Paul Hamelin, Leelanau County resident and owner of Verterra Winery, had an old house on his vineyard property that wasn’t being lived in. So he stopped by the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Traverse City and asked if they could use it.

The answer was yes!

“We talked about it as a family for a couple years—what is the fate of that home,” Paul says. “A Leelanau ordinance wouldn’t allow us to convert it to a B&B so that played into our decision. We thought there are so many good items in the home, it’d be a mistake to destroy it.”

Michelle Reichert, the project manager for Habitat for Humanity Grand Traverse Region, and her team of volunteers were able to salvage doors, appliances, tile, fixtures, several sinks, tubs, cabinets, cedar paneling and other household materials. These items will be sold in Habitat’s ReStore, located at 1129 Woodmere Avenue in Traverse City, where profits are used for projects in the community. (Want to know more about ReStores? Check out these FAQs.)

“It’s so heartwarming that these things will have a future rather than just going into the dump, Paul says.

According to Michelle, property owners like the Hamelins, as well as professional contractors, contact Habitat for Humanity regularly to perform deconstruction services as part of their plan for anything from a kitchen remodel to a whole home demolition. “Companies see how professional we are, how efficient we are and the impact it makes on our community, our environment and local Habitat families. They realize it really is a win for all involved,” Michelle says.

It is a win for the property owner who can feel good about recycling and making a tax-deductible donation to Habitat’s mission. It is a win for the contractor who saves on dumpster fees and can rely on a licensed, experienced team to provide the free deconstruction service based on a set timeline. It is a win for homeowners who may not be able to afford full cost items for their home repairs, and it is a win for Habitat, which is able to build more homes for families through ReStore sales.”

The Depot Neighborhood Project, a pocket neighborhood of 10 net-zero homes built with a shared courtyard near downtown Traverse City, is an example of how ReStore sales benefit the community. “The project was made possible through the generosity of many, including deconstruction donors like the Hamelins,” Michelle says.

In 2018, Habitat for Humanity Grand Traverse Region plans to help five more families with continued community support.

Want to schedule a home deconstruction? Contact Michelle Reichert at 231.941.4663 ext. 125 or at to schedule a walkthrough to determine salvageable items.

Want to donate home and construction items? Contact the ReStore directly at 231.944.1182 to schedule a pick-up time. Items can also be dropped off during business hours Monday–Friday from 10 a.m.–6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Volunteer! Habitat needs volunteers and donors year-round to support their mission of bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope. Volunteers of all experience levels are welcome and encouraged to help on the construction site and in the ReStore. Volunteers with construction experience are always needed. Visit the website at for more information on how to get involved or call 231.941.4663.

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