Monday, December 7, 2009


This is a preview of our new ReBuilding Exchange Community Calendar it will be featured on our website soon but:

*If you have any ideas for workshops or would like to help run a workshop please e-mail us at


*If you would like events for your organization posted on our community calendar please e-mail us at

Monday, November 16, 2009


As our one 1-year anniversary nears, we're reflecting on the strong and growing reuse community we've been building with all of you this past year. And with the holidays coming up, we thought what better way to spend them than working together to give back to our community! So join us at the ReBuiliding Exchange, November 27th (the day after Thanksgiving) for our Thanks-For-Giving(T4G) friends and family volunteer day. Bring all the relatives who are in town for thanksgiving or just bring yourself an some pals and join us for a day of volunteering and fun! More details below!

Thanks4Giving Volunteer Day!

Looking for something new to do with the family after a festive day of giving thanks? Well we at the ReBuiliding Exchange want to offer you and your family a fun and active opportunity .
Join us on Friday November 27th (the day after thanksgiving) from 10am-2pm for our first annual Thanks for Giving volunteer day. We have projects for all ages and skill levels and would love to have your help! Also at 2pm we will be having a leftovers luncheon so please feel free to bring whatever goodies you still have lying around.
So here is your excuse to finally get down to the ReBuilding Exchange, spend some extra time with your family, do some volunteer work, and have a great time!

R.S.V.P. at:, or call us at (773) 847-3761

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Carpet + Glass + Steel Scrap = Coffee Table

Brandon Biederman has created this spectacular table. He took steel angle irons from a scrap yard near his father's house in mid west Wisconsin. He cut the glass from a larger, broken piece that had been previously used as a dinner table and the carpet came from some old carpet samples.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Violet Hour

We are pleased to be a part of a new installation by A Middle West Collective at the Violet Hour. Our old growth 2x4's were purchased and installed on site by Dan Sheehy. The Violet Hour is located on 1520 N. Damen. Feel free to walk by and check out the awesome artwork of

Kristen Romaniszak

Reclaimed Material Source
ReBuilding Exchange!!!!!!


Design Consultant
Elizabeth Cronin

Friday, October 16, 2009

RX's First Trade Show!!!

Come check out The ReBuilding Exchange this Saturday October 17th we as participate in the Historic Chicago Bungalow and Green Home Expo 2009 from 10am- 4pm at The Merchandise Mart (Chicago River at Wells st.) This expo will delivery a wealth of information geared towards the "Green" homeowner. For more information and the chance to win a free home energy audit check out!Pictured above is a picture of our booth!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Door Desk

Vanessa Roanhorse, a huge RX fan, has created this awesome table. She's still ordering some glass to be cut for the top and plans on possibly adding some shelves for the inside, but she said thus far it has been "easy as pie" to make!

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Crafty Pair

We are very excited to feature Sarah and Joseph Belknap some crafty customers of ours, Sarah and Joseph work hard to incorporate reuse material into their artwork and have used many materials from the ReBuilding Exchange. Recently they've made a house sculpture you can see at . It is made of items from our shop! They also have some fantastic house decor made out of used building materials they sell on their etsy store. Awesome job Sarah and Joseph!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Meegan's Kitchen Cabinet Transformation!

Rebuilding Exchange's very own Meegan has been quite crafty down here in the warehouse, turning an old beat up kitchen cabinet into a new dresser that really has pizazz! This armoire was created for a workshop for the Center for Green Technology in conjunction with Chicago Architecture Foundation. For more ideas on recrafting old pieces into new gems, contact Meegan at

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Reuse Project -- Modern table made with reclaimed pine

One of our customers, Whitney Gaylord, makes these beautiful tables from our reclaimed wood. She does them on commission as well, if you're interested you can contact her at

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Reuse Case Study -- A Chicago Garage, by Hampton Avery Architects

Hampton Avery Architects ( designed a new two-car garage for client Annie Coleman to replace an old existing wood-framed garage. The garage was conceived as an opportunity to create much-needed open space on a tight site – a rooftop garden and deck would add a backyard that never existed… only now 10 feet in the air. And it’s also a showcase for reclaimed and repurposed materials and components.

Concrete chunks from the old garage slab were used by local nonprof Urban Habitat Chicago ( to form the bases of earth berms on several landscape projects, which help define space and give visual interest, allow for dense plantings, and introduce enhanced accessibility features for individuals with limited mobility.

All framing members on the ‘new’ garage were repurposed from a previously deconstructed warehouse building and they even found roof joists on Craigslist. Rather than have their structural engineers at Louis Shell Structures (, crank out a boilerplate design for walls and a roof to support a rooftop garden, theydesigned specifically around reclaimed materials, an approach somewhat unique and slightly more time-consuming.

For the walls, they calculated they could actually rip the old 2x10 joists in half to yield two 2x5 studs. Using the framing elevations produced by the architect, general contractor Derek Ottens of Green Cross LLC ( marked individual pieces to make the framer's job easier during cutting and then erecting the walls.

The exterior of the garage is finished with Hardie Board, a post-consumer material that uses sawdust, a rainscreen cladding of reclaimed cypress with flamed finish, and galvanized aluminum security grilles (the last two bought from the ReBuilding Exchange!) that will form trellises for the ‘green combover’ – trailing deciduous plants from the rooftop garden.

It’s a modest project that took some time and effort to coordinate, but came in on-budget, is an example of an integrated approach to design, engineering, and construction, and closes the gaps in the cycles of the life of materials by employing reclaimed and repurposed materials.

Learn and see more at

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Reuse Project -- Bench/Storage Compartments for Elementary School

Another neat project from our friend and customer, Charlie Vinz. He made this bench from reclaimed lumber for an elementary school his architecture firm is designing.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Look what you can do with old shower doors!

The Delta Institute commissioned the making of this signage, with the vision that they be made from some material from the ReBuilding Exchange. Kevin, our sign maker from Monobrow Studios, found a bunch of old shower doors in the plumbing room and voila!

Reuse Project -- Picture Frames

One of our customers, raun meyn, makes these awesome custom frames out of our scrap trim.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Reuse Project -- Tree House

These crafty folks made their granddaughter this beautiful tree house using cedar siding and other reclaimed wood they found at the ReBuilding Exchange.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Story of Stuff -- the Underside of our Production and Consumption Patterns.

What is the Story of Stuff?

From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Reuse Project -- Table Lamp

An RX customer, Joel Haynes, made a really interesting table lamp out of one of our old industrial light fixtures and a roll of player piano music. The light shines through the roll, projecting the images onto the wall. He can be reached at if you're interested in seeing more of his crafty salvage and reuse projects.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Reuse Project -- Orientation Center Media Library

Local architect, designer and activist, Charlie Vinz built these beautiful, and functional shelves from ReBuilding Exchange wood, for the Orientation Center in Chicago. The Orientation Center is home to InCUBATE (Institute for Community Understanding Between Art and the Everyday) and AREA Chicago, a publication and event series dedicated to researching, supporting and networking local social, political and cultural movements.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A ReBuilding Exchange customer made these mirrors for his house from scraps of reclaimed flooring....

Green Boxes this weekend at City Farm!

Join City Farm for coffee and green thumb inspiration this Saturday at the launch of City Farm’s Green Box, the portable vegetable garden for your urban space. The ReBuilding Exchange donated reclaimed lumber for this exciting new project!

May 16, Saturday, 9 until noon
1204 N. Clybourn (Clybourn and Division)

City Farm’s Green Box provides an easy, portable way to grow fresh salad greens, spinach, chard, herbs, and other shallow-rooted vegetables on a terrace, backyard, roof or other limited space. Your new garden is constructed of recycled and repurposed materials** from the Chicago area and constructed by volunteers. And best of all the Green Box comes with 100% sustainable City Farm compost, and City Farm lettuce seeds. It will provide a full garden-to-table experience in as little as a 2’x3’ space.

Proceeds go directly to City Farm and it’s parent The Resource Center and are tax-deductible.

On Site Green Thumb Inspiration:
• Tim Wilson, City Farm’s head farmer
• Ken Dunn, The Resource Center’s founder and CEO
• State Senator Heather Steans
• Merrill Smith, head of Green Box Chicago.

RSVP:, or better yet, just stop by.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

reused lumber as box staircase

We thought this reuse idea was particularly neat and worth sharing.

As part of a project in Germany, Jan Korbes used recovered antique floor wood and leftover construction wood to create this unusual staircase of add-on boxes.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Thanks to Pepper Construction and Turner Construction for donating tools to the ReBuilding Exchange!

When we put out a call for much needed tools for programs at the ReBuilding Exchange, both Pepper Construction and Turner Construction came through with a generous donation from their shops and subcontractors. We now have many of the tools we need to do more of our mission, in the way of educational programs and material repurposing projects!

We can always use more though, so if you're cleaning out your basement or garage this Spring, consider donating your tools to us. They'll go to a great cause! And the donation is tax-deductible!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

ReBuilding Exchange on CMDepot

You can now check out some of our materials on the CMDepot website. Some postings are for actual items and others for categories of materials that turnover pretty regularly.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Virtual Tour of Allied Waste's Construction and Demolition Recycling Facility in Chicago

This Chicago Reader blog post gives a good overview of how the C&D recycling process works with new mechanical separation technology, with an inside look at Allied Waste's facility on Cermak Road.  We always like to see things reused before recycled, of course, but this is a great resource for the city. I've toured the plant myself, and I can say its very impressive.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The ReBuilding Exchange needs tools!

If you have any extra tools laying around or want to donate something new, we can definitely use 'em!
We have a specific need for the following:

Nail pullers
Flat bars
Lg. Metal Industrial Dust Pan
Safety glasses
Dust masks
Ear plugs
Needle nose pliers
Flat head screwdrivers
Phillips head screwdrivers
Circular Saw
Chop Saw
Shop Vac
Tin Snips
Air Compressor
Nail / Staple Gun

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Volunteers needed next Saturday at the RX!

Hey there! If you've got some free time next Saturday, March 7th, come on out to the ReBuilding Exchange and lend a hand.
There's lots to do including material organizing, unloading trucks, and making signage....
Send us an email and let us know you're coming

For more info about the ReBuilding Exchange, including location and hours, visit

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Material Exchange Reuse Fish Habitat Project

As as follow up to an earlier posting about Material Exchange's fantastic material reuse project involving a boat/bookshelf, that became a truck topper, that became a wooden turtle, that will become sunken fish habitat in a lake in Northern Michigan, here is a video documenting the whole process and material metamorphosis.

I'd Rather Be Fishin' from Material Exchange on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The ReBuilding Exchange is excited to announce our new business hours!

Starting Wednesday, February 18, 2009 we will be open:
Wednesdays 8am-4pm
Thursdays 12pm -8pm
Fridays 8am-4pm
Saturdays 10am-6pm
Sundays 12pm-4pm
We are closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

We hope to see you soon!

For more information about hours, location, donations, etc please check out our website

Monday, February 9, 2009

Check out the ReBuilding Exchange on ABC news!

Over 40 percent of the material that goes into landfills comes from construction and demolition waste. Now, two non-profit organizations have joined forces to reduce that number while offering bargains to consumers.

A non-profit organization called "The Reuse People" is taking apart properties piece by piece instead of flattening them with a wrecking ball. The process is called deconstruction. It costs more in time and money, but up to ninety-percent of building materials can be recovered and reused. The next step is to get the salvaged items into the hands of those who can use them.

A new retail store in the Brighton Park neighborhood called "The Rebuilding Exchange" could help connect the goods with people who need them.

"It's basically pennies on the dollar for what someone would be paying retail," said Ken Ortiz of The Reuse People.

The goal of the store is to divert construction debris from landfills and support sustainable building. It's a project of non-profit, The Delta Institute.

Elise Zelechowski of The Delta Institute said, "What happens in this space is there's some retail activity for the local community, for architects, for contractors. There's job training in deconstruction. There's educational workshops."

Anyone can purchase doors, windows, plumbing, cabinetry and virtually anything else you'd find in a home -- right down to the structural frame.

"The quality of some of the materials that we have here, you just can't buy in a retail warehouse operation like Home Depot," explained Ortiz. You just can't get 1903 lumber anymore."

The Rebuilding Exchange is celebrating its grand opening on Friday, February 13, 2009 from 6pm to 10pm.

West 47th Street

Chicago, Illinois

Monday, February 2, 2009

Interesting short film about building with waste...

Filmaker Laura Hanna made this short film, A City Made of Waste, in 2008 for the exhibition Home Delivery:Fabricating the Modern Dwelling at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Need helpers this Saturday!

Help us get ready for the ReBuilding Exchange grand opening party and come on out this Saturday, the 7th, between 10 and 6. We'll be getting crafty, making signs, hanging lights, and organizing our materials...
Send an email to if you can make it!


Reuse Project of Interest from our Friends at Material Exchange

Public Art Installation: "I'd Rather be Fishin' "
In conjunction with the Smart Museum's traveling exhibition
Beyond Green: Toward a Sustainable Art, members of Material Exchange have been invited to participate in a short project-based residency in Marquette, Michigan through February 2nd. The project began with a retired wooden fishing boat refashioned into a truck topper for transportation to the Upper Peninsula atop a slick Chevy Silverado rental. Upon reaching its destination, the topper will be transformed, yet again, as a sculpture to be installed upon the frozen inland body of water, Teal Lake. This sculpture will be collaboratively designed and built with several high school and college students while Material Exchange is in residence. The design will, in the warming months of spring, sink to the bottom of the lake and find it's final role as a freshwater fish habitat.

For more information please visit:

Related Event:
Friday, January 30, 2:00pm
Visiting Artist Presentation: Material Exchange
Art and Design Lecture Hall, Room 165

Saturday, January 31st, 3:00pm - ?
Public Art Installation and On-Site Fish Fry
Amidst the Teal Lake Ice Fishing Village

Hope to see you there- Bring your parkas!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Article on Deconstruction Pilot Project in Cleveland