Mary Ludemann of New Old, an acclaimed Charlotte luxury home builder, talks about the many aspects of the home industry, and in particular, the topic of repurposed and salvaged material, a sure-to-be staple in the construction of luxury properties for years to come.
What got you started in the construction field?
My father is a builder, and I grew up with my parents building our home and adding on over the years. Troy grew up remodeling and updating his parents’ 100 year old farmhouse with his dad. Watching and helping our dads build and remodel fostered a deep love for this craft and created a sense of pride and commitment to quality.
How and why did you start company, New Old?
We have been building new homes in Charlotte since 2004 of all different architectural styles. But we have always loved old homes; the character and charm of yesteryear’s architecture inspires us. We also love high functioning, well designed spaces. We wanted to create homes that are timeless in their appearance and overall appeal and that are very smartly designed, have livable floor plans and features perfectly fitting the busy lifestyles of today. Adding a bit of the past into each of our homes gives them a sense of nostalgia and warmth that isn’t typically found in newer homes. It is important to us that our homes are not in vogue for only a few years, but that are built with quality and design integrity that they will withstand the test of time
What is the goal of New Old?
The goal of New Old is to build charming, high quality, timeless homes that will be loved for generations.
How did you come up with the name New Old, and what does it mean to you?
The New Old concept has been around for a while. It means newly built homes that look like they were built decades or even centuries ago. Unlike their contemporary counterparts, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when they were built. Regardless of their architectural style, New Old homes all embody period details of the past giving them a warmth and charm unlike other newly built homes. We take this concept a bit further and also like to literally add a bit of the past into each of our homes. We love to use salvaged materials, whether design or structurally based, adding a piece of history to each of our projects.
What types of construction does New Old build?
Both new construction and remodels. We build custom homes and also take on a limited number of large scale renovations and additions.
What is the process for a client when they choose to work with New Old?
Initially, we usually sit down over coffee in a very informal setting to evaluate the client’s needs and wishes and see if we’re the right fit. Most importantly, we listen to each client’s goals and expectations, their timeframe, and how they see us bringing their dreams to life. We design most of our homes from scratch, particularly for that family and their lifestyle. Sometimes, clients already have plans, and we can move right into the interior design. We work with our clients throughout the design process, helping them with all selections or working directly with their designers. We are passionate about being a “relationship builder, “ having open communication throughout the home building process and making the build process as enjoyable and fun as possible.
What types of material does New Old use in your construction?
We use natural materials such as stone, wood, and brick in our designs and we like to use salvaged materials where fitting.
What types of homes do you like to build?
We love to build homes with distinct style, architecturally correct details and historical elements. Some of our favorites include American farmhouse, Cottage style, Craftsman, High Country, Low Country, and European influenced.
We know New Old uses repurposed material in your construction, but why?
In our renovations we will often try to save as much as possible, modifying and repainting/finishing cabinetry rather than adding all new and reusing existing windows and doors in new locations if possible. In our new construction, we like to add salvaged vintage materials as much as possible while still keeping with the intended design.
What is the benefit of using repurposed material?
We use salvaged materials for many reasons but most notably because we believe there is no reason to throw a piece out just because it is old. When we started building, we saw the exorbitant amount of perfectly good materials being carted off to landfills and lost forever. We made a commitment to repurpose and reuse as many materials as much as we could. We find creative new uses for them often in unexpected ways. Using salvaged materials gives home a uniqueness and character that you just cannot find in new materials. And reusing these materials keeps them out of landfills, which is an earth friendly option.
What kinds of qualities does repurposed material bring to a job?
Repurposed materials bring character, charm, quality & craftsmanship of old to make each home we build uniquely special.
Are your customers asking to use repurposed materials in their projects more and more because of the character it can add to a home?
Yes definitely. It’s a design trend that we see continuing to grow. Right now, homeowners are wanting to add vintage details to their home, as well as to do their part to preserve and protect the environment. We encourage our clients to use these salvaged pieces as creative and functional details in their home.
What are the environmental benefits of using repurposed and salvaged material?
According to a Green Building Elements article from 2009, 8000 lbs of waste is generated from a 2000 square foot new construction home. The article states that the EPA has estimated that 40% of the nation’s solid waste comes from construction. We feel we can do our small part by reusing and restoring vintage pieces in our homes, reusing and repurposing construction materials in our renovations and not contribute anymore to the landfills than absolutely necessary.
Does using repurposed material add to the cost?
It depends on the salvaged materials. Antique floors, slate (for roofs), and stone can cost two to three times or more than new growth hardwoods and traditional asphalt roofs. However, salvaged doors, mantles, and more decorative details tend to be of the same of lesser cost. Beams and barnwood are higher priced, but in line with new growth timber of the same quality.
What are your favorite jobs that New Old has done and what aspects do you most like about it?
Our favorite projects happen when homeowners are willing to take a risk and leave their comfort zone by mixing design neutrals with different materials/architectural details to make their home uniquely theirs. We are passionate about creating a perfect blend of old and new.
Is using repurposed materials a core belief and aspect of New Old and if so why?
We strive to creatively mix repurposed materials with new construction in each of our projects. Our name reflects this philosophy as our core belief in all we do.
What types of repurposed material do you use?
We use reclaimed hardwood flooring, wall paneling, beams, mantles, stone and brick, doors, windows, hand-hewn beams, the list goes on. We source our materials from a variety of local suppliers including Antique Reclaimed Lumber out of Nebo, NC and Crosslands Studios off South Blvd here in Charlotte as well as our client’s attics and cellars and their grandparents’ tobacco barns.
Does it make you feel better to use repurposed materials?so why?
Definitely. Not only is it great for the environment, but we love adding a bit of the past into our builds. It’s always incredible to hear someone say how comfortable and warm our homes feel the minute you walk in. Adding these vintage details fits our personality and design philosophy perfectly.
For more information visit www.newold.com.