Archive for June, 2014

History of Habitat for Humanity of Cape Cod

Habitat Restore in Cape Cod is now over two years old, but the overall organization has been on Cape Cod much longer…

Habitat for Humanity of Cape Cod

On October 1, 1988 Habitat for Humanity of Cape Cod (HHCC) was founded as an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International. Our first home was dedicated in Wellfleet in November 1989. Our 81st home was dedicated in September 2013 on Bevan Way,Orleans.

But 81 homes with 81 families in 25 years is just a piece of our story.

Twelve major rehabs by volunteers, with zero-interest loans for materials, allowed low income homeowners to correct substandard conditions and remain in their homes.

Countless ramps, as well as other modifications and repairs, have been completed by groups of Habitat volunteers rallying to assist neighbors in need.

Three Habitat homes have been re-sold to income-eligible buyers; all homes built since 2000 are deed restricted to continue as affordable homes in perpetuity

Habitat for Humanity of Cape CodDedicated volunteer leaders and crews have allowed us to actively partner with other non-profit and public agencies to lend a hand in their affordable housing initiatives. We created a decent 2-family rental in Provincetown from a condemned house and restored “the oldest house in Hyannis” to provide affordable rentals for single working people.

We developed six “conventional affordable” homes (contractor built, and sold with a bank mortgage to families at 80% of median income) at Danvers Way, Hyannis, in addition to the ten Habitat for Humanity homes built in that neighborhood. We also built five “conventional affordable” homes at Gomes Way, Harwich in addition to the 8 Habitat homes in that neighborhood.

From day one, we have tithed “a house for a house” – dedicating 10% of unrestricted donations to build Habitat homes in developing nations. And 2010 marked the 5th year that we supported a team of Habitat volunteers rebuilding in the U.S. gulf region.

Still, the most important accomplishments are those that are beyond counting:
families stabilized and thriving…the growing fellowship of people united by our work and mission…the empowerment of home buyers and volunteers learning new skills together, forging new friendships and connections…the public advocacy that has made affordable housing a “front burner” issue in most Cape towns.

We are grateful for our steadfast and generous community partners. With your active support, we will celebrate and honor 25 years by re-dedicating ourselves to our mission and work: building homes, hope, lives and community.

Thank you for YOUR support!

The case for using old furniture on Cape Cod

The Cape Cod Habitat for Humanity ReStoreAs the furniture section of Cape Cod’s ReStore expands we are seeing a wider variety of furniture: new, old, and antique. It’s interesting to see the differences, and to be honest, we’re gaining an appreciation of how things were made in the past. Years ago furniture was made with pride and high quality materials. There was less commercialization, and unlike today’s mass productions, flimsy materials such as plywood and particle board were not used. Drop Leaf DeskSince many of the items were custom made, a couple ordering a bedroom set might have to wait three months – but it was not planned to be obsolete after a few months, or to break down after a couple of years. Put simply, it was meant to last, and it was often used by the next generation. We also admire the appearance of much of the vintage furniture, especially the hand crafting sections, the rounded edges, and the overall attention to detail.

The case for buying used verses new furniture lies strongly in how well you can make the used furniture integrate into your home. A lot of money can be saved by purchasing high quality used items – if you can find them. Well, here’s the good news: On Cape Cod it’s easy to find what you need. Here are some considerations…

Furnishing a rental unit?

Due to the possibility of damage using new furniture can get expensive. Furniture in a rental unit should be comfortable, sturdy, and blend in with the rest of the decor – but at some point it may have to be replaced. It can be very expensive (and disappointing) if a new item breaks or becomes stained. Furnishing rental property with used items gives you the opportunity to make the furniture more interesting, and a high quality vintage piece is still less expensive than most new items.

Do you allow pets?

If pets are allowed in the rental, the case for going with used furniture is even stronger… There’s an even greater chance for damage.

What about Beds?

High quality bed Frames and the head / foot boards are readily available on the second hand market. Note that for good reason, mattresses must be purchased new.


Accent pieces

Used Furniture
Goog accent pieces are actually easier to find in a a second hand store than in a new furniture store. The reason? Older furniture is more interesting. Cape Cod’s used furniture outlets have a lot to offer in the way of “conversation starters”.



The Cape Cod ReStore

Cape Cod has a great collection of used furniture outlets including the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in South Yarmouth. The ReStore also sells gently used appliances and other home improvement items. And, the inventory changes every day. Cape Cod also has a many thrift and consignment shops.

Vintage Furniture

Renovation or ReStoration

Source: The Habitat for Humanity Why ReStore Blog
By: Steve Thomas

House RestorationPeople often ask what the difference is between a renovation and a restoration and the answer entails a lot of shades of gray.

An example of a pure restoration is James Madison’s Montpelier located near Orange, Virginia. Montpelier started out as Madison’s personal house. Over the years, it was expanded significantly, both by Madison and subsequent owners. In the full archaeological restoration which commenced in 2008, the decision was made to restore the building back to its 1820 appearance.

The restoration involved everything from paint analysis to ground-penetrating radar and the result was as accurate a restoration as possible. One of the first principles of restoration is that as much as possible of the original material – or “fabric” – be preserved. The Montpelier project went to great lengths to find all the original pieces of the house puzzle.

For most of us, our projects may involve a bit of renovation and restoration. My current project is a good example. It’s a small shingle-style Victorian built in 1905. The house needed some serious TLC – plumbing, electrical, HVAC, new sills, reframed back wall, kitchen, baths, plaster, etc. But it was basically in good shape and was in its original condition, making it a perfect candidate for what you might call a layman’s restoration/renovation.

Restoring a HouseI decided to keep the exterior fully intact, replacing the cedar shingles on the gable ends with new ones and the clapboard siding on the first story with new cedar clapboards. I’ll replace the round columns, which you can barely detect in the historical photograph, with new ones and the porch railing, too. The house needed a new roof and I would have liked to use cedar shingles like the original, but at more than twice the cost of asphalt shingles, it was not in the budget – so asphalt it was. Still, the exterior renovation will “restore” the house pretty much to its original look, which you can see in the photo here.

Inside, it’s all renovation. We are keeping the room configuration the same as the original, but the Victorian kitchen was long ago replaced by another owner and we are replacing it with a modern kitchen. Same with the bathrooms, lighting, plumbing, HVAC and so forth. In the end, it will look and feel like an old house, but it will function like a new one.

I think it is worth encouraging renovators to keep the look of their houses as original as possible. Of course, everyone has their own balance of time and money to consider, but for me, the satisfaction of keeping the streetscape of this little Maine fishing village just that much more historically in tune is worth it. Plus, well, I fell in love with the house, and I just had to return it to the way it looked in 1905!