Archive for Video posts

PSE’s Re-Energized by Design winners – designing around reuse

Scott and Nia Sayers spent the last six months winning a competition that remodeled their home’s interior, benefitted their family and their professional lives, all while designing around reuse. That contest was Puget Sound Energy’s Re-Energized by Design challenge that pitted six households against each other in a contest that we quote here from the PSE site:

“Re-Energized by Design is a ‘design show’ style competition, where six PSE customers are competing in a series of five room-by-room makeover challenges to combine creative home design with energy efficiency. After each challenge, one contestant is eliminated. PSE provides contestants with a weekly cash allowance, energy-efficient products, and a design coach to help implement stylish energy-efficient home upgrades.”

Designing with reuse - Nia Sayers Window Display - Bubble TubThe Sayers have been designing around reuse for many years. Nia Sayers did window displays at The RE Store in Bellingham in 2008 and 2009. Nia came up with inspiring concepts like a salvaged claw-foot bathtub full of light globes and lightbulbs as bubbles.

Nia Sayers Serving table displayThen there was her outdoor serving table that she built from a table base rescued from the brink of the landfill. Click on the photo thumbnails for full-sized photos. Nia has taught workshops on DIY skills like recovering upholstery and her idea for this project is downloadable here.

Scott Sayers - Chevy Chase - Recycled Arts Show 2013Scott just had pieces in both Bellingham galleries for the 12th Annual Recycled Arts Show. If you missed his perfect rendering of Chevy Chase in negative relief that was cut out of duct tape, the photo doesn’t do it justice. Scott said that for the Re-Energized by Design competition that “The RE Store was our secret weapon.”

When asked about how all of the remodeling of the family’s home wrapped up, Nia said, “We still have some projects to finish up.”

And don’t we all…

Check out the Re-Energized by Design website for all of the stories, more resources for saving money and making a home more efficient. You might pick up some creative and clever ways to improve home interiors and make it more energy-efficient. And learn more about Nia on her site,

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

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The 2012 End of The World Window Display & Video

In the spirit of light(ness) during this holiday season, we celebrate the kooky cacophony of doomsayers and hopefuls with a tongue-in-cheek window display at The RE Store in Bellingham as we pass through another apocalyptic date, 12/21/2012.

  • Shabby crabby bomb shelter decor blending vintage survival gear with reclaimed building materials
  • Paranoid protection wear on Calamity Jane contrasted by Skippy’s celebration finery
  • Basic food staples displayed in opposition to large quantities of sugary junk food
  • Out in the big world, threatening end-of-the-world prophetic warnings counter-balance with inspirational messages of the new Mayan calendar cycle that begins.

Please take our attempts at lightness as they are intended.

Now can we all get on with it?

“It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.”

~ R.E.M.

Special thanks to Dana Lyons and John Seed for song permission in our funky little video!

Posted in: Recycled art and trash fashion, Things you never knew about The RE Store, Video posts

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Fire Fighter Forcible Entry Training With Reclaimed Doors

Fire fighter forcible entry training photoThe Bellingham Fire Department was established in 1904. Their well-seasoned department supports fire fighter training for many of the districts in Whatcom County Washington. Annual “Forcible Entry Training” uses props to simulate locked buildings that the crews must break into, in case a fire requires rescue access to the inside of a building.

The Bellingham Fire Department uses salvaged materials from The RE Store and Overhead Door Company to help reduce costs in their training exercises. It also makes good sense to utilize already used doors that will be destroyed anyways in the training exercises. Watch these brave and highly regarded men and women in the following video as they keep themselves fit and ready for the next emergency.

If your community group or business needs materials, The RE Store welcomes your requests for building materials, gift certificates for fundraising events and other in-kind support.

Posted in: Stories about people, Stories about stuff, Things you never knew about The RE Store, Transforming the building industry, Video posts, Why blog about The RE Store?

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Appliance Soap Box Derby video – crashes, injuries & mayhem

Our friends at Appliance Depot know how to have a good time, even if it means spilling a little blood. Refrigerators, stoves, washers and random appliance parts became vehicles racing down Maple Street in Bellingham. The annual Appliance Art Revival & Derby celebrates reuse, creativity and the good work that Appliance Depot does, rebuilding appliances and providing job training in Bellingham, Washington. Yours truly at The RE Store sponsored the Revival, including recording and editing this wacky video!

Thanks to Matt McDonald of for supplying the missing epic “crash into the crowd” photo footage and to Adam Nash Photography for the fork failure shots of Blue Steel and others.

Are you bold enough to race next year? Awwww, come on.

Posted in: Green business, Recycled art and trash fashion, Stories about stuff, Video posts, You can do it yourself

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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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How to make tables from recycled materials II: Edging with trim

Ensemble of short tables

Ensemble of short tables made with these techniques

So you learned how to make a solid base for your table in the first video. In this second part of The RE Store’s REvision Division video series about making small tables from reclaimed materials, learn innovative ways to use salvaged materials for the rim of a small table. Watch Eberhard use corner blocks and pieces of moulding to create easy, forgiving details with the table tops. These techniques eliminate tricky mitre cuts and joints around the rim of a table.

REvision Division galleries at The RE Store in Seattle (Ballard) or Bellingham feature one-of-a-kind furniture and decor items built in Bellingham by The RE Store. Come view the latest highly affordable, stylish and creative reuse examples or steal our ideas to design your own pieces.

Posted in: Reference and resources, Video posts, You can do it yourself

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Make furniture with fast easy joining technique video

Eberhard shows angled screws in "butterfly technique"

Eberhard shows angled screws in “butterfly technique” for making fast furniture joints

Furniture joinery might seem like it requires years of practice and great attention to detail. Eberhard Eichner, lead designer and builder in The RE Store’s REvision Division, begs to differ. The 30-year veteran of finish carpentry, furniture making and repair has figured out a way to quickly create strong joints when building furniture. Using his “butterfly technique” he quickly fastens items like salvaged cabinet doors, used hollow core doors, reclaimed trim and scrap lumber to create beautiful, strong and functional furniture and home decor items. Watch the video to see the ease of the butterfly technique.

Time 2:47

Visit the The RE Store’s REvision Division gallery inside our store to see the latest furniture creations. Each day is a new treasure hunt of the latest salvaged and reclaimed one-of-a-kind items.

Posted in: Reference and resources, Video posts, You can do it yourself

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How to make small tables from recycled materials – Part 1:Table Underpinnings

Ensemble of short tables

Short tables demonstrated in the video

Watch the latest do-it-yourself video below from The RE Store’s REvision Division. Get a mini-seminar in “How to make small tables from recycled materials” This video is the first chapter in the table making series, focusing on creating the legs and structural support for the table, known as the underpinnings.

See how to give different looks to your furniture piece by using parts like stair spindles, clusters of banister staves, or even cabinet doors. Eberhard walks you through the prepping of leg materials, attaching stretchers to the legs, and affixing the underpinnings to the table top. His three different styles of short tables will give you great ideas for your own project.

Learn from Eberhard Eichner, our 30-year veteran of furniture building and finish carpentry who even did finish work on pipe organs earlier in his career. (Imagine a large pipe organ chord sound here). Visit the REvision Division furniture galleries within our stores in Seattle and Bellingham to ogle the beautiful and amazingly affordable pieces.

View one of Eberhard’s many other videos on:

How to build a bookshelf from reclaimed cabinet doors

Do it yourself cabinet decoration with scrap trim

Or visit our Youtube channel for many other videos about creative reuse, home decor, functional designs and more.

Posted in: Video posts, You can do it yourself

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Jacob’s Ladder from reclaimed materials at the Spark Museum

Bill Englander is an out-of-the-box tinkerer. His most recent project was building a Jacob’s Ladder for the newly rebranded Spark Museum in Bellingham. We will just let Bill tell you in his own words below the video…

As a boy, I had two grandfathers who each taught me the fine art of tinkering and repair.  Grandpa Englander whiled away his retirement gleaning old wooden wall phones from the early 20th century, removing the innards, and turning them into radios by installing newfangled transistor radios in the 1950s.  Grandpa Hastings could and would repair anything and everything.  Grandma had a cartoon framed on her kitchen wall that summed up Grandpa’s handiness: amid a background of ringer washers, Model-Ts, and old appliances, an Old Woman says to an Old Man holding an antique toaster, ” I KNOW you can fix it – you can fix anything.  I WANT A NEW ONE!”

Jacob's Ladder - base of unit

Jacob's Ladder for the Spark Museum of Electrical Invention by Bill Englander

I probably saw my first Jacob’s Ladder as a kid watching the original Frankenstein movie on TV.  All my life I wanted to build one; it was just too cool for school.  In 2008 I purchased a used 15,000 volt neon transformer, which sat on a shelf until the summer of 2010 due to my innate fear of electrocuting myself in the process of pursuing my hobby.  Finally, I got up the nerve to begin designing my first ladder.  I scrounged an old rectangular radio case from the Museum of Radio and Electricity, purchased a motion sensor, touch switch, sockets, switches, lighting parts, and miscellaneous neat-looking stuff, all from The RE Store, and tinkered off and on for three months to the finished product.

The current ladder (pun intended) was created for the renamed Spark Museum of Electrical Invention with generous assistance from The RE Store, which supplied the futuristic-looking cap on the cylinder, the cap on the base, and all the brass bling on the base.  The borosilicate glass protective cylinder is a pipe salvaged from a secret bio-weapons laboratory in Downtown Bellingham located in the Spark Museum’s “basement.”  Sherwin-Williams donated the five-gallon you-know-what base;  CDI Signs supplied the transformer.  Radio Shack was nice enough to sell me the blinking LEDs and resistors.  Other parts were scrounged from my electrical box-o-goodies and “elsewhere.”  I put about 40 hours into this one.

Jacob's Ladder - base of unit

Jacob's Ladder - base of unit

I volunteer at the Museum.  I noticed a year ago that the popular Jacob’s Ladder on exhibit was – in a word – fried.  The device creates ozone when it operates by burning air – O2.  This is of course great for the stratosphere, but bad for anything metallic, ’cause ozone is corrosive,  especially the metal in the Jacob’s Ladder enclosed in a Plexiglass box, such as it was.  The poor thing literally ate itself.  The new version includes a proprietary “Ozone Drain” (a plastic tube) that removes the ozone by gravity, as it is heavier than air.  The original design of my replacement ladder turned on by motion (The RE Store’s proximity sensor switch); the Museum expressed concern the ladder might continually cycle “ON” due to patrons flocking to it like bees to a flower, and subsequently go nuclear without warning.  So I ripped out the motion sensor and replaced it with a switch and a timer cannibalized from the dead ladder.

Giving up my baby (the newly completed Jacob’s Ladder) felt like losing a favorite shoe.  But I’m pulling out of it, and designing my next creation; I just hope it’s an 8 1/2 Left.

~ Bill Englander

Posted in: RE Store Rockstar Project, Stories about people, Stories about stuff, Video posts, You can do it yourself

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Forest Salvage plus Local Milling equals Sustainable Finish Lumber

wood grain closeup

Vertical grained old growth cedar from Local Source Forest Products

The RE Store asks the folks at Local Source Forest Products, Inc. how they can make the claim to be creating sustainably harvested, locally processed old growth wood products. Old spring board stumps and felled tree remnants from 100-year old historic logging operations are being turned into premium finish grade material in their Whatcom County facility. The Local Source team removes the millable wood via helicopter to minimize on-the-ground impact to the forest. Literally tons of material are left behind to support the natural decomposition, soil renewal and habitat functions of fallen trees.

Take a tour with Simon, Loren and Ken to see the portable saw mill, repurposed shipping container wood kiln and finish shop.

Loren Tracy, co-owner in TD Wood Recovery as well as Local Source, talked about the source of their wood.

“There is a forest of stumps out there that were logged 80-100 years ago. What our partners specialize in is creating high value products out of those remnants of historic logging operations. We can’t cut any living trees. We are just taking out the useful material that is otherwise left to rot on the hillsides. It hasn’t (rotted) for a hundred years and it is still sitting there. It is still a large volume of material that is sound and is amazingly beautiful and very hard to come by unless you are in other reaches of Northern America where you can cut down live old growth. It is unfortunate that is still happening.”

Simon Petree, owner of Greenleaf Forest Products and co-owner of Local Source, detailed the origins of their focus on salvage logging and why the various partners came together.

“I started out working for a logging land clearing company. We would go to the logging jobs and grind all the logging debris. The mills don’t want “oversized” stuff (trees). They are set up for smaller stuff so I’ve seen lots of oversized logs that could be turned into good finished product, being ground up and sent off.”

“So I bought my first saw mill in the late 90’s just kind of for fun. Then in 2002 it actually turned into a full time deal where started going around and ran a portable saw mill business. I also would sell lumber off of the jobs that I was working on. A lot of my clientele was saying, “Where can I get this wood dried that you just milled. Where can I get it processed?” There was nobody locally that could do that so we got this shop going to do that and also to process the salvaged woods that Ken and Lauren have been doing for years and years.”

Simon continues, “Another one of our motivations for this shop was to keep things in the county. Our wood doesn’t typically travel more than the tri-county area. Its just great. Its all going back to the county where it came from.”

The RE Store is now carrying flooring, trim, quarter round, dimensional lumber, door trim packages and more. All products are sustainably harvested (salvage logged), locally milled and truly worth a trip to come and see the fine quality of this wood.

Posted in: Green business, Stories about people, Stories about stuff, Transforming the building industry, Video posts

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