Reclaimed Items Make My House A Special Place

18th Century Hackettstown NJ Home

By Jeff Toye

Some time back I caught a Greenspiration Home blog about the reclaimed mantle that Trish Holder used in the original Greenspiration Home.  The article struck a cord with me because Trish said this mantle, which her husband worked hours to restore, has since become one of her favorite interior features in her home.  I totally identified with that feeling, so when she asked to hear from others who had successfully incorporated reclaimed elements into their home, I proudly raised my hand.

Reclaimed heart pine floors

I have been a remodeling contractor in Northern New Jersey for three decades.  Not only do I use reclaimed building materials in my own home, I also encourage my clients to use reclaimed items whenever feasible.  There’s nothing like the touch of character that a reclaimed piece brings to a new or even an old home.

My own home is far from new.  In fact, it was built in the late 1700’s, so the materials that I select for it (from flooring to door knobs) are also historic. I even have a garden shed that is made from 99% reclaimed items.

But let me give you the full tour….

A walk from my driveway to my front door reveals the following:  Shutters made from reclaimed cedar decking, front entry porch with reclaimed heart pine flooring (still needs finishing), a porch ceiling made of yellow pine bead board, a suspended swing made from cedar trim scraps, and finally a reclaimed 7’ tall front entry door.

Reclaimed wainscot paneling and pumpkin pine floors

Once inside you’ll find wide plank pumpkin pine flooring that is mostly original to the home but patched with reclaimed material where needed.  An American chestnut handrail, balustrade and newel post salvaged from an 1800’s era farmhouse leads the way to the second floor.  A small downstairs hallway is flanked with wainscot paneling, reclaimed from a 1920’s era craftsman style home.  And all over the home you will find an eclectic collection of glass doorknobs salvaged from homes built in the late 1800’s.

Out the back door and onto a screened in porch that just happens to overlook one of the best trout rivers in the state, you will find rustic tongue and groove wall and ceiling cladding, reclaimed from a factory in New York State.

Although it sounds like a jumbled collection of miss-matched items, I think the pictures reveal a home that is not only inviting, but also charming.  I’m quite proud of how it has all come together and I would encourage everyone to at least consider using reclaimed items wherever practical.  You might just find that it makes your house more of a home.

Reclaimed American chestnut handrail, balustrade and newel post

Finally, don’t forget that what no longer fits into your lifestyle could be just the thing that another homeowner is looking for.  I frequently donate materials to Habitat for Humanity, which resells usable home items to help fund housing projects for families in need. I am proud to say that my contributions, along with the contributions of others have helped to fund 20 Habitat for Humanity homes in New Jersey last year.

Jeff Toye is the author and is the owner of Promethean Remodeling, LLC in Hackettstown, NJ. He is a Certified Green Professional and a Certified Graduate Remodeler. He has been in the remodeling business for 33 years.


6 Responses »

  1. Jeff Toye successfully built our pool deck from a neighbors former pool deck who’s pool had calapsed a few seasons earlier. We left a message in their mailbox “you have a beautiful deck and no pool and we have a beautiful pool and no deck” he owner called us within the hour. Over that weekend Mr. Toye and his team painstakingly tore down the deck and transported the now raw material to our yard where they breathed new life into a beautiful new deck from the recycled material. We are so proud of our “Green Deck” and appreciate the fine work that Mr. Toye did.

    • Bruce,

      I’d love to see a picture and maybe feature your project. Would you be interested?

      Trish Holder, Publisher
      Greenspiration Home LLC

  2. Jeff, your home does not sound at all like a “jumbled collection of miss-matched items”, but rather sounds absolutely lovely. We were already planning to use reclaimed materials for a new kitchen, but your tour reminds me to reuse products in even more areas. I’m glad you mentioned Habitat for Humanity. As a retail consultant, I helped to launch a ReStore in Illinois that diverts thousands of pounds of building products from landfills and is beating all sales goals. Thank you for sharing your home with us.

    Trish, love these beautiful reminders of how to reclaim materials. I’m sure it’s a lot of work to put these together, but I would love to see this be a regular feature for Greenspiration Home. (I know, easy for me to say, right?)

    Warmest Wishes to All,

    Julia Knier

    • Hi Julia,

      I’m so glad you liked it. And, yes, I absolutely plan on continuing to include stories from homeowners who have reclaimed items for their living spaces. These posts are very popular and I can understand why. You’re right — nothing is particularly easy when it comes to blogging — but expect more of these, and if you haven’t already, please sign up for the newsletter so you won’t miss them!



    • Julia,

      We have another organization here in New Jersey that will accept donations from the estate homes that are undergoing renovations. Green Demolitions will come in and assess kitchens, appliances, libraries, millwork, other fine architectural elements, and furnishings and if deserving, remove the items from the home for free (saving demolition costs to the owner).
      The company is organized as a non-profit entity so the owner also gets a certificate declaring the items as donated so that the value can be used to offset personal income taxes. The profits are distributed to several worthy drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers in New Jersey and Conneticut.
      They only accept high quality items and ship all over the country. Find out more at their website,, where you can view the inventory of their 43,000 square foot show room in New Jersey as well as the contents at the original store started in Conneticut.

      Jeff Toye


  1. Green Building & Renovations with Reclaimed Material - GreenDeals

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