Donations of items salvaged before the recent demolitions of two high-profile homes, one of them owned by pro golfer Tiger Woods' ex-wife Elin Nordegren, have been a huge benefit to Habitat for Humanity of Martin County.
Nordegren had the 17,000-square-foot house she purchased in March for $12.3 million torn down last week.
The two-story house in Seminole Landing, a 77-acre development in North Palm Beach, had six bedrooms, eight bathrooms, an in-ground pool and an elevator.
Nordegren first wanted to remodel the house, built in 1932, to suit the needs of her and her two children, but experts recommended it be razed.
Dan Reedy, owner of Onshore Construction in Jupiter, said that structurally, the house did not meet current codes for wind and hurricane resistance, so it would be more costly to rebuild the house from the inside-out to meet code than to tear it down and build a new house.
Reedy said his company has not yet been awarded the contract to build the Nordegren's new house, but he has been working with her since she bought the two-acre oceanfront property in North Palm Beach, first on possible renovations and now on plans for a new home, which were recently submitted for county approval.
Once Nordegren made that decision, she contacted Habitat for Humanity of Martin County, one of the few Habitat affiliates in Florida with a full-time deconstruction program, said Bobbi Blodgett, the deconstruction team's director.
Blodgett said she is still logging in items donated by Nordegren, but the value is already well over the estimated $30,000 worth of appliances, furniture and materials donated from the former home of Perry Como in Jupiter Inlet Colony before that was torn down in November.
"Most people would have sold it and pocketed the money," Reedy said.
He said Nordegren could have had a garage sale, but told him that she'd rather do this for the community.
Reedy said Nordegren gave the deconstruction crew plenty of time, about six weeks, to remove items from the house. That allowed the crew to work at a pace that maximized the value — he estimated it at more than $300,000 — of what was removed.
The donated items are resold at Habitat for Humanity's ReStore at 2555 S.E. Bonita St. in Stuart, but so much material came from Nordegren's house, Blodgett said, that some had to be put in storage.
Among the items salvaged, Reedy said, were subzero refrigerators and icemakers, cooktops and ovens, Miele dishwashers, high-grade cabinets, plumbing and decorative electrical fixtures, copper wire and numerous high-end electronics.
Also, an incredible hand-carved wooden bar with a granite top, marble countertops, wood and marble flooring, mahogany doors and door hardware, a 100-kilowatt generator, a golf cart and about 5,000 square feet of driveway pavers.
After the salvage effort was completed, N&P Demolition of West Palm Beach leveled the home, which took two years to build, in less than four hours.
Now much of what's left is being hauled to Southern Waste Systems, which will recycle about 80 percent, Reedy said.
Similar to Nordegren's dilemma, Sean Smith said he agonized for more than two years before deciding to demolish the tri-level, three-bedroom, 5,755-square-foot house where Como, one of the last crooners of American pop music, lived for 29 years until his 2001 death.
Blodgett said, "These two projects will put us well over our deconstruction budget for 2011."
The donations, which exceeded $150,000 in resale value, was at least 20 percent more than collected in 2010, she said. The deconstruction program started in 2009.