Archive for Stories about stuff

Community Co-op Connection building – materials to live on

coop connections bldg salvage collage

On Feb. 16th The RE Store salvage crew pulled materials from the former Community Food Co-op Connections building at the south end of the Forest Street Co-op’s parking lot. The whole building is currently being deconstructed by Bellingham-based Reuse Consulting – all to make way for more parking and a bike structure for the Co-op. There was some strong interest in moving the beloved mid-century building as a whole, but some aspect of that plan did not work out with the City of Bellingham planning department, and thus the Co-op set out with the goal to have 95% of the materials be reused. Some materials will stay on site to create the new bike structure, while others will be used to create an event center off-site.

The building was designed by Bellingham architect Jim Zervas, who studied under Frank Lloyd Wright and was a distinguished NW architect and planner for more than 50 years in the Bellingham and Whatcom County community.

In the words of our out-going Communications Director, Peter Frazier:

One of the finest examples of PNW mid-century architecture is being deconstructed to make way for the Food Co-op’s enlarged parking lot. James Zervas’ early ’60s Western Optical Building looked gorgeous from every angle, featured impeccable lines, and divine proportions. It was a lovely human-scale building that, like the best PNW architecture, brings the outside in, establishing a two-way relationship with the environment.

It’s been in my life for a half century. I first noticed it when I was about four years old because it looked remarkably like my house on Chuckanut (the house I still live in) but was improbably placed in the middle of the city. I’ve had the pleasure of shopping for glasses there as a boy, leading a strategic planning session there for KCLT about ten years ago, and most recently, inspecting the original hand drawn plans at Dominique Zervas’ Bellingham law office.

It was one of those classic PNW things, like a Salish Sea cobble beach, a Skagit Valley landscape painting, a crab feed with garlic butter, a Boundary Bay IPA, a live edge table by Smith + Vallee, a kayak in the rain, or a smoke-filled Waterfront Tavern.

It will be missed.

The RE Store salvage crew removed fir trim, windows, doors and stainless counters – all of which are in the store now. Come get a piece of this unique landmark for yourself!

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Salvaged materials make interesting architectural statement pieces – Wascha Studios

Stephanie Wascha of Wascha Studios enjoys projects that satisfy her architectural and artistic curiosity – and if they have a sustainability component, all the better. We especially love her projects that incorporate salvaged materials — like her recent projects creating a sink out of a piece of broken concrete pulled from Seattle Viaduct rubble, and a fireplace surround from rusted steel plates used for big trucks driving over mud.

sink and viaduct

Wascha Studios worked with the Seattle concrete fabricator, Modrock, to acquire a chunk of the Seattle Viaduct and turn the top half of it into a polished concrete bathroom sink. The edges are left raw and the base is blackened steel resembling some of the steel re-bar found in other pieces.

fireplace room and close up

Huge backhoes driving around a junk yard in Pacific NW muddy winters will inevitably sink right in and get stuck if they aren’t driving on huge pieces of steel. Wascha Studios worked with Seattle fabricator, Decorative Metal Arts, to collect some of the old rusted steel plates and re-purpose them for use on a contemporary residential fireplace.

Sometimes strange and unexpected things can create an amazingly unique architectural feature for you to enjoy every single day!

Do you have similar projects that use salvage materials?  From the big gestures to the small details – we love to see them all and see the new chapters of salvaged and reused materials’ lives. Send us your pics — and inspire others!  bray [at] re-store.org

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Many salvage details make a home

An office building originally built in 1912 for the Gooding Shingle and Saw Mill has slowly been made into a home since 2006 by its current owners — with a lot of patience and many trips over the years for parts and materials at The RE Store. Salvage items from The RE Store listed below:

 

A) Storm sash in place for old double hung window—enough for all the windows collected from the store over the years.
B) Computer work station. 1″ CVG fir top, solid oak cabinet, refinished.
C) Workshop storage cabinet, from WWU chemistry labs. 1 3/4″ maple bench top rescued from dumpster at Whatcom Middle School when they converted the wood shop to a computer room.
D) Double swinging doors.
E) Claw foot tub, refinished along with beveled tongue & groove red cedar paneling.
F) Light duty Dayton table saw.
G) Hemlock ceiling—beveled and tongue & groove milled on table saw.
H) Slate blackboard and CVG fir frame and chalk rail.
I) Stairway with 1″ CVG fir treads came in two pieces from a South Hill home. Oak hand rail also salvaged. Balustrade from re-used straight grained old growth fir. Cedar stanchion, 45 rings per inch, beach-combed from Cherry Point.

Do you have similar projects that use salvage materials?  From the big gestures to the small details – we love to see them all and see the new chapters of our materials’ lives. Send us your pics — and inspire others!  bray [at] re-store.org

 

 

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Shine Brite – the lite brite of reclaimed materials

By Rose Lathrop, Green Building & Smart Growth Manager with Sustainable Connections

For the last few years I have picked one project that I think is ridiculous and fun and try to make it happen. I focus on interactive and sustainable projects. Last year it was an Advice Booth made from recycled pallets and doors from The RE Store. I have dreamed of building this giant lite brite for years. The key was figuring out what the pegs would be made of. I was brainstorming at the Sustainable Connections office and someone suggested plastic water bottles. That was the ‘ah-ha’ moment.

shine brite

The 8’ x 8’ giant lite brite was constructed out of nearly all reclaimed and recycled materials (lights excluded). Using three hollow core doors, door jams and other odds and ends found at The RE Store, I constructed the light box and used over 350 500ml water bottles filled with colored water to create the pegs. Instead of a static white light, I used RGB LED light strips that change color, fade, flash, and is reactive to music. This adds a new dimension to the 1980’s tiny version.

I am happy to report finding that many water bottles wasn’t super easy. I found a couple of good sources and now that I am mostly done collecting them, I can go back to those places and suggest alternatives to those DAMN WATER BOTTLES! Hotels, sporting events/workout gyms, and construction sites were the biggest offenders and contributors.

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“I like to make things from old stuff, the crustier the better.”

Regular shopping at The RE Store, Laurel Hair’s life-long love of salvage began with her dad taking her and her sister to garage sales when she was a kid. She loves to browse salvage stores for treasures and making new things out of old things – a few of which she is sharing with us below (in Laurel’s words): 

Laurel Hair projects

1) Fireplace gate hanging — the gate with original hinges is from my fiancés’ parents’ old house. He grew up in the house in Kirkland, and I took some items before it was sold and torn down, not knowing what I was going to do with them. Once we moved into our new house, I saw on a TV show the idea of using a piece of gate as a wall hanging, and spiffed it up, mainly wire brushed it. My son had given me the rusty sign as a gift a while ago, which I thought was a good compliment.

2) Wall hangings for the bedroom (one shown here) — I had found the turquoise old gate pieces at a garage sale a couple of years earlier. I decided to hang them on our wall, cut one down to size so they matched, and left the old hinges on them. I found some old farm pictures that I framed with old looking frames at Michaels that happened to have a great turquoise rim, and attached those to the gate.

3) Map wall hanging – my fiancé likes maps. We had one of the San Juans, so I stained it to make it look old, pieced together some old cedar fence pieces, and then added some old hinges and a few other rusty items. The ring was a piece from my fiancé’s cabin in Cle Elum off an old post. The metal piece I bought at a salvage store, and the other pieces were found at a junk fair in Ellensburg. I then cut the map into pieces and decoupaged to the wood.

4)  Christmas trees – again, I saw a different version of this idea somewhere as a wall hanging, and for Christmas gifts I decided to make smaller ones on stands out of old molding we had, old wooden rulers I found at garage sales, and pieces of driftwood. I cut the stars out of a piece of galvanized metal HVAC piping that I had lying around.

5) Christmas balls – I saw this idea at an antique store, and made my own frame out of old cedar I had collected, then added some old screen, and the balls. I can put other things on it for other holidays.

Thanks to Laurel for sharing her projects! Have your own before & after projects you’d like to show off?  Send us your pics!  bray [at] re-store.org

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REframing the Sustainable Office Certification program

wwu os logoWestern Washington University’s Office of Sustainability is committed to renewable energy and waste reduction, incorporating sustainability into many areas of campus operations and academics. Their Sustainable Office Certification program rewards offices on campus that have taken the extra efforts to operate sustainably — daily practices that reduce energy and materials consumption, impacts and waste. And now, after going through the certification process they are rewarded with a RE Vision Division framed certificate. “Prior to our partnership with The RE Store’s RE Vision Division we were purchasing mass-market frames, and while they looked nice, it wasn’t ‘walking the talk’ as well as we would like. We love that we can have something made with custom materials and created by a local artisan” says Campus Conservation & Sustainable Transportation Program Manager, Carol Berry.

FullSizeRender (37)It has been a great partnership for RE Vision Division as well. Projects like frames are a perfect use for furniture remnants and trim shorts, allowing us to save these things more and more from the landfill. Using a miterless frame detail (think window or door frames, examples left) allows for a quicker production, while using contrasting yet complimenting wood and stain combinations allows for unique and individualized frames. Eberhard Eichner, the RE Vision Division Designer/Builder who started this project, found this style of frame symbolic for the awards, since they are recognizing achievements of environmental responsibility — i.e. opening doors to new ways and looking out windows to set our sights on.

We are so appreciative of partners like the Office of Sustainability for their role in the community as well as helping us expand and perform the core mission of diverting, inspiring and educating through the RE Vision Division program. Thanks so much to Carol Berry, the Office of Sustainability and all the offices participating in the program thus far!

Want to find out more about how to make your own miterless frames? Download the pdf here:
miterless frames tutorial

 

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A cart of the community

20150511_180919300648166

We love it when great partnerships happen. When it is with our local business neighbors — even better. This vendor cart was a team effort built by Eberhard of our RE Vision Division and Bikesport owner, Andy, during a skill-building workshop last summer – sponsored by Transition Whatcom and showcasing salvage and portability for vendors to sell their wares. The cart was showcased around The RE Store for a spell and then found a permanent home at GOODS Produce stand. In exchange for the cart, GOODS owner, Cory, gave us store credit — which we are using to fill our greenhouse with a few starts and do some landscaping around our building. Thanks to our community of neighbors doing great things — and for this full-circle exchange!

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Salvage statistics to be proud of

salvage stats field crew collage

The RE Store’s field crew in action on a recent salvage project

 

We’ve calculated the total tonnage of building materials and furnishings that we salvaged from being needlessly wasted in 2014. Here’s what our crews lifted in and out of the trucks and the store last year:

  • 3,532,836 pounds of merchandise was sold for reuse (1766 tons)
  • Just over 24 tons of cardboard was recycled
  • Just under 24 tons of metal was recycled
  • Roughly 11 tons of porcelain was recycled
  • Leaving roughly 11 tons of material being thrown out that could not be reused or recycled

We couldn’t do this without your donations, and you thinking of salvage first when purchasing building materials and furnishings. Thanks to all of you for your part in helping us keep usable materials out of the landfill!

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Partnership Highlight: HERTCO Kitchens

The RE Store’s aisles are not only filled with items donated from customers or by the deconstructed used building materials that our salvage crew is bringing back from the field. We also make various manufacturing by-products available to the public. Over the years we have been developing partnerships with local manufacturers to reduce the material going to the landfill. We defray or even eliminate the disposal costs through regular pick-ups of unwanted materials by our salvage crew. These components are sorted out by the manufacturers through stringent quality control systems, but the flaws are often only minor, such as non-matching stains, off-set drill patterns or miscomputed sizes.

Now our new waste audit program is furthering this salvage process. In teaming up with our partners and bringing in the builders and repurpose specialists of our REvision Division we assist on site in evaluating and diverting those industrial byproducts to new uses. As a non-profit we are also able to issue a tax receipt to the manufacturer for the value of the items received. In all these steps we help to raise the “green” profiles of our partners, bring about a significant reduction to the waste stream and give you, the customer, quality and affordable building materials.

HERTCO Kitchens, the Ferndale, Washington, high end custom kitchen cabinet manufacturer is one of our oldest and foremost partners in this endeavor. We’ve been picking up materials from them since 2004. The cabinet doors, drawer fronts and panels of all kinds that are not making the “final” cut into Hertco’s fine line of cabinetry have become longstanding and prized components to our customers for a variety of uses. Their exceptional solid construction, select wood and lasting stains and finishes are outstanding attributes for reuse. It matters to us, as well, to save the time and energy that went into that production by HERTCO’s craftspeople.

hertco collage

For over 4 years now these salvaged parts have also become featured building blocks for a variety of furniture items built at The RE Store in Bellingham. Eberhard Eichner, the REvision Division’s leading material salvage furniture designer, brought over 35 years of international shop experience and several innovative re-use construction techniques to the repurpose world. New uses for the HERTCO material components have been introduced through his experimental background and prototypes, constantly changing showroom pieces and custom work. They have become the sides of chests, boxes and urns, bookcases, benches and seats, tables, reconstituted cabinets and beds.

With more builders and designers recently joining the staff of REvision Division and the development of a training program at The RE Store you sure will discover these doors and panels as well as the many other reclaimed parts from various partners in a wide variety of items, available for purchase either at the store or through our Etsy shop.

Of course, through your own desire to create you will imagine a good many more uses. We invite you to come and browse the aisles for “the goods” and always ask for the builders of the REvision Division to unveil some construction secrets.

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