When others recommended framing over vintage plaster ceilings, Jay Reitz chose to save and restore them. When 24-inch crown molding was discovered after removing timeworn drop ceilings, the contractor suggested to the owner that the charming architectural features be implemented into the design of the new space. When locally-made, turn-of-the-century red brick was needed to repair a rustic fireplace in a Flagstaff home, Reitz found a match in a demolished Williams, Arizona, building.
Restoring historic buildings and homes are Reitz’s passion. The “Green” builder specializes in increasing the sustainability of older homes and structures. “Green building is not just about water collection and added insulation, but it is also about reusing old materials,” said the owner of Reitz Restoration and Home Construction, LLC.
“For instance, we’re pulling out the old posts from this deck and we’ll reuse them for beams and other things,” he said, pointing to the 1980s-vintage deck that was being replaced as part of the renovation to a chalet-style country home east of Snowbowl. “We’re pulling out the tongue-and-groove ceiling in the basement and reusing it for trim,” he explained.
“I hate throwing away insulation or plastic,” Reitz said noting that construction debris is one of the biggest contributors to landfill waste. “If it is not soiled or damaged, you can reuse insulation.”
“A lot of people think ‘new homes,’ when they think green building,” said Reitz, adding that older homes can be renovated to conserve energy and lower energy costs. “You can save up to $100 per month in your home heating and cooling costs by simply having your doors, windows and drier vents caulked. … I worked for an Anderson Window service provider for years doing installation and insulation of windows. I know how important it is for proper installation.”
The self-titled perfectionist is at the worksite whenever work is being done. “Quality control is not hard to do when you are here,” he said, surveying the remodel job site where much was covered in plastic. “I am detail-oriented and obsessive about cleanliness.”
His custom work on a kitchen remodel was featured in the October 2008 issue of This Old House magazine. At another historic project, he restored the original Terrazzo flooring, which “would cost a fortune to install new today.” Reitz’s 20 years of expertise help retain the timeless feel of historic structures while upgrading them with the changing times.
Although relatively new to Flagstaff (Reitz gained his experience in renovation and restoration in New York where historic homes are common), he has a substantial list of Northern Arizona projects already under his belt. They include customizing a log lodge using indigenous Ponderosa pine milled “right here in Flagstaff,” restoring a 1901 building in downtown Williams for the hip Historic Brewing and Grand Canyon Winery tasting room, designing a Tea House for Warner’s Nursery and matching old paneling and trim for an Aspen Street bungalow in Flagstaff.
“Our goal is to exceed people’s expectations and do things that they didn’t even know were possible,” said the eco-friendly craftsman. “It is very important to us that what we do will age beautifully.”
Visit Warner’s Nursery in Flagstaff to see a sample of Reitz’s craftsmanship at the “Tea House” positioned next to the picturesque coy pond. FBN
Reitz Restoration and Home Construction
702 N. Newton Street, Suite B
Williams, AZ 86046
By Stacey Wittig
Flagstaff Business News