Archive for April, 2010

A rose is a rose is a toilet seat, unless it gets away

toilet with rose flower

Have you ever visited The RE Store's Lavatory Lounge in Seattle?

by Kristin Hill

Quite a few years ago, my partner and I decided to go to The RE Store to look for some building materials for him.  When we walked in, I spotted a fantastic vintage pink plastic toilet seat.  The most intriguing (for lack of a better word) thing about this toilet seat was that the lid was a raised plastic rose, made out of the same great old vintage pink plastic material.  It was a one of a kind item that I had to have.

The walls of our bathroom are painted lavender and I thought this would be perfect in our bathroom. The price was inexpensive at $5.00.  I told my partner that I wanted to buy it and asked him what he thought about it.  Mistake!  He said something to the effect of his masculinity not being able to deal with a pink toilet seat. He also said that it would hurt if he sat on the raised rose lid to clip his toenails.

At this time, my partner and I had just started co-habitating together and since everything in the house was mine, I decided that maybe I should demonstrate how I was willing to work together and give in on some things, so I sadly did not purchase the toilet seat.  It kept haunting me and I went back a week later, but of course, it was gone.

We are married now and today if that pink toilet seat was there, I would buy that thing and put it in my bathroom immediately.  I no longer ask.

Posted in: Stories about people, Stories about stuff

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The Photographic Forces at the 2010 Trash Fashion Show

Trash fashion design 1

"Bath it or Trash it" Designed by Rebekah Ginda and modeled by Caewyn Congdon, this dress is made out of recycled shower curtain, shower pouf, and lotion caps.

by Michael Cline
Lead Runway Photographer
The RE Store’s Trash Fashion Show
Seattle ~ 2010

I was introduced to the trash fashion movement in early 2006.  Later that year, I had the opportunity to photograph them through the friendly folks at The RE Store.  Back then I had a few fashion shows under my belt, but didn’t have the history or connections that are often so important. The event has evolved considerably from the shows being hosted in The RE Store’s warehouse in ’06. Their partnership with the New York Fashion Academy with their full-sized runway and spacious changing areas in 2007 took things to a new level.  Everything about the show has gotten better over time, reaching a much larger audience, and making a much stronger impression.

The designers and their creativity in reusing trash is truly inspiring. My favorite photos and designs have been from the 2009 and 2010 shows.The blue shower curtain dress from 2009 was my top pick. The dress was beautiful and the girl was glowing, and what could be more trashy yet elegant than an old shower curtain?

I’m torn this year between the upholstery sample patchwork outfit, “Sofalicious”, and the Green Chair Project’s mirror/reflective glass dress, “Window Treatment”.

Trash fashion design 2

"Sofalicious" by Selena Eon - this design is made from upholstery samples that were headed to the trash heap

The upholstery patchwork outfit photo has all the classic qualities a photographer looks for: A beautiful girl artfully modeling an elegant design with a sassy spin and glance captured with a dramatic depth of field.  For the reflective dress, the model and dress just make an adorable package.  All of my favorite outfits look like they could be worn out on the town and receive only compliments, with few identifying their recycled history.

As a part-time photographer, it’s hard to find events where you can shoot beside experts and learn the tricks of the trade.  To make this process easier, I started a group several years ago called Seattle Photography Group ( where photographers of different skill levels could work together to pick up new ideas and hone their skills.  The group has grown to 1,300 photographers, and is a force to be reckoned with.

Trash fashion design 3

"Window Treatment" by the Green Chair Project - made from window screen, mirrored blinds, and other window covering materials

We bring a mix of expert and beginner or intermediate photographers to photograph an event. This year especially I’m impressed with how well the less-experienced photographers have done.  We might have to call them “experts” for next year.  The Trash Fashion photographers for the 2010 Trash Fashion Show were Michael Cline, Doug Bulger, Michael Rainwater, Jim Kennedy, Dan Hardy, and Wes Kirkpatrick.

More photos of The RE Store’s 2010 Trash Fashion Show can be viewed here.

If you are looking for a skilled and passionate photographer for weddings or paid events, I can be contacted at 206-979-4229 or via email.

Posted in: Recycled art and trash fashion, Stories about people

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Salvaged building supplies as puzzle pieces

Gabriel Gonzalez is a young man with many skills and a passion for green design and reuse. He has plans to graduate with a degree in Adpative Reuse from Fairhaven College at Western Washington University in Bellingham in the fall of 2010. He also has worked for the salvage and deconstruction crews at The RE Store from 2008-2010. His work has given him an opportunity to have regular access to a good selection of used materials and he has made the most of them.

Kitchen remodel from used cabinets

The kitchen was created from the ground up. He found a used refrigerator and stove, butcher block, the faucet and the cabinets.

“The kitchen cabinets were a really great set from the 1950’s and were a perfect fit. I couldn’t have come up with the design. But when I saw those 3 pieces left behind from a larger 12 piece set, I knew they were the ones. I let those cabinets determine the kitchen layout.”

Gabriel completely remodeled a heavily outdated and partially unfinished building that he owns, turning it into a warm and inviting little 2 bedroom cottage.  He gutted the bathroom and kitchen, and transformed the entire place with over 80 percent all used materials. All of the windows were used. The window sills, door and window casings, and the base molding throughout the house was made from quality fascia boards that he helped salvage from a house on Highland Drive in Bellingham. Curtain rods were made from copper pipe and brackets and the list goes on.

Salvaged materials abound in this bathroom

“I didn’t have all of the materials at the beginning of the project. I had to wait for some of the right items to come in.”

His used materials list for the bathroom included: the tub and toilet, vanity, sink & faucet, tile, lighting fixtures, door and a mirror from a house he helped salvage from on Whidbey Island. The 2×4 studs were from the green demolition deconstruction of a house that Gonzalez worked on at a Kickerville Road site.

Everything in the bathroom was used, except for the paint and heater vent cover. He rebuilt the existing wall heater and found a refurbished water heater and used cutoff scraps of bathroom-grade drywall from a big-box retailer. Not content to have an ordinary bathroom, he customized the tile to his own liking.

“The tile was like a puzzle. I cut all the granite and marble tiles down from 12×12 inches to 6×6 inches and went for it. I even used tile for the window trim.”


Copper pipe curtain rods

Copper pipe curtain rod and salvaged window

With the project complete, Gabriel now gets to enjoy the beautiful and functional spaces on a daily basis.

“It was well worth all the effort. Nobody I know has a kitchen cabinet set like mine or a tiled bathroom with even half the style.”

Posted in: Stories about people, Stories about stuff, You can do it yourself

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