We love: Re-Store, Re-Build and Habitat for Humanity warehouses

Re-Store Re-Build and Habitat for Humanity storesI CAN’T BELIEVE that I’ve never done a real post about Re-Store, Re-Build and Habitat for Humanity — non-profits that accept material donations from demolition jobs and homeowner renovations and then re-sell them to fund their community work. These places are no question the #1 places to go if you’re looking for retro renovation materials.

I’ve found: atomic cabinet pulls, Crane and American Standard bathroom sinks, wagon wheel lights, 70s kitchen faucets MIB, pull down kitchen lights, outdoor Moe lights, old-growth wood exterior shutters, vintage stove top exhaust hoods, MIB Acorn shutter dogs, MIB vintage bathroom tile in every possible color…and have seen but passed by: steel kitchen cabinets, vintage wood kitchen cabinets including from the likes of Wood-Mode, decorative vintage radiator covers, Thermador electric range tops and ovens, porcelain on cast iron drainboard kitchen sinks,  chrome sink legs in great shape, and… more more more more more…. including the most elusive and desirable of all retro treasures: gold speckle laminate countertop!

If you’re in the Springfield, Virginia, area check out the new Re-Build there — they are having a big sale Thursday and Friday. Megan is in charge of material development and marketing coordination, and says she’s promoting retro renovation (and RetroRenovation.com) big time. She heard about us from reader Robyn who reports:

I snagged a gorgeous 1950’s blue cracked ice Formica countertop, matching vanity and blue drop in sink (complete with Hudee ring and original faucet) for my bathroom. VERY reasonable prices, and the folks there are beautiful to deal with.

I also hear that Robyn is an historian and will be giving a talk on an historic neighborhood (I think) nearby in August. Yo, Robyn, I still get a thrill everytime I now see folks spell “hudee” correctly.  Good luck with sale, Megan!


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  1. Joe says

    We just recently got a Habitat store in our area and it’s filled with junk from old Lowe’s displays. I’ve been in there about a half dozen times over the months and have yet to hit pirate gold.

  2. says

    Don’t worry, Joe. People need to realize it is there. In a year or so, you should hit pirate gold every time you walk in!

    Can I add to your list, Pam? I have found: Vintage Christmas decorations, vintage cookbooks, GE Celeste lightbulb, MIB recessed chrome bathroom accessories, a 1950’s desk lamp, and to top it off, TWO SPUTNIK LIGHTS! And that is just the stuff I bought!

  3. St. Christopher says

    I go to the ReStore about 3 times a month. I ALWAYS find something cool! I recently bought a great “tiki” looking carved solid wood front door.

    Hey Joe, give it a little time. The good stuff will show up. Perhaps you do a little “cheerleading” for them around town!


  4. scurl says

    My locale habitat store is called “builder’s bargains” and it’s like what joe describes, old lowe’s displays and other random junk from the 90’s and early 2000’s. They have some nice tile, but it’s insanely expensive. I asked they lady at the counter about the lack of vintage/retro stuff, and she said they have a policy about not accepting older things as they don’t think anyone will buy them. Of course this doesn’t stop them from stocking a pile of asbestos containing floor tiles, but whatever. i’m not bitter. when they DO have something decent there, it’s a GREAT deal…plus i’ve got matching light switch and outlet covers for the whole house there, which is a feat.

  5. sablemable says

    There is a specific type of storm door that was used on the MCM homes here in the early Fifties thru mid Sixties and I want one for my home. Thankfully, those homeowners who have replaced these doors have sent them to our local Re-Store. I only have to get Bob convinced that I really, really need it, LOL!

    • pam kueber says

      sablemable, do you mean a mill finish screen door with scrolls on it? i have picked some up from garage sales… have to post a pic to see if that’s what you mean….i saw a “today” source once, but would have to track it down. an interest of mine.

  6. cadman says

    Our nearby ReStore is now going out of their way to reject any colored bathroom fixtures and appliances older than 5 years. A real shame as I had bought a lot of neat vintage stuff there in the past.

  7. Robert says

    You know, it is a shame as I go to estate sales and look at the neat mid century things in houes. I know that the house will be sold and redone and all that kewl stuff will be pitched. I wish people would donate that stuff versus pitching it as lots of soo kewl stuff ends up in landfills.


    • pam kueber says

      So…maybe I should print some postcards or stickers or post-its up…touting the kewl-ness and wise-ness of retro renovation starting with preserving what you have… all we estate sailors could leave the stickies in little hiding places throughout the estate sale houses…so that when the new buyers get in, they keep finding them….and stop to actually think about the option, become aware of it… Like: A “Save me! Check out why at RetroRenovation.com” sticker under every toilet tank lid, behind every medicine cabinet door…hidden inside a kitchen drawer…and certainly behind the recessed Hall-macks…where else could we sneak ’em in?

  8. Katie says

    I called my local re-store a while back here in Atlanta and asked them if they stocked vintage fixtures of any sort. They say they only accept stuff around 5 years old. I swear, Atlanta is anti-retro. I look through the housing listing for fun all the time and see all of these great mid-century houses that have been stripped of every last bit of charm they once had and then I get depressed when I realize most of the cool stuff probably got trashed.

  9. Femme1 says

    My local Re-Store is a treasure trove. Even better, my husband volunteers there and gets to see the best stuff as it comes in.

    Because I’m friends with the store manager, we’d chat whenever I stop by to browse. So I told her about RetroRenovation.com and let her know how precious those colored sinks and old formica countertops were. Problem is, now that she’s fully aware, she’s raised all the prices!! But that’s good for Habitat for Humanity, just bad for us bargain hunters!

  10. says

    Thank you again Pam for posting our flier! I am so excited to read that everyone is already a HUGE fan of ReUse stores. It breaks my heart to know how many tons of building materials – usable building materials – end up in landfills every year. Will all of your passion and dedication you are helping to make those numbers smaller. Keep spreading the word! I love to read these posts. I am learning so much every day!

    If anyone knows someone who is remodeling, on top of what you are already doing, try to suggest DeConstruction to them! Companies can take homes apart piece by piece and donate the materials.

    Pam I LOVE your idea with the post-its! I hope I find one some day!

  11. says

    Many Portland readers already know this, but another fabulous place in Portland to find old building stuff is The ReBuilding Center on N. Mississippi. If you’re remodeling or restoring, all I can say is GO! You won’t regret it.

  12. loumeigs says

    Elvis a.k.a. Jane, thanks about the ReBuilding Center, we still get over to home (Portland) every couple of months or so. We’ll check it out! Funny, I just found out today that our restore refuses any and all items over 10 years old and here is this post! So sad about that.

  13. sablemable says

    Pam, the door doesn’t have any scroll work on it; it has 4 glass panes separated with horizontal wood strips and I think most of them were made of pine. I have one going from my garage to the sunroom, but apparently the others were junked by the second owner.
    Would love to see the pics you have of what you’ve got. Thanks!

  14. sumac sue says

    Lexington KY has two Re-Stores, one for home furnishings, and one for building supples. (Jim, manager of the building supply store, is a big proponent of retro renovating, and that store always has a lot of colored sinks and other good stuff.)Neighboring little towns are getting Re-Stores too — the one in Berea is really good.

    From local Re-Stores we got our 60s era Hager kitchen cabinets for $300, our late-50s GE electric range for $65, as well as light fixtures, cabinet hardware, paint, a countertop, vintage embroidered linens, and the amazing discovery of a 60s era record featuring a high school orchestra in which my husband’s brother played trumpet!

  15. Jeff says

    Pam, I have to send out this alert to anyone needing MCM tile, still in the boxes- Miami’s Re-store has literally dozens of giant palletts, right now, (June 26, 09).

    As I mentioned before, I’m restoring a 1953 atomic ranch in Southfield, Michigan, and needed tile for the bathroom. I had found the “sunset” peachy/flesh colored toilet and sink locally to match the original tub (with swan etched glass doors), but needed wall tile. The floor was original and a super design in “sunset” and coco brown.

    But since I also have a home in Miami, I decided to check out the Re-Store and voila! If any of your readers need 6×6 wall tile in 50’s baby blue, there are literally hundreds of boxes of it, and only 10 cents a piece! 6×6 pink is also available, and my favorite are 12×12 sheets of 1×3 rectangles laid in vertical rows in sunset, gray, beige and lilac alternating colors. You really need a specific palette to use this, but I do, and there are two pallets stacked five feet high of it! 1.00 per sheet!

    Coco brown 4×4 with base cove and edging, you name it, they’ve got it! Also a selection of concrete barrel tile for roofing in GREEN and traditional gray and terracotta- price: 4 piecs for 1.00!

    There is also a salvage yard on 79th street in Miami, (will get name and number later) with literally hundreds of MCM sinks, toilets, etc., in every color of the rainbow. The people there are a little difficult to deal with, and English IS the second language, but the prices are low, and the selection is vast.

    • pam kueber says

      holey batman, jeff. i wanna i wanna i wanna. especially the 12x12s with sunset grey lilac beige. that sounds fabulous. I can just see it. But – any pics of the tile perhaps from your cell phone?

  16. sandy says

    Know this is an old thread. But I have volunteered at Restore for 3 years. It is more fun than being a customer seeing all coming in.

    There are many Restores, etc. that run differently depending upon management. We rarely accept furniture, but others may. And we are grateful to Lowes and Ace for supplying us with so much that does fit for many who are after specific items. The 5 yr acceptance policy is based on toilets which the gov. won’t let us sell and appliances which most want to be in working condition. All other items do not have a 5 year policy, again this probably depends upon store management.

    A few volunteers (me too) will flag antiques or creative possibilities. We do have many building items which are from a wide range of eras. I’d love to be part of the dismantling of the homes, too old to be of use to them. But these houses are a gold mine of history and we try to bring as much as possible into our store.

    If you do go, be patient and keep going. If you find something, buy it now. Good chance it won’t be there tomorrow.

    Thanks for writing about us.

  17. Delgardoa says

    I live in Myrtle Beach, and our H.F.H. Is terrible. Full of trash and junk, and old hotel furniture; nothing with charm. They are also very expensive, which I don’t understand, it’s a resale store. I go in every now and then, and they charge full price for really shoddy stuff. It doesn’t give me any choice BUT to shop at big box.

  18. Cindy says

    My first job with Habitat started three years ago as the Restore manager, which has now elevated to ED of our affiliate, so I have a pretty good knowledge of Restore operations.

    Being a crafter myself and one who appreciates vintage decor it was easy for me to revamp our store to include vintage items for sale.

    Please understand that Habitat Restores operate with mostly volunteer help and it can be like herding cats sometimes. But although we have our challenges, we always keep our mission in mind, which is to build decent affordable housing for those in need of an opportunity and hand up.

    That being said, we are ALWAYS looking for people to volunteer to help us make our store better. Joe, I would encourage you to roll your sleeves up and pitch in to help your local Restore in any way you can. They may just not understand the market out there for vintage items. Your expertise would be invaluable to them.

    Remember, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service to others”

    Happy hunting everyone, and thank you for supporting Habitat for Humanity.

    • pam kueber says

      Yes, the older I get, the more I find this is true: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service to others”

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