company deconstructs a site themselves, a fee is charged.

'When you're physically going through the house and taking stuff down anyway, it's not hard to do demolition by hand,' Eslinger said.

They were able to salvage wood and sent it off to be made into barkdust and mulch.

'When you're doing it by hand - as opposed to a big machine crunching your whole house up - it's harder for (materials) to get separated out. That was something that was beneficial,' Eslinger said.

The unneeded materials are now available to other locals.

'The beauty of deconstructing a project is that we salvage good, reusable materials that someone else will want to incorporate into their home or remodel, saving these valuable resources from the landfill and benefitting communities and the environment at the same time,' said Douglas Lichter, manager, with DeConstruction Services - a division of The Rebuilding Center.

Eslinger said The Rebuilding Center ended up with the homes' cabinets, plumbing fixtures, lights, millwork and closet materials. Much of the landscaping - originally around the home in its original location, such as the boulders - was moved to the new location. Schwab also placed some trees on property he owns.

A new home born from the rubble

The complete original home was moved to its new resting place just down the street in Bella Terra. Only a small addition on this home wasn't relocated.

Hydraulic jacks lifted the home and a semi-truck moved it onto wood blocks.

'They blocked it up higher than the (new) foundation and we had to work underneath it,' Eslinger said. 'The finished product is a brand new home.'

Now located at 18253 Siena Drive, the 4,281-square-foot house includes a new addition - a three-car garage - and features amenities such as:

- Hand-scraped, maple hardwood floors.

- Den/fifth bedroom on the main level.

- Oversized bonus room, built-in wet bar.

- Dual furnace and air conditioning units.

- Central vacuum.

- Gourmet kitchen with butler's pantry.

- Spacious master suite.

Schwab said he's proud to sell this home and recently took the original homeowners through the completed project .

'They couldn't believe the transformation,' Schwab said.

Eslinger said the project was worthwile and something he's proud of.

'It's just common sense,' Eslinger said. 'It just happens to be green. Anyone can do this.'

For more information about Eslinger Homes, visit www.eslingerbuilders.com/. To contact Dwight Schwab, call 503-534-1525 or visit www.schwab4homes.com .