April 13, 2011

Old wins, again.

We like to say jokingly that we're building this restaurant from trash and in a way it's true. Of course not maggot and potato peel trash, but we are using things that were discarded, thrown away, abandoned, gotten rid of, unwanted, taken apart or left to decay. We find these orphans and with a little love and a lot of elbow grease we give them a new life.

Why? Mainly because we like how things were made back in the day, which was to last. Basically we like wood, metal, leather, and we hate plastic. We also like how time and weather leave their mark on things and we like to think of the people who used these things before us and took care of them or abused them, broke them or fixed them.

We also don't want to waste or pollute. I get dizzy when I go to a store and look at all these little individual plastic wrappers around EVERYTHING and think of how they are all going to be discarded and end up in landfills or in the ocean. It makes me sick. Do we really have to individually wrap up cucumbers? Come on, America. We can do better than this.

So we've been trying to be as green as possible for esthetic reasons as well as environmental ones, but also for financial reasons. If you take the time and pay attention, you find much better deals at the salvage places than at Home Depot or Lowe's.

Case in point: we're building the tables from scratch and want a wooden top and a metal base. We're making the tops out of old oak flooring and lathe and want to use plumbing pipes for the bases. We went to Home Depot to check out prices. Pipes are actually really expensive. About 3 dollars for a three-way tee, and over 10 dollars for a twenty inch long nipple (not an actual nipple, that's just what small threaded segments of pipes are called). Since we need four three-ways and four 90 degree corners per table, plus about 130 inches of pipe, that puts our base at almost $100. Multiply that by thirty or so tables and that's just... Ridiculous! We almost cried and gave up right there in the plumbing aisle of The Home Depot.

Then we found this.

These puppies are 25 cents a pop at our local salvage place. And they're beautiful.

Got everything we need for one table base for a whopping six dollars. SIX DOLLARS. Nipples, three-ways, angles.

Six dollars!

We also found some really cool looking thingies. No idea what that organic looking thing on the left is.

We didn't get any wood, but are going to need beams and planks for wainscotting so we'll be back once we know exactly how much of these fabulosities we need:

This said, there is one thing we had to buy new. It made us feel really, really bad and we tried to find  a way around it but we just couldn't find one. We had to buy plywood for our table tops and we needed strong, cabinet-grade plywood. So we bought that new. But at least it wasn't individually wrapped in plastic!

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