One woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure

Our story so far: As reality has caught up with this blog about converting a 126-year-old Methodist church into our home, I’ve run across a few odds and ends that occurred after I wrote about the subject initially. That’s how it goes with a real-time memoir. Sometimes stuff happens after publication. So for the next week or so, I’ll be sharing a few little stories that will ultimately be integrated into the relevant location in the memoir. Think of this as the time in the novel—especially a mystery novel—when you page back to reread a few passages to remind yourself about what’s going on. Here’s a tidbit for Chapter 11.

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If we couldn’t repurpose a material ourselves, there were three ways to get rid of items in the church we had no use for: Throw it away, give it away, sell it.

The giving away involved a lot of trips to Goodwill and elsewhere. When volunteers offered to haul stuff away for us, well, all the better.

Library 2
See the French doors, there on the right?

We found what were certainly the original French doors on the 1940s entrance to the sanctuary of the church. They were stored above the back entry to the basement along with a bunch of parts to pews and what looked like an old barn door that had been used as a table.

At first, I was excited, because we intended to put French doors on the doorway to our bedroom to replace the hollow-core doors there now. But upon inspection, I determined they could not be saved with any amount of sanding, stripping and painting. The wood was beginning to rot, and the peeling paint was probably lead based.

french doors
What might have been a sad end for a grand pair of doors.

So we put them with the trash, crossing our fingers the garbage man would take them. No go. We leaned them up against the back of the church while we pondered our options.

One day, a lady drove by while I was changing the church sign. She slowed to a stop, poked her head out her car window and asked if she could have our windows.

I gave her a puzzled look. “Windows?”

“In back. The windows leaning against the building.”

“Oh! Those are French doors. They’re in tough shape. You should look at them before you decide to take them.”

“Oh, I’ll be back tomorrow morning,” she said. “I’ll drive my van so I have room for them.”

“OK,” I said. “They’re yours if you want them. Just take them, even if we’re not here.”

Sure enough, they were gone the next day.

I don’t know what she did with them—some sort of craft project, I hoped. But I was happy these historical doors didn’t meet their end in the landfill. And that I didn’t have to haul them away.

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Tomorrow: Design for hygge. Read about it here.

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