Posts Tagged original character

Many salvage details make a home

An office building originally built in 1912 for the Gooding Shingle and Saw Mill has slowly been made into a home since 2006 by its current owners — with a lot of patience and many trips over the years for parts and materials at The RE Store. Salvage items from The RE Store listed below:

 

A) Storm sash in place for old double hung window—enough for all the windows collected from the store over the years.
B) Computer work station. 1″ CVG fir top, solid oak cabinet, refinished.
C) Workshop storage cabinet, from WWU chemistry labs. 1 3/4″ maple bench top rescued from dumpster at Whatcom Middle School when they converted the wood shop to a computer room.
D) Double swinging doors.
E) Claw foot tub, refinished along with beveled tongue & groove red cedar paneling.
F) Light duty Dayton table saw.
G) Hemlock ceiling—beveled and tongue & groove milled on table saw.
H) Slate blackboard and CVG fir frame and chalk rail.
I) Stairway with 1″ CVG fir treads came in two pieces from a South Hill home. Oak hand rail also salvaged. Balustrade from re-used straight grained old growth fir. Cedar stanchion, 45 rings per inch, beach-combed from Cherry Point.

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 our materials’ lives. Send us your pics — and inspire others!  bray [at] re-store.org

 

 

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Treasures from an 1880s Bellevue Homestead

bellevue ranch collage

The Seattle field crew recently salvaged some architectural details and furniture (corbels, columns, mail sorting table, chairs, barrels can be seen in the above photos) from a barn on property that is one of the very earliest homesteads on the east side of Lake Washington. The original 20-acre homestead was established in 1884, located east of Yarrow Bay in Bellevue. The property has been in the current owners family since 1919 when their great-grandfather purchased it – now referred to as The “Ranch”.  The homestead first operated as a dairy and fruit orchard into the 1930’s. When the owner’s parents moved into the homestead as newlyweds in September of 1940, the property had been vacant or rented during the later part of the Depression.  Happily it had remained largely unharmed with much of the furniture, barn, and outbuildings intact.  As a young civil engineer, the current owner’s father began the remodeling of the old Victorian house after WWII that was originally building in 1880s, devoting the bulk of his spare time over the next 50 years to the eternal project of renovating the house for his growing family, then maintaining the property. The original homestead cabin remained on the upper part of the property as well until the 1990’s – and these architectural details we brought back to the store from both buildings had been carefully stored in the barn since the 1950s.  Come check them out!  

 

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Serendipity at The RE Store

IMG_2212We love a little serendipity here at The RE Store – and we recently had one of those moments at the Seattle store where just the right item was no longer needed in its home at the exact moment that it was needed in a new place.  Our crew backed up the truck to the store from a day in the field, and unloaded a set of French doors from a 1909 West Seattle house.  The door set was still leaning on the back edge of the truck as Bruce, the owner of Comstock Apartments – a 1909 building on Queen Anne – walked into the bay of the store in need of some doors, with the exact dimensions of this set that just came in. He wanted to keep with the original look of the apartment and building – and found it here, just off the truck! As many of you know, and our door sections can attest, most anything built in the Northwest before the mid-last-century was not of a standard size.  So to find the exact size, from the same year/era building at that moment must have been fate.

You never know what might be waiting for you – come to either store to see if that hard-to-find item is here!  

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Whale Skeletons, Recycled Building Supplies and Custom Designs

Whale skeleton with REvision Division Display

“Using recycled materials is in line with our mission,” says Cindy Hansen. “One way to help the whales is by helping the environment, which is something kids can wrap their heads around. It’s something easy they can do.”

Cindy is a zoologist and the Education Curator at The Whale Museum in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. For more than 34 years, the museum’s mission is Promoting stewardship of whales and the Salish Sea ecosystem through education and research. The museum is home to two gray whale skeletons: one hangs from the ceiling, and the other can be put together like a giant puzzle on the floor. Last year, the museum’s gray whale project was in need of a new display when Cindy happened upon Eberhard Eichner and the REvision Division booth at the Green Village during the San Juan County Fair. Eberhard, The RE Store’s designer/builder, launched the REvision Division two years ago, taking orders for custom building projects using recycled materials for businesses, home owners, and organizations. The Whale Museum received a grant for the gray whale exhibit, and they commissioned Eberhard and the REvision Division to design, build, and help install the interactive/interpretative information station.

Cindy, Jenny (the museum’s Executive Director), and Jill (Communications Manager) met with Eberhard in Bellingham to discuss the project, and, “As the four of us were talking, it all fell together.” Cindy said they had envisioned something with several panels on it, but it was Eberhard’s idea to work with the materials that he used: a door and a table at the center of the design, and louver doors as a decorative touch. “We decided to use those to display trivia cards, which are a huge hit,” she said.

whale museum display in the shop

Eberhard described the process and the result: “In three design, planning, and feedback sessions, we developed a very unique and functional display.  The components are still clearly recognizable parts of former uses and purposes.”

Says Eberhard of the design, “I was after a whale/maritime/Pacific Rim theme, and a compliment to the magnificent skeleton above. I made very few cuts or alterations to the original size, shape, and appearance of the components. It was a process of true collage and fitting matching pieces to each other.”

“The top “whale’s tail” panel came from a bed headboard and is floating on and among stacked “low tide rocks”, a.k.a. furniture legs.

“Eberhard was great to work with. He was so great at listening to our thoughts and suggestions,” said Cindy.

The grant that The Whale Museum got for building the gray whale display also included some funds for bringing students from low-income schools out to San Juan Island to see it and participate in the gray whale skeleton articulation program. Some of the students had never been on a ferry before. The program and display really complement each other and has been a hit with the students and teachers. Cindy said, “We’ve gotten so many great, great comments on it! It’s been a really popular exhibit.”

You can see the whale skeleton and the custom display at The Whale Museum, of course, and also on its website.

 

The REvision Division has built, among other things, a puppet theater for the Lummi Island Library, custom furniture for an elderly retirement house, and a picnic table for a dog park.

You can get a free 15-minute consultation on your reclaimed materials project—anything from full remodels to simple DIY projects:
In Seattle on the third Saturday of the month from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
In Bellingham on the first Saturday of the month from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. beginning in September, 2013

And you can find The RE Store educational DIY videos on the REvision Division page.

 

Special thanks to Christine Clifton-Thornton for authoring this article.

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

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How The RE Store Was Created 1991-1994

Storefront compilation 1999-2013 The Bellingham RE Store opened its doors in 1993 at the corner of Kellogg and Meridian, and the Seattle location opened in 1999. Jack Weiss, a council member for the city of Bellingham, recently recalled how The RE Store was created. When Jack was working as the Whatcom County Waste Reduction and Recycling Coordinator in the early 1990s, he hired Jeff Brown as a consultant to write the County Solid Waste Management Plan. Jeff Brown was then the executive director of the non-profit Environmental Resource Services (ERS), which later became RE Sources, the parent organization of The RE Store. According to Jack, Jeff was integral in his role as the brainchild of many of ERS’s early endeavors. The same could be said about Carol Rondello, who was Jeff’s go-to for both ideas and implementation. There were a number of others back then who also deserve credit in the evolution of what eventually became The RE Store, but Jeff and Carol carried most of the water. At that time, Jeff’s plan had the weight that state growth management plans do today. A few chapters of that plan provided the framework to counter the business-as-usual approach by the waste management industry. The plan was a couple of years in the making and was finally approved in 1994. The plan went on to become a template for other counties in the state. Jack marveled that he’d “never seen any plan on any subject that was as comprehensive and forward-looking as that one.” Back in 1991, Jeff brought the idea of a reusable material exchange operation to Jack after having seen the initial success of Urban Ore in Berkeley and Hippo Hardware in Portland. During the next 18 months, the two spent quite a bit of time fleshing out the idea to the point of searching the county and city for storefront sites for a county-run operation. The idea in its purest form was to accept materials from the public or contractors prior to disposal but also to scavenge the tip floor at the two incinerators and pull out reusable items. Jack hired ERS to do a survey of what was possible on the tip floor, because the true intent of this type of operation was waste diversion, and ERS knew their stuff. Jack decided to take $30,000 out of a grant award he’d received and apply it toward seed money for a material exchange through a Request For Proposal (RFP) process. They received two responses to the RFP: one from ERS and another from County Construction Recyclers (CCR—a demolition landfill off of Hemmi Road in Bellingham, which is now closed). CCR had a good proposal, but Jack chose ERS because of their philosophical understanding of the RFP purpose. The focus was on waste diversion rather than money. Carl Weimer, now a Whatcom County council member, had at the time become the next director of ERS. After Jack signed off on the contract, Carl secured the site on Meridian where The RE Store now stands and hired Bruce Odom as manager. Ultimately, the launch of The RE Store was the result of many hands. “The one regret I have about The RE Store,” says Jack, “is that it never did fully explore waste diversion opportunities on tip floors of all types of waste, but it did establish a great salvaging operation for building materials.” As we celebrated 20 years this month, we remember Jeff Brown, Jack Weiss, Carol Rondello, Carl Weimer, Bruce Odum and everyone else who made the creation of The RE Store possible.

Posted in: Green business, Reference and resources, Stories about people, Things you never knew about The RE Store, Transforming the building industry, Why blog about The RE Store?

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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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Salvaged Items & Rich History of Sanborn Building in Old Ballard: Notes From the Field

by Ryan DeSales, Seattle Field Crew Member

Sandborn Bldg salvage image collage

The RE Store’s Seattle field crew had the recent privilege of salvaging the stately, if not slightly dilapidated, G.B. Sanborn building on historical Ballard Avenue. The three story Romanesque structure was named in honor of Ballard businessman Gustavus B. Sanborn (G.B. to his friends) and opened its doors as a hardware store in 1901. Unfortunately, ol’ G.B. passed away shortly thereafter; however, his building has lived on in various forms, including stints as a department store and even a dry goods company.

Thankfully, the Sanborn’s future will remain secure. As of April, the 102 year old structure was undergoing an extensive and well-deserved retrofit that will preserve much of its original character. The project’s contractor enlisted Ballard’s own RE Store to salvage interior fixtures that were otherwise slated for the debris pile.

Items at the top of our architectural salvage list, and at the top of two flights of stairs, included the Sanborn’s original compliment of ornate cast-iron radiators, cast-iron wall mount sinks, fir panel doors, tin-clad swinging doors, and claw-foot tubs. For those of you wondering why antique claw-foot tubs are so expensive, it’s because they’re typically removed from the second floor of a building with plenty of rickety stairs and no elevator.

We began our salvage of the Sanborn by removing over two-dozen original fir panel doors complete with their true 4”x4” jambs. The field crew typically uses a reciprocating saw to cut through the nails that secure the doorjamb to the studs, but it’s sometimes preferable to do it the old fashioned way with a large pry bar. Using the pry bar reduces the amount of dust emitted into the air and eliminates the sparking and friction caused by cutting through nails and shims. Once removed, the door and jamb are screwed together for safer handling.

Because schlepping around two-dozen hung doors wasn’t enough fun, we moved on to radiators. After all, cast-iron radiators and stairs go together like peanut butter and jelly.  The most practical way to move a radiator down a flight of stairs is by securing it to a hand truck. There is a brief thrill of mechanical advantage as you wheel the iron beast to the edge of the landing, but then you go over the falls, and it all comes down to good old person power. In all, the Seattle field crew removed over a dozen cast-iron radiators, but it felt like a lot more.

Inevitably, the process of salvaging an old building like the Sanborn will reveal bits of local history and even a record of changing tastes. For example, we unearthed two beautiful sets of sliding fir library doors that had been totally encased behind closets built out from the walls. Like the current renovations to the Sanborn, these changes may have been made to make the space more inhabitable or may have been an individual preference. Whatever the case, The RE Store was happy to be involved in saving a little bit of Ballard’s history, no matter how heavy it was and how many stairs were involved.

Come check out all the loot brought back from this historical Old Ballard Ave building – most of the items are at the Seattle store, but Bellingham received some of the 5 and 6 panel doors last week.  Keep up with other ‘cool new things in the stores’ by signing up for our e-newsletter, Salvage Times here.   

Posted in: Notes From the Field, Stories about people, Stories about stuff

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Where Do You Wear a Chair?

Allied Arts Gallery - pieces by Luci Lytle and Jim DixonQ: What do art galleries, beach cleanups and salvaged materials have in common?
A: The RE Store’s 12th Annual Recycled Arts Show opening weekend

The Recycled Art Program has been showcasing creative works made from used materials since its early days in the late 1990’s, with partners over the years that have included: Whatcom Museum, Allied Arts of Whatcom County, Blowing Sands Gallery, Haute Trash, New York Fashion Academy, the Museum of Northwest Art, Habitude and many others.

Eberhard wears a chair at te gallery openingThe weekend of April 5th and 6th kicked off the annual exhibition of art made from reclaimed and scrounged media. Downtown Gallery Walk in Bellingham on Friday night debuted the Allied Arts gallery, which was packed for most of the evening. Live music and a spread of hors d’oeuvres were provided by the good folks at Allied Arts. Artists, designers and appreciators mingled amongst the artwork and The RE Store’s own Eberhard Eichner walked around wearing a chair with some hilarious puppet legs, scaling down his normal 6’3″ stature.

Two pieces had interactive elements. Bill Englander’s electrical spark gap Jacobs Ladder with the big red button that sent an arc of electricity up between the two rods. Check out this previous blog post about Bill’s hands-on electrical gadgets. Big Daddy Grungeness by Jim Dixon is a wall-hung crab whose legs and claws do a fun shimmy when you yank on the counterweighted reclaimed rope.

Art Hyatt's piece titled Buchenwald LaceOne potent piece, Buchenwald Lace by Art Hyatt, was a wall-hung set of curtains made from rust-eaten corrugated metal roofing. The piece with its fabric-like folds referenced one of Nazi Germany’s first and largest concentration camps. Art shared that he had debated with himself quite heavily about whether or not to use barbed wire as the curtain ties, but opted for a less intense representation.

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Allied Arts Gallery Opening 01

Self-illuminated pieces by one of Bellingham’s well-known lighting whizzes, Alana Coleman showed up at both of the Bellingham galleries, including these two pieces. Special thanks goes out to all of the participating artists and designers. Other pieces of note include:

  • a pair of custom-built ice-climbing tools made from bike parts, reclaimed carbon fiber  and other random bits by William Bradley
  • a bodice and skirt made from maps and computer parts titled “Analog” by Jolee Nebert
  • two larger than life-sized sculptures of semi-human looking creatures by Eberhard Eichner and Jason Brown
  • light sconces made from drill bodies and old lp records by Graham Schodda who gets special kudos for helping hang The RE Store’s gallery in Bellingham

 

 

Posted in: Recycled art and trash fashion, Stories about people, Stories about stuff, Things you never knew about The RE Store, You can do it yourself

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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:  http://www.artandarch.net

 

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

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Picker professional Devin Champlin – luthier, musician and salvager

Our old friend Devin Champin, had a short and well-done video made about him. He shares how he builds guitars from reclaimed lumber. His work as a luthier and instrument repairman continues to gain notoriety. And if you haven’t ever seen him perform with one of his projects like the Gallus Brothers or any number of other projects around the NW, you are missing something.

Filmed and edited by Laura Going, Samantha Heim, and Lauren Stelling

Devin Champlin from Lauren Stelling on Vimeo.

Music by Devin Champlin

http://www.champlinguitars.com/

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

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