Toxic Exposure: The Danger of Repurposing Pallets

Aug 30, 2010 by

Whilst repurposing is Poetic Home’s middle name, I must issue a warning about wood pallets and their potential toxicity.  I was planning on repurposing wood pallets as bookshelves for my son’s nursery, but my maternal instinct had me research the safety of the wood — and it turns out, wood pallets could be incredibly toxic for your health!

In fact, the pallets could be treated with chemical pesticides, fungicides, and preservatives.  Even worse, according to Wikipedia, “imported palletized goods are routinely fumigated with highly toxic pesticides.”  And in a CBS news report that is worth viewing, more than one third of wood pallets have been found to be unsanitary, and experts believe these pallets can be making millions of people sick.

Remember the recent Tylenol recall that made some people vomit and very ill?  It turns out it was a chemical reaction from the treatment of the wood pallets on which the bottles and packaging materials were shipped that made all those people sick, as reported by Material Handling Management. Specifically, the chemical treatment on the wood pallets was 2,4,6-Tribonoanisole (TBA), which has “been identified as an environmental contaminant…used as a fungicide and a wood preservative,” according to Only Science, and that not enough research has been conducted on the toxicity of TBA to humans (read: BPA, phatlates, and all the other chemicals we’ve recently “discovered” is dangerous, especially to children.)

Some industry advocates state that many wood pallets are treated simply with heat, and not with chemicals — but why take the risk?  If bottles of Tylenol were that easily contaminated by the chemical reactions on wood pallets, why bring those pallets directly into your home?

Could you please help spread the word? I’ve seen too many repurposing projects involving pallets, especially in children’s rooms and even as bed frames for kids, and in good conscience, we must get the word out to protect our health and the future of our little ones.

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Endless Summer via Repurposed Surfboards

Aug 2, 2010 by

Aloha friends!  We’ve made the puddle jump and are so happy to be living back in Hawaii, where you can spot ingeniously repurposed surfboard fences simply driving through the North Shore.   We are feverishly house hunting and cannot wait to get settled, especially for little Jet’s sake, and I hopefully will have photos of our new home to share soon.  In the interim, shall we be inspired by vintage surfboards repurposed into furniture?  They are quite epic.

A vintage surfboard is transformed into a relaxed, conversational coffee table, as seen in House Beautiful.

At Hotel California in Santa Monica, a surfboard is recycled into a warm headboard, as captured by charliebrewer.

Half an upcycled surfboard becomes a chic alternative to an Adirondack chair, as made by Karl’s Good Wood.

Stop by the River Inn at Big Sur, and you will be pleasantly surprised by a delicious menu displayed on a repurposed surfboard chalkboard, as captured by anytdiluvian. Brilliant!

Two chairs and a repurposed surfboard (although I actually don’t think that is a real surfboard, as it is far too flat) create a utility table, as seen in NY Times.  I actually think this one would be an excellent ironing board!

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6 More Ways to Repurpose Vintage Suitcases

Jun 21, 2010 by

On Thursday, I’ll be saying goodbye to San Diego and aloha to Hawaii, and with this inspiration, I’ve rounded up more ideas on how you can repurpose vintage suitcases into new treasures.  Enjoy — and I’ll see you on the other side of the Pacific next week!

This is the BEST repurposed suitcase idea I have ever seen.  Yes, you are looking at a bass made out of a vintage suitcase by Daniyel.  And the best part is that this crafty musician has posted step-by-step DIY instructions on his blog.

Use your vintage suitcase as a planter tray for your indoor specimens, as seen via Junk Warehouse Online

I’ve blogged about suitcase tables before, but I love what lovenostalgicwhimsy has done with creating an entire set of luggage coffee and end tables with their color-coordinated legs.  Charming!

I once hoarded half a dozen vintage suitcases in the hopes of stacking two columns of three to four suitcases and then topping it with a glass piece or antique French door to turn into a desk.  Alas, I sold all of my vintage suitcases during my last move, but here is a modern creation made of leather briefcases from the talented Maarten De Ceulaear, who you may know for the pile of suitcase armoires.

From the uber-creative JunkTion comes a great piece of repurposed furniture – a sofa made from an old vintage trunk.  It’s like the human version of the repurposed luggage pet bed that has been quite popular in the blogosphere.

A vintage suitcase gets a new life as an ambient light by Jo-Annie Larue – what a clever idea!

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Library Card Catalogs for Sale: Volume I

Jun 10, 2010 by

Update: As of August, all of the card catalogs listed have been sold, but don’t despair!  I will be publishing regular lists of card catalogs for sale throughout the country.  To stay updated, please feel free to sign up for Poetic Home’s RSS feed and leave a comment with your location so I can add it to the hunting list.  If you have a library card catalog for sale and would like to be featured, please email me for details.

Many of you asked, and now you shall receive — a regular compilation of library card catalogs for sale across the country!  Volume I of this series focuses on the West Coast, and I’ll make regular rounds traversing all the way across to the East Coast. If you would like for me to scout in a specific state near you, just leave a note in the comments, and I’d be happy to include it in my searches.

If you become the lucky owner of one of these, please do let me know, as I would LOVE to see photos of them in your homes!

In Arcata, California, this 72-drawer library card catalog cabinet on rollers is for sale for only $150!  Call Lee at (707) 407-7194 to snap up this amazing deal. (P.S.  Yes, you are welcome!)  SOLD

In Jackson, California at “Antiques Downstairs,” this vintage industrial metal library card cabinet is for sale for $150.  I’ve never seen a metal one before, and I love the combination of academic aura and industrial edge.  Call Laurie at (209) 418-8254SOLD

From the 1950s comes this card catalog with two filing cabinets no less, which was originally used in Chemawa Middle School in Riverside.  This is currently for sale in Redlands, California for $300.  SOLD

And for the greatest steal EVER, snap up this antique library card cabinet for only $40 in Fresno, California!  Call (559) 287-9648 and then give me a share of your first born child as a token of your appreciation :)   SOLD

In Tucson, Arizona, this three-section 56 drawer library card catalog is for sale for $550.  SOLD

This impressive, dramatically sized library card cabinet is for sale in Redmond, Bend, Oregon for $400.  SOLD

I hope you enjoyed Volume I of Poetic Home’s series of Library Card Catalogs for Sale!

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4 Repurposed Wood Flooring Alternatives

Jun 8, 2010 by

After waiting for years on the sidelines for the real estate market to correct, I now have house hunting on the mind!   Where will the hubby, baby and I be house hunting for our first home?  Our beloved Hawaii, where we previously called home and where we will be raising Jet…starting at the end of this month!

We are looking for a fixer-upper to restore, but considering the major extent of termite-damage many of the older homes incur in Hawaii, this is not an easy task.  That’s why we are also considering building a sustainable, green home off the grid — a “poetic home” that incorporates as many repurposed and vintage building materials as possible, of course!  I hope you will join me on the journey!

For either option, being thousands of miles away from the Mainland means being very resourceful and creative.  I’ve been looking at flooring options, and here are four repurposed flooring materials that make a beautiful and creative alternative to wood.

McKay‘s Whiskey Barrel Flooring turns your floor into an entire conversation piece.

Submitted to the sadly defunct Domino’s Cheap Tricks section, this floor is made from old wood crates.  I think this would be a gorgeous option for kitchen floors!

German flooring company Parador‘s laminate flooring is inspired by salvaged fruit and wine crates.

Gallery West‘s repurposed gym flooring is fun, hardy, and gives gym glass a whole new meaning.

What do you think of these repurposed flooring choices?  Have you seen other fun alternatives?

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