Salvage Stars | Features | Northern Express
Who do you know and where to go to buy upcycled housewares … and recycled homes
By Ross Boissoneau | April 10, 2021
To reduce? For sure. Reuse? You can bet on it? Recycle? Only as a last resort. So how about a rebuild? Or repaint or refinish or renovate?
If you’re like the legions of people who have seen their extended stay as an opportunity to redecorate, freshen up, or renovate this home, you have likely embarked on at least one home improvement project since the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States. (According to the survey results published by Statistica in July, 76 percent of 1,083 respondents said they made at least one improvement to the indoor or outdoor area of their home between March and July 2020.)
Whether the coming spring or the satisfaction of having closed a pandemic motivates you to fight more, here are five secret weapons to keep in your home renovation tool kit.
FOR FIXER-UPPER FANS
“It’s mostly recycled wood and metal,” said Lisa Monson of the variety of goods and their uses in the Antiquities Warehouse (see illustration above). The spacious shop in the Warehouse District in Traverse City fulfills a hoarder’s dream: chairs, tables, cupboards. Wooden consoles. Doors and more doors as well as curiosities like a latex glove shape made of aluminum, ammunition holders, olive pails, industrial light pendants – the list goes on and on.
The store is an brainchild of Louise McDermott, a Traverse City born woman who is now doing winters in Phoenix. This is where the original antique market is located, a huge facility covering an area of 35,000 square meters. The Traverse City version will soon cover 9,000 square meters as the entire building will be taken over. This will happen in early May, with a new shipment of goods from the Phoenix store helping to fill the new space that used to house Traverse City Bike & Brew and, before that, the Inside Out Gallery.
Among the most popular items are tables. Everything from end tables to round and rectangular dining tables, with other curiosities being put into operation as well. Folding tables are particularly hot. Seller # 1 are stools, especially bar stools, while antique pegboards are freshly stamped from Europe. One of Monson’s favorite reclamation projects is converting a battered canoe into a light fixture with the canoe hung upside down. I hope you have plenty of space.
BARN MARKET RISING AGAIN?
Across town, Tammy Simerson’s Red Dresser has a slightly smaller, more curated, and ever-changing collection. She originally opened her store of new and old farmhouse finds and refinished furniture in Traverse City’s Warehouse District in 2009. However, their wares have found such a large following with customers and other collectors with versatile and remodeled goods that they have been moved and expanded three times. Ultimately, it ended up at its fourth – and, according to Simerson, final – location on South Airport Road.
She also hosts the Red Dresser Barn Market, (usually) a multi-day outdoor market that takes place twice a year and where she and others display a huge range of goods. Originally located outside of their Warehouse District business, it then moved to a relative’s barn outside of Kingsley (hence the name). When it outgrew that location in 2019, she moved it to the Northwestern Michigan Fairgrounds.
The market, which typically attracts hundreds of people, was canceled last spring and this fall. This year is tentatively scheduled for May 28-29, subject to approval by the Grand Traverse County Health Department. So far, she has received approval from Blair Township and the exhibition center, but with the uncertainties of the pandemic, she has not yet made a final decision. It’s getting closer to the date, she says.
In the meantime the shop is open and hardly missed a beat; Last year was Red Dresser’s busiest year ever, she says.
“It got more and more popular because of the pandemic. Furniture stores are open 12 to 16 weeks, can’t get furniture and people look to vintage [pieces] as an option. ”
OLD HOME, NEW MINI MANSION
At Bay Area Recycling for Charities, owner Andy Gale goes one step further and creates actual buildings out of different pieces and pieces. “A man came into our office and said, ‘Can you recycle a house? ‘That was two and a half years ago,’ says Gale.
It was an opportunity for Gale to get back to his design roots. “I was in the industry for 20 years. It’s cool to come back to that a little bit. “
Now, instead of having it leveled, Gale and his crew will take a house apart and use the pieces to create sheds, art or yoga studios, or other tiny buildings along with other projects. “Our de / reconstruction (service) will dismantle regular houses and build them into small houses together with picnic tables and planters – all from old building materials,” he says.
Gale hired two carpenters to work at the late-defendant Odom Reuse in Grawn and added workers from SEEDS and Child and Family Services’ YouthWork in northwest Michigan. You will carefully deconstruct a building in a panel format. “I know how to cut and dice,” says Gale, which allows them to capture and use the energy that was expended in the first construction. Then reconstruct, repair, or fill holes if necessary.
Results can range from the 100 square meter Life Pod or Open Air (the latter a great play structure, flower shed or fruit stand) to Cozy Cottage (twice the size, perfect for an art studio or extra sleeping space). to larger sizes like the Minimalist or Mini-Mansion, all of which are good for glamping, office space or small guest houses. They are all customizable and start at $ 5,000.
Gale says he and his crews are becoming more familiar with the process, and he believes the business model will evolve as they improve it and more people hear about it. He is confident that at some point this could be part of a workforce accommodation solution in the region. “There is no end goal, we just want it to grow.”
Garbage to treasure
Karen Brennan of Deer Creek Junk came into the business while cleaning up an old family home. From there it was about repainting, refurbishing and selling her wares through a consignment store in Petoskey before eventually opening her own shop in East Jordan.
She said the business had shifted over the years from working to allowing and encouraging others to do it themselves. “It kind of evolved. At first most of it was finished and repaired, now I have more salvage and raw materials, ”she said.
Brennan still does some work, but this is often custom. “I convert doors into sliding doors, I rework, I make benches out of beds. I do a lot of things with ceiling tiles. “While she usually works in the store, she doesn’t have regular opening hours, but suggests that people call ahead. “It’s open by appointment or by chance,” Brennan said.
One of her favorite projects is visible to everyone when she converted an old ambulance center into the store. Now a facade of windows and doors serves as the main entrance to your facility. “It was great fun. Another big project was when I was making a series of doors for a house on Skegemog Lake that was being remodeled. Now every door is like a statement. “
She also owns a house next to the business that she renovated and which she now rents on Airbnb. “People can see examples of different ideas (there).”
These days she’s less likely to be looking for real estate or flea markets. “I’ve been doing it long enough to find myself,” she said with a laugh. “People call me and say they have an old home.”
REPAIR OF OLD SCHOOL FURNITURE
When it comes to furniture repairs by the experts you are looking for rather than the model to rebuild / reuse / repaint, Charlevoix’s Kelly Refinishing may be the answer. Sam and Colleen Wilcenski bought the company in 1998 and have since reworked, rebuilt and refurbished furniture.
They offer a variety of services, usually things that go beyond simple repairs or paint jobs. “Express weaving, flat weaving, pressed cane – we will strip it off, rework, repair, replace spindles. We do caning projects, wickerwork – a lot of cottages have wicker furniture that needs to be repaired or repainted, ”said Colleen Wilcenski.
While the demanding job of rebeating a chair and adjusting its original fabric and appearance may be the most compelling job they offer, Colleen said that her personal favorite project was restoring an old closet. “An old cupboard was stored in a barn. It was a Hoosier type cabinet, ”she said, referring to a type of cabinet or freestanding kitchen cabinet that was popular in the early 20th century, when most homes didn’t have built-in kitchen cabinets.
It took a lot of DC: it was chewed by different animals and covered with animal waste. The Wilcenskis cleaned it thoroughly before taking it off and refurbishing it. The whole process took almost a year. “We put in flour and a sugar sieve, glasses for spices. It looked beautiful when it went out. That was the most satisfying of all. “
Like Simerson of the Red Dresser, Wilcenski said business was brisk in the year of the pandemic. “Last year was busier than it had been for a long time. People were in their house and looking at it and they said, “Let’s do it now.” We had a lot of things to do last year.
“Every day is different. There is something new every day. Sam was turning a spreader on a chair. He took the other one and duplicated it, then I had to adjust the color and finish.”