Posts Tagged garden

An “Art Gallery” of Salvage at the Flower & Garden Show

flower & garden show display 2014

Once again, we’ve had a great time designing and building our booth for the Northwest Flower and Garden Show (February 5th – 9th at the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle).  This year our booth’s theme is an “Art Gallery” in line with the larger show’s theme of “Art in Bloom”.  Our linear booth is filled with salvage garden and furniture ‘art’ pieces and random reclaimed rummagings used for planters.  Our window wall, ‘lean-to’ drawers and gutters as planters, and wall of doors fill out the vignette.  Thanks so much to our friends at Seattle Urban Farm Company for teaming up with us on our booth and plant wrangling – and thanks to Sky Nursery for loaning us some plants too.

The Flower & Garden Show seminars bring experts on a wide variety of experts on gardening, plants, garden design, food and more.  Our REvision Division designer/builders, Eberhard Eichner and James Taylor were chosen to do a demonstration today (Wednesday, February 5th, 6:15p at the DIY stage):  High Art From the Junk Pile, Inspiration for Using Just About Anything.  

Come check out the demo, and see us and the booth for inspiring salvage ideas or to discuss your projects –  it is always great to meet new folks and catch up up with old friends at the Flower & Garden Show!

Posted in: Stories about stuff

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Chalkboard Slate Counters, Door Headboards and more from “Art & Architecture”

Friend of The RE Store, Jay Lazerwitz of art and architecture is an Architect, Artist and Certified Passive House Consultant who is constantly thinking of salvage for his projects.  Where else is better to experiment than in his own house?  Below are a few of his recent examples sent (in his own words):

bathroom collage

Chalkboard Slate Counter Top – I had heard of folks using chalk board slate, and heard that The RE Store gets some on occasion. I wanted a more contemporary look, and with our main colors being reds and black (floor, tub apron, end wall tile, etc.) – so chalk board was perfect. I also liked the thinness of the material. So often I think thick stone counters are wasteful, as only the top surface is what is important. Fortunately I was able to find a piece slightly larger than the size I needed, and I also got a great deal from a fabricator who has worked on many of my design projects, who cut the shape to my template, and honed the top surface. The finished look is clean and elegant.

headboard and relite

Bed headboard  – We got a bed from a neighbor who wanted to get a new Queen-size bed.  When we set it up we realized the mattresses were not very comfortable, so we ended up buying a new set. With only the metal frame, we needed a headboard, and after designing one, and getting an estimate from a cabinet-maker I know, I decided to look at other options, as this was going to cost $200-300; the material alone $125+.  I decided a trip to The RE Store might give me some ideas, and/or I might find some material to use, saving some money. I did not find any sheet-stock material that looked appropriate, but did start looking at the various doors hoping to find something interesting. Luckily I spotted a great mahogany door, though well longer than the 5′ headboard length I needed. For $40 I decided to buy the door and figure out how to modify this later.  As an architect I’ve come to know a lot of great craftspeople, and happen to be working with one on a project of his, so we worked out a trade.  He shortened the door; removing the recessed panel, cutting down the stiles, and reset it all so perfectly; even filling in the former hardware holes. We love the headboard and even seeing the hardware fillers, gives us a sense of all the work that went into the door.

Interior window – I have used interior re-lites in many projects, and finally decided to install one between a south-facing upstairs bedroom and our stairway. In conjunction with re-surfacing the original plaster walls, which had some cracking, and also wanting to add some texture to the walls (in this case a soft broom texture, recommended by our plaster contractor). I found a beautiful leaded window, that had been removed from a house in South Park, due to window upgrades in that area, for better acoustic benefits of double-paned windows. An added benefit is that the bedroom feels even larger with the interior window, and still has all the privacy as no one can see into the room through the re-lite.

 gates collage

Garden gates –  I took another trip to The RE Store to see what I could get inspired by, when I needed to install a garden gate that would keep in our friend’s dog, for all the times we dog-sit. I spotted some window sashes, and figured those would make some nice gate, and provide some see-through for pets and children. I was worried about keeping the glass in, for the main gate, along our side street, and after finding a nice window sash, removed the glass and installed some scrap metal that I had around waiting to be repurposed. I then painted the gate similar colors to the house (paint was on-hand), with a clear, salvaged fir top.

 Thanks so much to Jay and all his RE Store Rockstar project examples!  You can find out more about Jay here:


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

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Outdoor Cinemas, Flying Beds & Funky Junk at NW Flower & Garden Show

Flower and Garden Show Booth CollageDid you ever ride on a flying bed made from old stair stringers and reclaimed fir posts at the NW Flower and Garden Show? If you didn’t get a chance to see it in person, we had a suspended day bed from which to watch the movie screen on the side of the “house” with salvaged beveled siding. Cabinet drawers arranged around the bed were filled with various bedding annuals and perennials. An outdoor kitchen sported one of the much acclaimed “Big Green Egg” hybrid grill/oven/smoker and a nice used cook top. Random reclaimed rummagings were used for planters and a vertical pallet garden filled out the vignette.

The Flower & Garden Show seminars are always a big highlight, bringing experts on a wide variety of experts on gardening, plants, garden design, food and more.  We proposed two seminars this year and were chosen as two of the 85 speakers from almost 250 proposals.

Thanks to everyone who came out to see us at the Flower and Garden Show this year – it is always great to meet new folks and catch up up with old friends! We had a great time designing and building this booth – this year’s theme was an “Outdoor Cinema” in line with the larger show’s theme of “Silver Screen – Take Root”.

Eberhard Eichner, our master of REvision Division furniture building in Bellingham talked about making the most of small urban gardening spaces outdoor furniture and demonstrated how to build a planter box, bench seat and arbor

Jason Darling, our Education and Marketing Coordinator, presented an inspiring slideshow with photos and videos of creative planters, fences and screens, pavers and patios, arbors, sculptural accents, water features and weird old unidentifiable things. Everything was made from reclaimed materials and he even did some good networking, soliciting artists for our 12th Annual Recycled Arts Show.

Thanks so much to our friends at Seattle Urban Farm Company for teaming up with us on our booth at the Flower & Garden Show – and to Sutter Home & Hearth for loaning us the “Big Green Egg” grill/smoker for the outdoor kitchen – and thanks to Sky nursery for loaning us some plants too.

Posted in: Green business, Stories about stuff, Transforming the building industry, You can do it yourself

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Show Us Your Junk – 2013 Call for Recycled Art & Functional Designs

Recycled Art piece - Jubilee by Julia HaackOne of the harbingers of Spring is The RE Store’s annual Call for Recycled Art and Functional Designs. The RE Store’s Recycled Arts Show will bring fresh examples of fine art and useful things for it’s 12th year. Galleries this year include:

  • Blowing Sands Studio and the Laura Frost Fine Arts Gallery in Seattle (Ballard)
  • Allied Arts of Whatcom County in downtown Bellingham
  • The RE Store in Bellingham.

The Bellingham galleries will exhibit during the month of April. The Seattle gallery show runs from mid-April until mid-May.

You may experience wonder or amusement at people’s creativity and fabrication skills after seeing something like Jubilee by Julia Haack (above).

You may question our wasteful ways after seeing pieces like Kuros Zahedi’s “A Glimmer of Hope” (below – represents only a small portion of the piece that took up an entire pallet)

Recycled Art - A Glimmer of Hope by Kuros ZahediAnd we want to see whats been brewing in your studio, garage, or right on your kitchen table. We welcome submissions from Washington State, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia province. The deadline is March 1, 2013 by 11:59PM for online submissions. Mail-in submissions must be postmarked by March 1 for. There is a $10 fee for submitting up to 3 pieces. Get all the details at the following links:

Call for Submissions for Seattle Recycled Arts Show
Submit your recycled art or functional design pieces to show at Blowing Sands Studio in Ballard. Deadline: March 1, 2013 by 11:59 PM

Call for Submissions for Bellingham Recycled Arts Show
Submit your recycled art or functional design pieces to show at Allied Arts of Whatcom County or The RE Store. Deadline: March 1, 2013 by 11:59 PM

Posted in: Recycled art and trash fashion, You can do it yourself

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DIY Garden Shed: Extra Space or Special Place

Garden shed in EdmondsSheds 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:

Gaetan in his shed's dutch doorway

“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

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

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The Salvage Path – a Side Yard of Repurposed Goods

James Taylor  has been with The RE Store’s Seattle field crew for over a decade now, helping to fill the stores with artfully removed and carefully preserved salvaged materials.  But as a self-avowed packrat (in recovery) and homeowner, he also has many pieces that have gone home with him – many still waiting to become projects too someday.   His side yard is one of those projects that will perhaps constantly evolve as he finds new treasures to add, but it a such a great spot of salvage inspiration and creativity – that we just had to share.

Literally almost every element of this eclectic and tranquil garden is salvage material.  As you can imagine, James does get a first look at almost all the materials that come into the store via our free salvage pick up services – and over time this has culminated in a garden full of treasures.  The pathway and edging (above, left) was created from Seattle brick and cobble stones – even the sand used for setting the brick was salvaged from a former concrete-counter maker neighbor of The RE Store, Dog Paw.  The weather vane (above, right) was taken from a job we did with King County removing houses in a floodplain.

The planters are all components that have had former lives as wash basin or a mop sink (above left and right) – items that were dropped off at the store from folks that had already used these items as something other than their original tasks – giving them 3 or more lives at least (now that is the kind of re-use commitment we like to see!).  And a stone whose former role was as an address marker, turned on its side (above, center) makes for a perfect seat in the center of this garden to take it all in.

Every last detail has a salvaged past – from the hose stand-offs made out of andirons (that someone made out of railroad track – not pictured) and homemade targets (above, left) to a bench created from sandstone pulled from a retaining wall in the Denny Regrade, piled with bocce balls and shot-puts salvaged from a high school job.

A creative fellow for sure – he has recently added the title of Designer/Builder for our Seattle REvision Division to his role – giving him the license to create the objects for places beyond just his yard as he plucks material from the jaws of the landfill.  Come check out some of his recent creations!

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

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Salvage Garden Fun at Village Green Nursery

Scenes from Village Green Perennial Nursery

In the White Center neighborhood of West Seattle, there is a little woodland garden oasis called Village Green Perennial Nursery.  This nursery also happens to be a great place to get ideas for reuse garden projects as well.  There are all sorts of great reuse and salvage projects at this garden center to inspire you – but there is one in particular which they submitted as a RE Store Rockstar project.  Two volunteers, David and Crystal (who also happens to have been our amazing intern at The RE Store in Seattle – Thanks, Crystal!), built the tables using pallets and stop sign posts that are scattered throughout the grounds of the nursery as plant displays.

Pallet and stop sign tables

David partially deconstructed the pallets, removing the 2x members.  Nail removal was a little more difficult that usual, since they had been placed originally with a nail gun, but otherwise a pretty straightforward process. Vera, the owner, received the parts used for the table legs through a neighbor barter trade.  This neighbor stopped by and offered to trade her a couple red and white posts from stop signs and a metal, glass-top table for an old telephone (a 1950s crank telephone).  Crystal chopped the legs to 24 inch lengths and they nailed them into the pallets.  David screwed the legs into scrap pieces of wood for extra bracing.

Anything could get planted at Village Green - a Radio Flyer on the left, cedar rain gutters on the right

Other re-use and salvage project you can see at Village Green include:  We really like their planters made from reclaimed antique bee boxes, and there are planted wire spools and metal chairs, reclaimed honeybee hives from a farm up the road, and “a bowling ball that floated into its current place during a rain storm – honestly – I swear!” Vera says.

The bowling ball floated in during a recent storm to take up residence

Learn more about this urban farm, including events, at Village Green’s website:

Posted in: RE Store Rockstar Project, Stories about people

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Fall harvesting in the RE Patch – food and reuse

The RE Patch community garden and demonstration site is enjoying it’s first harvest season.

This urban pea patch lives behind The RE Store in Bellingham, as a part of the The RE Store/RE Sources/Sustainable Living Center compound. It is a fertile and food-bearing example of creative reuse and volunteer elbow grease, guided by the good folks at Bellingham Urban Gardens and Homestead Habitats.  Crucial support has come from many local businesses. Since its first work in April, the patch now sports:

  • eleven garden plots build from salvaged lumber
  • a permaculture native forest edible garden
  • a rack of edible mushroom logs
  • arbor and picnic bench made from reclaimed building materials by The RE store’s REvision Division
  • a rainwater cistern pilot demonstration system with a 900 gallon capacity, thanks to the City Of Bellingham Public Works Department
  • compost system and tool shed

There are currently 3 plots available so contact Jennifer Fredricksen, the RE Patch coordinator, via phone at (503) 528-4664 or via email at

 Thanks to all our sponsors and volunteers

City of Bellingham Public Works

Tree Frog Farms   •   Cascadia Mushrooms,

Growsource   •   Cloud Mountain Farms

Plantas Nativa   •   The Gardens at Padden Creek

Sunbreak Nursery   •   Shelterbelt, Inc.

Sunseed Farm   •   Treemendous Plantworks

Whatcom Conservation District   •   Joe’s Gardens

The Garden Spot   •   Earthworks Tree Service

DeWilde’s Nursery   •   Starkenburg Shavings

Bakerview Nursery & Garden Center

Posted in: Stories about stuff, Things you never knew about The RE Store, Video posts, Why blog about The RE Store?

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Salvage Materials Transformed into Fun Garden Art at The Purple Bench

When Lynn Cushway built the little out building on her Oak Harbor property in 2002, she had no idea that it would eventually become The Purple Bench – Antiques & Gardens shop.  But as this creative lady retired last year, she realized that all her years of collecting antiques, recycling materials and creating beautiful landscapes had an obvious intertwined outcome, and she began her business in June of 2010.  This unique shop carries an array of refurbished and repurposed antiques and items for home and garden.

Best of all are those unique items that she creates herself.  She says that inspiration usually comes from the item itself that she has saved from going to the landfill.  She has transformed everything from culvert pipe and oak barrel metal bands to claw foot tubs and watering cans.



“Orb” was created with metal bands from collapsed oak barrel planters, old glass or metal doorknob, metal rod. The bands were drilled with hole at either end. A 36″ metal rod was inserted through the bands, leaving enough at top for a finial ( i.e. door knob) and enough in the bottom to stick “Orb” into the ground.





The “Bubbler” Fountain was made from a piece of concrete culvert pipe.  It is about 4’ tall and the pump sits in a hole dug in the ground covered with a pond liner.  There is a piece of PVC pipe running up the length of pipe through a recycled plastic butter tub which contains glass beads.  The water fills the tub and spills over the sides.


“Watering Can Fountain” spills into an old 4’ claw foot tub (you can see the sprinkling water if you look hard).  The pump is in the bottom of the tub and the hose runs through the waste holes and is buried in the bark.  The hose runs up the back side of the purple bench through a hole in the watering can and down in the spout.  In the background is an old manure spreader.   The “Patio Labyrinth” is a combination of recycled bricks and flat rocks creating a labyrinth design.   “I saw this done at a shop in Coupeville using whole and half pavers” Lynn says “You can find inspiration anywhere you look around!”

"Watering Can Fountain" and "Patio Labyrinth"

Do you have a RE Store-inspired project to be proud of?  Please, show off & share your story!








Posted in: RE Store Rockstar Project

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Greenhouse or potting shed: What to do with old windows

Aerial view of green house from reclaimed materials

Aerial view of DW's potting shed made from reclaimed materials

DW Clark’s greenhouse project started by accident.  A friend of DW’s was replacing the windows in her home and asked Clark if he wanted them.

DW remembers, “Without thinking I said yes, and then had to figure out what I was going to do with them.  Because I had so many windows it seemed logical to build a green house.“

Pergola from reclaimed lumber with shed in background

Pergola from reclaimed lumber with shed in background

Clark has lived in the northwest area for 15 years now with his wife and works at KOMO TV.  As an avid recycler he never contemplated using anything else but reclaimed items for the greenhouse.  He has other projects he’s built recently including a pergola and a planter out of salvaged building supplies.  “I have always enjoyed finding new uses for discarded material,” he said.

Clark built the structure in the shadiest part of his backyard due to space considerations. “It’s more like a potting shed.“

Inside view of potting shed

Inside view of the potting shed

DW used materials acquired from different places and people. He says, “The RE Store provided doors, hardware, bricks, bolts, shakes, plywood, 2 X 4’s, the sink, concrete footings and a door weight.  A friend who was replacing his deck gave me his old decking.  And Mark Armstrong from Iron Age Design in Burien gave me a blemished draining grate, which was extremely nice of him.”

The potting shed took Clark two years to complete by himself. Clark said that he faked his construction skills for most of the project. One interesting thing about Clark’s potting shed is that the top is built in the same proportions as the Cheops Pyramids in Egypt and is oriented to north.

How did DW feel when he finished it?  “Kind of surprised.  It came out pretty close to what I’d envisioned, and that was a shock.”

Visit The RE Store’s do-it-yourself guides to download a free guide for designing your own shed with used materials: “Extra Space or Special Place” and others on our do it yourself downloads page.

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

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