Posts Tagged Seattle

With Endings, Come New Beginnings

As many of you know, we’ve been going through some transitions at The RE Store. For those of you that may have missed the news, after much deliberation the Board of RE Sources for Sustainable Communities (our parent nonprofit) decided to close the Seattle store as of June 13th to focus our efforts on serving NW
Washington at our Bellingham location.

We are incredibly appreciative of the support that Seattle (and the Ballardcommunity in particular) has shown us over the past 15 years by way of shopping at the store, bringing us your donations, taking part in our workshops, attending our Recycled Arts Shows – and generally helping us spread the culture of reuse.

However – with all endings, there are new beginnings, and we are incredibly excited to pass on the news that the managers of The RE Store in Seattle have pulled together to open up a new reuse center – Ballard Reuse.  The store will ensure that the North Seattle community retains a used building materials store and will give the community the same service and commitment to keeping materials out of the landfill that they’ve come to expect. It officially opened June 16th – same location, same phone numbers and same friendly faces you’ve seen at The RE Store in Seattle over the last 10+ years.  We are happy to support this new reuse store and we wish them all the best.

10379531_1421967964751175_7137920475298043546_oFind out more about Ballard Reuse on their webpage:  www.ballardreuse.com
And check out their Grand Opening on June 28th!  

Posted in: Stories about people, Stories about stuff

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2014 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 13th year –  at Blowing Sands Studio and the Laura Frost Fine Arts Gallery in Seattle (Ballard). We won’t be holding our own gallery show in Bellingham this year, but sponsoring the great work of Allied Arts & the RARE recycled arts expo. You may experience wonder or amusement at people’s creativity and fabrication skills after seeing something like Jubilee by Julia Haack (right). 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 February 15, 2014 by 11:59PM for online submissions. Mail-in submissions must be postmarked by February 15. There is a $10 fee for submitting up to 3 pieces. Get all the details at the following link: Call for Submissions for Seattle Recycled Arts Show Submit your recycled art or functional design pieces to show at Blowing Sands Studio in Ballard. Or just come and support Recycled Art at the show – opening scheduled for Saturday April 12th, 6-9p.     

Posted in: Stories about people, Stories about stuff

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Creative Pumpkin Carving – for a Cause!

2013 collage

Carve for a Cause is a pumpkin carving contest event and fundraiser put on by Architects Without Borders –  Seattle (AWB-S), a nonprofit whose mission is to provide ecologically sensitive and culturally appropriate design assistance to communities in need.  This annual affair that The RE Store has been a part of these last 3 years was held at Copperworks Distilling Company in downtown Seattle.  The pumpkins are carved by a wide range of design, construction and other related firms who put their best and most creative carvers together to compete for the titles of best Traditional/Scary, Artistic/Freestyle, Starchitecture, Judge’s Choice, and People’s Choice.  Seattle store staff, Nichole, took the charge for creating The RE Store’s entry, and along with help from fellow staffers Henry and D’Andre, created The Lantern-o-Jacks (top, left).  While our entry received many compliments, we lost out on taking home a prize this year.  The competition was stiff and the judges had tough choices in front of them with over 40 pumpkins entered this year!  A few of the amazing entries can be seen above – even more can be seen on AWB-S’s Flickr set here. Thanks to AWB-S for a great event – and to Nichole, Henry and D’Andre for their creativity and carving skills!

Posted in: Recycled art and trash fashion, Stories about people, Things you never knew about The RE Store

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Ebbets Field Flannels Updated with (Way)Back-to-school Materials


ebbets field salvage retail displays

Ebbets Field Flannels has been hand-crafting authentic reproductions of baseball shirts, caps, and more from historic teams all around the country – from right in the heart of Pioneer Square in Seattle.  To celebrate their 25 years in business, they have a brand new facility and retail store on Jackson.  Almost all of the details and displays are salvaged and repurposed – including lighting fixtures, globes, crates, benches, and lockers.  And many of the build-out details are made from bleacher board made of Southern Pine that The RE Store brought back this summer from Prairie High School in Battleground, Washington.  This dense yellow pine, most likely installed in its original use in the 1960s, has a new life as many great warm details throughout the space in their caps storage, rack tops, counters and more.  They’ve also built table tops out of a piece of bowling alley that found its way back to The RE Store – having already had a repurposed life before this latest incarnation.

 EFF_25th_Anniv_flyer

To celebrate 25 years and a new space, Ebbets is hosting an open house this Friday evening – complete with beer and dogs.  Check out the invite above – all are invited!  It is a great space to get some REuse inspiration.  Get inspired and then come find that special material for your own projects in Ballard or Bellingham!
www.ebbets.com

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

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Finding the Love of a New (Salvaged) Toilet – A Volunteer’s Story

Lately, I may have been judging my toilet too harshly. At this point, we’re barely even speaking.  But I’m upside-down in my bathroom once again, and it’s literally staring me in the face. My bathroom’s too small; I can’t escape it. I’m trying to not think about it, but there it is again:

My toilet is a ticking time bomb. That thing has got to go.

I finish blow-drying my hair upside-down and set myself right-side up again. Once I’ve broken eye contact, if I’m really honest about it, I’ll admit it: My old toilet’s probably … perfectly fine. It’s adequate for its purposes; everything works, and, although I have no real way to know for sure, it likely does the job just as well as any other average toilet. In fact, it’s probably a little better than average. My bathroom’s done in yellow tile with one thin, pale blue stripe of tile running around the room at about shoulder height. And there, running around the top of the toilet tank, is an almost perfectly matching, thin, pale blue stripe. I mean, whoever installed the toilet went out of their way to make sure it matched. Nice! I’m someone who appreciates attention to detail, but if it were me, I’m not sure I would have gone to the trouble. If I were a little more generous some mornings, I’d at least give my toilet extra points for style.

But then, as I was volunteering down at The RE Store the other day, I saw it: my dream toilet. And unlike the last time I saw it glittering under the hot lights of a showroom floor, it’s at a price I’d actually be willing to pay for something I spend so little time with. And as an added bonus, it’s salvaged, which is one of my favorite things. Unfortunately, the very fact of its existence has begun to make me uncharacteristically discontent. As a result, every time I’m alone in the bathroom, looking at that thin, pale blue stripe through a curtain of damp hair as I move the blow-dryer around, I’m just a little … unaccountably … suspicious.

photo (1)

The object of Christine’s affection – American Standard Hatbox Toilet at The RE Store: $100.

 

Let me be perfectly clear: I’m not one of those people who buys things for no good reason. Every time I read a magazine article that tells you to replace your fill-in-the-blank with an environmentally sustainable fill-in-the-blank, I automatically edit the sentence in my head to say, “When your fill-in-the-blank is no longer even vaguely useful, not even as a planter (or a coat rack, door prop, garden ornament, etc.), consider replacing it with an environmentally sustainable fill-in-the-blank.”

But then, every morning it’s the same thing: I’m upside-down in my bathroom, blow-drying my hair, and I start to notice things about my toilet that no one should ever be close enough to their toilet to notice. There’s a faint stain on one of the bolts holding it to the floor that just might be the beginning of rust. Is that rivulet of moisture running down the side of it the beginning of a leak, or is that just general moisture from the shower? Is that a hairline fracture starting along the base? I squint at it, swirling my hair out of the way with the blow dryer. Uh, no. It’s just a … well, never mind.

The point is, I’m trying to not let some fancy toilet sway me from my staunch conviction to not consume needlessly. But some mornings, based on whatever imaginary flaw I’m sure I’ve just spotted on my perfectly innocent toilet, I’m filled with less conviction than others. I’m kind of hoping someone will restore my relationship with my tried-and-true by snatching up my dream toilet at The RE Store, so the next time I’m upside-down in my bathroom, my toilet and I will be on speaking terms again.

Come see what might become your object of affection at the stores this week!  Special thanks to Christine Clifton-Thornton for authoring this article.

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Summer Kicked-Off with a Carport Deconstruction – Notes From the Field

by Ryan DeSales, Seattle Field Crew Member

Summer is here! And that means that the weather is perfect for barbeques, the beach, and even deconstructing a carport. Yes, a carport. At least that’s what The RE Store’s Seattle field crew did on its summer vacation.

field crew deconstructing

You may already know that The RE Store will pick up and/or salvage your reusable building materials for free in the greater Puget Sound area. But did you know that we also offer green demolition services for select projects? The goal of green demolition (or “deconstruction”) is to salvage as much reusable material as possible, while mitigating waste and environmental impact.

With these goals in mind, an aging carport in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood became the perfect candidate for summer deconstruction. We started from the top by stripping off the old torch-down tarpaper roofing; incidentally, this was the only real waste created during the entire project. Next, we pulled the plywood sheathing from the rafters and then removed and lowered the rafters themselves onto our trusty truck Possum.

I should mention that we parked Possum (one of our trusty flat-bed trucks) directly under the carport and worked from it like a scaffold. This provided a stable work platform and allowed us to load salvaged materials immediately upon removal. This is not the first time that Possum has served as part scaffold and part workbench. We even roped the carport’s vertical support beams directly to Possum’s side gates to keep the structure stable as we pulled it apart (MacGyver would be proud).

possum the truck as scaffolding

Surprisingly, most people don’t like to buy lumber that’s full of nails and staples. Thus, we typically “de-nail” all lumber onsite and this carport deconstruction was no exception. Larger nails must be removed the old fashioned way with pry bars or hammers. Smaller nails, however, can be extracted with a pneumatic nail-kicker. The nail kicker is essentially a reengineered nail gun that is placed on the point end of a nail to shoot it free of the work piece.

With the exception of a circular saw to cut a few beams down to length, we deconstructed the entire carport with hand tools and elbow grease. From start to finish, the process took five people approximately four hours, and it yielded twenty sheets of plywood, twenty-five 2”x10”x18’ boards, four 6”x6”x10’ posts, and an assortment of smaller lumber. We recycled all unsellable materials, such as old aluminum rain gutters, flashing, and the pounds of removed nails and others fasters.

loose beams ready for The RE Store

The RE Store’s green demolition services are well suited to standalone structures, such as garages, carports, sheds, and similar outbuildings. These types of structures can be dismantled efficiently with person power and hand tools and typically yield less waste. As an added bonus, green demolition of such buildings creates a supply of quality, reduced-cost building materials for re-consumption by the public.

Contact our crews in Seattle or Bellingham here:  http://re-store.org/contact-us/

Posted in: Notes From the Field, 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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Building Deconstruction, Green Demolition and Decon ’13

State Street warehouse seriesIf someone asked you what deconstruction is, would you respond:

  1. A complex philosophical movement about meaning that started in France in the 1960’s
  2. A new way of salvaging construction supplies from structures that are being demolished
  3. The age-old method of recovering useful building materials from an existing building

If you answered 3, you are correct. The Roman Empire dismantled and reused ancient Egyptian architectural elements and other building materials over 2000 years ago. They repurposed construction supplies, known as spolia, from throughout the many lands they conquered. Building deconstruction has become a movement in North America over the last 2 decades. The top five reasons are:

  1. Green building has become well-documented as a wiser way to build and remodel structures for all types of use
  2. Resources and commodities have increased in cost
  3. Waste disposal has become more expensive
  4. Design and decor trends have grown the public interest in reclaimed materials
  5. The “D.I.Y.” movement has become hugely popular across television, radio, print and online channels

Decon 13 logoThe deconstruction movement is spreading as businesses, tool research and development, national conferences and case studies all add fuel to the fire. The deconstruction industry’s largest conference, Decon ’13 is hosted by the Building Materials Reuse Association. The event happens this week in Seattle with a wide range of topics that include:

  • Designing for buildings to be deconstructed
  • Historic preservation
  • Deconstruction work force training and education
  • Use of low-value materials
  • Negotiating and permitting deconstruction projects
  • The RE Store’s REvision Division will present our innovative and award-winning furniture building program

You would be hard pressed to find a better source of information, best practices, great networking and much more. Come and be a part of the movement this week, whether you are a builder, architect, demolition contractor, salvager, government project manager, politician or average joe working to stay abreast of the latest building industry trends. The RE Store has over 13 years of experience taking down buildings, including case studies on our website. Contact us today for a bid on your project. What topics would you like to learn about, in regards to deconstruction?

Posted in: Green business, Reference and resources, Stories about contractors, Stories about people, Stories about stuff, Transforming the building industry, 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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Notes From the Field – a Window of Opportunity and a Stairway to Heaven

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.

windows minutes before demo

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.

spiral stair

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 by Ryan DeSales, Seattle Field Crew member

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