Every year brings new trends and challenges to the changing needs of our customer base. Some years we were selling salvaged wood windows for DIY greenhouses, and lately we’ve seen ton of interest in Midcentury modern design. Due to the ever-changing inventory of Earthwise, we are determined to help each customer discover something perfect for their next big project.

Here are the top 8 questions we’ve been asked this year:

1. Where do you get your stuff?

This question is evergreen. We have so many high-quality, off-beat, or amazingly unique materials in our warehouses, it’s no great wonder why people keep asking us! 

Paul, our Acquisitions Manager, helps answer this one:

“Much of the materials we bring in are from houses slated for demolition or being remodeled. Right now, most of our salvages are happening in the Ballard, and Phinney neighborhoods, where a lot of the development is occurring. Our more unique and interesting items come from places like churches or warehouses where we find things like stained glass or an art deco elevator door.” 

Paul goes on, “It’s important to note that many of our favorite, most sought after inventory is actually dropped off by way of donation, coming directly from our community who are looking to give a second life to their items.”

Learn more about our Services HERE.

2. What’s it like to work at Earthwise?

People who work at Earthwise love old stuff! Our staff is researching antique items and building materials, setting up displays, and educating the general public on a daily basis. Loving what you do brings on some amazing co-workers.

Alison, our Office Manager extraordinaire comments on her day-to-day at Earthwise:

“Earthwise has hands down the most authentic group of people I’ve ever worked with. It’s a space that makes you feel valued, respected, and I find a real sense of belonging with people I genuinely like working with. I enjoy talking with customers that have great vision and talent and there are always new and fun items coming in the door. I end my day with a lot of dog hair on my clothes from our amazing dog crew hugs.”

Sounds like a good fit for you or someone you know? We’re currently HIRING at our Seattle and Tacoma locations!

3. Will you demolish my barn (or insert structure here!) and pay me for it?

When people see architectural salvage in action, they may also see demolition crews. However, though we may be handling similar materials, we do different things!

Aaron, our Director of Operations continues,

“Unfortunately, demolition is not a service we provide.  We’re always happy to recommend our friends at Sledge Seattle who deconstruct buildings, piece by piece, and it will be a similar cost to that of demolition. It is just a WAY greener way to take down a building.  Earthwise will always be happy to come remove the reusable building materials from the structure though.”

Learn more about what architectural salvage is HERE.

4. Can I buy that anvil? 


Felicia, our Aberdeen Store Manager talks about the anvil at our Aberdeen location:

“No, unfortunately the anvil is not for sale. This is a funny question but we get it all the time – I would say on a daily basis! The anvil is owned by Kurt (Earthwise’s owner)” 

Much like you, we love collecting. There are some things at Earthwise that are not for sale but are for show-and-tell. Besides the anvil in Aberdeen, we have the Museum of Antiquities in Seattle – a display case filled to the brim with fun and fascinating finds of our salvages. 

5. Where does all this lumber come from? Can I get it cut-to-size?

Aside from residential salvages, we often partner with local demolition companies to ensure less high-quality lumber goes into the landfill. At our Tacoma location, we have a Wood-mizer and are able to custom cut large slabs of lumber. It’s not set up for matching the trim in your house, but it will take a full tree trunk (or old-growth beam) and turn it into a beautiful live edge or dimensional lumber for your projects!

Our lumber is almost all old-growth and ranges from amazing cedar pontoons from a houseboat to remilled giant beams out of warehouses. We’ve even got old growth Douglas fir pilings from a 1950s Boeing dock which yields blue wood when you slab it up! 

6. What trends are popular in salvage from over the years?

Paul, Acquisitions Manager, has seen salvage needs change from years in the business:

“10-15 years ago we were salvaging turn of the century houses with cool craftsman pieces – but now the shift has turned to midcentury homes being torn down so we’re seeing more oak, mahogany items, and mid-century light fixtures

However, our favorites will always be 1900s – 1920s houses that haven’t been painted over. Unpainted floors, doors, and trim. Wood from this era has a high resale value because of the quality and rarity of the wood like fir flooring. We can’t keep any in stock because it comes through rarely.”

7. Do you have this item?

Before calling or emailing us, check our ever-changing INVENTORY. We have thousands of items at all three of our locations! If you find something at another location but want it sent to one closest to you, you are able to purchase the item over the phone and we can transfer it between stores.

8. What is the most interesting thing we’ve ever salvaged?

Nate, the Seattle Store Manager, still recalls this item,

”Four years ago, someone brought in two huge marble sphinxes from 1885. These were supposed to go on each side of the entrance to a house. They were unforgettable.”