Archive for February, 2011

Old Friends and New at the Flower & Garden Show

So great to see old friends, and make new ones at the NW Flower and Garden Show this past weekend!  The RE Store crew busted out an “Inside Out” display garden in just two days, with the wonderful plant help and chicken wrangling of Seattle Urban Farm Co.  A special thanks to them – and to all of you that visited us!  Those coveted items that were in the booth – ceramic flue tiles, and the arbor, just to name a few – are back at the Seattle store, and ready to find their way to new homes.  Come use your coupons for some new yard elements – and happy garden planning and planting!

Posted in: Stories about stuff, Things you never knew about The RE Store, Why blog about The RE Store?

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McDonald Elementary Salvage Treasures Come to The RE Store

The RE Store crew in Seattle was all hands on deck this last week to salvage some great stuff from McDonald Elementary School in Wallingford.  Great finds such as chalkboard slate, beautiful clear fir cabinetry and doors, lockers, clocks and light fixtures have been rolling in to both stores every day from the school.  Items with incredible character can be found – most items are original building elements.  The school was built in 1913, with a wing added on just a few years later.  Designed by Seattle Public School architect, Edgar Blair, and named after Judge F.A. McDonald, this school was an active elementary school until the 1980s.  Since then it has spent time as an interim school for many other Seattle Public Schools undergoing renovation, as well as a stint as a classroom building for Bastyr University, and even used as a film set for “World’s Greatest Dad”.  Currently, it is about to undergo extensive renovations and upgrades to become a new International Elementary School of the Seattle Public School system.  Come get a piece of our city’s educational history!

Posted in: Stories about stuff

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MetroPaint: paint made from paint

The RE Store has been carrying MetroPaint at the Bellingham location for quite some time – but as of this month the Seattle store is selling this 100% recycled latex paint too!  Cheaper than new, this 100% recycled latex paint is produced in Portland by the city’s recycling program.  Since 1992 they’ve recycled more than a million gallons of latex paint creating this award-winning line of paints.  It is tested for safe levels of lead, mercury and VOCs and can be used inside or out.  We currently stock 8 colors with 5 others available through special order for $14 gal/$55 5-gal.  Come find out more about MetroPaint  – now in both stores!

Only Bellingham is currently receiving used paint at The RE Store. For more info on the MetroPaint Program, go to (search ‘metropaint’).

Posted in: Stories about stuff

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Persistence and perspiration – the best RE volunteer since 1986

There are rare people in the world, who stay committed to a passion for decades, contributing their time, energy, expertise, tools and sweat. Stephen Frank is one of those people, having worked and volunteered since 1986 to reuse and reduce waste in Northwestern Washington.

“For my entire life, I always have thought that you never throw something away that can be given away or reused”

Stephen Frank teaches plumbing workshop

Stephen Frank teaches a do-it-yourself plumbing workshop at The RE Store in Bellingham

He first volunteered in 1986 with Bellingham Community Recycling, the organization that would eventually found The RE Store. This group started curbside recycling pickup in Bellingham. Stephen contributed labor, helped maintain equipment, and loaned his own truck at times. He served as a board member for five years, advising and helping guide the organization, eventually making Whatcom County the first in Washington State to have county-wide curbside recycling.

Stephen was involved in the early conversations that Bruce Odom, Bill Sterling, and a few others members of the small builder’s guild hatched. Odom submitted a grant to the Whatcom County Solid Waste Division of Public Works through the non-profit organization that had renamed itself as RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, known commonly as RE Sources. A year later, The RE Store was up and running, with Bruce managing the operation. The new operation accepted materials and realized how much material was out there, just waiting for people to come salvage or simply pick it up. Stephen advised about materials and salvage on an ongoing basis, being heavily involved in projects like the large-scale salvage of Fairhaven Middle School and many others.

“I helped train the young kids. I knew how to take things apart quickly and what was valuable. They caught on quickly. I am not that smart, I have just been around a long time, and have made the mistakes.”

By late 1996, The RE Store was looking to move from its first Bellingham location at Meridian and Kellogg, close to Whatcom Community College. The store was housed in a building that was for sale, and was restricted to a month-to-month lease by the owner. A new location was found in the Old Town district’s former Bellingham Sash & Door building, owned at the time by Joe Orum. Stephen spent many hours doing plumbing, painting and electrical work, and helped the store open in time for Earth Day, 1997. In gratitude, The RE Store painted his name on the wall of donors.

Stephen wasn’t only involved behind the scenes. The organization began to coordinate hands-on workshops and Stephen taught several plumbing workshops, a window replacement workshop, and loaned tools for other workshops that took place. In the name of the wacky brand of fun that the organization enjoys, Stephen pitched in at the “Rockin at The RE Store” community events which hosted music, belly dancers, stilt walkers, beer gardens, auctions and the unforgettable “X-Treme Bowling.” Where else could you drink beer and throw bowling balls at old 3-gallon toilets, aluminum-framed plate glass windows, and funky 1970’s chandeliers? Check out a video of the party at the bottom of our video page here.

Stephen Frank installs trim in the new Bellingham facility

Stephen Frank installs salvaged bleacher boards, milled into trim, in The RE Store's Bellingham facility

When it came time again to move The RE Store in late 2006, guess who was there? Stephen Frank installed drywall in the upstairs offices and did the finish work on the columns in the main store. Calling in help, he brought his friend Mark Feldhaus in to do the trim in the Sustainable Living Center educational space, almost entirely from old school bleacher boards. Taking a break from the dusty work of remodeling, he planted bulbs, gardening and weeding around the grounds at the new facility. Once again, his name appeared on the wall of tiles that honored our many contributors.

He now shops regularly at the Bellingham store for his remodeling business, sharing his warm smile with staff and customers whom he has known for many years.

Posted in: Stories about contractors, Stories about people, Things you never knew about The RE Store

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RE Store Rockstar: Seren”dip”ity

Project Title: Seren”dip”ity Room

Project Description: A “Garden Dip” experience on Whidbey Island.  Born Spring 2010, a room with a Garden and Harbor View. Doors fold open to the west, sunsets, & Great Evening Skies. Windows are placed for Views Out,  while views from the Outside In are blocked.  In the garden,  windows are hanging from a trellis and set on posts that sway on their old hinges.

Salvage Materials Used: Materials  from The RE Store – Doors, Windows, & the Claw Foot Tub. Other Salvage: Cedar Shakes, 2×4 lumber, miss mixed paint from local stores Broken concrete and brick for the floor. Garage sales: furniture, lighting and art, AND Seashells from the beach.  Window coverings – hand towels trimmed in old beads.  In garden – windows and hinges, old fence sections, metal window grates as fence sections, salvaged gate and driftwood set on end between trellis rails as easy fence barrier (which fools the dogs).

Instructions or Advice: Think outside the box…. Build as you go, DON’T Worry – Be Happy!

Do you have a RE Store-inspired project to be proud of?  Please, show off & share your story!

Posted in: RE Store Rockstar Project

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