Given the incredible growth in Portland, building demolition is a hot topic. While neighbors fight to keep historic homes on their blocks, other residents may be wondering if a demolition contractor is necessary for home renovations. Demolition experts can use selective demolition techniques to renovate residential structures; this may include tearing down walls. In this blog, we will go into more detail on the partial demolition process, including the differences between “gut remodeling” and selective deconstruction. Finally, we conclude with a case study: the Holly House Estate, an $8.5-million estate in Middleton, New Jersey, that was renovated in 2006 by the Price family.
Gut Remodeling versus Selective Deconstruction
Older and structurally damaged homes often need renovations. Or homeowners may simply want a fresh look. In many cases, interiors must be gutted. Typically, some deconstruction must be done before renovation work can proceed. Homeowners may be able to handle small deconstruction jobs themselves, but for larger projects it’s key to obtain the help and advice of a contractor. In any case, building owners must decide whether to gut remodel or use selective deconstruction.
In general, gut remodels are extensive (and expensive). They require that entire sections of the interior are stripped and removed. Selective deconstruction projects are more limited in scope—they might include removing a cabinet or appliance in order to renovate a kitchen, for example. For serious renovations, gut renovation is often required, in order to add necessary support beams and make other structural changes. For smaller projects, such as renovating a bathroom, selective deconstruction is possible.
It’s up to the property owner and the contractor to decide what which is best for a specific renovation project. One method might work better in one part of the house than it does in a different area.
Holly House Estate
To give you an idea of how deconstruction and gut remodels look in the real world, let’s take a look at the major renovation of a 1915 French-inspired manor house, the Holly House Estate. Jamie and Stella Price purchased the Holly House Estate in 2006. The Prices had a growing family, and they quickly fell in love with the historical riverfront property. They intended to restore the estate so that their family could enjoy living there all year-round.
Stella’s mission was to be true to the historical design elements, while gracefully bringing the property into the 21st century. Since her plan involved several structural changes that allowed for a more open, family-oriented floor plan, the addition of steel girders was needed. This made it necessary to gut the entire house to the studs, but selective deconstruction techniques were also employed at all stages of the renovation process. Stella found that selective deconstruction requires careful planning and attention to detail, but the results of her efforts were the preservation of several key features, including staircases, moldings, and the fireplaces. Other areas in the home, such as the entrance and kitchen, preserve historical fidelity, while other rooms, including the boys’ area, are completely new.
The Holly House estate and the renovations carried out by Jamie and Stella Price offer a great chance to see how both gut remodeling and selective deconstruction can be carried out in a major renovation project. Your project most likely will not be as extensive as the Holly House Estate, but will undoubtedly offer you the chance to follow your own inspiration. Certainly, you will need to consider both gutting and selective deconstruction. Contact us at Elder Demolition. As experienced Portland demolition contractors, we will be glad to discuss the details of your next renovation project, and whether gut remodel or selective deconstruction—or a combination of both—will be your best fit.
For more information on Portland salvage yards and material exchanges, take a look at our previous blog entry that walks you through a variety of local reuse resources.
[Photo by Carlos Pacheco via CC License]