#STL365 – New Habitat ReStore DesPeres Location

The Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis ReStore has expanded to Des Peres! IMG_20130620_150819_210

Similar to the ReStore Forest Park location in St. Louis City, ReStore Des Peres    specializes in new and gently used building materials and appliances, as well as some furniture and home decor. The ReStore receives donations from companies such as Lowe’s, Tree Court, and Mid-Am Building Supply, providing large quantities of certain items. However, the inventory is largely made up of donations from individuals, so you never know what sort of treasures you might find!

Josh Vaughn, ReStore General Manager, and Kimberly McKinney, Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis Chief Executive Officer, at the ReStore Des Peres ribbon cutting.

Josh Vaughn, ReStore General Manager, and Kimberly McKinney, Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis Chief Executive Officer, at the ReStore Des Peres ribbon cutting.

 

The ReStore also offers a deconstruction service. ReStore Associates and trained volunteers will come to your house to help take out cabinets, plumbing fixtures, appliances and more.

The proceeds from the ReStore go to helping build homes for Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis partner families in the St. Louis area.
ReStore Des Peres is located behind Sam’s Club on Manchester Road.

ReStore Des Peres Address
2117 Sams Drive
Des Peres, MO 63131

Contact Information
Store Main Line: 314-678-4596
Donation: 314-678-4576
Deconstructions: 314-678-4596
ReStore Website

To Volunteer at the ReStore
Call: 314-371-0400
Visit HERE for more information

The ReStore boasts an expansive space, and is currently accepting donation items to add to the inventory.

The ReStore boasts an expansive space, and is currently accepting donation items to add to the inventory.

ST. LOUIS “GREEN” – PART ONE; WHAT SHADE OF “GREEN” ARE YOU?

by Derek Maschek (MASCHEK design and fabrication, LLC)
MASCHEKd@MASCHEKdf.com

The problem; how to create a cost effective “green” home (or any other building) in the St. Louis area, and this includes renovating an existing building as well. This is ground that has been tread aplenty in recent years, and yet remains ambiguous to many home owners and professionals alike for some reason. I hope to simplify and clarify what seems to be an unnecessarily complicated and confusing topic, saving time and effort while hopefully helping to avoid predicable disappointments. As usual, there are caveats (i.e. “it depends”) that can complicate things again, but I think the overall strategy for accomplishing a cost effective “green” home is really pretty simple and straightforward, as it should be. Then again, I have a fairly practical view of the topic, not that I don’t love my trees. But if you are in the Show Me state, seems to make sense to me, to…well, show that it makes sense.

The first thing we need to do is clarify what it means to be “green”. This is an unclear and emotionally charged term, often meaning different things to different people. All the nuanced meanings are related conceptually, but are critically different when discussed and applied in reality.

Many professionals prefer “sustainable”; meeting immediate needs without jeopardizing a future ability to do so. I personal love this term, but it is a VERY high bar to truly accomplish, maybe more of an ideal than a reality. To truly be sustainable, a residence would not only need to be completely independent of any services (domestic water, sewer, non-renewable energy), it would need to give back in order to recoup losses used to construct the building.

Those more concerned with environment than return on investment (ROI) might prefer “ecological”; environmentally friendly in a “living building” sort of way. Look into the Living Building Challenge for more info on this, but prepare yourself for a college PHD-level exercise in research and calculations. This is just out of the realm of possibility for most people and businesses, but cheers to those that attempt it. We love you for you zeal and shall sing your praises to the heavens.

Those less concerned with the environment but are more focused on a quantifiable ROI prefer “high-performance”; basically meaning energy efficient. This is a great term, used more by engineers, builders, and product representatives that sell energy efficient systems. But because of the practical and simplistic nature of it, it is probably also the most befitting my approach. My only regret is its limitation in that it excludes environmental concerns beyond those directly related to energy consumption. To me, that misses the bigger picture of what it means to be “green”, and so I find it wanting.

I prefer to just say “smart”. It’s a better way of designing and building, with numerous benefits over conventional methods, both economic and environmental, and anybody can take this as far as they want to with more or less zeal. Who doesn’t want to build smart after all?! Every situation and client is unique with different wants and needs, opportunities and restrictions. Done right, it’s actually cheaper than conventional construction methods initially and performs better over the long haul to boot, regardless of location. And feel free to throw in as many of the environmentally beneficial products you feel are appropriate, and get a little warm and fuzzy along with the cost-balancing stuff.

In order to determine which variant of “green” is best for you, answer a simple question; is your priority economic or environmental? Most want a balance of the two of course, but only one can and always does prevail. I usually hear something like “we want to be as environmentally responsible as we can afford to be”, which to date has always translated to an economic priority. It is the very rare committed few that pursue “green” driven by environmental altruism, although God bless them and I hope to work with one some day.

Now, I’m begging you to please, please, please be honest with yourself. Your answer is the foundation of an entire design and construction process. Some call it “concept” or your “level of commitment”. Regardless, if it is not addressed truthfully, expect disappointment and frustration, and in all likelihood wasted time and money for all involved.

While I discuss both aspects in this series, there’s definitely an economic priority to my input as that seems to be the usual driving force behind any “green” project I’ve been involved with. Frankly it’s just less messy overall, more easily explained and understood, and filled with less ambiguity. Don’t feel guilty for not being primarily environmentally motivated, as we live in a real world with real limitations. Designing smart is still environmentally conscious, it just acknowledges and embraces the cost-benefit equation.

PART TWO (COMING SOON); THE PROGRAM

Prepare yourself by reading my blog on Designing Small is Designing Smart.

spotted: reclaimed wonders by rebecca shell

I did a little bit of hunting this Wednesday and I discovered my new favorite store – found by moonbeams.

I never knew I would want to spend so much time in such a quaint little store. Everywhere I turned, there was some little treasure to behold. This light fixture below is just one of many. Every day, found’s shoppers are adding new and exciting items to their collections.

light fixture discovered at found by moonbeams

 

Some of the items they make themselves. Below is 120-year-old bead board ornaments that have been painted and stamped with fun little phrases.

To the right, an old window frame salvaged from a moving neighbor.

If you are looking for anything with a bit of character, you’ve come to the right place.  From old trunks, to beautifully worn tables, this place has it all.

reclaimed window with handmade branch artwork by a local artist

 

beautifully weathered trunk

 

And you will definitely make a new friend or two.
My new friend, Maggie, one of found‘s awesome DIYers and employees, was most helpful
in explaining to me their vision for each item displayed in their store.
She’s actually the one who made up the fantastic bead board ornaments (I’m in love with those!).

Thanks to Maggie’s friendliness and found’s awesome finds, I can certainly say
that I will be back again for another visit!
Never know what I’ll find next time. I can’t wait!

Join in on the fun!
found by moonbeams
131 West Jefferson
Kirkwood, MO 63122
314.821.0335
visit found’s facebook page
and make sure to “like” them!

 

The Healthy Abode: Cabinets by Melanie Holden

When you make the decision to implement sustainable practices into your life, education is critical in order to understand what you’re truly looking for in sustainable products. So far, I’ve brushed on water-saving plumbing fixtures and countertops. Let’s chat about cabinets for a while…

Cabinetry is an important investment that creates a significant impact on your space. Not only the comfort-of-your-home kind of space, but also the environment where it was manufactured, all the way to the forest where it came from kind of space.

What’s the first thing you think when considering “green” cabinets? The material? Bamboo? Bamboo is a beautiful, durable, option; just remember to be very cautious of where it originates and how it is harvested. There are a few reliable resources for it, but many are not. Smith and Fong’s Ply-Boo is an excellent one. A very scrumptious one, actually…

plyboo

How about cabinets made from reclaimed materials? Are those reclaimed materials local? How far have they been transported to get to the manufacturer, then to you? If your cabinets are made from virgin lumber (wood that has come directly from trees that have been cut down to make them), is that wood FSC Certified? So much to consider! Luckily, we have an excellent local resource called Greenhaus Cabinetsthat can meet any and all of those requests.

So, let’s go back to the responsibly harvested bamboo or hardwood. Remember, it is often manufactured as a veneer in lieu of solid wood. Why, you ask? There are a few reasons, but a notable one is to minimize the natural expansion and contraction that wood goes through with changes in temperature and humidity. Some solid wood cabinets aren’t particularly practical in a kitchen or bathroom. Especially in the Midwest. Want more to consider?

What is the cabinet made of under that veneer? How is the veneer attached to the substrate underneath? How is that veneer actually finished? It doesn’t make much sense to take a smart product like Ply-Boo, FSC Certified Maple, or Missouri Red Oak – only to use a smelly adhesive to attach the substrate that is laden with more VOC-purging chemicals – then smother it with a beautiful finish that happens to be loaded with yet more VOC’s! The horror!

Back up…not so sure what’s so awful about VOCs…or what they are for that matter? VOC stands for volatile organic compound. They are (often toxic) gases omitted from various products. They constantly vaporize into the atmosphere around you, polluting and infringing on your fresh air space. You know that new carpet smell – blame VOCs. Its no surprise that concentrations of many VOCs are higher indoors than out (one great reason for a well-ventilated house or building). Some common health effects are headaches, various irritations, nausea, or worse.

Thankfully, there are products like formaldehyde-free Pure Bond, a nontoxic soy-based plywood. Water and Soy-based finishes are available as well. Combined, these factors contribute to a VOC-free end product. Locally, Centorbi Custom Cabinetry does beautiful work, using formaldehyde-free plywood upon request.

loft

When seriously considering new products to put into the sanctuary of your home, you need to open yourself to the idea of spending a little more money up front. These cabinets are not always price competitive with the throw-away cabinetry you can pick up at homecenters. However, in return you invest in lifetime quality and contribute to healthy living.

All of this, above and beyond your contribution to a healthier environment.

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