Wait . . . Did You Really Just Say “Ikea Granite”?

At this point nearly everyone in the construction industry has heard of new trends in the green movement regarding adaptive-reuse strategies for reclaimed building materials. This recent project completed by MCLD takes the fairly straight-forward concept and adds a twist—resulting in a pretty fantastic contemporary garden for a new lakefront home designed by Ruhl Walker Architects.

It all started at a job site meeting in the GC’s construction trailer on a frigidly cold evening in November of 2010 when my clients mentioned seeing huge piles of granite stockpiled at the site of the new Ikea store in Somerville, MA. We had been working together on our design for the garden for more than six-months, and from the start our intentions were to source reclaimed material for the project. When the suggestion was made to see if we could get some of the seemingly abandoned curbstones for our hardscaping, my first reaction was: “wait, you want to use Ikea granite?”

We laughed about the idea together and the meeting moved on.

A few minutes later the idea was back on the table. I was pessimistic and optimistic. On one hand, how cool would it be to know the exact source of the stone for the project?! On the other hand, there just seemed to be no logistical way we would ever be able to make it work. The installation was more than six-months away, a landscape contractor had not yet been selected to build the garden, and the idea that the material would still be there in the spring seemed unrealistic at best.

Not long after our meeting all of New England was covered with over three-feet of snow, and winter of 2011 brought record snowfall. After a couple of failed attempts at reaching out to a few folks about the granite, the idea was tabled and we were back to the original idea of sourcing the stone from a local stoneyard. Once spring arrived not only had the project progressed, but the clients were now expecting twins.  And the garden had to be complete by mid-summer. Then one morning the clients texted me with excitement that they had made contact with the owners of the granite, and that the material was available for our project!

Panic and excitement set in. How were we going to make this happen?

Our landscape contractor, Martin Lucyk, was on board with the idea immediately. He connected with the construction foreman and in a matter of hours we were out in the middle of this massive industrial construction site hand-picking slabs of old curbing for the garden. A few days later the stone arrived on site and the mason, Brian Griffin, was working at full-speed to install the materials.

I have a special place in my heart for reclaimed granite and have utilized stones sourced from all over New England in my work. There is something that can’t be beat about the rugged texture and aged patina one finds in this material. Using it gives the garden an established feel. If you’re nostalgic like me, you revel in the story that each stone has to tell. The stone in this garden certainly has a unique story.

Stay tuned for more images of “Lower Mystic Lake House” as the garden matures and evolves over the coming seasons!

Reclaimed Granite Reclaimed granite staircase Reclaimed Granite

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