Make Gift Wrap from Old Books

We made several sheets of this gift wrap for the holidays and it was a hit, so here’s a quick how-to tutorial. Change the color scheme and it can work for any occasion throughout the year. GiftWrap_Box

Project: Sew pages of a book together with contrasting top-stitch thread and roll on ink with a brayer to create unique, recycled gift wrap. We used an old encyclopedia and pulled out pages that related to people’s interests – the music section for our musician friend, printing press section for our graphic designer friend, and the biography section for our literate friend. Continue reading

This Plus That Equals: a Side Table

This is the first post in a new category where we show little photo collections of some of our projects. The intent is less “tutorial” and more “look at things differently, you never know what can go together to make something new and one of a kind”. Enjoy and please let us know what you think! We love feedback.

SteamTable_before

Steam table, on its way to the scrap metal yard. Stripping it of its silver paint revealed iron legs and galvanized body/shelf. Removing the screwed-on top revealed a solid copper lining (like a silver lining only better).

Plus

ReclaimedWood_before

Old Douglas Fir lumber from Second Use Building Material.

Plus

Hinge_before

Old set of hinges, from a gate we removed in our backyard.

Equals_reverse

SteamTable_final2

Finished side table with hinged plank top for access to storage.

See more of Heidi’s artwork at Old Stuff. New Stories.

Designing With Street Signs

Designing with Street Signs, door

Sometimes things turn out better than you expect – I was beginning to wonder what the heck I was going to do with the $60 worth of street signs I had piled in the basement. Turns out they don’t work so well for magnetic boards – since they aren’t magnetic. “What now?” we asked ourselves, (I wasn’t the only one with a basement stash of them). We decided to experiment by making a street-sign-collage-clad door for access to my attic. The location is basically out of sight in the house – you know – just in case it didn’t work out so well…We started with the the giant hole in the wall which had been covered by 2 planks all winter (bye bye heating $$) –

Continue reading

Using Salvaged Doors in a Remodel: Part 1

One way to get immediate character in a house remodel is to use salvaged doors. Old doors can be beautiful, with great quality and craftsmanship. Depending on availability, it can also save you money. On the downside, using salvaged doors can take patience, planning, and elbow grease. Other downsides include the possibility of lead paint and dings/imperfections (although one girl’s dings/imperfections are another girl’s patina). Second Use Building Materials has great information on using salvaged doors on their do it yourself page on their website. Update! We love old doors so much that we’ve written yet another post here.

Where to Find Salvaged Doors:

We got all these doors from Second Use Building Materials in Seattle. We were able to find 15 matching 4 panel painted doors to use for all the room and closet doors. For the other larger/unusual openings we found some natural wood (cedar? fir?) doors that someone salvaged out of an old building. They had them stripped of paint and had them stored for use in a future home that was never built. Somehow they ended up at Second Use and we were ecstatic to find them there. I wish I could say we installed all these doors ourselves, but we hired a carpenter for this project. (That is probably why it got done.)

There are several ways to use salvaged doors in a house, whether it’s a remodel or new construction. Continue reading

Salvaged Metal Cupboard

When I brought this old metal cupboard home from RE-Store, this is the reaction I got from my friends and family:

13 year old daughter: “You paid money for that?”

Monica: “I’m not seeing it.”

Husband: “Where are you going to put that?”

A little offended and put-out, I went to work cleaning it up. (After first letting it sit in the garage for about 3 months.) The steps: Continue reading

Solar Panels Used as Awning

Modern design in South Park (yep, THAT South Park)

A fantastic way to incorporate solar panels into your design! It’s not a roof with solar panels attached, it’s the panels doing double duty as both roof/awning and solar collector. You could easily add a simple gutter to direct rain to your rain garden :)

Selecting Lumber from Odd-Lot

Our weekly work-day was not very pretty, but necessary. We went to the lumber yard to select lumber for our upstairs window trim.

Upstairs trim: done and not so done. One down and 10 to go!

Vertical Grain Douglas Fir

The interiors of most older houses in the Pacific Northwest were trimmed out with vertical and open grain Douglas Fir. The forests were aplenty with it in the early 1900s. The wood is soft, but beautiful – it ages to a deep orange over time. The fine parallel lines of the vertical grain (vg) are especially pretty. You can find even old growth vg fir at architectural salvage yards, sometimes it just takes some sanding (or planing) to reveal the great wood under layers of stain, varnish and/or paint. This time we needed a lot of stock, so we opted for new.

If you have extra time (and patience) you can save quite a bit of money by sorting through the “odd-lot” section at your local lumber yard. “Odd lot” is where they put the lumber that isn’t quite perfect for various reasons – warped, knots, roughly hewn, cracks, oozing sap. (Monica talked about this option in a previous post.) I have time, but no patience, so Monica and Mary Jean came along to supply that. Continue reading