Posts Tagged contractor

New Arrival – A Trusty Steed for Seattle Operations

2013-new-blue-box-truck1-webIts a boy, no wait, its a girl, no, its a diesel box truck with a lift gate! We have concluded our Truck Fund Raising Campaign that has been going since November of 2012. The new box truck with a lift gate is now serving us well in the Seattle operations. Of course, it is a used vehicle. It even came in a shade of blue. The new truck’s name is still pending but we welcome this beast of burden to the RE family.

This is huge – giving us a more reliable truck fleet to better serve you and communities throughout Washington State. Our salvage crews come to your job site, home, business, storage space or your grandpa’s crazy old barn to pick up and salvage materials. These busy bees visit over 1200 job sites each year. If the trucks break down, the crews end up wasting time and money, losing efficiency and materials. 2013 new blue box truckThat takes away from the 5 million pounds of material that The RE Store diverts every year from being wasted. Those materials also save you money when you go to buy supplies for your remodel, decoration or art project.

We have been helping transform the building industry’s practices that generate one-quarter of all trash in the U.S.. Our crews are the back up that contractors need to reduce disposal fees on job sites, saving supplies to be reused. This is how we have created our jobs at The RE Store from what would have been garbage. This is how we are moving the reuse revolution forward.

And we thank you for your help.

 

Posted in: Green business, Notes From the Field, Stories about stuff, Things you never knew about The RE Store, Transforming the building industry

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Complete remodel of Rousseau home – restoration, reuse and daylighting

Here is a journey for you – a tale of complete remodeling of the interior and exterior over 11 years, by Katrina Roussea. This home is featured in Sustainable Connections’ 2013 Imagine This! Home and Landscape Tour. Get your tickets today for 9 homes full of green building and landscaping inspiration!

rousseau remodel collage

“When my husband and I purchased the house 13 years ago, there were elements of the Victorian design from 1905 and a major Colonial Revival renovation in 1941. We were lucky to have photos so that we could see how the house looked over the years. Apparently the house was originally located on Chestnut St near the old St Josephs Hospital location and was moved to the current location in the mid 1980’s.  Because the house had been altered so much through the years we felt that we could do a “semi-historical” renovation.  We felt that we had the flexibility to use whatever historic features we wanted to and not be constrained by any particular historical period.’

‘We have so many great resources here in Bellingham and the Pacific NW.  I also did lots of research online. Over the last 13 years I have been to many older home open houses getting ideas and asking questions.  I have also taken and collected lots of photos that were really helpful when we started to design.  We were also careful to pick a contractor who would be open to re-using old house parts and who would get what we were trying to do.  Bellingham Bay Builders has gone above and beyond in that regard.’

‘We have lived in the house for 13 years, and the house did not seem to “flow.”  Our kitchen was chopped up, passageways were blocked.  Upstairs was one tiny bathroom and two large bedrooms (one was 22 feet long) with 2 closets and one tiny bedroom with no closet.’

‘Going into the remodel we had several priorities.  

  1. Reconfigure the floor plan without adding much additional square footage to make the house flow better.  We studied the “Not So Big House” books to achieve that.  
  2. Try and re-use everything that we could from the house.  
  3. Find historical architectural artifacts and re-use those where we could
  4. Make any new materials look original. 

‘We actually started the process 11 years ago.  Once a year I had Jim Gunsolus (of Craftsman Woodworking) take out a window and I then had it stripped at the Strip Shop in Ferndale. The Glass house Co.in Ferndale would restore the leaded glass. Gunsolus then restored the ropes and weights and re-did the trim using old fir that he got from The RE Store.  The effect was stunning and the cost about the same as if we had replaced the windows with new good quality wooden ones.  At about the same time we wanted to put in a gas fireplace, which we did after I found a 100 year old mantle piece that came out of a house in Texas.  The fun for me in these previous projects was that people thought these things were all original to the house.

‘In preparation for the current renovations, I have spent the last year looking for house parts and finding homes for the house parts that we were not going to use. The best items included:

  • 7 vintage doors, at Second Use in Seattle, that came from a house in the Queen Anne neighborhood.  I needed exactly 7 doors and there they were!  I then advertised the doors that I wasn’t going to use on Craigslist and a lady from Blaine who was restoring an old farmhouse was delighted to get them.  
  • A classic 3 panel door that was the exact size that we needed in the kitchen from The RE Store. We also found a nice glass doorknob and lever door set from The RE Store but we are re-using most of our old door hardware.  
  • A pair of antique leaded glass French doors from Second Use in Seattle
  • Vintage hemlock flooring from Earthwise in Seattle – some of the boards were 14 feet long from an old house in Wallingford.  
  • An antique newel post was scored from Skagit Salvage. Gunsolus was able to make a smaller one to match it upstairs.  You can’t tell which is old and which is new.

Surprises in the house included:

  • Historical memorabilia like a child’s homework project that was dated 1908 behind a cupboard. 
  • Stripping the built in cupboards revealed beautiful old growth fir beneath all of the layers of paint. 
  • We figured out how to re-use my favorite door as a pocket door. 
  • Structural beams that had to be added upstairs became a wonderful part of the house. 

The project also included a full replacement of the siding and bringing natural light into the home. Dylan Hicks of Bellingham Bay Builders shared more about the project.

“Designer Deborah Todd worked closely with John and Karina to conceive of the remodel and produced detailed permit drawings. Daylighting was a prime goal of the interior remodel, removing light-blocking interior partitions on the top floor.   New modern windows, multiple new skylights and a creative light plan will ensure a bright interior environment. We removed the three existing layers of siding, replaced windows that were beyond repair and weatherized the shell. We applied new exterior trim and siding to closely match the photo from 1927.”

Karina concluded, “I think my biggest piece of advice to anyone working on their old house is to figure out a way to stay true to your house, even if it means that you have to do things slowly.”

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

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Industrial Demolition Contractors Embrace Reuse and Recycling of Materials

What happens to a 1.2-million-square-foot aluminum plant when skyrocketing energy costs force its doors closed forever?

goldendale plant photo - before and midwayIn the wrong hands, it could become a massive pile of rubble languishing in a landfill. However, when the Goldendale Aluminum Plant in southern Washington shut down in 2003, the owners insisted on hiring industrial demolition contractors who could dismantle the plant with a minimal amount of waste sent to the landfill. That meant thousands of tons of materials – and truckloads of usable equipment – would need to be carefully extracted, sorted, processed and repurposed or recycled.

It was a project J.D. Elder, president of Elder Demolition, had been preparing for since starting the company in 1997. Back then, the contractor specialized in selective demolition of interior commercial spaces. Their previous work involved meticulously picking apart materials in tight urban spaces. Elder invested in state-of-the-art shears and other equipment that offered almost surgical precision.

Owning the right equipment paid off as the company transitioned to total structural demolition of industrial and commercial buildings. For eco-conscious industrial demolition contractors, Oregon offers plenty of green demolition opportunities – and Elder’s crew is often able to reuse or recycle up to 95 percent of a job’s materials. So when the bid for the Goldendale plant came around, they were ready.

Aftermath of Industrial Demolition

The Goldendale Aluminum Plant project was easily the largest job J.D. and his brother, Jeff Elder, had ever undertaken. By the time the contractors finished taking apart, they were left with 147,000 tons of debris, including:

  • 100,000 tons of concrete.
  • 35,000 tons of structural steel.
  • 10,000 tons of aluminum siding, roofing cable, conduit and copper wire.
  • Boilers and other usable equipment.

Concrete crushing at GoldendaleRepurposing Materials from the Goldendale Aluminum Plant

To deal with the 100,000 tons of concrete, Elder’s crew went to work with concrete shears. It took close to six months to remove all the rebar and slice the material into 3-inch chunks for crushing, Jeff Elder said. These were then loaded into the company’s concrete crusher, which chewed them up into gravel. Instead of purchasing new gravel, the Elder brothers reused all of the crushed concrete onsite to level the land – a cost-effective as well as eco-friendly solution. (J.D. Elder notes that the public can buy crushed concrete for half the price of gravel for their own DIY projects.)

There were also truckloads of perfectly functional industrial equipment salvaged from the plant. Ultimately, an entire building’s worth of machinery was sold for reuse. The steel, aluminum, copper, roofing cable and siding were all recycled. In the end, only 2,000 tons of debris went into the landfill – a mere 1 percent of the total demolished materials.

The RE Store’s green demolition and salvage services haven’t ever taken on a project this large, but we have worked with major demolition companies like Nuprecon and others.

Thanks to Elder Demolition for their guest post. Elder Demolition is a fully licensed and insured commercial and industrial demolition company, with certifications for hazardous waste handling as well as broad experience with LEED-certified green demolitions. 

Posted in: Green business, Stories about contractors, Stories about stuff

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Mainstreaming Green Demolition and Reuse With Tom Napier

Tom Napier has a big brain. He works as a “Research Architect” for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Engineer Research and Development Center / Construction Engineering Research Laboratory. He has also served as president of the national Building Materials Reuse Association, and is involved in the Design-Build Institute of America and Construction Specifications Institute. Based on his own research, Napier has concluded that reusing materials could reduce the environmental impacts of water use, air and water pollution, and disposal by as much as 99%. “That’s almost a total reduction of adverse impacts compared to manufacturing new items,” Napier says.

State Street warehouse series

State Street warehouse takedown – green demolition aka deconstruction

More and more case studies are being accrued in the green building and demolition industry showing the true viability of these practices, increasing jobs, reducing waste and saving money for contractors and home/building owners.

Tom put out a bucket list of changes that would transform the building industry, boosting the reuse industry and green demolition aka deconstruction into the mainstream. The bucket list was reprinted recently on the ReBuilding Center’s blog, The Reclamation Administration, and we thought it was worthy of reposting as well. The following list contains four of the 6 items. If this gets your gears turning like it does for us, read the rest of the list and his further ideas in the original article on Ecohome, a magazine of the American Institute of Architects

Here’s the list:

  1. The conflict between demolition and deconstruction disappears. The routine is to reuse what can be reused, recycle what can be recycled, and landfill the little bit that’s left.
    “Buildings have to be demolished,” Napier admits. “That’s just a fact of life. What we are trying to do, once a decision is made for a building to come down, instead of the default being to put materials in a landfill or recycling the steel, there are additional avenues of conservation that can be practiced that are not as common as the mainstream. We just want to bring those into the tool kit as well.”
    .
  2. Promoters of “green building” rating systems fully appreciate the impacts of waste and life-cycle benefits of materials reuse, and give full credit to reuse as a major contributor to sustainability.
    “The path of least resistance becomes that which the point chasers exercise,” Napier says. “In a perfect world, there would be some kind of hierarchy—the closest use to the original form gets the most points and the farther you divert, or the more resources you put into making something different, then you get fewer points.”
     .  
  3. Architectural and engineering professionals, as agents to building owners, educate their clients and vigorously promote salvage and reuse where practical.
    In an ideal world, Napier says the value of reused materials would be ingrained in the construction industry infrastructure, starting with academia. “If I were king and I had a really long-term vision, I would be starting back to the educational systems and architectural programs and civil engineering programs and make this part of the value scheme of people coming up in the building professions,” Napier says. “That’s going to take a couple of generations.”
     . 
  4. Deconstruction, salvage, and used material businesses develop a robust and highly visible infrastructure within the building industry. Services are available for any type of project, any time, and at any location.
    According to Napier, this will mean changing up the business model. “When you think about the business model of a demolition contractor, they don’t have a material handling or interim phase between the acquisition of material and the ultimate reuse,” he explains. “Getting those kinds of businesses started and getting them active and working is going to certainly give more options to building owners, property owners, demolition contractors, and designers.”

Read the rest of the list and elaboration on the original article on Ecohome.

What would you like to see to help transform the mountains of construction and demolition trash into reusable materials, green jobs and stewardship of our home?

Posted in: Green business, Reference and resources, Stories about people, Stories about stuff, Transforming the building industry

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Make.Shift Art Space: unscrewing up a gallery and studio spaces

Gallery space at Make.Shift

Gallery space at Make.Shift

The 40’s-era building at Grant and Flora streets has seen better days. Originally a milk processing plant, the building has been reincarnated and remodeled many times over, most notably as a law office in the 1970s. Since Bellingham nonprofit Make.Shift took over the artist collective at 306 Flora in summer 2011, volunteers and licensed contractors have been renovating continuously. They like to call it, “un-screwing up” the building.

Studios - during and after the remodel

Art studios - during and after the remodel, with reclaimed lumber, doors, windows and salvaged tin paneling - click for enlargement

While building six new music studios in the collective’s basement, the group chose 1920’s-era 40″ doors salvaged by The RE Store from McDonald Elementary School. A half dozen quirky salvaged light fixtures throughout the art space illuminate the creative hub. The upstairs art gallery is painted with remanufactured recycled Metro latex paint from The RE Store.

Many desks, tables, shelves and other furniture items from The RE Store have found new homes at Make.Shift. “Without The RE Store, we wouldn’t have been able to complete half of the projects we’ve taken on at Make.Shift Art Space,” said Make.Shift director Cat Sieh.

Phone booth and studio space

Phone booth and studio space

The group’s most recent project was the construction of three new basement artist studios. All three studios were built from 90% recycled/repurposed materials. Make.Shift repurposed cedar fence posts and tin warehouse roofing as siding, used old single-pane windows to keep the basement nice and bright, and framed all of the studios with reclaimed lumber.

“We’re so grateful to have The RE Store as a sponsor,” Cat said. “Using their materials has saved us money, and allowed us to source materials locally and sustainably. ”

If your group has a need for materials or gift certificates for fundraising events, please contact The RE Store with your request.

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

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A Piece of History Gets a New Life at The Mighty House

Salvaged cabinet set from the The RE Store is just one many great  re-purposed items at Mighty House

Mighty House Construction Co-Founders, Doug and Laura Elfline found themselves expecting twins in 2006, and quickly realized that their “postage stamp-sized” place in Georgetown was not going to fit the needs as the family was about to double in size.  So they bought a modest house in West Seattle that was originally built in 1980 – but in need of some extensive work before being prepared to bring the twins home.  They hadn’t planned on a kitchen model right away, but right as they were putting an offer on the house in West Seattle, a client of Doug’s had a visit to The RE Store noticing an amazing set of cabinets that our field crew was loading off the truck – she called Doug to say “Do you have a client in need of some cabinets?  You have to go to The RE Store and check these out”.  Before they had even closed on the house, much less measured or had any plans in place, they purchased this set of custom plywood cabinets.

The Kraft & Posie House

Our field crew remembers the job where they cabinets came from quite well – we pulled the whole cabinet set (original and the well matched custom plywood set) from the Kraft & Posie House, a historical registry home on E Prospect on Capitol Hill.

 

As Doug and Laura like to say, “It is a modest house, but a Mighty House” in that it is their home and gave birth to their sustainable building company, as well as being a showcase for smaller green shifts that have big impacts.  Mighty House Construction’s mission is to offer innovative, sustainable building solutions at an outstanding value.  Doug, a 3rd generation contractor and Laura, a green building junkie, believe you don’t need radical changes to make a radical shift in your home – and their house is a great example of just that.

You can check out the house this weekend at the NW EcoBuilding Guild’s 2012 Green Home Tour.  The RE Store will be at the Expo event at Green Depot on Saturday (April 21st) and at Mighty House (April 22nd).  More info on the Expo and Tour can be found here:  nwgreenhometour.org or find the tour guide in the back of  Natural Awakenings Magazine.

Check out Mighty House Construction and their top 10 tips for sustainable living on their website:  mightyhouseconstruction.com

Posted in: Green business, RE Store Rockstar Project, Stories about contractors, Stories about people, Stories about stuff

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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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The RE Store spreads the Word of Salvage to Japan

Group of Japanese Architects, Builders and Contractors visiting the Seattle store

The RE Store in Seattle hosted a group of Builders, Developers, and Architects from Japan this week.  They came to the states to attend the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodeler’s Show in Chicago, and had a two day stop in Seattle to see a couple of projects, and visit a salvage company – choosing us for their trip!  A very curious group, with many questions about our being a nonprofit, our business model in general, building size, where we get the materials (donated by all of you wonderful people!) and how we go about pricing our materials (nothing too fancy, but definitely a heady mix of understanding industry standards and materials, historical precedent, and just plain ol’ experience).  Several of them went away with some small antique-like token – a door knob here, drawer pulls there – one gentleman couldn’t leave without taking a sizable female-shaped sculptural piece for his garden back home!  We had a great time swapping stories with them, and got a few of them excited about starting a salvage business back home.  Thanks so much to Nariko Kawashima of Abodian Cabinetry, for setting this up with us and translating!

Posted in: Stories about contractors, Stories about people, Things you never knew about The RE Store, Transforming the building industry

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Peak Moment Interviews an Avid Customer of The RE Store

Peak Moment – an online television series featuring folks working to create a more sustainable, resilient and lower-energy future – has interviewed Jim Bristow, designer/builder with Bristow Enterprises, and an avid customer and friend of The RE Store.  This Ballard residence has been transformed, with every last detail thought through with sustainability in mind, and not just from the angle of buying green materials, reducing energy consumption, and installing solar panels but contributing less to the consumption cycle too.  For example, Jim did this by reusing materials from the original house, felled trees from his properties, and finding salvage materials from yours truly (we are specifically mentioned around 7:40).  He also stayed within the original building footprint and found creative ways to carve out space in what was already there as well as updating and modernizing with reused materials as much as possible.  He also speaks to his plans for his cistern and RainWise garden in the video – and on that note, we should mention that we will be having a workshop this fall about the RainWise program with Jim at the Seattle store (date TBD).  Check out the video, and come meet Jim this fall!

Posted in: RE Store Rockstar Project, Stories about contractors, Stories about people, Video posts

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The Tombstone Project: reclaimed lumber, wavy glass and wabi sabi

Buffet cabinet made from salvaged lumber

The “Wells Fargo Buffet”

They just don’t build it like they used to, unless they work at Smith & Vallee Woodworks and Gallery. The talented and hardworking quartet has transformed an old barn into a state of the art shop, using lumber and windows salvaged out of the remodel to create their Tombstone Project cabinet and furniture collection. The only new materials in this new collection are the fasteners and hardware. All of the wood and glass comes from the former interior of the converted outbuilding.Their tandem gallery opening reception occurs in tandem with the grand opening of the new shop this Saturday, July 9th from 5-8pm.

Antique Cabinet in Cedar with upper cabinet made from reclaimed windows

“Antique Cabinet in Cedar” with upper cabinet made from reclaimed barn windows

The collection includes classic work like the “Wells Fargo Buffet.” The antique mall inside the transformed barn had an old-style Wells Fargo painted sign, from which individual reclaimed fir lumber was repurposed into this beautiful 3-door buffet.

The “Antique Cabinet in Cedar” features original windows from the barn. Click on the photo to enlarge it and you can see the original wavy glass panes from the building, raised in the 1880’s. Andrew Vallee repaired the old windows as a part of the cabinet’s creation and calls it, “a modern piece made with old wood in an old style.”

Dining Table made from recycled fir lumber

Smith & Vallee’s “Recycled Fir Table”

The “Recycled Fir Table With Antique Nail Holes” is made from vertical grain fir, with a very clean design. Andrew says, “We like to create a pattern with the old black nail holes, giving it a nice wabi sabi look.”

The genius of this holistic project is every exciting to us at The RE Store, as we have just kicked off our own new-upcycled-materials furniture collection in April of this year, through the REvision Division. The Smith & Vallee team has been building their beautiful and affordable furniture for years so go see their latest work at the gallery opening reception and wood shop grand opening this Saturday, the 9th from 5-9pm. The collection will be viewable at their gallery through July 31st, Wednesday – Sunday, 11am – 5pm.

Upright jewelry case made from reclaimed barn windows

“Old Window Jewelry Case made from salvaged Tombstone barn windows”

Read our previous blog post about the Tombstone Project’s barn, converted into a state of the art wood shop.

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

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