Posts Tagged vintage

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

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

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The 2012 End of The World Window Display & Video

In the spirit of light(ness) during this holiday season, we celebrate the kooky cacophony of doomsayers and hopefuls with a tongue-in-cheek window display at The RE Store in Bellingham as we pass through another apocalyptic date, 12/21/2012.

  • Shabby crabby bomb shelter decor blending vintage survival gear with reclaimed building materials
  • Paranoid protection wear on Calamity Jane contrasted by Skippy’s celebration finery
  • Basic food staples displayed in opposition to large quantities of sugary junk food
  • Out in the big world, threatening end-of-the-world prophetic warnings counter-balance with inspirational messages of the new Mayan calendar cycle that begins.

Please take our attempts at lightness as they are intended.

Now can we all get on with it?

“It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.”

~ R.E.M.

Special thanks to Dana Lyons and John Seed for song permission in our funky little video!

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

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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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Creative reuse and shocking mermaids at 9 Blue Salon

High angle shot of 9 Blue Salon's piano and stylist stations

9 Blue Salon's style comes entirely from reclaimed materials

Barret Lizza bootstrapped the start up of his hair salon in Bellingham, alone, on an extremely small budget, in less than a month.  He signed the lease for “9 Blue Salon” around Christmas of 2011 and spent a crazy month on non-stop remodeling madness, by himself, hauling all of the materials on top of his 1996 Ford Escort. With his limited funds, he had to build the space almost entirely with salvaged materials.

Barret described why, “I wanted to have a salon that was affordable, because I was tired of everyone charging so much. And I wanted something different from the look of all those salons that look like a fashion runway. Being creative is a lot better than buying a bunch of new stuff anyways.”

Style didn’t come without peril, though. Barrett explains, “One of the chandeliers has these great mermaids on it. It was from an old mansion in Seattle.  I was up on the ladder, all alone, using a pulley system I rigged up like an Egyptian or something and I shocked myself on the bronze fixture, trying to keep it suspended while attaching it.”

Low angle shot of 9 Blue Salon with lighting, cabinets and more

Low angle shot of 9 Blue Salon with lighting, cabinets and more

Reclaimed materials were used throughout the space. Old doors were hung with used mirrors for the stylist stations. Rollabouts for the stations were made from salvaged cabinets with drawers that he put wheels put on. Then a fire extinguisher was repurposed into a towel holder and old rusty car jacks were made into a shelf. He gave each station has its own mailbox for communications with the independently contracted stylists, made from old mailboxes from an apartment complex. Shelving, beams, paint, and lighting were all found at The RE Store or pulled out of his house or barn. Barrett picked up a used piano from Big Brothers Big Sisters, who didn’t want it anymore.

Barrett talked about his road blocks, “Money was the biggest challenge. I did the whole thing with $1500.00. Lifting and hanging stuff by myself was a bit tricky. I don’t think a lot of people could see what I was seeing so I had to do a lot of it by myself. I tore out the existing acoustic tile ceiling and the fluorescent lighting, getting some trade credit when I took those in to The RE Store. That helped me buy more materials like the big reclaimed beams. They (the beams) were affordable. It was little parts that were the most expensive. The screws and hangers cost a lot of money.”

Lizza continues to vision on other projects like 9 Blue Laboratories, a music recording studio and arts space for himself. If it proves to be anything like the salon, it will inspire any artist or creative type who enters.

Watch his rather epic commercial here to catch some more glimpses of 9 Blue Salon and its once more decor.

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

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Jacob’s Ladder from reclaimed materials at the Spark Museum

Bill Englander is an out-of-the-box tinkerer. His most recent project was building a Jacob’s Ladder for the newly rebranded Spark Museum in Bellingham. We will just let Bill tell you in his own words below the video…

As a boy, I had two grandfathers who each taught me the fine art of tinkering and repair.  Grandpa Englander whiled away his retirement gleaning old wooden wall phones from the early 20th century, removing the innards, and turning them into radios by installing newfangled transistor radios in the 1950s.  Grandpa Hastings could and would repair anything and everything.  Grandma had a cartoon framed on her kitchen wall that summed up Grandpa’s handiness: amid a background of ringer washers, Model-Ts, and old appliances, an Old Woman says to an Old Man holding an antique toaster, ” I KNOW you can fix it – you can fix anything.  I WANT A NEW ONE!”

Jacob's Ladder - base of unit

Jacob's Ladder for the Spark Museum of Electrical Invention by Bill Englander

I probably saw my first Jacob’s Ladder as a kid watching the original Frankenstein movie on TV.  All my life I wanted to build one; it was just too cool for school.  In 2008 I purchased a used 15,000 volt neon transformer, which sat on a shelf until the summer of 2010 due to my innate fear of electrocuting myself in the process of pursuing my hobby.  Finally, I got up the nerve to begin designing my first ladder.  I scrounged an old rectangular radio case from the Museum of Radio and Electricity, purchased a motion sensor, touch switch, sockets, switches, lighting parts, and miscellaneous neat-looking stuff, all from The RE Store, and tinkered off and on for three months to the finished product.

The current ladder (pun intended) was created for the renamed Spark Museum of Electrical Invention with generous assistance from The RE Store, which supplied the futuristic-looking cap on the cylinder, the cap on the base, and all the brass bling on the base.  The borosilicate glass protective cylinder is a pipe salvaged from a secret bio-weapons laboratory in Downtown Bellingham located in the Spark Museum’s “basement.”  Sherwin-Williams donated the five-gallon you-know-what base;  CDI Signs supplied the transformer.  Radio Shack was nice enough to sell me the blinking LEDs and resistors.  Other parts were scrounged from my electrical box-o-goodies and “elsewhere.”  I put about 40 hours into this one.

Jacob's Ladder - base of unit

Jacob's Ladder - base of unit

I volunteer at the Museum.  I noticed a year ago that the popular Jacob’s Ladder on exhibit was – in a word – fried.  The device creates ozone when it operates by burning air – O2.  This is of course great for the stratosphere, but bad for anything metallic, ’cause ozone is corrosive,  especially the metal in the Jacob’s Ladder enclosed in a Plexiglass box, such as it was.  The poor thing literally ate itself.  The new version includes a proprietary “Ozone Drain” (a plastic tube) that removes the ozone by gravity, as it is heavier than air.  The original design of my replacement ladder turned on by motion (The RE Store’s proximity sensor switch); the Museum expressed concern the ladder might continually cycle “ON” due to patrons flocking to it like bees to a flower, and subsequently go nuclear without warning.  So I ripped out the motion sensor and replaced it with a switch and a timer cannibalized from the dead ladder.

Giving up my baby (the newly completed Jacob’s Ladder) felt like losing a favorite shoe.  But I’m pulling out of it, and designing my next creation; I just hope it’s an 8 1/2 Left.

~ Bill Englander

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

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Used Door Rewards And Aligned Design

Door project photo - before installation

Paul and Alaine's dining room before the installation of the doors

The residents of Bellingham, Washington are passionate about using the most of what one has, while having less of an impact on the environment around them. Paul Haskins and Alaine Borgias, owners of the successful Adventures NW magazine, know firsthand about choosing options that conserve both resources and money. These native Bellingham folk live in a Victorian-style home, so more contemporary home accessories were not an option for them.

Paul and Alaine ran into a predicament when they realized they needed a set of doors that would allow them to grill outside more easily, but these doors needed to match the look of their older home. Haskins explains, “We were big on cooking outside, but did not have an easy way to access the barbecue without going through three doors or through rooms, which we didn’t want to be bringing food through. And it couldn’t be just any old door, as we wanted to keep in line with our Victorian home’s design.”

Door installation project - after

The newly installed double doors kept with the Victorian style of the house

Haskins said how his wife, Alaine, found an “almost perfect set of doors with frame and hardware at The RE Store,” where there is a large selection of used doors in a variety of styles, some of which match the older homes in the neighborhoods surrounding the store. The two talked and eventually figured that the set was perfect for their home – the only flaw was they did not have enough room to store the doors in the garage because of too many finds already from The RE Store in there. This project had to be put on, as what Haskins called it, “fast track.”

Thanks to their hard work, now Paul and Alaine are able to enjoy barbecuing year-round with a set of doors that fits in with the look of their Victorian home. Paul recalls that “it’s been a sort of joke how family or people who have been to the house regularly have walked past them numerous times before they finally say, ‘Oh my god, you have doors!’ We couldn’t have done it without The RE Store!”

Haskins figures that he ended up spending more money on just the trim of the doors than the actual doors. It pays to be green and use sustainable building products while keeping with the design elements of historic homes.

Posted in: Stories about people, Stories about stuff, You can do it yourself

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Keeping Spirit of Historic Neighborhood: Row House Café

Counter and cashier area - Row House Cafe

Front counter at the Row House Cafe

Located in South Lake Union’s Cascade neighborhood in Seattle, the Row House Café offers a comforting sense of nostalgia in appearance and atmosphere and is known among its customers as the “neighborhood living room.” Originally built in 1904 as three row houses that offered work force housing, the structure has since been redeveloped into the current digs where the café operates now.

Row House Cafe Interior with salvaged doors windows lighting

Interior with salvaged doors, windows and lighting from The RE Store

We recently spoke with Row House Café partner, Erin Maher, who told us the story of their recent remodeling project and explained how she “shopped at The RE Store to find furniture, fixtures, and building materials that helped us stay true to the integrity of the original buildings.” Some of the products that Erin found to match her tastes were architectural windows pulled from a historic home on Capital Hill, a pastry case made from an antique jewelry box, vintage medallions above the windows, and doors trimmed with old ceiling moldings.

Row House Cafe seating and decor

Row House Cafe seating and salvaged decor

Since the non-profit salvage store in Ballard can overwhelm the senses with its large selection of just about everything, Erin would visit the store “with an open mind.” Maher said, “I was able to see new and different uses for the items in the store.”  Erin knew that fresh items arrive daily to The RE Store, so she made return trips to get new ideas from the eclectic inventory of items with unique stories and characteristics to them.

A big project she accomplished with the help of The RE Store was building a patio fence from exterior shutters and columns. Erin told me how they created “the entire storefront using old windows and a French door and sidelights, all from different periods to create a one-of-a-kind entrance to our private party space converted from a cinderblock garage.”

Erin remarked on the special synergy that The RE Store and Row House Café have. “They both bring out the unique characteristics of a living, breathing space in order to make it beautiful for our guests.”

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

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Kids, cafe’s, community centers and creative reuse

Photo of Time In Play Cafe and owner Hedy Hanni

Time In Play Cafe fills the former YMCA building with Hedy Hanni’s vision of an artisan cafe and community center for all ages

Hedy Hanni had a crazy idea when she was 19. “I wanted to open up an artisan cafe when I was 19 in Chicago, where I grew up.”

She now is the proud owner of the newly-opened Time In Play Cafe on Holly Street in Bellingham, with a brightly day-lit cafe in the front, a huge play structure and activity zone for families in the back, side rooms that host classes and a soon-to-be local artisan gallery / consignment shop.

“I imagined a community center that could be a multipurpose space, but was beautiful and nourished your senses where everyone in a family could have a good time. That was the original use as the space as the original YMCA from 1906 until 1942 when it was taken over by the Odd Fellows. But now I have brought the space back to its original purpose.”

Time In Play Cafe front room and play area

Time In Play Cafe’s front cafe space, part of the play zone and local pottery mugs from Cary Lane

The idea has been years in the making. Hedy has lived 2 blocks away for 12 years, fantasizing about what could be done with the building and actively visioning on the play cafe concept for two and a half years, “But I had an 18-month old at the time so I just said HALT!” She wrote the business plan in June and opened on Oct 1st of this year.

Hedy bought all of the furniture and almost all of the fixtures used through craigslist, thrift stores and what she calls, “…my favorite store, The RE Store.” The cabinets, lockers, armoire, former kitchen cabinet, book shelf, and signs made from cabinet doors are all from the non-profit’s Bellingham store. She reupholstered and refinished the chairs herself in the front cafe area as well as in the play area and side rooms.

When asked why did she outfit her place with used furniture and fixtures, she didn’t hesitate at all, saying, “That is what I believe in. I am a former Green Peace activist. The whole space is non-toxic, with as much of the furniture, building materials, play structure, pottery, and food as possible are locally sourced, organic and fresh. I bet I saved 75% on the furniture and fixture costs.”

Why did she take on such a large project? She said, “Because I really wanted it. When my son Joaquim was born, we needed a place to go when it was raining and stormy. We haven’t found many places that we both really enjoy.”

How does she feel now that Time In Play Cafe is open? “When I am here and working, I feel really really happy. But as a result of the whole thing, I miss my boy a lot. He really wants to make the smoothies and he is very bummed that he doesn’t get to be a worker. But he’s 4.”

So head down, say hello to Colleen (the name for the stylish espresso machine) and check out the wild espresso bar built from reclaimed lumber by Lucas Walker. Bring your friends, your kids, or just your laptop and enjoy this gem of a cafe in Bellingham, filled with creative reuse.

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

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Cyndy’s House of Pancakes Salvage Treasures

Booths, furniture, a bar and more treasures salvaged from Cyndy's

Long time, iconic Cyndy’s House of Pancakes on Aurora at 105th in Seattle sadly closed its doors this summer.  News reports say that it is closing after 58 years of service due to the building being demolished to make way for a new multi-story, mixed-use building – and that there should be a space in the new building for Cyndy’s to return to when construction is completed (estimated to be a year from now).  Their windows say they are moving to Stanwood in the interim.  Sad for those in the north end in need of reputedly the best dutch-baby pancakes – but a score for The RE Store in Seattle!  Several truck hauls of treasures came back to the store this week – including booths, a back bar, those high-back style bar seats that Cyndy’s (and 13 Coins) were known for, butcher block, fixtures, old school arcade type games, an antique wheelchair, other furniture, and random surprises.  Come check out this recent bit of history in the store while it lasts!

Posted in: Stories about stuff

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Moving and restoring a historic building on San Juan Island

Historic photo of Argyle Suites building

Historic photo of Argyle Suites building, formerly Churchill House, built in 1893 - Friday Harbor, Washington

When the historic Churchill House of Friday Harbor was about to meet its fate with demolition in 2005, Lynn Danaher came to the rescue. She saw the house had potential in serving Friday Harbor with many more glorious years, as it has since 1892.

N.E. Churchill and Sarah Jane McKay Churchill, his wife, originally occupied the house in 1892. When Churchill passed, his wife helped house boarders, mainly students from Lopez Island attending school in Friday Harbor. After they both passed, the house has served as the Kellogg Rooming House, art studios, lawyer’s offices, quilt shops, restaurants, hair salons and more.

Argyle Suites building - fully restored in 2009

Argyle Suites building ~ fully restored in 2009

Lynn said, “I think it is an important distinction to make that property can be developed and historic structures can be restored in good taste, all the while maintaining the historic character of our wonderful town and its historic structures. All this is possible by using sound environmental and economic principals.”

With those principals in mind, the entire building was moved from the waterfront after more than 100 years to Argyle Avenue in 2006, where it is now called Argyle Suites. Lynn, with help of many others, carefully renovated the Churchill House back to its original state back in 2007.  As the house has been functional for many different types of services, it now serves as office spaces and a one-bedroom studio apartment.

“I used a lot of recycled building material, as much as I could. I abhor waste of any kind and if something can be adapted to a new use I will use it. For instance all the old used brick used in the parking and landscaping is from the original Churchill House chimney. Many light fixtures, the architectural salvage details and most of the tile is from The RE Store in Bellingham,” Lynn said. “The entire project was a lot of fun and there were many people that shared ideas as to how best to design and adapt and modify a historic structure to a modern day use.”

Loring House before restoration

The Loring House before restoration

In 2009 Argyle Suites was awarded the Stewardship Award, along with the Carter house that Lynn also renovated in 2009. The Loring House was moved and restored in 2010 by this preservation patron. She has now renovated five buildings including the Ace Hardware building, and her own home. Lynn and her son also own Archipelago Properties LLC of Friday Harbor, which manages Star Storage and Surina Business Park.

The Loring House - moved and restored

The Loring House - moved and restored

Danaher’s passion around historical structures extends far out into the Pacific Ocean. She spearheads fundraising for The Pacific Islands Research Institute (P.I.R.I.).  P.I.R.I. is a  South Pacific island culture archeology and ethnography institute, supporting leaders of the research in the wonders of Easter Island and other remote island locations since the 1970s. Fortunately reusable and salvaged materials are being created abundantly by the current culture, so we can leave historic mysteries intact for study and inspiration.

Posted in: Stories about people, Stories about stuff

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