You salvage, we showcase
Want to be inspired? Take a moment to view some of the entries to our recent Salvage Showcase event, highlighting home DIY projects that incorporate reused, found and salvaged materials.
Beyond their use of materials that would otherwise have gone into the trash, what we love about these creations is how practical and achievable they are. They didn’t demand extraordinary skills. And no special tools were necessary. All that’s required for great results is a spark of imagination and a discerning eye for materials that you may have on hand or have previously been reused.
Salvaged Yard Sign
Check out Karen Grimm’s truly delightful yard sign, fashioned from an old shovel and few planks of wood. The elegant proportions of the tool, combined with the patina of the wood and metal, exude character, and the sign communicates its message in a manner as friendly as it is simple. Oh, and extra points for creating a bee-friendly yard, Karen! This is a buzz-worthy example of reuse, repurposing and salvaging!
And talk about making great use of weathered material: Note how beautifully Debbie Cain showcases her “shiny baubles” on this repurposed windowpane, a reuse project she undertook with her father. The polished metal against the wood…the contrast with the turquoise…the way elegant backdrop for the gold…absolutely everything looks great showcased against the color and texture of its natural backdrop. Another quality that impresses us in this design is its combination of whimsy and utility. Debbie is clearly a fan of long necklaces, and by allowing each to hang at its full length, her design makes it simple to view them all simultaneously and choose the right one for the occasion. Note the knobs as well; they’re taken from a trashed dresser. This is quite a piece, for a quite a collection!
Salvaged Art Studio
Finally, join us in marveling at Pauline Cunningham’s basement art studio. “I really wanted a gallery wall that would divide the studio from the rest of the basement, but still let air circulate,” Pauline told us. “The solution came in a load of wood flooring salvaged from a soon-to-be-demolished house. I cleaned pieces, then added wood from a [former] ‘coal room’ in our house. With a few 2x4s that I had left over from framing up the wall, I pieced together my gallery wall [and created] small shelf areas. It has gaps that allow airflow and easy placement and movement of hooks for the artwork.”
What’s also noteworthy: the fact that Pauline bought nothing new for this reuse project. “The lighting came from Habitat For Humanity’s ReStore. The cabinet was left in our basement when former owners remodeled the original kitchen and old doors left in the basement are now sliding doors.”
Pauline didn’t stop there, though. She also painted the basement stairwell in what she calls “a COVID moment, when I got just a little too stir crazy. All the paint was already there. Used CDs and old wrapping paper dress up the stair risers and a lightly used show curtain keeps people from seeing all that stored stuff we all keep under the stairs.”
There’s so much we can say about this art installation, but the first thing that comes to mind is a thought raised by Debbie Cain’s windowpane – which is how wonderfully wood serves as a backdrop for art. Pauline’s gallery shows off a wide range of creations, from prints to sculptures to jewelry, and all of it benefits from juxtaposition against the natural wood surfacing. We also love the use of the wood for shelving as well as surfacing. It’s a simple solution that’s somehow both obvious and ingenious. And that staircase surely brings a smile to everyone who uses it.
Thank you, Pauline, Debbie and Karen, for your mindfulness about the benefits of reuse, repurposing and salvaging – and for giving us a peek into your homes. Please share future creations with us so that we can share them in the hope that others will be as inspired as you clearly are. The repurposing of used materials is one of the best things we can do to help reduce waste and conserve scarce natural resources, but it’s also a fantastic opportunity to express our creative spirit in ways that address distinct needs. We can’t wait to see what you do next!
Joining the Circle
Are you feeling inspired to tackle your own salvage DIY or interested in incorporating more reuse into your life?
Hennepin County's Choose to Reuse team invites you to "Join the Circle" of like-minded people—consumers and businesses, individuals and organizations—who want to make a real difference for our community, and our planet.
Come be a part of a community that wants to cut waste and loves to save money.
Join the Circle Today!
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