This MLK Day of Service we hosted 23 volunteers from two Washington Conservation Corp groups – the King County and the Evinger crews – and the UW’s Young Democrats. They were an enthusiastic bunch that helped build walls and create a display area for cabinet sets, so that the product can be seen better; worked on the first phase of a vertical pallet garden for an area of our back lot that needed some sprucing up; and painted 58 new signs, so that we can have consistent way-finding throughout the store. The work that these 23 folks did equaled 184 work hours, which would have taken our staff just over a week of non-open time to achieve – so we are truly thankful and happy to get some of these much needed projects closer to complete. Thanks so much to these groups for their MLK Day of service – and to United Way for helping us connect with a great group of volunteers!
The RE Store’s Seattle field crew is accustomed to being under the gun. On a typical day we juggle multiple salvage jobs and/or material pickups across the Puget Sound area. Our schedule is constantly changing to accommodate the priorities of the homeowners, contractors and other organizations whose donations keep us rolling. This means that we’re often the last out of a building that’s set for demolition, but sometimes, we’re lucky enough to be inside of it while it’s being torn down.
That was the case earlier this January when we were given a narrow “window” of opportunity to salvage, well, windows from a historical Broadmoor mansion. We knew we had to work quickly because the home was slated for demolition the following day. What we didn’t know, however, was that a Caterpillar excavator would be starting the process as we salvaged windows, doors, and other fixtures simultaneously from the circa 1928 home.
Removing windows under ideal conditions can be a time consuming process depending upon window type, the quality of the installation, and the building’s siding material. This particular salvage, however, went surprisingly quickly. Maybe the time flew due to our habit of singing show tunes while we work, or perhaps it was just the unnerving rumble of the excavator scraping the brick façade off of the house that motivated us. Either way, we managed to salvage around fifty windows and a dozen interior and exterior doors.
Working near heavy equipment isn’t always fun, but you sure do miss it when it’s not around. This is especially true when you have to move a steel spiral staircase the old fashioned way. It’s extra especially true when you have to thread that same staircase around the deck of an indoor pool, and then corkscrew it through a narrow hallway, and then load it onto a truck by hand. That’s right kids; we didn’t even use a furniture dolly.
There’s nothing quite as fine as an orange shag carpet-clad, steel spiral staircase. So, dear reader, you can surely understand why we had to rescue this beauty from its lakefront home in Yarrow Point. Originally, it provided direct access from the master bedroom to the indoor pool below. Once we got it situated in the store’s back lot, yours truly and the rest of the field crew had the pleasure of reloading this shaggy spiral gem on the truck (by hand) and delivering it. She now has a new home at the Ballard based Four Freedoms Liquor Company. And thus the spiral is complete.
Notes and photos by Ryan DeSales, Seattle Field Crew member
Sheds and shacks can be a saving grace for home owners, creatives, gardeners, or contemplatives. Have you considered a small space recently that could give you on-site storage or reprieve from the rat race?
Gaetan Veilleux designed and built himself a sweet little 10×12 garden shed in Edmonds, Washington. His father was a master carpenter/cabinetmaker so Gaetan learned a lot about building growing up, but that was over 30 years ago. He looked to books from the library and the internet to relearn things such as installing windows, hanging a door, and building the roof.
Gaetan’s wife, Deborah Binder, helped source some of the materials like finding roofing materials through Freecycle and Craigslist. Deborah revitalized the dutch door, also known as a stable door or a half door, that she found at The RE Store in Ballard. The door restoration required that she learn how to cut glass and reglaze the multi-paned upper half of the door. The shed also has a Velux skylight (Oooo… fancy!) that the couple bought from a local window and door store. It was out of the box and had been used as a showroom demo. They scored it for 75% off the list price. The windows came from The RE Store as well.
The shingles were a fun find for Deborah. She writes:
“I had been watching a house being built in Edmonds on my daily dog walking strolls. For months I saw a huge pile of shingles on pallets sitting in the front yard. As the grass grew taller and the house seemed finished I wondered what the builder was going to do with all the shingles. I called the number on the sign posted in the front yard and reached the site manager. He said I could take as many of the shingles as I wanted for FREE. So I took them all. When I priced them out I realized that I saved at least $500. We have a small amount left that we plan to use on another project. The shingles were pre-painted blue, but we plan to paint the shed this coming Spring (2013) to match our house.”
Check out The RE Store’s guide to designing your own little shed with this free pdf download: Extra Space or a Special Place
It is time for you to get out your entrepreneurial hat. Imagine tons of useful construction and demolition waste, sorted and available by the truck load. What can you dream up in the way of fabulous new products that help our dear citizenry? The supply is about to increase because the City of Seattle is shooting for the moon, aiming to reduce the mountain of waste sent to landfills by 50,000 to 100,000 tons annually.
In 2007, Seattle adopted it’s Zero Waste Strategy to help revolutionize waste disposal and recycling in two main channels of the river of waste that flows from the Emerald City: construction & demolition waste (C & D) and food waste. Additional disposal bans have been put in place, including concrete, brick and asphalt paving in January of this year. On December 10, 2012, Seattle City Council took the next step with ordinance #124076.
As of January of 2015, it will be prohibited to dispose of metal, cardboard, carpet, plastic film wrap, and new gypsum scrap (dry wall) in dumpsters or at the city’s transfer stations. The new ordinance establishes “a construction waste recycling facility certification program; requiring the submittal of waste diversion reports by certain construction and demolition waste generators.”
This isn’t just some crazy idea vetted by green building idealists (like us!), but was assessed as achievable based on assessment modeling and a public review process of the industry stakeholders who would be affected by the changes.
From Richard Conlin’s blog, one of Seattle’s most progressive council members:
“Making this effective requires that facilities cooperate, that markets are available, and that we collect data on what construction projects are actually doing with their waste. All of these components are built into the program, with provisions for administrative flexibility if there are problems with market development.
The materials that will be included in recycling requirements by 2016 represent more than 80% of the tonnage of waste generated in the construction sector. Since SPU has forged a cooperative agreement with the businesses involved to make this program work, it is likely that we will be able to attain these goals.”
Dream big because the recycling facilities will be sifting and sorting this stuff by the ton in the next few years. What’s your big or little idea? Come talk to us if you think you have something that could work in the realms of salvage and repurposing.
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.”
My name is Paul, and I am one of the newest team members of The RE Store in Bellingham. I became involved with The RE Store this summer when they gave me the opportunity to do some community service helping out in the store. At the beginning of this fall I was hired on as a temporary employee both in the store and on the Field Crew, which does various salvage and deconstruction projects throughout Northwestern Washington.
I am the new pickup and delivery driver. My typical day consists of driving “Moe”, a box truck with a lift gate that is being loaned to The RE Store and RE Sources (our parent nonprofit organization) by a supporter in the Bellingham community. I go out to peoples homes or businesses and I pick up reusable materials, such as cabinets, furniture, and building materials, and I bring them back to the store. These materials can be donated for a tax deduction or for in-store credit, so customers can trade in the good materials they don’t need and come into the store and pick up other materials for new projects. I also deliver things to peoples homes that were bought from The RE Store, such as large pieces of furniture and cabinet sets. The most exciting thing for me about the pickups is seeing how happy people are to be able to see that their stuff is going to be reused. The most common thing I hear is “well I’m glad someone is going to be able to use and enjoy it.” With the deliveries, it is always fun to hear and see how the customer is going to use what I’m bringing to them to complete a renovation or re-furnish a part of their house.
I am also able to work part-time on the Field Crew when they need an extra person for a project. The Field Crew bids on various projects, such as taking deconstructing kitchens, bathrooms, or entire buildings, like any other independant contractor. The difference is what happens to the materials that are being removed. The Field Crew takes out material as quickly and carefully as possible, with the goal being to reuse the material that is taken out; a typical contractor destroys most of the material that is being taken out, so instead of being reused, the material generally ends up in a landfill. A number of the large cabinet sets inside The RE Store, as well as a good portion of the dimensional lumber and sheet goods out in the warehouse, come directly from the deconstruction projects done by the Field Crew.
Since having this great opportunity to become involved, I have been amazed at how much everyone – The RE Store and RE Sources employees, customers, and supporters – believes in what we are doing. People in the community understand and see the value in the idea of reuse. Not only does it keep things that still have value out of the landfill, it also saves the resources needed to produce new materials, and it keeps those resources within the local community. I am excited and honored to be a part of it.
We are grateful for Paul’s contributions to the team – and for the donation of Moe the truck! We couldn’t do any of what we do without the use of trucks like Moe, and are in need of another one for our Seattle store. Please donate what you can to our Truck Fund here – to keep The RE Store Rolling!
by RE Store Rockstar and customer, Kathleen, of Lily-Max Design
A couple approached me when they were thinking about putting their home on the market. They knew there was a lot to do to get it ready for sale and wanted to stretch that budget as far as possible, so they hired me to re-design their home to make it more appealing to potential buyers. As most of us know, the kitchen can either make or break a sale. We wanted to make it shine, without having to gut it or break the bank.
We replaced the counters and splurged on a mosaic glass tile backsplash, but kept all of the existing cabinets and repainted them with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. This worked so well, as all we needed to do was clean and wipe on a little deglosser/liquid sandpaper, then paint. Once cured, we sealed them with water-based Polycrylic in a satin finish.
We found two mismatched base cabinets at The RE Store in Bellingham and used them to create a prep/baking area for the empty space near the refrigerator. One cabinet has two drawers with cabinets below and a cool pull-out shelf inside, the other has lots of drawer space – perfect for utensils, oven mitts, etc. They were both in a wood finish that had seen better days. We removed their tops, put them together, added some base trim and painted them the same as the existing cabinets. We then added a butcher block top for the counter, a shelf made from reclaimed wood, and new hardware. We were able to add much needed storage and a prep area for very little money (around $120 total).
Nice economical re-design great re-use, Kathleen! You can find out more about Lily-Max Design at www.lilymax.com
by Ryan DeSales, Seattle Field Crew Member
The RE Store’s Seattle field crew braved the high seas, perilous mountain heights, and speeding trains this November to bring home the goods. Granted, those high seas were on Lake Union, the perilous mountains were made from Plaster of Paris, and that speeding train was actually a scale model. Regardless of the actual danger, those of us on the field crew were in unfamiliar territory as we completed our first ever boat and train pickup (okay, model train and dingy pickup).
From the top of the Smith Tower, to a Chase Bank vault, to a Stephen King movie set near Magnuson Park, the field crew gets to salvage some pretty interesting buildings and places. But we’re not all salvage all the time. In fact, The RE Store offers free residential and commercial pickup services across Western Washington. This means that those of us on the field crew spend half of our time picking up donations of reusable building materials. So, we were only half surprised when the first work order of the day simply read “boat” with an address and time.
Well, it was a boat alright; still floating and everything. Unfazed, we hauled her out of Lake Union and onto dry land. In this case, dry land was a narrow dock covered in metal cleats, ropes and other obstacles. Normally, we would rely upon our trusty furniture dolly, Wheelie Dan, to move such an item. Unfortunately, the dock was impassable this way. Fret not dear reader, for the field crew is gifted with almost, but not quite, superhuman abilities. With our powers combined, we managed to manhandle the eight foot dingy down the dock, up the gangway, and across the parking lot to Fuso the truck.
While the field crew has loaded countless oversized, odd-sized, and even fun-sized items onto Fuso, a boat was indeed a first. Normally, we use our space age aluminum incline plane, also known as a ramp, to load the trucks. However, it would have blocked traffic in the busy parking lot. Therefore, we opted to load the dingy the old fashioned way (the donor was kind enough to help, too). As always, we observed proper lifting techniques and even followed Feng Shui principles to orient the dingy properly once it was on board Fuso.
After unloading at our Ballard retail store, it was time to move some mountains and a train or two. To be specific, a working N scale train layout. Of course, this was not the only thing on our list; we just happened to save it during the course of salvaging a house. Luckily, the handmade train layout, complete with a detailed plaster mountain range and tunnel, was quite manageable. It took just two of us to get it up the ramp and onto the truck. In addition to the train layout, the RE Store netted an electric range, dishwasher, numerous pieces of furniture, solid fir doors, and pounds and pounds of great door hardware, drawer pulls, and cabinet knobs.
While the RE Store makes every effort to save reusable building materials from the waste stream, we sometimes stretch that definition provided that an item can be re-purposed. That said, a dingy can be reused as a dingy of course, or as a planter, a shed roof, or many other wondrous things. And who wouldn’t want a model train to go with their dingy?
Things like lift gates would have made these jobs easier on our field crew – help by donating to our Truck Fund so that we can Keep On Rolling and salvaging great materials and fun objects like this.
by RE Store Rockstar and customer, Karen Anderson
The slab for this shed has had many lives before becoming the foundation for this latest project. It had been a dog kennel, held a rabbit hutch for awhile, and finally, it was an area for a chicken coop. The dog moved inside permanently – she was way too much a part of the family to spend time in a kennel! The rabbit was sweet but found a little girl to love her more than my rambunctious boys. We loved the fresh chicken eggs and how cute the little ladies were, but they also found a new home with a sweet, older immigrant, who promised to give them a good home.
After the chickens left, the kennel sat empty for a few years, until Eric decided that he could use a tool and lawn mower shed. Frankly, I think he just didn’t want to bust up the concrete slab. I didn’t see the need for the shed, but decided that if I was going to look out my main living area at it, it was going to be stylish. I’d gotten the door from The RE Store when we’d done some remodeling a number of years ago. It is from Garfield High School, and I like to think it was graced by former students Jimi Hendrix and Bruce Lee. MLK, Jr. spoke there, and I wonder if he may have walked through it too. It ended up not working for the house, and sat much like the poor rabbit my children had ignored. It grew mildewy and dingy – out of sight and out of mind. But when the shed project came along, I knew the door would have to be a part of the project. (The moral of that anecdote is that if something at The RE Store speaks to you, get it! You’ll find a place for it).
I’m very proud of our funky, little shed. As the shingles were all leftovers, they couldn’t complete the entire siding. I’m glad it turned out that way because I think the metal siding gives an eclectic and more “architectural” look. Other building materials include leftover lumber and OSB. I also think the way the pieces of lumber don’t “match” gives the shed an interesting, organic look.
New items include the flashing, the “barn door” hardware and the windows. The windows! I love their “orbi-ness”. They were made by a local glass artist, Marcus Knowles, who is also a teacher that I got to know when he was teaching as a long-term substitute at my children’s school. The windows are multiple glass layers thick with copper foil fused between them in the kiln. They have a strong depth to them, and depending on the light and my mood, they remind me of planets or salmon eggs. At any rate, I’m very happy Marc was willing to take the project on because I think they turned out beautiful. I was a little taken aback by the price of the new “barn door” hardware, although I do like the look of it. Since building the shed, I’ve seen a couple of great examples on the internet of people re-purposing sliding closet door hardware for this purpose, both indoors and out. (I bet you can find it regularly at The RE Store in the extensive closet door section)
I considered taking a picture of the interior of the shed. It’s completely unfinished, but thought maybe a peek at the “bones” would be helpful to somebody. But, alas, the shed that I didn’t think was necessary, is already packed full of stuff – mostly my “junk” mind you – and just one lawn mower and a few tools.
Happy building – remember the 3 Rs, and live in peace.
Thanks so much to Karen for this guest post and a great story of an inspiring little shed!
We introduced you to our truck fleet a few weeks ago here on our blog, connecting you to our trusty flock – Lily, Herman, Blue, Possum, Fuso and Clutch. They are at the root of what we do here at The RE Store, giving us the ability to stock the stores with great stuff, and fulfilling our mission of keeping useable materials out of the landfill. Besides their main ‘day jobs’ of previewing and picking up materials from close to 2000 job sites each year that they bring to the stores, they also help us with all sorts of other outreach tasks allowing us to spread the word of our mission beyond the stores:
- Getting our inspiring displays to the many trade shows and educational community events that we participate in – such as our annual Flower & Garden show garden display (above, top left), and countless community festivals
- Transporting recycled art materials and recycled art pieces as a part of our Recycled Arts Show (above, bottom right)
- Bringing raw materials to schools and festivals for folks to get creative with ‘junk’ at our Art Station (above, bottom middle)
- Hauling trash from our annual beach clean up events partnered up with the North Sound Bay Keeper (above, bottom left) – creating art out of trash on these occasions
- Supporting meaningful events that our parent organization, RE Sources, puts on with keynote speakers like Denis Hayes, Bill McKibben, and Daniel Kammen
- Dressing up for parades, including winning the Mayors Award in the 2006 Bellingham Ski-to-Sea Grand Parade (above, top right)
Thanks to Lily, Herman, Blue, Possum, Fuso and Clutch for selflessly helping us keep spreading the Word of Salvage!