Archive for November, 2013

Serendipity at The RE Store

IMG_2212We love a little serendipity here at The RE Store – and we recently had one of those moments at the Seattle store where just the right item was no longer needed in its home at the exact moment that it was needed in a new place.  Our crew backed up the truck to the store from a day in the field, and unloaded a set of French doors from a 1909 West Seattle house.  The door set was still leaning on the back edge of the truck as Bruce, the owner of Comstock Apartments – a 1909 building on Queen Anne – walked into the bay of the store in need of some doors, with the exact dimensions of this set that just came in. He wanted to keep with the original look of the apartment and building – and found it here, just off the truck! As many of you know, and our door sections can attest, most anything built in the Northwest before the mid-last-century was not of a standard size.  So to find the exact size, from the same year/era building at that moment must have been fate.

You never know what might be waiting for you – come to either store to see if that hard-to-find item is here!  

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World’s Market Waste IS a “Local” Resource

by Eberhard Eichner,  REvision Division Lead Designer/Builder at The RE Store in Bellingham

This is the season where even the best of us can get bit by the shop-and-buy bug. It is also the season for reflection. These two, seemingly contradictory endeavors can go together, when our thinking/shopping habits include the notion of “repurpose”.

When our trees are cut, and ships are loaded with them for far away countries whose economies with cheap labor manufacture ready to assemble furniture components and other items to send back to us – we have also shipped off the pride in our own ability to craft and build. That can suck us down into depression. Not only for the loss of our jobs and skills and the undervaluing of theirs; or for the exploitation of human and environmentally resources globally; but also for the ultimate waste that happens when we consume to excess. What a burden we have taken on in believing we have a duty to consume new goods in order to spike the graph of limitless growth! Even when we shop sincerely for the things that make us functional, cozy and secure (a basic human need!) – what is happening to all the stuff that doesn’t make quality control anyway, that isn’t of consistent stain color, hole pattern and size, or just ‘outdated?

You may be boarding my thought train now, headed for the landfills in those same denuded hills or, more cynically, another way of “outsourcing”- sending the now jettisoned flotsam by barge to more “disposable” locations. But wait! There is a station called “Repurpose”, where we can stop this train wreck in the making and divert it’s direction to a more viable goal.

Repurpose is the grown-up sibling of Recycling. Though recycling is a respectable way of saving our planet and resources by properly disposing and regurgitating our wastes into “new-and-raw-again” materials for production, it is still quite energy and resource intensive.  Repurposing is the way of direct conversion that increasingly can be seen in our communities. It’s the growing trend of artisans, craftspeople, manufacturers and do-it-yourselfers to turn the waste of our market economy, including the “global”, directly into imaginative re-uses by simply converting the components with no or little alterations into new items of stunning beauty. We honor the efforts, resources and energies spent. We continue the story of making, rather then trash it. We have fun!

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And it is done here, locally – yes, jobs and the “stuff” –  case in point is a load of imported, yet orphaned parts from an Asian furniture manufacturer once designed to be bed headboards, rails and drawer fronts. Now they are REvisioned by virtually no cutting or refinishing into bookcases (photo above), stand-up desks, storage shelves and for “new” components to hall benches and more at The RE Store.  These and more can be viewed on The RE Store’s website galleries.

‘Tis the season, alright, to reflect on what we consider waste, how we can use it as local resource and turn it into good, for good.

Get inspired to do your own re-creations.  Shop local, shop repurposed.

 

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4 Easy DIY projects for Anyone to Try!

Are you interested in creating a project made from recycled materials but don’t know where to start? Do you feel you lack the “handyman” skills necessary to revamp salvaged items? Some larger projects can definitely feel a bit daunting, but there are plenty of small scale DIY items that do not require any construction experience.   Here at The RE Store, we know it can be intimidating to scour our store searching for inspiration and it can be difficult to visualize a finished product from the vast selection of materials, so here is a list of simple projects to get your creativity bubbling.

collage of easy DIY projects

1. Ceramic Tile Coaster

The RE Store’s tile section is overflowing with various sizes and colors of tile. Pick some up to turn into coasters or hot plates. Use your imagination to decorate the tiles to spice up your decor; I like the idea of mod-podging a map onto the tile, as seen above. Purchase some felt adhesives at your nearest craft shop, and you’ve got some unique coasters to show off on your coffee table. (PS-tiles similar to the ones shown above are on sale at Etsy for $18 dollars. You can make the exact same thing at the RE Store for under $5!)

2.  Repurposed Picture Frame

Use a cabinet door or window trim to create your own custom picture frame. All you need is a saw to cut the frame pieces and some wood glue to put the frame together. Use all the same materials like the one pictured above, or mix and match different trims for a funky, vintage vibe.

3. Cabinet Door Turned Chalkboard

The RE Store has a number of cabinet doors waiting to be recycled into a new product. One of the easiest re-vamping projects is to select a cabinet door you find appealing and simply paint it’s face with chalkboard paint. Tape off the outer border of the cabinet door before painting to maintain a frame for the chalkboard. You can purchase chalkboard paint at most hardware or craft stores, and keep an eye out for chalkboard paint offered in colors other than black as well!

4. Salvaged Window Coffee Table

For a more involved idea, you can tackle this project to build your own piece of furniture. It might be easier to modify the picture shown above and create a box as the base of the table, as seen here on the Oh! Glory Vintage blog. The RE Store has tons of awesome salvaged windows that have an antique feel to them. Find one you like and purchase some wood and a few hinges to complete the project.  Build a box to fit the dimensions of the window and search for some furniture legs in our cabinet hardware department.  Attach the legs to the bottom of the box and attach the window with the hinges, place a few of your favorite books and knick knacks on display and voila! You have created a custom coffee table that fits your personal style.

As you can see, DIY projects don’t have to be intimidating or labor-intensive! Use these project ideas to channel your creativity and add your own personal touch to each of your creations. Using salvaged materials in your DIY projects is doubly rewarding because you exercise your right brain-creativity and feel accomplished about your finished product, while also feeling good about reducing unnecessary waste and lowering your ecological impact on the planet. So head down to The RE Store to find the supplies you’ll need, and perhaps you’ll find your own source of inspiration there as well.

Special thanks to Diane Lawrence for authoring this article. Diane is an intern at The RE Store in Bellingham, and a senior at WWU, graduating with a Marketing degree in the spring. 

 

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