Stories of Creative Reuse, DIY Guides & More

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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National reuse contest includes 2 of our locals as winners!

Thank you to everyone who participated in The Reuse People’s 2015 Annual ReUse Contest! As always, there were some pretty amazing projects submitted, and the judges task of selecting winners was tough.

The 2015 national winners – 2 of which are our local customers of The RE Store – are:

TRP art-furniture winners

Art & Furniture Category (above, left to right):
1ST Place – Office Desk – By John Harris, Bellingham, WA
2ND Place – Handmade Flag – By Aaron Foster, College Park, MD
3RD Place – Good Tillage – By Wayne Chaudiere, Lummi Island, WA

TRP construction winners

Construction & Remodeling Category (above, left to right):
1ST Place – Emergency Basement Remodel – By Patricia Flanagan, Washington, DC
2ND Place – Garden Shed – By Mike Bentley, Beulah, MI
3RD Place – DIY Fence – By Janet Watkins, Pittsburgh, PA

More information about all the contestants and their projects can be found on The Reuse People’s website here.

A huge congratulations to our local winners, John Harris and Wayne Chaudiere!

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Environmental Hero is hatching a community-benefiting plan for former landfill

RDS - Lynden landfillRE Sources Environmental Hero, Larry McCarter of Ferndale-based Recycling and Disposal Services (RDS), is hatching a plan to turn Lynden’s former landfill into a carbon-reducing community resource that supports the city’s economy and helps local farmers deal with their methane-rich animal waste. Find out more about this ingenious plan via the Lynden Tribune News article: RDS has plans for former Lynden dump. Way to go RDS!

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Thank you Misha for your 10 years of loyal service!

misha

After ten years of loyal service, Misha the cat is retiring from The RE Store. Misha was adopted from a foster home into the old RE Store on Holly Street, where she efficiently curtailed the rodent population and mostly kept to herself in the conference room. In the new store, she became comfortable with people and assumed a new role as feline greeter. Her fans would look for her curled up on her chair of the day. She was sometimes proactive about receiving attention, sitting on the floor, looking up and meowing at whomever walked by. She also visited staff in their offices, slept in sunny windows and generally kept tabs on her 20,000 square foot territory.

Misha is a sweetheart whose presence added another dimension to The RE Store. We thank her for her loyalty, rodent chasing and greeting duties! We will miss her, and wish her many cozy evenings and enjoyment with her new, stable cat-loving family.

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Thank YOU volunteers of 2015!

volunteers 2015 collage

We couldn’t do what we do without the help of volunteers, and 2015 was no exception. In fact, we had more volunteer hours this year than ever before:

Total combined volunteer hours for The RE Store:  203 participants with a total of 4833.87 hours
Breakdown: 78 volunteer participants with 1304.23 hours
113 community service participants with 2121.83 hours
12 trainees with 1407.81 hours

And 89 volunteers for RE Sources events totally 445 hours bringing the grand total to 292 people and 5278.87 hours of people helping us with everything from store displays and salvage services to outreach and events. Thank YOU volunteers!! And a very special shout out to the man with a special gift and commitment to this program, our Volunteer Manager, Ben Lewis.

Considering volunteering with us in 2016? More information can be found on our website here.

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Evolve Chocolate pop-up shop of salvage

Check out our friend’s at Evolve Handmade Chocolate Truffles “pop up” Chocolate Lounge! 15 days of music, art for sale and their award-winning chocolate – complete with reclaimed material bar for serving! Through December 24th, you can find great gift sets of their treats, and daily specials including bouche de noel, nougat, marshmallows, and bark. 30% of sales will be donated to the non-profit Skookum Kids, caring for foster children in Whatcom County. And stay tuned for Valentines and Mother’s Day pop-ups from Evolve too!

evolve pop-up chocolate shop

Friends of The RE Store and RE Sources since the beginning, Evolve Handmade Chocolate Truffles is dedicated to infusing locally-sourced ingredients plus soy free, fair-trade, non-GMO chocolate, while collaborating among the people and business owners of the Pacific Northwest region.

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Revision Division planters help define a community gathering space

As many of you know, Community Food Co-op has opened their eagerly-awaited new storefront for their deli on the corner of Holly Street and Forest in downtown Bellingham. The Co-op asked if our Revision Division could donate and build some planter boxes to help define their large, south-facing patio outside dining area – and we were happy to help our long-time partners!

Community Co-op planters

Our designer/builders built two planters of salvaged materials: 5 feet wide, 4 feet deep, 3 feet high, with strong castor wheels for moving. Cloud Mt. Farm Center sponsored the plants for the containers. Mercantile Head Assistant, Jade Flores remarked “They have really helped turn the patio into a welcoming place for our community to spend time, congregate, and eat healthy food together.” We are proud to have played a small part in helping them define a space for gathering around good food. Check them out at the deli’s Grand Re-opening this Friday, December 4th, 5:30-10pm in coordination with the December Art Walk. More specifics about the event can be found on the Co-op’s Facebook page. See you there!

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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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The Reuse People’s National Contest – congrats to our local winners!

It was a tough group of projects to choose from, but we have 2 category winners and a runner-up for our entries to the national level of The Reuse People’s 2015 contest. Thanks to all that entered — and congrats to:

  • Construction & Remodeling Category Winner: Julie Clinton & Clint Boushey for their sauna/guest house building where just about every material was salvaged or repurposed materials – from framing, windows and siding to all the the interior details (top pic).
  • Art & Furniture Category Winner: Wayne Chaudiere – who built his Good Tillage table from discarded plow parts and salvaged glass (bottom left). 
  • Runner up: John Harris and his desk made from a salvaged office door and transom window along with old framing and trim (bottom right).

winners TRP contest

These three will be entered into the national contest – winners will be announced no later than January 15th, 2016. Stay tuned — and good luck to our local winners!

Update (January, 2016) – Congratulations to John Harris who won FIRST PLACE in the Art & Furniture category with his desk project. And to Wayne Chaudiere for THIRD PLACE in the same category. Way to go Bellingham entrants for a great showing in this national contest!

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