Posts Tagged success story

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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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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A Young RE Store Rockstar builds her own Tiny House of Salvage

Celina's tiny house under constructionThis RE Store Rockstar is one industrious young lady.  Celina Dill, 17, is building her 10’ x 18’ x 14’ high tiny house, on wheels, entirely out of reused and repurposed materials. Inspired by the Tiny House Movement she is ‘unschooling’ herself by diving into all the trades it takes to make a project like this come to life.

She is an obsessed builder right now, with the goal of moving into her cottage in August. Items acquired from The RE Store include: “The Toilet of her Dreams” (really!), which has a 3/4″ tilt on the lid area; her ‘really cool’ front door, which is being refinished as we speak; a window or two, and the latest purchase: French doors. Since Celina’s walls are thinner than the walls the door set came from, they needed to do some tricky Skilsawing of the frame, reducing their width by 1 1/2″. She has also acquired items from Second Use, Earthwise, and Skagit Building Salvage.

I’ll let her words tell the rest of the story, since among her many talents are great story telling and photography.  More about Celina’s Tiny Abode can be found at http://mytinyabode.blogspot.com/. Many pictures of her project can be seen on these pages.

It seems Celina comes from a long line of industrious folks.  Her dad, Walter Dill, also has a ‘home on wheels’ project in the works – a 1956 Airfloat Land Yacht.  He uses reclaimed materials as well, and found lights for the interior at The RE Store that have yet to found their actual location.

Thanks to both Celina and Walter for inspiring us with their Rockstar Projects!  Do you have a RE Store-inspired project to be proud of?  Please, show off & share your story!

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

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PSE’s Re-Energized by Design winners – designing around reuse

Scott and Nia Sayers spent the last six months winning a competition that remodeled their home’s interior, benefitted their family and their professional lives, all while designing around reuse. That contest was Puget Sound Energy’s Re-Energized by Design challenge that pitted six households against each other in a contest that we quote here from the PSE site:

“Re-Energized by Design is a ‘design show’ style competition, where six PSE customers are competing in a series of five room-by-room makeover challenges to combine creative home design with energy efficiency. After each challenge, one contestant is eliminated. PSE provides contestants with a weekly cash allowance, energy-efficient products, and a design coach to help implement stylish energy-efficient home upgrades.”

Designing with reuse - Nia Sayers Window Display - Bubble TubThe Sayers have been designing around reuse for many years. Nia Sayers did window displays at The RE Store in Bellingham in 2008 and 2009. Nia came up with inspiring concepts like a salvaged claw-foot bathtub full of light globes and lightbulbs as bubbles.

Nia Sayers Serving table displayThen there was her outdoor serving table that she built from a table base rescued from the brink of the landfill. Click on the photo thumbnails for full-sized photos. Nia has taught workshops on DIY skills like recovering upholstery and her idea for this project is downloadable here.

Scott Sayers - Chevy Chase - Recycled Arts Show 2013Scott just had pieces in both Bellingham galleries for the 12th Annual Recycled Arts Show. If you missed his perfect rendering of Chevy Chase in negative relief that was cut out of duct tape, the photo doesn’t do it justice. Scott said that for the Re-Energized by Design competition that “The RE Store was our secret weapon.”

When asked about how all of the remodeling of the family’s home wrapped up, Nia said, “We still have some projects to finish up.”

And don’t we all…

Check out the Re-Energized by Design website for all of the stories, more resources for saving money and making a home more efficient. You might pick up some creative and clever ways to improve home interiors and make it more energy-efficient. And learn more about Nia on her site, SummerLandStyle.com.

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

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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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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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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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Reclaimed Materials Testing, Dog Picnics and City Park Approval

85% correct
Mad scientist reuse master, Eberhard Eichner, has conducted secret tests on reclaimed materials. In the REvision Division’s lead-shielded underground testing facility, a chunk of reclaimed bleacher board with masonite veneer sat in a bucket of water for over 4 weeks. The mad scientist’s disfigured assistant occasionally took it out to bake it in the oven or place it in the freezer. The piece showed some obvious distress, but the masonite held on strongly and no splinters showed in the butt end.
[Note: Of the previous statements, 85 percent of the information is correct.]

It takes a village

Dog Park Bench and members of Grateful Dogs Off Lease Association

The materials testing was done as research for a public facility picnic bench, built by The RE Store’s REvision Division. Returning customers, Wolfgang & Angelika Schlager, got together with their pet owner club, Grateful Dogs Off Leash Association, to raise funds for a picnic table. The table was to be placed not in a private backyard, but as a communal gathering and resting place in the off-leash dog area for the small dogs section at Lake Padden Park in Bellingham. The group educating people to be responsible pet owners, providing waste bags at Lake Padden, Bloedel-Donovan, and Post Point parks.

To have it built, the dog-running neighbors collected the money to fund the bench through donations at pie socials, cookie bakes and such. Finally the table was done. The masonite faced solid fir bleacher board was used for the seats and underpinning with some gorgeous slabs of Local Source Forest Products cedar for the top. All got braced, screwed and double screwed, bolted, sealed, oiled and otherwise built to last. The table was hauled off by the Schlagers with confidence.

Its official

Dog Park Bench with canines

Two days later Eberhard received a call. One cannot just place a picnic table into a city park!  A parks and recreation department official had to inspect the item to not be some rinky-dinky, wobbly, fly-by-night affair.  Upon inspection by the proper authorities, it was found to be sound by the official from Bellingham City Parks and Recreation. “This thing will last you guys a long time,” was the quote. This is as official of a city approval as the unsuspecting dog owners were ever hoping for.

Dog pros and cons
The dogs had something to say as well. Raci, the Schlager’s Saint Bernard said (rough translation), “The benches make it much harder to poach food off the table, but it makes for a nice shady spot and another place to leave my mark.”

If you want your own picnic table or have other ideas for furniture, functional or decorative finish work, The REvision Division does custom work and project consultation. Our design master will spend a complimentary 15 minutes with you to discuss your project, suggesting materials and ideas to help you save money and make the most of your used building materials. Visit The RE Store in Bellingham on the first Saturday of each month between 11am and 3pm to discuss your project with Eberhard and the REvision Division.

Posted in: Stories about people, Stories about stuff, Things you never knew about The RE Store

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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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