Build a Home Without Swinging a Hammer

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Habitat for Humanity builds local, decent and affordable housing, transforming families and lives.

Started nationally in 1976, the local branch has been in action since 1988 with an amazing record of accomplishment: 169 homes built and not one foreclosure.  Not one.  To achieve these counter-market results takes volunteers to vet applicants and applicants to invest sweat equity, a transforming opportunity to make a building into a home.  More than 500 hours are necessary, some with hammer in hand, some attending classes in budgeting, finance and planning.  Children see that Mom and Dad have built their home for them.

“This process produces better homeowners,” says Sharon Ellis, CEO of Habitat for Humanity OC. “Volunteers have a passion for the mission,” she said on a recent yalk show (KOCI, 101.5, Troy Davis “Money Matters,” Saturday, 10:30 a.m.).

Headed for ReUse: Tiles and other fixtures will be removed by a Habitat for Humanity team for sale in the group’s ReStore.

A great way to participate in Habitat for Humanity’s mission to build homes is their “DeConstruct” service.  Construction is the way in which something is built or put together.  With that same notion of quality, deconstruction seeks to preserve items that are of value for ReUse or Recycling.  A home scheduled for remodel or demolishing is visited by a trained, licensed and insured Habitat for Humanity team of volunteers, skilled at extracting the items – diverting from landfills while providing some cool opportunities to save money or introduce unique items to your home.

The best green solutions are green for the environment and keep green in your wallet.

See where we are headed?  These products will be sold, so the process can be considered a donation to a charity.  Sales generate funding to build more homes, without you swinging a hammer.  And, this process results in a nice tax benefit, a further incentive to do the right thing.  Green win all around.  The economy and the environment are tied at the hip.

Debbie Collins was attending her home’s DeConstruct with her son, Sam.  Their new home is down by the Wedge, corner of Granada Avenue and Channel Road.  Rumor has it that it was built by an old ship captain in the late ’40s.  “Two minute, 10 second walk to toes in the sand” beams Collins while her son, a volunteer with the blind over at NAC, looks on.  Sustainable apples did not fall far from this mother’s tree.

There were copper drain spouts with brass thrown in.  Solid original doors, mirrors, ceiling fans and a tin ceiling from the kitchen.  The wife collected tiles from her trips around the world.  One was picked up, the story explored, turned over to determine the tile origin was Greece.  Those would make a cool back splash in a new wet bar, or some other creative adaptive ReUse.  All this value was diverted from landfills and taken by truck back to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore.

On the way out, we visited the drawing of the new home, an award-winning design for Best Conceptual Home.  All low-water, low-maintenance landscape necessary at the beach.  And the old widows walk was upgraded to a deck and a balcony, and what a view.  Nice transition from old to new.

So, lessand  trash, all kinds of treasure for the eyes of the beholder are headed to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore.  Local stores are in Santa Ana, just off the 55, and a larger version in Garden Grove.  This is a retail home improvement store of new and gently used items.  When local EuroBath and Tile recently closed its doors, it donated more than $500,000 retail value in brand-new designer faucets, sinks, vanities, bathtubs and hardware.  New inventory arrives daily.  There was a new Jacuzzi, was $8,500, now for you and only you, on sale for $1,750.  If it fits your needs, a $20,000 kitchen, high end stuff, for only $3,000.  When hotels remodel, you can find a deep supply of gently used furniture.

A $14 million Newport Coast home donated some super-cool lighting fixtures, awesome in your backyard. One-of-a-kind, odds and ends, a little something for everyone.  There is a wish list you can get on so staff can notify you if your dream appliance, door, window, hardware, flooring, tools, cabinets, oh my, walks through ReStore’s door.  You can shop green, save green and your efforts will result in more affordable housing in our community.

Lastly, you can swing your proverbial hammer by donating cold hard cash or offering the gift of your time by volunteering.  Interested in learning more? Visit, or call (714) 434-6200.

Visit this story online to see a video of a Corona del Mar DeConstruct that will take you through the whole exciting and green process.

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