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How to save a sofa

Matt Terrell
Vail CO, Colorado

GYPSUM ” Looking through the rows of colorful sofas, antique bed sets and solid oak cabinets at the Habitat Home Outlet, it’s hard to imagine it all in a landfill.

“No way that’s trash,” said Jenny Davidson, an Eagle resident looking at a row of toilets ” $5 each. “I know where to go if I need a new john.”

Everything here could have ended in the trash. The store is filled with the unwanted leftovers from the Vail Valley” the loveseats you don’t need and the doorknobs you replaced with prettier ones. You’ll see all sorts of appliances, from washing machines to refrigerators. Anything you need to build a house is there, and anything you need to sit in is there. But it’s all reliable, reusable stuff. And it’s cheap.



“That’s just a lot of waste, but we want to stop that,” said Kristi Moon, director of the Habitat Home Outlet.

In 2006, Habitat saved an estimated 196 tons of reusable items from being dumped at the Eagle County Landfill, and Moon said Habitat hopes to save a lot more through their new “Deconstruction” program. This involves salvaging reusable materials like cabinets, doors, windows and carpet and from remodeling and demolition projects going on throughout the valley.

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The salvaged items are sold at low prices in the outlet store in Gypsum, and the proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity housing projects.

“We’re building homes for seven people in Eagle,” Moon said.

The deconstruction projects in April will take place at the Lodge at Lionshead, Crossroads and the Willows Condominiums. The Willows, for instance, will be demolished and rebuilt, and most of the remains would have been taken to a landfill if manager Tim Hargreaves hadn’t called Habitat, Moon said.



“We live in a society that tends to be throwaway, but there are opportunities to reuse stuff,” Hargreaves said. “We have plenty of stuff that wasn’t quite ready for a landfill.”

Salvaging items can be both easy and tricky. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of picking up furniture.

“If a place is doing a redesign, the designer can ask the client, ‘What are you going to do with the old stuff?’ and they can just give it to Habitat,” Moon said.

There is plenty of new or near-new furniture out the outlet. This past Saturday, there were deals like a sofa set with a coffee table and an end table for $125, and cushy, intricately decorated chairs for under $100 that looked like they came from Pier One Imports.

Contractors often have surplus items in their construction ” extra boards and extra tiles that aren’t needed. Everything else though, if you want it to be reused, has to be taken apart carefully. A quick and sweeping demolition just won’t do.

“We’ve found higher-end oak and cherry cabinets ” it’s amazing what you can save,” Moon said.

Staff writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 748-2955 or mterrell@vaildaily.com.


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