Construction begins with destruction…I mean deconstruction.

One day after our meeting, Parie noticed that I was unusually quiet. I told her I was tired and stressed. Stressed that I was tearing apart a perfectly good house… The house was solidly built by the former owner in 1983. He built two houses side by side, providing me the blue view. I believe he and his wife raised a family there until he passed away. Then it became a rental. With one thousand square feet of living space the house had two bedrooms, two baths but barely a dining area. The kitchen was small and dark, filled with oak cabinets and covered in orange-red plastic-laminate counter-top.

The 80's kitchen begging for an update.

The 80’s kitchen begging for an update.

The garage/basement was filled with sturdy shelves…

The house sat on top of another thousand square feet of garage space, enough to park a 6-pack Mini Coopers… maybe eight Smart cars.  There was no interior access to the garage.  Anyways, Parie told me that one of her  architecture professors had commented, “Construction begins with destruction.” I kept that in mind as my friend Bruce helped me in the destruction process. Really, it was more deconstruction since I wanted to re-use and recycle as much as possible. Bruce, a retired Boeing engineer,  spent hours meticulously taking apart the heavy shelves in the basement.   He was well worth the  minimum wage I paid him because the shelves were practically bomb proofed.  They were fastened to the concrete wall with ten times more nails and screws than necessary. There were a lot of nails,  lumber, and more lumber.   Down also the kitchen cabinets, out came the laminate floor, carpets and appliances.

There were two stack-able washer/dryers. The small set in the kitchen closet I gave to Tyson, Bruce’s son.  The other set  in the garage I kept.  Tyson, a bar-tending artist and his wife Aynsley, a dancing nurse, are newlyweds who rented a spacious Belltown loft, on the 4th floor of the Barnes Building.  The historic Barnes Building was designed and built by Seattle architect Elmer Fisher after the 1889 fire that destroyed much of downtown.  Historic meant NO elevator.

Four flights of historic stairs.

Four flights of historic stairs.

20121212-221641.jpgI don’t know how they carried the machines up the stairs. I do know they enjoy not having to carry the laundry down four flights and then to the laundromat.

Second Use, a for-profit salvage company that also consigns for the Habitat For Humanity store, came and picked up all the cabinets, blinds, closet shelving, sinks, light fixtures, and microwave. They won’t take appliances more than seven years old since they are less energy efficient. Second Use is one of my favorite stores to browse for common or unique, used and new materials for the home. You never know what you might find or who you might meet.

One day while I was in Second Use, I overheard a woman asking a clerk if the store had a white electric stove. No.  The woman and her companion headed to the door disappointed.  I quickly ran over to her and told her I had one for sale.   She came over to the house the next day and bought the stove for $150. While she was loading the stove, I asked if she needed a refrigerator. I sold her that for $98, mostly in coins from her car, because she only brought enough cash for the stove. She said she was using the stove in a rental apartment and the refrigerator in her own house.

I met quite a few other people through the selling and giving away the stuff in the house.  The guy who came to get the carpet was using it to make cat furniture to sell.  It was exactly the pile height and neutral color he needed.  The shower pans and toilets took a while to disappeared although I posted them on Craigslist for free; they were almond color not the more popular white.   Joey, a solar panel installer from California,  was one of the firsts to come for the insulation giveaway.  His mom lives in Seattle, and he wanted to insulate her attic. He ended up buying the Lopi cast iron wood-burning stove I had for her. Lopi is made by Travis Industries, a privately-owned company based in Mukilteo, WA, just up the road from Seattle.  That thing was well made and weigh at least 500 lbs!  I was glad it was going to a good home.

Not everybody I met on Craigslist had good intentions…

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