Archive for October, 2011

The RE Store enters – and wins – a pumpkin carving contest!

The RE Store’s entry – The Sea of Shred

Carve for a Cause is a pumpkin carving contest event and fundraiser put on by Architects Without Borders –  Seattle (AWB-S), a nonprofit whose mission is to provide ecologically sensitive and culturally appropriate design assistance to communities in need.  This annual affair held at Design Within Reach in downtown Seattle calls upon design, contractor and other related firms to put their best and most creative carvers together to compete for the titles of best Traditional/Scary, Artistic/Freestyle, Judge’s Choice, and People’s Choice.  Seattle store staff, Mike Noon and Aaron Wendel, took the challenge to create an entry from The RE Store, creating The Sea of Shred.  The Judges were a discerning group of serious Halloween lovers and graphic designers from The Seattle Times and The Seattle Opera.  Some amazing designs were created, and the competition was stiff – but The RE Store won the honor of #1 Traditional/Scary!  We also were one vote away from the People’s Choice award, but lost out to Cyclops on that one.  Thanks to AWB-S for a great event – and to Mike and Aaron for their creative carving skills!

Our glass pumpkin award and a few entries, including Cyclops (top, right).


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

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The RE Store spreads the Word of Salvage to Japan

Group of Japanese Architects, Builders and Contractors visiting the Seattle store

The RE Store in Seattle hosted a group of Builders, Developers, and Architects from Japan this week.  They came to the states to attend the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodeler’s Show in Chicago, and had a two day stop in Seattle to see a couple of projects, and visit a salvage company – choosing us for their trip!  A very curious group, with many questions about our being a nonprofit, our business model in general, building size, where we get the materials (donated by all of you wonderful people!) and how we go about pricing our materials (nothing too fancy, but definitely a heady mix of understanding industry standards and materials, historical precedent, and just plain ol’ experience).  Several of them went away with some small antique-like token – a door knob here, drawer pulls there – one gentleman couldn’t leave without taking a sizable female-shaped sculptural piece for his garden back home!  We had a great time swapping stories with them, and got a few of them excited about starting a salvage business back home.  Thanks so much to Nariko Kawashima of Abodian Cabinetry, for setting this up with us and translating!

Posted in: Stories about contractors, Stories about people, Things you never knew about The RE Store, Transforming the building industry

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Kids, cafe’s, community centers and creative reuse

Photo of Time In Play Cafe and owner Hedy Hanni

Time In Play Cafe fills the former YMCA building with Hedy Hanni’s vision of an artisan cafe and community center for all ages

Hedy Hanni had a crazy idea when she was 19. “I wanted to open up an artisan cafe when I was 19 in Chicago, where I grew up.”

She now is the proud owner of the newly-opened Time In Play Cafe on Holly Street in Bellingham, with a brightly day-lit cafe in the front, a huge play structure and activity zone for families in the back, side rooms that host classes and a soon-to-be local artisan gallery / consignment shop.

“I imagined a community center that could be a multipurpose space, but was beautiful and nourished your senses where everyone in a family could have a good time. That was the original use as the space as the original YMCA from 1906 until 1942 when it was taken over by the Odd Fellows. But now I have brought the space back to its original purpose.”

Time In Play Cafe front room and play area

Time In Play Cafe’s front cafe space, part of the play zone and local pottery mugs from Cary Lane

The idea has been years in the making. Hedy has lived 2 blocks away for 12 years, fantasizing about what could be done with the building and actively visioning on the play cafe concept for two and a half years, “But I had an 18-month old at the time so I just said HALT!” She wrote the business plan in June and opened on Oct 1st of this year.

Hedy bought all of the furniture and almost all of the fixtures used through craigslist, thrift stores and what she calls, “…my favorite store, The RE Store.” The cabinets, lockers, armoire, former kitchen cabinet, book shelf, and signs made from cabinet doors are all from the non-profit’s Bellingham store. She reupholstered and refinished the chairs herself in the front cafe area as well as in the play area and side rooms.

When asked why did she outfit her place with used furniture and fixtures, she didn’t hesitate at all, saying, “That is what I believe in. I am a former Green Peace activist. The whole space is non-toxic, with as much of the furniture, building materials, play structure, pottery, and food as possible are locally sourced, organic and fresh. I bet I saved 75% on the furniture and fixture costs.”

Why did she take on such a large project? She said, “Because I really wanted it. When my son Joaquim was born, we needed a place to go when it was raining and stormy. We haven’t found many places that we both really enjoy.”

How does she feel now that Time In Play Cafe is open? “When I am here and working, I feel really really happy. But as a result of the whole thing, I miss my boy a lot. He really wants to make the smoothies and he is very bummed that he doesn’t get to be a worker. But he’s 4.”

So head down, say hello to Colleen (the name for the stylish espresso machine) and check out the wild espresso bar built from reclaimed lumber by Lucas Walker. Bring your friends, your kids, or just your laptop and enjoy this gem of a cafe in Bellingham, filled with creative reuse.

Posted in: Green business, RE Store Rockstar Project, Stories about people, You can do it yourself

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Cyndy’s House of Pancakes Salvage Treasures

Booths, furniture, a bar and more treasures salvaged from Cyndy's

Long time, iconic Cyndy’s House of Pancakes on Aurora at 105th in Seattle sadly closed its doors this summer.  News reports say that it is closing after 58 years of service due to the building being demolished to make way for a new multi-story, mixed-use building – and that there should be a space in the new building for Cyndy’s to return to when construction is completed (estimated to be a year from now).  Their windows say they are moving to Stanwood in the interim.  Sad for those in the north end in need of reputedly the best dutch-baby pancakes – but a score for The RE Store in Seattle!  Several truck hauls of treasures came back to the store this week – including booths, a back bar, those high-back style bar seats that Cyndy’s (and 13 Coins) were known for, butcher block, fixtures, old school arcade type games, an antique wheelchair, other furniture, and random surprises.  Come check out this recent bit of history in the store while it lasts!

Posted in: Stories about stuff

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