Couple to recycle much of old home
Watching a grand old Christchurch villa being demolished is easier when you know it's not going to waste, Karen White says.
White and her husband, Adrian Morton, are recycling as much of their Phillipstown property as possible and will use the materials to build an extension on their North Island home.
The couple bought the two-storey house, which dates back to the early 1880s, in 1994 and it has been rented out as three flats ever since.
"We had a long, long, long battle with [the Earthquake Commission] like so many other Cantabrians, but we finally got it pushed over cap because it really wasn't repairable," White said.
They received a cash payment for a rebuild but demolishing the historic property and "sending it off to the landfill" was not what the couple had in mind.
"Economically, it probably doesn't make much sense but the monetary value isn't the important thing for us.
"We felt morally responsible I suppose to re-use and recycle these beautiful old materials because once they're gone, they're gone."
After months of hunting for a demolition contractor who specialised in salvaging materials, the couple found Christchurch firm Graceworks.
"I was still a bit nervous when they said they would need to use machinery, but they have been great," White said.
The couple have lived in Raglan for about five years and intend to build an extension and studio onto their villa using the materials salvaged from the Phillipstown house.
A shipping container on site is being loaded with doors, flooring boards, skirting boards, bricks, stained glass windows - anything that can be reused.
White said it was hard saying goodbye to their first investment property.
"But I would be sobbing in the corner if it was going to the tip. At least this way I know we're salvaging as much as we can and reusing it."
Demolition would take another week and the couple hoped to start work on their extension in spring.