Traveler's Journal

Saving the house

Lisa Taggart

Though on the surface I've been going about my life and work in the usual way since my husband and I bought a 1912 bungalow last year, all the while a section of my mind has been occupied with a ticker tape of home improvement concerns: Roman shades or curtains? Pedestal sink or cabinet? Where can I get a Craftsman chandelier? Where can I get a Craftsman chandelier?

So when a coworker told me about the Peninsula's Whole House Building Supply salvage company, I investigated right away. The seven-year-old group capitalizes on this crazy teardown real estate market by sponsoring demolition sales, selling off a house's contents such as cabinets, tilework, lights, and beams over a 48-hour period. You buy it, then you remove it ― right down to the thermostat, the doorknobs, and the toothbrush holders. Take all the plants you can dig up for $5.

It's a keep-it-out-of-the-landfill philosophy that's a boon to homeowners looking to upgrade with historic details or just find well-priced appliances. Half of the group's income goes to East Palo Alto-based nonprofits. That'll be something to feel good about under the soft glow of my new chandelier. Visit www.driftwoodsalvage.com for information on sale locations. Salvage store at 1955 Pulgas Rd., East Palo Alto; 650/328-8731.