Sunday, October 07, 2007

One man's trash . . .

is another man's treasure, they say.

Fall is really here and this time of year always makes me want to nest. I start thinking of battening down the hatches and cozying in for the season. This year with two houses that need work (the old one and the new one) I have a lot of thoughts and plans brewing.
Lately I've been thinking about how new building and consumption is affecting our environment, so I suggested to Ray that we check out a couple of interesting resources for recycled materials here in Portland. The first is the Habitat ReStore, where you can donate building materials that are taken out of houses. Some of the materials are used in Habitat for Humanity houses and the rest is sold to the public with the proceeds benefiting Habitat.
Doors by the score

Our next stop was the Portland Rebuilding Center, a much larger and well-established non-profit recycling center. The amount of stuff in this place boggles the mind.

A tiny little part of the lighting department—if you're lighting an '80s style pizza parler it looks like you've come to the right place

The plumbing area is awesome—nifty pedestal sinks and I'm enamored of the matching red sink and toilet. Wonder if there's a red tub out there somewhere...

The loading and unloading area. I love the way they've used mismatched recycled doors and windows in the building of the center.

This is such a great idea and both places were crawling with people hauling stuff away. One woman was buying three huge mirrors—probably each one was 8' square, more or less. I wondered what she was going to do with them. There were several brass chandeliers each as big as my dining room—seriously! They must have come out of a ballroom or big hotel. The kitchen cabinet area is immense. I kept seeing great possibilities for studio storage and work surfaces in there.

We were just looking and getting ideas. I'm not sure we will be able to find anything to use. There's so much there it is hard to focus. I had visions of finding a wonderful, carved mantlepiece or something along those lines. Didn't see anything like that, but that doesn't mean it won't be there the next time!


  1. We have friends who did all of the cabinetry in their beautiful new home with what they called bones from the graveyard. These were cabinets and cabinet pieces that were brand new and never used for one reason or another. She collected for several months and found pieces that would coordinate and that included all the shelving and cabinets in both living room and dining room. I think you are onto a wonderful idea.

  2. Anonymous4:38 PM

    What wonderful resources! I wish we had something like that near us in VT. And I love your photographs, especially the texture created by repetition. I've been enjoying Nancy Crow's book recently and your photos remind me of ones she might use to spark a series. Thanks for posting them.

  3. Anonymous8:17 PM

    I'm so glad you thought of that! I have a friend who runs the Habitat Store up here in my neck of the woods. It isn't just re-used stuff there. Not long ago one of the major building supplies chains closed one of their stores and they told him it would be easier to just give the merchandise away and let our volunteers haul it out than to inventory, hire people to pack it up, move it to another store, etc. We spent a weekend filling trucks with wonderful building materials to haul back to Bremerton. It felt like winning a TV game show, as we raced up and down aisles filling our baskets and then our trucks. And what a boost for Habitat for Humanity!
    It will feel wonderful if you get those nifty red bathroom fixtures for yourselves and know that you've also helped a family get a home of their own.

  4. you keep giving me reasons to move to Portland. I would have to take my life into my hands and travel into..da da dah.......Manhattan-shudder.

  5. Anonymous6:16 PM

    Terry, you are so creative! I am actually swinging by from Jenn's comments. I just wanted to dsay that oh, my, you said that you were old, but I find you to be absolutely totally cute! And a graphic designer! How I wish! I'll be the one cruising through yor archives. Your work is just beautiful! /Fifi

  6. oh I am green!! I LOVE using recycled building materials on my various restoration projects! If we had a shop like that around here I would think I'd died and gone to heaven!!

  7. Fifi, you've hit pay dirt here and wait 'til you see some of Terry's creations - truly works of art.

    As to "'80s-style-pizza-parlor" lighting fixtures, I'm ashamed to say I recognized one that was hanging in our kitchen. Hmm, if I do buy a house, will have to see if we have a Habitat Store nearby!