The 2011 Reuse Contest Winners

TRP 2011 Reuse ContestCongratulations to Chris and Melanie Warden for capturing the top prize in this year's reuse contest.
   The goal of the TRP-sponsored contest, now in its fourth year, is to publicly demonstrate what can be done with salvaged building materials, while applauding some of the creative people who actually make reuse happen. As in past years, this year's entries revealed eye-popping skill and aesthetic sensibility. It's always fun to look at the before-and-after photos, and it's always a challenge to rank them.

The Wardens won for their beautiful dual-purpose garden shed -- one-half for potting, the other half for tools. Built in the backyard of their Fremont home, the shed provides 124 square feet of work and storage space to compliment and support the family's organic garden. Melanie wrote, "We spent about $350 on reuse materials that would have easily cost us $5,000 new." In these economic times, I don't know of a more effective testimonial for opting to buy reclaimed materials. The Warden's photos tell the rest of the story.  (Please click on each photo to see a larger version.)

TRP 2011 Reuse ContestTRP 2011 Reuse Contest

The other top prizes went to the creators of a chicken coop (second prize), a garden house (third prize), and a pizza parlor makeover (honorable mention).

TRP 2011 Reuse Contest

I have the distinct feeling that chickens are taking over the backyards of many urban as well as suburban homes. It's probably because chickens are cheaper to take care of than children, are immediately productive (well, almost immediately) and you can eat them. Our winning coop features easy access to the eggs and an outside playground. Lucky chicks!

TRP 2011 Reuse Contest

The garden house started out as the remodel of an old greenhouse, but when extensive termite damage was discovered, turned into a bottom-up construction project. The end result is a child's garden playhouse that occasionally serves as a home office.


The pizza parlor is located in Alameda, but the new storefront (built of reused materials) features a New York style facade. The wood is planed redwood and the white windows are actually French doors turned sideways. Isn't it amazing what creative people come up with?

TRP 2011 Reuse Contest

Early next year, TRP will announce the 2012 ReUse Contest. Stay tuned. As a teaser, readers who own or manage a used building-materials retail establishment anywhere in the U.S. and want to participate are asked to send an email to

New Inventory

The Oakland warehouse has just received deliveries of brand new lumber, selling now at used-lumber prices.


Brand new lumber

At the Los Angeles (Pacoima) warehouse, we've received some nice kitchen cabinets with mission-style facings and glass fronts on some uppers.

Kitchen cabinets
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