Book Tour: Salvage Secrets

Designer Joanne Palmisano includes a fervent passion for salvaged goods and materials. Throughout her design work and writing, she’s taught readers and clients how to create a custom appearance by giving salvaged bits new life in their homes.

Palmisano’s latest book, Salvage Secrets, gives practical tips on the best way to spend less, be eco-friendly, and create a really private house by repurposing everything from discarded brick to older windows. And even though the book won’t officially be in wide release until September 2011, it is currently available on the publisher’s web site. For now, here are some of my favorite tidbits, accompanied by amazing design photos by Susan Teare.

Palmisano starts by explaining several sustainable and eco-friendly layout terms a lot people use interchangeably.

Salvaged is “the overall, overarching term referring to all materials which are reused, reclaimed, or repurposed from any other home or construction,” she says. Recycled refers to “items which are created from salvaged materials whose basic structure has been changed.”

The bedroom designs on the cover of the book were salvaged from a country store.

Joanne Palmisano

Palmisano scours more or less every source available for salvaged stuff, but she’s found that warehouse earnings are a great place to discover unique finds in a specific genre or style. Metal lockers and classic stools (both located at warehouse revenue) pop within this daring entryway.

“Many schools and resorts have their own warehouses that sell materials and pieces they’ve eliminated from their dormitories, labs, classrooms, and guest rooms,” she writes. “This counter is a bit of sterile soapstone and the reddish slats are retail outlet plank for hooks, salvaged from a retail store.”

Joanne Palmisano, Salvage Secrets

The kitchen island at Palmisano’s own home is one of her favourite places in her property. The top of the island has been created from salvaged Douglas fir railroad trusses, located at a 19th-century building torn down at a neighboring town. Believe it or not, the soapstone sink, counter tops, refrigerator, and clock were also salvaged — an effort that saved money but nevertheless includes a clean, high-end look.

Repurposed natural materials — such as stone and wood — often lend a warm and worn feel that can not be achieved with new materials. The fireplace of the coastal house reflects the famous Haystack stone, which may be seen from a window at exactly the same living area. The boulders are a combo of some found on the home’s house, and some from friends of the owners who’d just completed a landscaping project.

Joanne Palmisano, Salvage Secrets

Common, everyday things can be salvaged for a creative and slightly surprising appearance. “These bottles have been found during the deconstruction period of an older, condemned construction on the house,” Palmisano writes. “The homeowner cut the bottoms off the bottles, threaded the wiring throughout the uterus, and suspended them from a classic window.”

Joanne Palmisano, Salvage Secrets

This arty kitchen is an example of the how salvaged materials can create a look that is both affordable and unique.

“The high cement countertop has been repurposed in its full span from [the owner’s] older studio, which was being transformed into loft apartments,” Palmisano writes. “The baker’s table is from a bakery that went out of business and has been selling its own equipment — a nice example of employing an interesting, functional piece that is much less expensive than built-in cabinetry. The round structural pole has been salvaged from the base of a nearby river.”

Joanne Palmisano, Salvage Secrets

Classic and salvaged brick aid provide this living space a welcoming vibe.

“The brick has been found from the builder of the house in an upstate New York salvage yard. Because not all brick is created equal — with very different appearances, textures, and structural attributes — the contractor needed the brick fire tested before using it for the interior firebox areas as well as the outside masonry,” she writes.

Joanne Palmisano, Salvage Secrets

This fabulous triple faucet spout has been salvaged from an old mill building. All of the fixtures still work perfectly. Place into the stainless steel counter tops and recycled wood cabinets, it’s a superb industrial feel that looks great in this small kitchen.

Joanne Palmisano, Salvage Secrets

A refinished barn doorway becomes a smart way to separate the kitchen from the pantry. Rather than putting it on standard hinges, using a sliding mechanism gives it more of a particular touch.

Resources: Salvage yards, warehouse sales, classic and antique shops are all excellent places to start. Palmisano suggests studying the directory of Architectural Salvage Stores at Old House Journal, and also the directory of Recycled Building Materials at Eco Business Links.

More ideas:
Book Tour: The Happy Home Project
7 Favorite Vintage Furniture Sites

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