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Tips for the frugal Long Island remodeler

Ajax Thimote of Uniondale measures a desk at

Ajax Thimote of Uniondale measures a desk at ReStore in Ronkonkoma. Credit: Veronique Louis

Budgets for home renovation projects can balloon quickly, especially when using new building materials and finishes. But homeowners who are patient with timing, flexible with their layouts or don’t mind a few physical imperfections can find some good deals at some Long Island stores, as well as on social media.

Here are some of the ways that you can save when doing remodeling projects.


Habitat for Humanity, the international nonprofit known for building affordable housing, operates what it calls the ReStores, which accept donations of new and gently used building materials and appliances, as well as furniture and home goods, and sell them at a significant discount.

The Suffolk ReStore (2111 Lakeland Ave., Ronkonkoma, 631-521-7789, sometimes receives whole kitchens, either from a home that is being renovated, display models from local kitchen stores, or from sets of TV shows and commercials.

"They're removed in a safe manner, so we get them complete with cabinets and countertops," says Maggie Luna, donor relations manager at the Habitat For Humanity of Suffolk ReStore.

Popular donations include lumber, windows, doors, floor tiles and cans of paint. "Sometimes hardware stores will change vendors, so they'll have extras," Luna said.

The store recently received donations of brick and concrete from people who overpurchased for patio projects.

Luna encourages people looking for particular items to follow the store on Facebook, or email


Homeowners can get 40 percent  to 75 percent off appliances at shops such as Willie’s Appliances (785 Express Dr. N., Hauppauge, 631-455-2990, or Reds Appliance (909 Conklin St., Farmingdale, 631-449-7337,

Willie Pinto, the owner of Willie’s Appliances, says used appliances often come from newly built homes in which the buyer wants a different style or brand.

Each appliance at Willie’s is power washed and refurbished and warrantied from six months to a year. The store sells used washer-dryer sets for between $500 and $700.

Both stores sell what are called "scratch and dent" appliances, which are new units with physical imperfections.

“A lot of the imperfections are barely noticeable,” says Joe Winter, the owner of Reds Appliances.

Winter advises homeowners to look out for a guarantee. Used appliances at Reds come with a 90-day guarantee.


Using buy and sell groups on Facebook, which are linked to the social media site’s Marketplace, can yield a treasure trove of items, especially for people who are good at DIY hacks.

Estrella Molina Barraza says she used Facebook Marketplace to update the kitchen of her Farmingdale home with a center island. She purchased a table with a steel base and granite top for $100 and a cabinet for $300. She asked her husband, David Olivares, to attach the granite to the cabinets with silicone and brackets. They use the overlapping counter as a breakfast bar.

“If I had it built, it would have cost a couple thousand dollars,” says Molina Barraza, 63, a hairdresser.

This renovation method takes an open mind.

“I never know what I need until I see it,” Molina Barrazasays.


In general, using reclaimed materials doesn’t save money on a renovation project, but it is a more environmentally friendly way to bring a rustic look to your home.

Dan McCallister, the owner of In the Attic Too, a salvage store in Laurel (1095 Franklinville Rd., 631-605-9439,, takes down old barns across Long Island and salvages the flooring, wood beams, windows and shutters and sells them for use in building such things as kitchen islands or as accent pieces.

McCallister recently purchased a 1930s cottage in Mattituck and fully renovated it using reclaimed materials, including floors, wall paneling, ceilings and claw foot tubs.

McCallister and his crew take pictures of the old barns and of themselves doing the demolition, so someone purchasing shiplap for walls can hang a picture of the building that the shiplap came from.

Similar salvage stores include Vintage Salvage & Supply Company (260 Merrick Rd., Lynbrook, 516-268-7211, and Reclaim Everything (1320 New York Ave., Huntington Station, 631-525-9940,

“It’s not the frugal way to do it, but it’s a great way to inject some character,” McCallister says. “All the big box companies are reproducing this stuff.”


For those who don't mind traveling, there are also resources in New York City.

Big Reuse (1 12th St., Brooklyn, 718-725-8925, is a nonprofit that sells salvaged and surplus building materials, appliances and furniture at a 20 to 60 percent discount.

Olde Good Things, with locations at 5 E. 16th St., 302 Bowery and 2420 Broadway (, is a mecca for antique items such as tubs, sinks and toilets, along with vintage lighting.

Harlem's Demolition Depot (159 E. 126th St., Manhattan, 212-860-1138,, carries everything from doors to staircases. For those looking to outfit a home bar, there are numerous restaurant and bar fixtures.

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