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A story of Reuse

 

Digging for the Patio (image credit: Curt Ailes)

Digging for the Patio (image credit: Curt Ailes)

A couple of years ago, before I became so consumed by livability and sustainability issues, my wife and I decided that we wanted to put a new door on the back of our home. We removed an existing window, bought a pre-hung door, and with the help of a couple friends, spent the weekend installing the door. It went over pretty well for the most part. We bought some stones from Menards to construct a step down to ground level and at that point, stopped. We had exhausted the budget for the project.

Sand and limestone down, time to place bricks (image credit: Curt Ailes)

Sand and limestone down, time to place bricks (image credit: Curt Ailes)

Flash forward two years and a toddler son later, and we finally swung around to getting the next significant portion of the project completed. Along the way, I learned a few things about reuse, recycling and such. I have also grown fond of old structures. So it was with sorrow that I watched as an old, abandoned structure was demolished this past fall. This structure was located at 16th & College Ave. You may remember it. The structure was the victim of multiple collisions with automobiles and was thus, uninhabited. When the building came down, it occurred to me that it would be nice to salvage some of the bricks. My wife inquired with the workers on site and they were happy to let us take our fill.

Bricks all laid and sand poured in gaps (image credit: Curt Ailes)

Bricks all laid and sand poured in gaps (image credit: Curt Ailes)

Three trips in our Ford Fusion and 250 bricks later, we had a big stack of vintage bricks sitting in our driveway. This was last fall. Due in part to the unseasonably warm temperatures that we have had here in Central Indiana, and a need to get out and work, we dug. I lured fellow Urban Indy writer Graeme Sharpe over with the promise of beer and food; we enjoyed 3 Wise Men Double IPA and Upland Dragonfly during the project.

Graeme drinking on the job; so was I (image credit: Curt Ailes)

Graeme drinking on the job; so was I (image credit: Curt Ailes)

A day later, you can see that our patio has now spring to life! Sure, it is small, but 250 bricks does not go far. However, it was big enough to be usable for my son’s 2nd birthday party which was held at our house this year.

Entrance from driveway (image credit Curt Ailes)

Entrance from driveway (image credit Curt Ailes)

In conclusion, yeah we bought some sand and paver base from the store, but a large stack of bricks was saved from the landfill, and thus the production of new bricks was saved from polluting the atmosphere, and as a result, my family now has a nice vintage patio to enjoy the outdoors on this summer!

Footnote: If anyone would like to get rid of old bricks they may have, we would happily take them off your hands!

5 Responses to “ “A story of Reuse”

  1. Katie says:

    Why seems like 20 years ago I helped a friend and his dad put in a deck assembled from the brick of my mom’s college dorm. I live this project and it makes me want to pave my back drive in bricks.

  2. Brandon says:

    I am a part time landscaper therefore i can appreciate this.

  3. Jeffrey C says:

    Have you checked Freecycle for bricks? I got some there once.

  4. Mav-1 says:

    Funny, I was working on the same type of project last weekend. While not a recycle and reuse project, I have an appreciation for the work displayed. I can also attest that good beer makes the project much more palatable. Excellent work.

  5. Janet Schneider says:

    Plus, you’ve always got a cool story to tell about where the bricks came from, recalling the old building that had a lot of old, faded early 20th century painted advertisement on it.

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