On a prominent street, in one of Edmonton’s most sought after west-end neighbourhoods, is a funky little house right out of the 60’s. The home would be perfect to film an episode of Mad Men or even That 70’s Show. But while retro may be interesting, it’s not so easy to sell in today’s market. So what does one do?

It begs the question – what’s more valuable? The home or the lot? When you’re talking about an area of the city like Crestwood, Parkview or even the desirable Valleyview Drive, with its incredible view of the city’s downtown skyline overlooking the North Saskatchewan River valley, having a home from an older time period sitting on land like that – makes a demolition worth it. The land value alone coupled with the exclusivity and desirability of a bare lot on Valleyview Drive, is worth even more than the value of the land with an older home on it. 

Kerri-lyn Holland with Holland and Associates has worked with many homeowners who have demolished a home because the land value far exceeded the value of that older home. 

“For example on Valleyview Drive, you can buy land for $1.9 - $3.2 million and while they are pricey, they come up so seldom that if you get a chance to buy a lot there, and you can afford it, you take it! For a seller on Valleyview Drive, a new home can go anywhere from 5 - 10 million dollars, so it’s worth it to tear down an older home and build new or sell just the lot, that’s how valuable and exclusive land in this neighbourhood is,” says Holland.

For the owners of this retro home in particular, that was the case, and so they decided it would be best to demolish the home and start from scratch on the valuable piece of property they own. 

But for realtor Kerri-lyn Holland, who loves historic old homes and all their design features, it was heartbreaking to think that an entire retro home with its 60’s finishings, snooker table, vintage brick and old desirable hardware, would go straight into the landfill. 

“This home is a 1960’s house in original condition and it's pretty funky and cool,” says Kerri-lyn Holland. “When we found out the homeowners were going to take it down, we convinced them to recycle it. I’ve always wanted to recycle a house. We got the chance back in 2008 when we tore down a house in Crestwood. At that time, we jumped at the chance to recycle it. We contacted numerous companies that would recycle windows and doors and usable materials. And so with this property, we felt it would be a good opportunity to do the same and salvage everything we could.”

For a long time Kerri-lyn Holland has been following the work of Architectural Clearinghouse, a local family run business in Edmonton that focuses on salvaging and reclaiming quality building materials. She reached out to owner Adam Erdmann who will be spending 3 days reclaiming various building materials from this retro old home. 

“This is a really nice and exciting project to get into,” says Erdmann. “This is an old brick house and we are salvaging all we can, from the iron work on the outside, landscaping bricks to the furnace, electrical panels, hot water tank, pool table, doors, kitchen, sauna - we can take quite a bit out of this home.”

Erdmann has spent a lot of time in Edmonton’s more prestigious neighbourhoods. The land is so valuable that tearing down an older home allows the homeowner the freedom to build new and add even more value to a property. 

Adam Erdmann, Owner of Architectural Clearinghouse  

“We’ve been all over these higher end neighbourhoods like Valleyview Drive, Riverside and Crestwood. There’s a lot of infill happening in those areas and we’ve done a lot of work there over the years,” says Erdmann. 

When a home is discarded, it adds between 60 to 80 tonnes of building materials to a landfill. Holland is thrilled to see so much of this home be reused and reclaimed. 

“This truly is thoughtful and aware infill. I’ve followed Architectural Clearinghouse on social media for a long time and I think what they are doing is absolutely incredible. They have a long history here in Edmonton for doing this kind of thing - and they have a passion for history and architecture, as do I - so I just thought this would be a great partnership,” says Holland. 

When you walk into Architectural Clearinghouse you’ll find a 20, 000 square foot warehouse with building materials from floor to ceiling. Chandeliers hang from the ceiling, including the Holland’s fixtures from their very own house reno. There is a whole side of the building that is just wall to wall doors, another is all baseboards and hardwood flooring. There are rows upon rows of toilets and toilet lids. Another row full of sinks in all shapes, sizes and colours. There are taps, and hinges, crystal door knobs and treasures from some of Edmonton’s most well known buildings. 

“Those doors over there with those beautiful crystal door knobs,” says Erdmann, “came out of the El Mirador, when it was demolished. We spent a good amount of time salvaging what we could from that historical building.” 

The El Mirador was the prominent Spanish-style apartment block on Jasper Avenue and 108th Street that was originally built in 1935 on an old 1912 wood framed house. The building was demolished in October 2021 to many of its resident’s great sadness. But for Erdmann, being part of projects like this is a way to ensure the most important pieces of our history get to live on, and better yet, stay out of the landfill. 

“We look at it as de-construction - so everything was put in there at one time, so why can’t it come out?” says Erdmann. “It’s just a matter of figuring out how things were installed and uninstalling it. Hopefully we are just getting more conscious of the environment. We’re filling up dumpsters daily with perfectly good materials that can be reused. In fact we have contractors that do their jobs and build solely from the stuff they find in this warehouse. So if they are working on a massive project for a landlord or something - like rental properties, apartment buildings, they’ll come in and dig through and take sinks, toilets, tile, counter tops, vanities - everything. They come in and spend a few hundred dollars and save thousands. It’s a win-win,” says Erdmann.

The Holland’s have been working hard trying to educate their clients on both sustainable construction and demolition practices. 

“Just like we like to work with builders who are conscious of the waste they create on a build site, when people are tearing down to build new, we also want to help people understand that it doesn’t have to be just thrown away. We can preserve and honour these old homes as much as we can. We’re so excited to get to work with Adam at Architectural Clearinghouse and seeing this retro home make a comeback in a brand new way.”

Want to learn more about some current listings we have? 

Click below for information on some of our current opportunities.

10 Valleyview Pointe 

Once in a lifetime opportunity to buy on Valleyview Point! Build your dream home on this 12,907 SQ.FT. lot with stunning views of downtown & backing onto the river valley - a natural setting & privacy combine for the perfect opportunity to build an architecturally spectacular home. - Listed at $2,300,000 https://www.yeghousesearch.ca/listing/e4292641-10-valleyview-pointe-nw-edmonton-ab-t5r-5t4/

8404/8406 134 Street  

The perfect location - directly across from the River Valley. An incredible opportunity - Build on the 10,746 SQ.FT. lot ( 86 X 125 ft) or renovate the home with stunning views of downtown, UofA & the River Valley. Listed at $1,995,000 https://www.yeghousesearch.ca/listing/e4303455-84048406-134-street-nw-edmonton-ab-t5r-0b4/

For more information on Architectural Clearinghouse: 

Architectural Clearinghouse is in the process of moving to a new location just around the corner from its current warehouse at 11507-120 street. Anyone is welcome to come down and shop from the warehouse. If you have a renovation or are demolishing a home and you’d like to consider recycling your old building materials, you can reach out to Architectural Clearinghouse by phone at (780) 436-1222 or through its Facebook or Instagram page @achouseyeg.

Posted by Kerri-lyn Holland on
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