At home, wether or not
When Jane Anderson looks out her living-room picture window, she sees a sweeping view of hillsides and valleys – the tops of the South, Middle and North Yuba River canyons.
On a clear day, Anderson can see the Coast Ranges.
And that picture window? Anderson got it at a salvage yard for one-tenth the price of a new one.
And her house? In 1999, when Anderson bought six acres near Jones Bar Road for $88,000, the building that is now her home was a 20-by-50 foot, metal-sided sheep barn.
With help from family and friends, Anderson used salvaged and scavenged building materials to convert the sheep barn into an airy, light-filled house. She got her furniture and household items at thrift stores, garage and estate sales, and as gifts from friends and strangers.
“Everything you see, almost without exception, is a recycled item,” said Anderson, a 65-year-old painter.
Friends gave her a lot of items, including her refrigerator, oven, and wood stove.
“It’s funny. When you put the word out that you’re doing this, people show up with things.” Anderson said.
Nevada County recycling officials point to her as someone who exemplifies the “reuse” part of the “reduce, reuse and recycle” mantra.
“It’s just so unique to find someone who is committed from A to Z to (reuse),” said county recycling technician Daria Kent.
The things Anderson had to buy, she got at a discount, such as a $125 propane heater she found on “Swap Shop,” a popular show on radio station KNCO-AM.
Even the interior paint is recycled. Anderson bought five-gallon buckets of gray recycled paint for $20 each at Waste Management’s recycling center near the Nevada County Airport.
She mixed the gray paint with bright pigments.
Anderson improvises a lot.
She used copper plumbing pipe as curtain rods in her bedroom, which turned out to be fashionable.
“Then I saw in some chi-chi magazine, ‘Use copper pipe,'” she said.
The windows aren’t all the same size, shape or material. And her furniture is all different styles.
But that’s OK with Anderson, who has always bought mismatched sets of dishes and wine glasses.
“I’ve never like anything that matched,” Anderson said. “I don’t think I have anything that matches, and I don’t care.”
Anderson’s house is completely legal and up to county code. She has a mortgage on it.
Anderson, her family and friends made the house liveable in just eight months.
“We worked around the clock, and we fought and we made up,” she said.
Building and furnishing her house was a lot more fun than dealing with a traditional home.
“I have more fun in my life than I’ve ever had,” she said. “It’s like living in a treehouse.”
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