We are pleased to feature a post written by our in house design consultant, Sheena Hewett. This post originally appeared on her personal blog. Infuse your project with Sheena’s salvage expertise by setting up a consultationtoday. Rates begin at $45/hour.

Salvage is a few things today in 2014. To start, it is a culture. Resourceful people use things through its lifecycle, cleaning, fixing, and caring for it all the way to the end. Salvage is also a response to the consumerist tendencies of the public and market since industrialization and the development of mass-manufacturing. It is also just one response or facet to the sustainability movement which has taken hold in the building and design communities locally and, across the world.

There are many reasons why one might choose to salvage but time definitely is not one of them. It is often much easier or faster to go out and buy a new “one”, whatever that “one” might be. If you do choose to fix that thing you’re learning or practicing skills. You have the opportunity to learn from someone or teach someone that skill. When you fix or build something you gain satisfaction knowing you built that thing and hopefully you saved something from being collected at your local landfill, buried in the earth or crushed into a cube, loaded onto a ship, transported to half way around the world, added to their dump piles, set on fire, toxic smoke rising into the sky, ashes tossed around or inhaled by people and animals. By salvaging you have just avoided that entire scenario.

When you look at a map and locate a salvage yard you can often identify the reuse community around or in close proximity to it. If you cannot, you will be able to find it soon enough. Many who don’t know of this phenomenon yet will learn from someone at sometime soon because it catches like wildfire. One salvage yard crops up starting a revolution, others come by its magical powers and discover this long buried love for finding that treasure or deal. Soon these people are opening their own salvage companies and not really competing, but collaborating because let’s face it, today there is more than enough “junk” to go around!


No matter where you choose to shop salvage you’re likely saving money and with good reason. That light fixture you’re buying as it sits at the time of your purchase has a little less life in it than it did brand new. Maybe it needs to be rewired, perhaps it is missing one or all of its bobeches… above all and for everyone’s sanity, I hope it hasn’t been painted.

I personally don’t have much money. I pay bills, student loans, buy food, but I have this uncontrollable urge to create and build things and I enjoy working with constraints.

Using salvage and choosing when to “splurge” on new or special items allows me to create, to explore, practice, and hone skills, to beautify my world in more than one way. I feel great about repurposing “trash” or “junk” into something funtional and beautiful. I love the accomplished feeling I get when I complete something and tell people about it… even better when I sell it! I just hope this inspires someone to start that project, find something old, learn something new, and create something wonderful then tell someone about it.