Deconstruction Saves Useful Home Fixtures, Materials From the Landfill - 27 East

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Deconstruction Saves Useful Home Fixtures, Materials From the Landfill

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Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused.

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused.

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

Cindi Crain's Springs home is deconstructed to salvage fixtures and materials that can be reused. KYRIL BROMLEY

authorKelly Ann Smith on Feb 12, 2024

The amount of teardowns and rebuilds on the South Fork is tremendous these days. Sometimes, a newly renovated house will be demolished or gutted, simply for a matter of taste rather than necessity.

Unwanted materials are most often thrown in a dumpster and taken to a landfill, even though much of it is perfectly fine.

Cindi Crain did not want to create a landscape of waste so she sought other alternatives when it came time to tear down her home in Springs.

An aversion to, say, a pink marble foyer, wasn’t an issue when Crain purchased a 2.6-acre property on Accabonac Harbor three and a half years ago.

Every architect said, “nope,” to renovating the 4,500-square-foot house, originally built in 1978.

“The problem is that nothing was done to building standards,” Crain said, at her home before it was deconstructed by Second Chance, a nonprofit organization based in Baltimore, Maryland.

The walls are too thin. The HVAC is shot. And although the original owners put in one of the first geothermal systems, it doesn’t work. “We’re using an emergency outdoor heater to heat the house, and portable air conditioners, “ she said.

“Some parts of the house had been modernized, like the kitchen,” Crain said, “but the kitchen is in the basement.” It is a maze of a house, oddly laid out, with four staircases.

Worst of all, the foundation is wet and there are leaks inside the home. “We’ve been battling mold since we moved in,” she said. “If we shower in the main bathroom it rains in the living room.

Every piece of advice Crain got was to start over. It was architect Val Florio, in Sag Harbor, who suggested Second Chance.

In 2016, the architect had a project in Sagaponack for a young hedge fund manager who decided to tear down a house, previously owned by a senior chairman of Goldman Sachs. Everything was in mint condition but the young hedge funder opted out of renovating, and everything was destined for the dumpster.

“There had to be a far better and more noble thing to do with the house,” Florio said. “And that began the relationship with Second Chance.”

Since that initial undertaking, every one of Florio’s clients is given the Second Chance contact information, whether it’s a teardown or a gut renovation.

“The folks who work within the organization are consummate professionals,” he said. “They systemically and almost surgically remove every single ingredient, and with loving care.”

Back at Crain’s house, deconstruction is under way. Three men carry out a 500-pound glass slider from the lower level and maneuver it around a bend and up a little hill to the garage area, where it will join many other items from the home.

What housed a 1987 Porsche 911 Carrera and a 1966 Fiat 500 Jolly a few weeks ago is now stuffed to the gills with what seems like an outrageous amount of toilets, doors, window shades, speakers, and kitchen appliances including a heavy duty stove any chef would love.

“I don’t know why the kitchen was in the basement,” crew leader Santos Salgado said, rolling his eyes, while admiring the cooker.

Salgado, originally from El Salvador, has been working for Second Chance for 17 years. He’s deconstructed homes all along the East Coast from Florida to Maine and traveled as far as Colorado.

Six men are working on the Crain job. “Three are from El Salvador and three from Guatemala,” Salgado said with a smile. He is clearly proud of his team who work well together, quietly, quickly and cleanly.

“It doesn't get thrown away,” he said, surveying the garage full of plastic-wrapped fixtures and appliances. “A lot of people use old stuff. If someone buys an old house, they want similar stuff to fit the house.”

Salgado heads inside where the wood flooring is stacked according to size. He gently kicks a pile. “These are nice,” he said. “All the nails were taken out by hand, one by one.”

“The only thing she’s keeping are the big beams,” he said of the large decorative ceiling beams. “She’s going to reuse them in the new house. You can’t find them in stores anymore. If you can, it’s expensive.”

Salgado has seen the company grow exponentially over the years. The company started in 2003 with four people and currently employs roughly 300 people.

Founder Mark Foster said Second Chance deconstructs 250 projects a year, all by word-of-mouth. “There’s no advertising. It’s all good will,” he said over the phone from Baltimore.

The company has worked on Long Island 25 to 30 times. It does everything from deconstructing entire houses, to picking up donations, including clothing.

Foster and his wife bought a house in the mid-1980s and had trouble finding parts, such as windows or flooring, to match the older home in order to keep the character consistent.

Since they couldn’t find what they needed at Home Depot, they started imagining a place where people like themselves could find what they needed.

“My first career was in the hospitality business,” he said. “Now I get up at sunrise versus going to bed at sunrise.”

“We’re more useful to society. We can help a lot of people,” he said.

Second Chance is able to afford homeowners the chance at great tax deductions, as well as helping those most in need, by not only offering reclaimed housing materials at a good price, but also offering underemployed people a chance at job training.

“We target returning citizens, previously incarcerated from jail,” he said. “We get them in a system of support and also accountability.”

Second Chance works with a whole group of employment partners such as Goodwill in order to teach the life skills needed to be successful.

In addition to vocational training, Second Chance works on all levels including financial management, time management and anger management.

“We give them a running start toward a future,” Foster said. “We get them stabilized. Then it’s up to them.”

Second Chance owns a 250,000-square-foot retail warehouse right off Interstate 95, where it sells all of the reclaimed materials at prices that are attractive to low-income members of the community. “We like to call it Home Depot for old stuff,” Foster said.

Returning citizens work in sales, transportation and pick-up and as cashiers and more.

Salgado and his crew were never incarcerated, however, the crew leader is “helping people learn skills who may only speak Spanish,” Foster said.

Project materials being removed are considered donations. For the homeowner, it amounts to tax deductions. Second Chance requires an appraisal from a third party if the donations are over $5,000, paid for by the homeowner.

In Crain’s case, she paid $7,000 for the appraisal but will end up getting roughly $350,000 in tax deductions.

Deconstruction took about two weeks. Three 26-foot box trucks will haul the goods to Baltimore where they will be sold in the warehouse, where someone’s trash will become someone else’s treasure.

Crain will rebuild on the same footprint. “They definitely got a lot of things right,” she said.

The building site could not be situated better, adjacent to a nature preserve, with a view across Accabonac Harbor to Tick Island. The property has a rare dock where she can launch her Chris-Craft and paddleboard. Swans gracefully float by, and egrets rest in the trees.

Foster is especially grateful for his clients who care about Second Chance’s mission of workforce development, and environmental concerns. “Of course, there’s the financial motivation, but our appreciation for people like Cynthia, who take the extra effort is immense.”

“Any way to get some of these developers to do this is a win-win for everybody,” Crain said.

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