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The motivation: Kelly Averbeck and her husband, Wayne, purchased a 1916 house in rural Jerome. A couple of years later, she started using discarded wood to make furniture. Her goal:To restore the home to its original early-20th century look.

Kelly has done a nice job of that. New paint and old-style homemade furniture now decorate the two-story home.

Two pieces of furniture that Kelly completed this summer include a bookcase — painted white and stressed to look worn — and a dining room hutch made from an old cabinet and discarded doors.The hutch is stained Bombay mahogany.

The doors, some of which Kelly already had in her stockpile of discarded material, fit perfectly. “It was meant to be,” she said.

The bill: Kelly estimated that it cost her around $40 to build the bookcase and hutch, because most of the material she already had or had gotten for free.

The timeline: Once she sets her mind to doing something, Kelly doesn’t waste time finishing her projects. It took her just two days on the bookcase, and another two to complete the hutch.

“I have the ideas in my mind for a long time before I do anything,” she said.

Bang for the buck: Kelly likes to stand back and admire the furniture she’s made, knowing that what could have been wasted material has instead become something practical. You’d never know where the furniture came from. It looks pricey, like something you’d buy in a specialty store.

“It looks like it should have been here in 1916, back when the house was built,” she said. “People, when they see it, are going to walk away and say ‘Wow.’”

Skills learned: Kelly always learns something when working on a project. Most difficult this time around was making sure all the wood pieces lined up evenly. When it came to using a miter saw, she relied on Wayne’s expertise.

What’s next: Kelly held an open house last week to show off her remodeled home. Everything she wanted to do to the home is pretty much finished now, she said. But give it time — she’s confident she’ll find something else to do. She might even help friends with their own home-improvement projects.


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