By Marty Steinberg
Nestled in the mountains above Hot Springs, Tom Hare’s 1903 chestnut cabin is a retreat from modern living. A pot of chili simmers on a wood-fired cook stove. A table, made by Hare from the original wormy chestnut ceiling joists of the home, is set in the kitchen. A huge pot-bellied wood stove warms the living room.
Hare’s collection of 1940’s period home-furnishings has been acquired by searching and picking to find authentic and useful items without paying antique store prices. A visit to Hare’s home (the Asheville Citizen-Times Home of the Week for July 7, 2018) is indeed a trip back in time.
While some of the items in the home were purchased online or during his travels, it’s fair to say that the restoration of the cabin is – at least in part – a ReStore-ation. From the glass planters in the bathroom to the sofa and loveseat in the living room, Tom Hare’s cabin is full of choice ReStore purchases.
Possibly the largest item the Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity ReStore has ever sold, a 20’ x 50’ Quonset hut, sits just outside. Hare found the Quonset hut, yet to be assembled, on a huge pallet inside the ReStore. “I had to make two trips,” Hare said. “It was just too heavy to load on the trailer all at once.” The purchase came with two large containers, one with 2,000 nuts and one with 2,000 bolts.
Thanks to some young neighbors, Hare got the building put together next to the cabin so he’d have a place to work on the car he’s had since he was in high school. LED floodlights from the ReStore, installed pointing upward at the ceiling, helped to complete the project.
Back in the cabin, a number of other ReStore finds helped Hare complete the indoor restoration. The bathroom contains a vintage cast iron sink that Hare won in the ReStore silent auction. It also features a cast iron tub, a toilet, a rug and several plant containers from the ReStore.
Perhaps the most interesting feature of the bathroom is a skylight, made from a re-purposed window, also purchased at the ReStore. “After I installed the tub and got in it, I found I was too tall to stand up to take a shower,” Hare said. “So I cut a hole in the roof and installed the window, giving me six more inches of head room, and I can take a shower now.”
Hare had purchased a leather sofa for the living room, but when he went to pick it up at the ReStore, he found a sofa and loveseat he liked better, so he bought those as well. Eventually, after storing it for a while, Hare sold the original leather sofa at a small profit. “I know there are people at the ReStore looking for items they can upsell, but I’m just looking for pieces I like for myself.”
Also in the living room is an art-deco fan that Hare won in the ReStore silent auction. The cord was damaged but there were still several bidders competing for the item. Hare won the bid and re-wired the fan, which now circulates the air from Hare’s woodstove throughout the house.
“One thing I didn’t know is I have was a self driving car,” Hare said. “Every time we get close to any Habitat ReStore my car turns in the parking lot on its own!”
To complete the living room Hare found a rocking chair and several lamps from the ReStore. Most of the lamps in the house are from the ReStore and every light bulb in the home is an energy-efficient LED bulb, purchased at a steep discount from the ReStore as part of a Duke Energy program.
Not every item Hare purchases at the ReStore is an antique or collectible. Hare has an upholstered easy chair, a microwave oven, several space heaters, a propane grill for his rental cabin and a set of rechargeable power tools he found at the ReStore. “I got a great deal on the tools,” Hare said. “I walked in the door and somebody was just putting them out. I had great timing.”
The key to finding what you need at the ReStore, according to Hare, is visiting frequently. “You have to go every day,” Hare said. “Actually, twice a day is best.”
Hare, age 76, still plans on shopping for just the right upgrades to his home and to the Briar Rose Farm vacation rental cabin on the property. “Summers here are heaven,” said Hare. He’s been known to give renters of the guesthouse a tour of his cabin. “I want people to see what life was like back then.”
“One thing I didn’t know is that I have a self driving car. Every time we get close to any Habitat ReStore my car turns in the parking lot on its own!”