Friday, April 22, 2011

Love thy planet, love thy crap

It is both Earth Day and Good Friday and that means that it is time for a post about recycled goodies (because I care about the Earth and because I have a long weekend and a lot of time).  As you already know, I am a huge fan of all things old, salvaged, found, repainted and free.  That means I try my best not to buy stuff that I couldn't otherwise rescue from sad abandonment.  This has been hard since I have moved to Germany, but I guess I have to take comfort in knowing that my lifestyle here has made up for all the Ikea furniture in my living room.  All my clothes hang dry because I don't have a drier.  I don't have a car and I use public transportation.  And, while I have to use heating in the winter (Germany gets coooooold), my summer air conditioning is a cool breeze coming through open windows.  (And when there isn't a breeze?  I boil my butt off!)

Nevertheless, I desperately miss my old sources of decorating inspiration and finding something amazing with a history.  I miss knowing that I am doing my part not to create more waste in the process.  And,  I miss uniqueness!  Since I have already told you all about my love for the Goodwill, tonight I will tell you about one of my other favorite places, Urban Ore

Urban Ore is large "Ecopark Store" in Berkeley, California aimed at "end[ing] the age of waste", according to their website.  They take and sell old crap (and you already know how much I love old crap) that people would otherwise have to get rid of in a landfill.  Their cause is worthy but, it's what it means for you that is really cool.  From old bathtubs and sinks, to old cabinetry, to an excellent selection of old china, Urban Ore has all kind of cool salvaged decor for your home.  They sell furniture, tile and stone, metal and lumber, garden stuff, vintage baths, toilets, doors, household items such as pots and pans, art and frames, hardware, lighting, and even books and clothing.  If you are looking for something unique you can certainly find it here.
An example of the cool stuff at Urban Ore.  I could totally use that awesome bookcase (or pharmacy cabinet?) for my dining room!

When I lived in Berkeley, I often took a look in Urban Ore.  Their items are not too expensive--at least not the kinds of things I was buying (I never saw, for example, how much a claw foot tub costs).  There's a lot of stuff in there that is either unattractive or just plain random, so, like with the Goodwill, you have to look pretty hard. But when you find something perfect for you, it is a rush that I think must be similar to finding buried treasure.

Two of my favorite sections of the store are the sections with old china and art.  If I remember correctly, there weren't tons of sets of china but lots of great individual pieces that could make a really cool collection.  I am super into the casual and whimsical idea of having lots of mismatching china instead of one set of plates.  I also think it's an excellent idea for people planning a wedding on a budget (who don't want to spend money on renting dishes).  I'd go for a more simple look than the fluffy one below but this definitely has some charm.  I have also gotten some really great little dishes for storing rings and jewelry at Urban Ore. 

The art section has led to some equally awesome discoveries.  They have tons of empty wooden frames and lots of whole pieces of art...picture, frame and all.  Here is a great vintage flower painting I found there...I loved the color and the kitsch look.  It came with the gold frame and was totally ready to hang.  This picture is old and really zoomed in so I hope you can see it okay. 

Anyway, no matter what you are looking for check out Urban Ore. They are near the highway 80 in Berkeley so if you live in the Bay Area or ever go there, it is quite convenient to get to.  Plus, on you will be doing something good for the environment. Here's to loving old crap!

Happy Earth Day and Happy almost Easter!  XOXO

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