Mary Williams and her family had a new oak floor fitted when they opened up their living space downstairs. This meant taking up the old boards – but they were determined not to throw them away. Instead, they decided to recycle them within their home.
Mary said: “We live in a Victorian terraced house. The property was built around the turn of the century and, as far as we are aware, most of the boards on the floors were original when we moved in.
“One of the first things we did after taking possession of the keys all those years ago was to Strip the Floorboards both upstairs and down. It was a huge, unpleasant job but one we didn’t ever regret carrying out. With the right varnish on, the old, original, pine boards came up a beautiful honey shade.
“There were a few boards in our dining room, however, that had obviously been replaced before we moved in – they were much lighter in colour and more modern looking. There were also others that were quite split. After moving in, we had simply thrown a rug over the top of them and had almost forgotten they were there.
“When we decided to knock our sitting room and dining room together, however, the overall state of the floor became obvious. So we decided to go the whole hog and invest in beautiful Oak Boards to run the length of the new space. This was something we both knew we wanted to do, but we did have a sense of guilt about the old boards.
“We couldn’t bear the thought of throwing the lovely old pine into a skip, ready to be crushed and hurled into landfill. But for a while, we could not think of how we could use them.
“Eventually, after lengthy discussions with our carpenter, we decided to recycle the old sitting room, dining room and hall boards in a number of different ways.
“Firstly, we saved all the old boards that were in good condition and put them to one side. Those that really were beyond repair were chopped up for use as kindling. Then we took up any damaged boards from the bedrooms and landing upstairs, and replaced them with good ones from downstairs.
“During all this work, we were also having a set of stairs built up to our attic. So our carpenter then took other good boards from downstairs and used them in the construction of the staircase. This has given the staircase real character and means it blends well with the floor on the landing. When you look at the treads and the risers carefully, you can see from their shape and grain that they are recycled boards.
“Finally, our carpenter took the remaining boards and got creative with them! He made up two beautiful fitted bookcases. One goes almost from floor to ceiling up on the landing. The other hangs on the wall in our master bedroom.
“They look fantastic and now we have the satisfaction of knowing nothing was wasted when we had our new floor laid!”