Salvaging the Past for the Present

I think one of the most exciting home decor/furniture/construction trends to have come about in recent years is the Salvaged Materials Movement. Side note: I’m not sure if this is really a movement, or if anyone actually calls it this, but it’s my blog and that is what I’m calling it, in fact I’m even going to give it an acronym SMM…now it’s official, right? Anyway there is nothing I love more than other people’s junk. I dumpster dive on a regular basis, you wouldn’t believe the awesome stuff people in NYC just toss out. With a little vision and ingenuity you can really transform the unwanted into the coveted.


BIG NYC Center in Brooklyn, photo from

Here in Brooklyn (and in Queens) there’s this wondrous place that has been down with the SMM since 2004, its called Build It Green! NYC and for anyone with vision it is a damn goldmine! It’s a non-profit retail outlet for salvaged and surplus building materials. They have everything from stained glass windows saved from an old church to gorgeous light fixtures and claw foot tubs to lumber and live edge slabs of wood. I mean when I walked in there for the first time my mind went a mile a minute, I was bursting at the seams with ideas and inspiration. It is safe to say that BIG NYC gave me some serious GirlWood (you had to have seen that coming). But of course living in a shoe box limits my ability to buy everything in sight…I really need to look into renting a storage unit.


My very own live edge Ash slab…isn’t she beautiful?

So I focused on a single project (not an easy task for me) that I’ve been wanting to do, to make a writing desk using live edge wood. At the Brooklyn location in Gowanus I found a beautiful slab of Ash that was the perfect size for my desk and it only cost $205! It was love at first site. I took her (yup it’s a girl!) home to my parents place in Massachusetts and planned on working on her while home during Christmas, however plan got derailed when I spent my entire Christmas break sick. But I think about her everyday and I’m itching to get back up there soon to start. I will definitely take lots of photos during the process and there will be a follow up post for those that are interested in seeing this beauty live up to her full potential.

Not only does Build It Green! NYC have two amazing reuse centers, but they also support local environmental initiatives like the NYC Compost Project, BIG!Compost, BIG!Millworks, BIG!Blooms and BIG!Gives Back. For more information on Build It Green NYC and the environmental projects they support check out their website You can also follow them on Instagram @builditgreen


Interior of Build It Green! NYC in Astoria, Queens photo from

And if you live in the area do yourself a favor and just go visit either location, Gowanus or Astoria, because all the pictures in the world cannot do this place justice.



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