Welcome to the second installment of Sustainable Saturday. I had the opportunity to chat with Karl, the creative force behind Half Pint Salvage. Karl scours high and low to find some pretty sweet materials to re purpose and turn into amazing pieces for your home, office or studio. I like Karl for several reasons: he's out of Seattle (local), digs sustainable design, is super talented and has a beard.
Half Pint Salvage
elSage: Is Half Pint Salvage your only job or do you wear other hats in your daily life?
Karl: Half Pint Salvage is my part-time gig—although, I’d say some weeks definitely feel like full-time. I’m not able to live solely off the business…yet. But I’m definitely growing more and more each month. Currently, I’m also an accountant/wholesale manager/operations director, for my girlfriend’s screen-printing business, Blackbird Tees.
eS: How do you feel about sustainable design?
K: I think it’s absolutely essential. In my line of work, recycling and reusing salvaged materials means less waste. And by forgoing “newer” materials, my energy footprint decreases. Plus, my natural instinct has always been to see what’s available first (before I buy something brand new or mass-produced). Often times, the recycled and/or handmade option is just as affordable—and in some cases more accessible and aesthetically pleasing.
eS: What are some of your favorite sustainable companies?
K: I’m definitely a bit of a foodie, so eating healthy is a priority. Natural markets such as Whole Foods or PCC (local to Seattle) get my nod. When it comes to eating, I think Americans need to vote with their dollars. And buying organic, locally-farmed groceries is a great way to show companies that you’re voting for healthy food.
eS: Share something interesting about yourself.
K: I love traveling. In fact, back in 2004, a friend and I drove over 35,000 miles in one summer. We hit 39 out of 50 states and camped out almost every night--for 3 months straight. My only regret is that we didn’t bring a bigger tent.
eS: Did you grow up in the Seattle area? If not what brought you here? If so, what has kept you here?
K: I actually grew up in Virginia and lived there until 2004. I’m not quite sure what brought me to Seattle. I moved out here with some friends, and I think we were all simply ready to move as far away from Virginia as we possibly could.
Farmers markets, cute neighborhoods, and the glory that is our picture-perfect summer (albeit for 3 or 4 weeks) are what keep me happy here.
eS: Where do you find your materials?
K: Building salvage stores are my go-to supplier. You can find everything there—wood molding, bathroom fixtures, cabinet doors, windows, etc. Almost every material I run across inspires me. Sometimes I can spend the whole day just browsing and imagining zany building ideas in my head.
eS: Do you have any employees?
K: Me, myself and I.
eS: Where can people find you?
K: My Etsy shop. You’ll also find me out on the craft show circuit (most recently at the Renegade Craft Fair in Austin, TX) and local farmers markets in the Seattle area.
eS: Please shamelessly plug your favorite product from your shop.
K: Gladly! I am absolutely in love with one of my newest chalkboards, entitled The Executive, Mad Men Edition—created from a salvaged cabinet door. It has a painted black accent strip and sports modish, chrome hardware (found at my local salvage store). For some reason, I was against using black paint. But a recent custom order totally changed my mind.
eS: Do you have any business advice for sustainable companies?
K: Take the egg carton approach and use minimal, yet effective packaging—keeping waste to a minimum. And when possible, use recycled materials.
eS: If you could have a super power what would it be and why?
K: I absolutely loathe sanding and paint stripping—but unfortunately, for a majority of my products, it’s absolutely necessary. So my super power would be the ability to blink my eyes and have those steps magically completed. My hands and wrists would be soooo happy!