The story of how two 100 year old Dairy Farm houses transformed our Modern Farm house – The Brookview:
Since 2010 100% of all homes built by Hillsborough NC Custom Home Builder, Collins Design-Build, are certified Green by Home Innovations National Green Building Standard. Additionally these homes have met the qualifications of EPA’s ENERGY STAR requirements. In 2014, Chad Collins was honored nationally by the National Association of Home Builders as the Green Professional of the Year. Building green is something we understand. However, experience has no value unless you implement it in new ways.
When planning our Modern Farmhouse at Pleasant Green Farms we wanted the feel of a 100 year old home but with today’s luxuries. We knew that reclaimed Heartwood Pine flooring would adorn our home perfectly. However, one does not simply run down to the local home improvement store and purchase 100 year old reclaimed heartwood pine.
We became aware of two, nearly identical, 2-story Victorian farm houses, built within the 1870-1900 time period. That were scheduled to be razed. They are both from Halifax Co., VA. One was the ‘old Dallas Farm’ in Crystal Hill, Halifax Co., VA, the other was from ‘the Hodges Farm’ in Nathalie. Both were residences for dairy farmers.
When the heartwood pine flooring arrived to us it looked like you would expect 100 year old flooring to look. It was dusty and showed the scars of rusted nails, linoleum glue, carpet tacks and worm holes.
Building a green home is not limited to just high performance components, carbon footprints and renewables. While it is common for new homes have recycled products in them, using reclaimed heartwood pine flooring is a rare. What an honor!
What is Heartwood?
A Pine tree has two basic components: heartwood and sapwood. Heartwood is highly sought after because of its tight grain which produces a more stable and stronger floor. When sapwood sections are used, it may result in a softer floor that can be scratched and dented. The Heartwood strength hardness and comes from its resin, and longleaf has more resin than the other 200+ species of pine.
Longleaf heartwood is beautiful. The grain is not your usual oak pattern and is a shines with a rich, reddish color due to the resin. Using all heartwood means the color should be more consistent.
What is the History of Heartwood?
Once the largest continuous forest on the North American continent, the longleaf ecosystem ran along the coastal plain from Virginia’s southern tip to eastern Texas. Before the American Revolution, longleaf pine, the source of heart pine, dominated the landscape in the South.
Where there was once approximately 60 million acres, less than 10,000 acres of old growth heart pine remain today. Put another way, what was once 41 percent of the entire landmass of the Deep South now covers less than 2 percent of its original range. The hardwood trees had been growing for centuries, producing only an inch of growth in diameter every thirty years. It takes up to 500 years for heart pine to mature.
As the United States was formed and began to grow and prosper, settlers quickly discovered the immense value of the towering but slender hardwood trees. Because of its strength and durability, heart pine was declared the “King’s wood” for shipbuilding when America was first colonized. As settlers moved southward, original growth heart pine was steadily logged and was used for log cabins in the 1700s and 1800s, and later for the construction of fine Victorian homes, hotels and palaces. Heart pine once framed four of every five houses in the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida, floored Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and Washington’s Mount Vernon, and buttressed the keel of the USS Constitution (“Old Ironsides”).
Heart pine played a key role in the growth and development of the United States as an economic power. As industrial America began to flex its muscles later in the 19th century, heart pine was transported in tall ships made of heart pine up the Eastern seaboard and over to Europe. The Herculean wood provided flooring, joists and paneling for homes and factories, as well as timbers for bridges, warehouses, railroad cars and wharves. Also appreciated for its beauty, it was utilized in Victorian hotels and palaces. Anytime you visit an old building, look around. You are likely to recognize heart pine still hard at work and in excellent condition. (source credit www.heartpine.com/heart-pine-101)
To view more photos of our reclaimed Heartwood Pine Flooring and our Modern Farmhouse at Pleasant Green Farms click HERE.
Chad D. Collins, Accredited Master Builder
An area native, NC Licensed General Contractor, National Association of Home Builders Master Certified Green ProfessionalTM, and Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist, Chad is one of less than 50 Accredited Master Builders in the state of North Carolina. He achieved this professional designations after years of experience and numerous hours of coursework via the NC Builder Institute. Chad has been an active member of the building industry since the early 1990’s. He joined the Home Builders Association (HBA) of Durham, Orange, and Chatham Counties in 2005. Chad was soon named HBA Recruiter of the Year and he subsequently chaired various HBA committees. Chad is a Licensed Home Inspector, as well as, a Licensed Lead Abatement professional.
In addition to industry awards in recognition of excellence in home building and remodeling, Collins Design-Build has twice been named Building Company of the Year via the HBA’s Triangle Sales and Marketing Council MAME (Major Achievements in Marketing Excellence) Awards. The company has also received a Best Green Built Home STARS Award from the NCHBA. Currently, Chad serves as a Past President to the HBADOC, and recently completed one of Durham’s first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) residential projects. LEED is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. To receive LEED certification, projects must satisfy pre-requisites and earn points to achieve various levels of achievement.
In 2014 Chad was selected as the HBADOC 2014 Builder of the Year and recently honored at The International Builders Show in Las Vegas as the NAHB’s Certified Green Home Professional of the Year.
This post was written by Chad Collins