What type of materials do you reclaim? Is there a most common type of wood that you use?
Tracen Gardner: What we find and use most is long leaf pine. It’s the interior wall, it would be where the drywall or sheetrock would be. It’s six inches wide and however many linear feet we can get together. What we prefer is anything that’s over 70 to 80 years old. They quit using long leaf after about the ’30s into the ’60s, and building techniques have changed, so there’s a lot fewer materials that we can get. The other material that we use a lot of is exterior barn wood, and we find that galvanized tin is readily available, you just have to go and look for it or ask around for it. But when we do find the tin, we can find it in big increments.
From a design perspective, what are the benefits to using reclaimed materials?
Tracen Gardner: There’s a lot of different wood types, and they’re beautiful. They’re from first cut forests a lot of times, so they are unique. Also, there’s history behind each piece — where it came from, who lived there, what was done there. There’s a lot of significance in where it came from, whether it’s from a church or a brewery or livery stable or someone’s home in the neighborhood or their old furniture. Often times people have us build pieces into their structure so it’s more personalized.
What is the biggest challenge when designing with environmental sustainability in mind?
Tracen Gardner: Meeting the client’s needs versus the sun’s demands. We have an incredible heat source here [in Texas] that we have to watch out for with window placement, porch placement, and the direction of the house. There’s a lot of variables that go into building a space and putting it in the right location. The one that’s been moved six times was built pretty well because it’s face north, south, east, and west, and it’s worked out just fine each time. It’s all about catching the sun and protecting all the windows from that heat.
How are you able to keep the homes affordable?
Tracen Gardner: Um, by not eating. [laughs] No, we’re all in it because it is an artisan thing that we’re doing, and we all recognize that we’re going to have to grow this business together to be able to get ahead in today’s economy. You can’t just come in and expect to make six figures after the first year at a job. You have to come in and make sure it’s a good fit. And so far, it is. Just tell 20 of your closest friends about us, and that will help.
All images via Reclaimed Space