Winnetka Deconstruction 150 150 Administrator

Winnetka Deconstruction

Uncover the unexpected with us in a 2-part video series detailing deconstruction of a 1920s Winnetka home – a kinder-to-the-environment choice with a donation write-off to boot!



There are lots of ways to be a green builder and deconstruction has a huge impact. You can read about some local Chicago area resources for finding salvage materials like the ones we recovered from this house in a previous blog.

Learn a little more about our custom residential design team process here.


Winnetka Deconstruction Part 1 Transcript
Hi guys. We’re here on Tower Road in Winnetka and we’re about to start our deconstruction process on this project here behind me, which means that we’re basically going to take the house apart piece by piece. It allows us to recycle and repurpose many of the elements within the house, mainly 2x4s, framing material as well as hardwood floor and paneling details. There’s some really great interior woodwork that we want to make sure don’t end up in a dumpster, or a landfill.

We’ve gone around with little pieces of tape and marked the things that the client actually wants to salvage for reuse. So, although the cabinet here will be taken out piece by piece and refurbished and sent off to someplace else, these knobs, and other knobs throughout the house that you see the pink tape on will be reused in the new house.

Legend has it that the family that lived here prior to the current homeowners redid the fireplace and, when they did so, hid a time capsule behind the paneling. So, here we are today trying to discover what they put behind there.

[music] Not there…nothing! nope.

Sadly! No time capsule was found that day. But! 100-year-old artifacts that would have been crushed in a demolition were plentiful!


Winnetka Deconstruction Part 2 Transcript

Hi, I’m Tom Kenny, with Scott Simpson Design Build. We’re here in Winnetka doing a deconstruction of a house. In order for us to remodel this, to bring this back to something that was like sort of more marketable, it would cost more money. It’s better for us to deconstruct it, donate it to charity and rebuild a new house here with a deeper basement and stronger structures.

The reason why I like the deconstruction portion of it is we’re going to take this 100-year-old lumber and, normally, in the old days we would have just trashed it, put it in the landfill. We’re going to take it all apart, we’re going to take the nails out and we’re going to use it to build other houses, build other pieces of artwork, and other products out of this.

Although it costs $68,000 to actually deconstruct the house – the donation value for this house will likely be over $180,000. So, the tax benefits tend to wash out the actual construction cost. We could probably tear this house down with a machine in maybe two days, crush it up and put in the landfill or recycle the products. This is going to take us 8 weeks maybe 9 weeks to do. So the client has to have some discipline and, you know, really value the fact that this building will be donated to charity.

This lumber that was put here by this lumber company in the 1920s – this same 2×6, after 100 years of service for this house, will be taken apart by these guys and they’ll actually build another tiny house for veterans in Kenosha, with this same lumber and likely last another 100 years.

Here are the old window sashes from this house. They’re totally in good shape but they’re single panes, so they’re not very energy efficient. But they’re going to be re-used, repurposed in some other shelter, some day.

It reminds me of this poem that Shel Silverstein did called “The Giving Tree” where the tree kept giving its apples to the little boy and it gave its branches for the little boy to build a house and then, by the end it, the tree was completely gone and it was for this little boy that turned into an old man and now he’s sitting on the stump and the tree was happy. The same thing happens here, this house will be torn down, disassembled and it gets a new life, somewhere else, to shelter some other person. You know the same joy, shelter, you know people will get married and build great memories of this house that this will move onto.