Habitat ReStore: One of Our Favorite Things!

Santa has his workshop at the North Pole, and we have ours down the street from our office. The Wills Company workshop is where we construct custom carpentry projects, such as garden gates and bookshelves, before installing them on site. It’s where we store materials for everyday household repairs and improvements, such as insulation, caulk and paint. And it’s where we take surplus supplies and architectural salvage left over from renovating. 

Finding treasures in our storeroom!

With such an eclectic collection on hand, our workshop can look like a lost chorus from The Sound of Music. Sing it with us, in your best Julie Andrews voice:

“Round metal columns and piles of roof shingles,

Storm doors and windows and a doorbell that jingles,

Belle Meade Green shutters and copper flashing…

These are a few of our favorite things.”

While all these odds and ends won’t find a use in our workshop, many are still too serviceable to throw away. So, after a recent Wills Company workshop tidy-up and reorganization, our handymen loaded a truck with perfectly good building supplies and donated them to Habitat for Humanity ReStore at the intersection of Harding Place and Nolensville Road.

With three stores in the Greater Nashville area, including Dickson and Wilson County locations, ReStore is a valuable resource for anyone shopping for home-building supplies or trying to keep building materials out of the landfill. Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville sells the reclaimed items and directs proceeds to programs that empower affordable homeownership. 

Donating to ReStore is easy: Drive around to the back of the building, where the team will help you unload. ReStore will also pick up heavy items. Call 615-942-1290 to schedule a pickup, and visit habitatnashville.org for a list of items that can be donated. (Helpful hint: Full cans of water-based paint only.)

Meanwhile, if you know anyone holiday dreaming of metal porch columns, a roof gable vent, or a brand-new almond-colored storm door, take your gift list to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore at 414 Harding Place, where you just might find a few of our favorite (recently donated) things.

Happy Holidays from The Wills Company!

When Carpenter Bees Strike, Give The Wills Company a Buzz

A skilled carpenter can build a house to last a century. At The Wills Company, our gratitude for the beauty and safety of the homes we live in goes to the carpenters who build them. We have the highest respect and admiration for carpenters…

But for carpenter bees? Not so much!

Carpenter bees are a carpenter’s nemesis, rampaging through fine millwork with nary a care for the skill of the millworking human.

Just look at this piece of cedar we recently removed from a second-story balcony handrail.

So compromised was the wood by invasive bees that it split in half lengthwise to reveal a maze of insect trails. These tunnels are not the destructive work of a sweet, industrious honeybee. This wood-chewing mayhem is the deed of Xylocopa.

You may have met her, buzzing with her lacquer-black friends around, say, your back porch or the steps to your deck. Or worse, on your jungle gym, where her holes are just the perfect circumference for a curious toddler’s index finger. Xylocopa is a sneaky bee, boring perfect perforations as precisely as a drill bit. Once inside the wood, she zigs and zags back and forth, excavating all the strength from the millwork. For a carpenter who expends time and energy building a structure, such boring disregard for craft really…stings.

Not to mention the fact that all that damage can be dangerous. Just think what could have happened if the second-story balcony handrail pictured here had failed… Or if your swingset becomes home to a host of carpenter bees… Or if your bee-ridden stair treads give way under the weight of an unsuspecting climber.

The first step in dealing with carpenter bee damage is to get rid of the perpetrators. You can call a pest control professional, or you can try hanging a quaint carpenter bee trap, designed with a single hole to lure these opportunistic insects into a chamber with no escape. 

Honestly, we can’t guarantee the effectiveness of these homespun devices, because our homemade traps have captured only a few of the flying fiends over the years. We don’t claim to be experts at attracting carpenter bees…

But we do know how to attract talented carpenters! In fact, we have a team of six brilliant problem-solving craftsman, who can tackle carpenter bee damage or any other woodwork repairs.

So if you’re facing insects, rot, or any other damage to woodwork, give us a call at 615-352-1228, and a talented Wills Company carpenter will make a beeline to your house.

5 Ideas for House, Head, and Heart

Nashville’s Independence Day celebration is as famous as our hot chicken.  We like The Nashville Guru‘s lineup of events for 2017 which can be found by clicking HERE.

But once the fireworks are over, it’s time to get serious about summer.  Where to begin? Try these ideas:

1. Let your house work while you play.

Planning a trip out of town? There’s no better time for those house repair and maintenance jobs that get in the way of life lived at home. Consider your empty house a rare chance to sand and refinish hardwood floors, re-caulk bathroom and kitchen tiles, or repaint indoors. Skip the dust, the fumes, and the “Oh no! You weren’t supposed to step there yet!” That’s a vacation in itself.

2. Pitch a tent.

Change your point of view, and the most mundane spot – your own backyard? – might reveal its exotic side. When did you last count lightening bugs for fun? Or examine the stars in your own slice of sky? Let our good Nashville crickets sing you to sleep? We’re definitely inspired to try.

3. Jump the Line.

Today, it might feel like summer lasts forever, but September is already in sight. Fall is Nashville’s very best time to tackle your house’s bigger challenges: exterior painting, roof replacement, wood trim clean-up, and masonry work all go better in those hot, dry weeks between August and the holidays. That’s the best time, too, to inspect and service your furnace, and to scour gutters and downspouts for leaves and debris. Pressure washing and window cleaning get your home ready for the decorating and entertaining that close out the year.

Don’t wait!  In the new boomtown Nashville, there’s no such thing as last-minute scheduling for non-emergency work. High-quality experts and craftsmen – the only professionals we’d send you – are in tremendous, historic demand SO THE TIME TO SCHEDULE THIS WORK IS NOW. Call us to make a plan. We promise: you’re not even early.

    Don’t let this happen to your house-project list!

4. Lighten your load.

Right now, our favorite summer accessory is this handsome Bagster, the “Dumpster in a Bag” from Waste Management.

Buy the bag empty from our local Hart Ace Hardware, then take it home and fill it with all that junk – and you know it’s junk –  you just keep moving from spot to spot: from closet to attic, from basement to garage. Kitchen utility drawers, old toy chests. Mud room cubbies and the dining room (mail) table. And when you’ve purged your life of the 3,300 pounds (yes, that’s 1½ TONS) of junk and debris that’s been weighing you down? Waste Management will come pick it all up and take it away. Forever.

The Bagster accepts:

At $149, the Bagster’s not cheap. But imagine the space and peace you’d reclaim from a true clean sweep. Kind of like building a new wing on your house. Learn more at www.thebagster.com.

5. Crack open your mind.

We love the wild frontier that is popular culture these days. But it takes discipline and a radical curiosity to resist the urge to experience only what we already like and understand. So this summer, we’re going out of our way to expand our horizons. Here’s how:

  • (Skip this bullet if you’re under 30) Ask a teenager to share a playlist of the music he likes, or a video game she thinks is interesting. Promise not to mind any provocative language or images, then really settle in and pay attention.
  • Explore international news outlets. We’re making a habit of checking in on The Guardian of London (www.theguardian.com), the London Times (www.thetimes.co.uk). We’re not promising a full-out read every day, but even scanning headlines (or a quick Twitter check) can remind us we’re part of this larger, complex world – and it’s not always just about us.
  • Treat yourself or a loved one to a session on MasterClass, the instructional website where artists and legends share insights about their life and their craft. Learn “Comedy” from Steve Martin, “Country Music” from Reba McIntyre, “Performance” from Usher, “Cooking” from Gordon Ramsay, “Acting” from Kevin Spacey or Dustin Hoffman. There’s a long and varied list of Master Classes to choose – coming soon is Annie Leibovitz teaching “Photography” and Diane Von Furstenberg on “Building A Fashion Brand.” Browse the possibilities at MasterClass.com.

Serena Williams teaches Tennis, on MasterClass.com