Old House, New Life

February 2022 View more

Teardowns are commonplace in neighborhoods close to downtown Naperville. And while change can be difficult, several homeowners have worked to ensure parts of their homes are repurposed to help others in need.

Madonna “Meg” Gannon is one such example. The longtime East Highland resident recently sold her Julian Street home of 66 years. She and her husband, Michael, bought the house in 1955, and made countless memories there as they raised their boys on the beautiful, tree-filled property.

When the time came to sell last year, Gannon knew it was in a prime teardown location. However, she wanted to make sure every bit of her family’s longtime residence was reclaimed or repurposed in some way. Her real estate agent, Trevor Pauling, found MHouse Development, a buyer willing to redevelop her property in a manner that aligned with her vision.

“I had two main goals in the deconstruction of our home: honoring my husband (who died from Alzheimer’s) and his brother, a Vietnam veteran who had suffered from PTSD,” explains Gannon. From its interior doors and cabinets to the patio paver bricks, Gannon was able to deconstruct the home and donate almost every part to local organizations such has Sharing Connections, Wayside Cross, and Habitat for Humanity.

“My mind is so much more at ease knowing that everything will be reused and appreciated,” Gannon says.

Having a home torn down and replaced with new construction can be very emotional for sellers. “I was impressed to see how much Meg embraced the process; it was remarkable how effective she was in reclaiming, donating, repurposing, and salvaging the home,” Pauling says. “Her commitment to finding the best resources to fulfill her vision will pay dividends—not only for the nonprofits involved, but also for future families who will occupy the redeveloped neighborhood.” 

Photos courtesy John Greene Realtor