Q: Our son and his two young children are moving in with us after his divorce. We had planned to move ourselves, but now we'll stay put and add a great room for the kids. Our house is Tudor-style, so we want the new room to blend with the old things, such as the woodwork, stained glass and hardwood floors. We were thinking of using reclaimed wood for the floors and woodwork, but my husband hates the thought of "used" wood. Is it a bad idea?
A: On the contrary, it's a lovely idea. Any way you look at it - aesthetically, ecologically, practically - recycled wood is a terrific way to mellow out new construction and pamper the planet in the process.
There's yet another benefit to using wood that's been reclaimed from old barns, mills, warehouses or even underwater in rivers and lakes, says Jeff Stafford, partner in a company called Restoration Timber. Most wood harvested before the mid-20th century came from what are known as "old-growth," or "first-growth," forests that never had been logged, which meant that the trees were often centuries old, large in diameter and beautifully grained and "character-marked," as they say in the trade.