Archive for April, 2012

A Piece of History Gets a New Life at The Mighty House

Salvaged cabinet set from the The RE Store is just one many great  re-purposed items at Mighty House

Mighty House Construction Co-Founders, Doug and Laura Elfline found themselves expecting twins in 2006, and quickly realized that their “postage stamp-sized” place in Georgetown was not going to fit the needs as the family was about to double in size.  So they bought a modest house in West Seattle that was originally built in 1980 – but in need of some extensive work before being prepared to bring the twins home.  They hadn’t planned on a kitchen model right away, but right as they were putting an offer on the house in West Seattle, a client of Doug’s had a visit to The RE Store noticing an amazing set of cabinets that our field crew was loading off the truck – she called Doug to say “Do you have a client in need of some cabinets?  You have to go to The RE Store and check these out”.  Before they had even closed on the house, much less measured or had any plans in place, they purchased this set of custom plywood cabinets.

The Kraft & Posie House

Our field crew remembers the job where they cabinets came from quite well – we pulled the whole cabinet set (original and the well matched custom plywood set) from the Kraft & Posie House, a historical registry home on E Prospect on Capitol Hill.


As Doug and Laura like to say, “It is a modest house, but a Mighty House” in that it is their home and gave birth to their sustainable building company, as well as being a showcase for smaller green shifts that have big impacts.  Mighty House Construction’s mission is to offer innovative, sustainable building solutions at an outstanding value.  Doug, a 3rd generation contractor and Laura, a green building junkie, believe you don’t need radical changes to make a radical shift in your home – and their house is a great example of just that.

You can check out the house this weekend at the NW EcoBuilding Guild’s 2012 Green Home Tour.  The RE Store will be at the Expo event at Green Depot on Saturday (April 21st) and at Mighty House (April 22nd).  More info on the Expo and Tour can be found here: or find the tour guide in the back of  Natural Awakenings Magazine.

Check out Mighty House Construction and their top 10 tips for sustainable living on their website:

Posted in: Green business, RE Store Rockstar Project, Stories about contractors, Stories about people, Stories about stuff

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Gourmet locavores and reclaimed materials at The Willows Inn

The Willows Inn on Lummi Island has leapt into the national gourmet food limelight in the last 18 months, under the culinary guidance of Olympia born, 25-year old acclaimed chef Blaine Wetzel. A 2011 article in the New York Times, titled, “10 Restaurants Worth a Plane Ride”, placed the Willows Inn amongst the great gastronomic experiences to be found in New York, London, Barcelona, Singapore, and Sydney. Read more about it’s philosophy and remodel project with reclaimed and local materials below the video.

West Shore Hospitality, a group of Whatcom County and Lummi Island-based investors, took notice of The Willows Inn’s publicity, buying out former owner, Riley Starks, in the fall of 2011. This local investment group opted for a full remodel of the entire facility, restaurant and the on-site accommodations. Nettles Farm lies behind the Inn, still owned by Starks, and is leased by the new owners as a part of the haven for gourmet locavores, growing greens, vegetables and flowers within a stone’s throw of the kitchen. With the restaurant’s focus on locally-sourced food and farm-to-table approach, they applied those same principles to the contractors and artists involved in the project. Many of the tradesman and contributors to the project were sourced from the Lummi Island community, known for its artisans and craftsfolk.

The RE Store’s own Eberhard Eichner lives on Lummi Island and contributed furniture and decor to the project along with others woodworkers Alan Rosen, Tom Lutz. Other locals involved in the project included: Pier Bosma doing fireplace stone work, Houston Foust’s stone and concrete work, ceramics by Ria Nickerson, Mark Bergsma’s photography and digital artwork, and resident artist Ria Harboe. Almost all of The Willows’ staff are Lummi Island residents as well.

As a part of the remodel, they hired Carol Beecher with Boston’s Saltwater Consulting, to be the “designer helping the Willow’s transform itself” for the remodel. Carol is a long-time fan of reclaimed materials, natural materials and old stuff. She wanted the interior of the a 102-year-old Inn to mirror its natural settings. She lobbied successfully for the restoration of the original fir flooring and brought out the original character hidden beneath the many layers of paint.

Carol saw Eberhard’s furniture in The RE Store and was compelled to get him involved. “The RE Store is my favorite place. That is where I always look for cool, funky things. I saw some furniture that Eberhard had done and I said, ‘I’ve got to reach out to this guy. He’s got what is in my mind and he can make it happen.”

The RE Store installed a set of sliding double doors between the main dining room and Blaine’s kitchen, a single sliding door unit made from cabinet doors that can partition off the private dining room, and a side table made from salvaged lumber and glass.

And so The Willows was renewed: the remodel was completed, the geoducks were dug, the local fish were caught, the farm out back produced prolifically, wildcrafted ingredients were harvested from the native forests, and the table was set.

For a truly local, gastronomically incredible experience, contact The Willows and leave behind your previously conceived notions of eating local.

Posted in: Green business, RE Store Rockstar Project, Stories about contractors, Stories about people, Stories about stuff, Transforming the building industry, Video posts

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Recycled Art Show kicks off with “Litter Becomes Art”

Sorting the litter for recycling and for use in the art installation

Sorting the litter for recycling and for use in the art installation

What happens when you gather 940 pounds of litter from a beach and turn the best of that litter into a temporary art installation? 30 plus volunteers have fun, get creative and do something active to help the declining quality of our marine waters.

The RE Store’s 11th Annual Recycled Art Show opened with the second annual “Litter Becomes Art” beach clean-up and temporary art installation at Locust Beach in Bellingham. The North Sound Baykeeper partnered with The RE Store along with the Surfrider Foundation’s local chapter. Recycling Disposal Services in Ferndale sponsored the recycling and disposal of the material.

Locust Beach in Bellingham, Washington was the fortunate recipient of the group’s efforts. Locust is known as a “collector beach” with wind and wave patterns depositing large amounts of junk that floats in from Bellingham Bay. The mouth of the Nooksack River lies only a couple miles to the west of Locust Beach. The Nooksack River brings garbage out into the bay from the 82 square miles of watershed that the river drains from. The junk harms wildlife and marine water quality as plastics and other material leaches into the water.

Litter Becomes Art installation at Locust Beach

Litter Becomes Art installation at Locust Beach

In 2011, Kuros Zahedi, led the art installation project at Locust Beach. He has led events like this throughout the Puget Sound region for years in partnership with The RE Store’s Show and on his own. This year, The RE Store and Baykeeper program developed the art installation concept, to mirror the profile of Lummi Island in the distance, with the words, Litter Art spelled out in the foreground.

People of all ages participated in collecting 940 pounds of beach trash

People of all ages participated in collecting 940 pounds of beach trash

Weather was very accommodating as the skies opening up sunny and blue with a couple brief rain squalls passing through. As the trash was compiled and sorted, the group easily saw the impact that they were having. Dozens of bags, large chunks of styrofoam and fiberglass, tires, and masses of monofilament fishing net piled up high. In the end, the group left feeling like a real difference had been made and enjoyment was had by all. The Western Front even came down to report on the event.


The last remaining people after the art installation was complete

The last remaining people of the 30+ volunteers after the art installation was complete: Lee First, Marisa Bradshaw, Nicole Baker, Jason Darling, Lynne Pendleton, and Lindsay Taylor

Posted in: Recycled art and trash fashion, Reference and resources, Stories about stuff, Things you never knew about The RE Store

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