The ReUse Depot, TRP’s newest partner store, recently opened its doors in Bellwood, Illinois, just 20 miles west of downtown Chicago.

The ReUse Depot carries more reusable building materials than any other retailer in the greater Chicago area—and at lower prices. Store Manager Michelle FitzGerald has been working all summer to fill the 22,000 square-foot space with virtually every type of residential building material imaginable.

As of this e-letter, extensive warehouse inventory includes 2 1/4” oak flooring, full kitchen cabinet sets (some with matching appliances), furnaces, High Bay lighting fixtures, a bowling alley (including shoes and balls), lumber (new, used and old growth), windows (dozens of shapes, sizes and styles)...

The July 18 issue of The New York Times contains the enlightening article, “Architecture: Pre-emptive Moves, Predemolition,” by Christopher Gray. It’s about the practice of stripping buildings of decoration to avoid last minute obstacles to demolition. You can access the entire article at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/21/realestate/architecture-pre-emptive-mo...

I was slightly aware of this practice, but did not know it was so pervasive. Removing key elements from a building to render the building unworthy of preservation is, to my mind, nothing short of desecration. 

The “pre-emptive moves” go something like this: An individual or developer purchases a noteworthy building that has not been listed on any historic register. The owner then removes key architectural elements, often from the façade (columns, carvings, trim, statuary), which leaves the building looking scarred and abandoned, begging to be torn down and replaced.

Have you ever encountered a particular business and wondered what it would be like to own something similar? For example, in an intriguing store have you ever concluded, “I’d be great at this,” or in response to a bad experience complained, “I could do better”?

By Ted Reiff

All of us are familiar with some type of reuse, but even certified reusers might be surprised by the ingenious ideas depicted in these photos. Boots as bird houses, jeans as planters. And, seriously, who would have thought to make a bookcase from an upended baby-grand piano?

By Ted Reiff

One of the first things I did after launching the company in 1993 was to tour several California landfills in an effort to track the untimely demise of discarded building materials and appraise their quality.
 

The Velvet Crowbar May 2013 Issue

One of the most intriguing things about reuse retailing is the creativity of customers. While some of TRP’s customers reuse building materials as originally intended (a door as a door), many others completely transform them—into art objects, furniture, motion picture sets, raised planter beds, greenhouses and tree houses, to name a few.

The 2013 National Reuse Contest Is Open

By Ted Reiff

Calling all do-it-yourselfers, woodworkers and amateur architects! The second annual TRP National Reuse Contest is officially underway. If you have a pet project in the pipeline, now’s the time to draw up the plans, assemble the tools and start shopping for used materials. You have roughly six months to submit your entry to a participating store.

By Ted Reiff

Once again, sprouting crocuses, greening trees and outerwear blowout sales are signaling the return of Spring. After a cold and, depending on where you live, punishing winter, nothing could be more welcome. Unless, of course, you count several surprising signs of Spring growth in the economy.

By Ted Reiff

Here’s my advice to anyone considering designing or building for eventual deconstruction: Don’t! You’ll wind up driving yourself crazy with endless what-ifs, driving your partner crazy with goofy ideas, and driving me crazy with questions.

However…

By Ted Reiff

I’m always up to my neck in programs, projects and day-to-day problem solving, and rarely take time to come up for air. However, the start of a new year forces me to take a breath, step back and scrutinize the previous 12 months for notable accomplishments and lessons learned. I am often amazed at what our team accomplishes, and 2012 is no exception. Sure, a few projects fell below expectations or were not completed, but for the most part it was a great year. Here’s a quick overview:

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