...because home doesn't happen overnight.

Handy Hubby, the kiddos, and myself all headed down to Cincinnati on Saturday to check out an outlet that Handy Hubby discovered last year and has been wanting me see in person ever since. After his first visit to Building Value, Handy Hubby went on and on about the unique housing materials he’d found {but didn’t purchase}.  He thought I’d have fun imagining ways to repurpose all the salvaged inventory.  He knows me so well!  I had a blast.

Building Value’s inventory comes from manufacturer donations, local deconstruction projects, and generous remodelers.  They specialize in salvaging reusable materials for sale to the public in an effort to help the environment, reduce the cost of disposal, and give architectural gems a second life.  100% of the proceeds go to the Easter Seals Work Resource Center benefiting people with disabilities.  It’s a win-win situation.  I found several items that could possibly make an appearance in our next, downsized, home.  {Most of the homes we’ve looked at so far are foreclosures, short sales, or estate sales in need of some TLC.}  Wanna see the stuff that caught my design-lovin’ eye?

First up and right inside the front door was this rain barrel.  I’ve been wanting to collect rain water for some time now.  If we weren’t in the middle of purging in anticipation of a move, I’d have grabbed this bad boy and tried to talk ’em down in price.  If I’m lucky, maybe he’ll still be there after we settle into our next home.

There was a huge selection of  interior and exterior doors…mostly old, some new.  And, like the sign says, they were unique.  A few had to have once lived in mansions because they were at least 12 feet tall – and gorgeous!

I found this glass panel door that I wouldn’t mind having as a front door some day.  It was marked at $50.

I absolutely fell in love with this chunky, square pedestal sink.  I even liked the fixtures.  And then I found its perfect bathroom soul mate…

…this vintage clawfoot tub.  I’d paint the outside a contrasting color {like black or charcoal} then hang a simple curtain around it from an industrial, oval shower rod.  To. Die. For.  I’m secretly hoping our next home needs a total bathroom overhaul.

One section of the outlet was devoted entirely to salvaged architectural elements:  columns, molding, trim, banisters, railings, spindles, corbels…you name it.  I was particularly smitten with these primitive fireplace mantels.  One of these installed on a long, blank wall would instantly scream “FOCAL POINT!”  I’d add a mirror where the firebox normally goes and call it a day. Okay, now secretly hoping that our next home has a blank canvas of a wall in desperate need of a faux fireplace.

And wouldn’t this arched window make a grand first impression installed above a front door? Although, I’m pretty sure it’d be too grand for whatever home we downsize to.  I’d love to have seen this window in its original home.  Maybe it wasn’t even over a door at all.  Maybe it was a third story attic window.  Wherever it used to live, this window has a great shape and could be a one-of-a-kind detail.

I’ve already professed my love for school on H*T before, so it should come as no surprise that I adored the selection of pull down/roll up school maps.  There were even retractable mounting kits available.  I thought the Ohio state map would look great in one of my kids’ future bedroom.

The outlet’s stock overflowed outside where more doors, tubs, lumber, windows, and various other building materials were stashed.  I was drawn to the pallets of bricks and pavers.  DIY patio, anyone?

I knew browsing through ‘house stuff’ {as my boys call it} wasn’t exactly my kids’ idea of a good time, but I was pleasantly surprised when Layne started picking out items he thought were pretty cool.  Like the orange dentist’s chair.  We spent a good 10 minutes at that chair letting the boys take turns ahhhing.  Funny how our dentist has a room devoted strictly to children with painted jungle wall murals, stuffed animals, and a flat screen TV to make the kids feel more comfortable.  I think my kids would be perfectly fine as long as this old orange chair was in the room!

My boys also had fun playing with Building Value’s mascot, Betty.  She was hard at work on her computer when the boys distracted her with a piece of twine.  It was a good ‘black cat crossing your path’ experience.

After all that, we ended up with 2 for sale signs that cost us $6…after a little friendly haggling.  Hey, we gotta sell this house before we can even begin to buy for the next.  I put them out at two busy intersections close to our home to draw in more traffic hopefully.  {So far, we’ve had tons of interest, decent traffic, and even one offer which, unfortunately, fell through.}

So, that’s a very small snippet of what Building Value has to offer.  Of course, this is just an edited selection of my finds.  They also sell tile, lighting, toilets, vanities, kitchen sinks, some antique furniture and probably a lot more that I missed.  Oh, and if you agree to put a Building Value bumper sticker on your bumper, you get 10% off your purchase.  We declined this time…just so we can accept that offer some day when we come back to purchase bigger ticket items.  Because we do plan on going back.  If you’re in the Cincy area and like to reuse or upcycle stuff for your house, you should definitely check this place out.  It’s not in the nicest of neighborhoods {although we found the people we encountered there to be very friendly}, so it’s a true diamond in the rough.  And just to keep things balanced, we hit up IKEA on the way home which we left empty-handed.  Nothing like mixing old with new – even if it’s just window shopping!

This family outing got Handy Hubby and I really inspired to bring more upcycled pieces into our next house.  This outing is pretty indicative of our design philosophy, too.  We like budget-friendly materials and decor found from all sorts of places.  Old and new is a mix that never goes out of style.

What about you?  Do you have a local diamond in the rough store to share?  Know of any other housing material outlets near Cincy/Dayton that would get my wheels turning?

images:  all Dana Miller for House*Tweaking



Ohhhhhhh I wish Seattle area had one of these! That store looks and sounds awesome! We are house hunting too! I hope you sell your house soon. I want to see how you remodel your some day new house! Good Luck!

In Ontario, we have similar stores run by Habitat for Humanity called Re-Store. Filled to the rafters with all sorts of interesting renovating supplies rescued from homes during other peoples’ projects. You can even find whole kitchens there.

We just bought a little fixer-upper, so we’ll probably be using them quite regularly for our projects.


Thanks for sharing about this store. I do not live close to that area but have some friends that would love that store. I try to check out the Habitat Re Store in our area to find some gems.


I saw your tweet about this and was going to ask the name of the store. Thanks for sharing, this is right up my alley!


There’s R&L Salvage on US22 in Wilmington. You should check it out if you haven’t already. LOTS of good deals on some quality pieces.


Northside is one of Cincinnati’s gems, you should eplore more around there. You might be surprised.


would drive that far just for those maps, they’d be great for an office/kid room/play room! don’t even get me started on the windows!

I agree with Jordan, Habitat ReStore is another great place to go. We donate any extra building materials there, too, it’s a win-win (decluttering + donating)

I also love shopping the less fancy antique shops, sometimes you’ll see great windows/doors/fireplace mantels tucked away in a corner….for inspiration on what to do with this treasures, I look to Bloomsbury Loft (now in the Short North in Columbus)



There is a Habitat Re-store in Dayton. 1041 S. Patterson Blvd. I’ve never been to that one but I go to one in Lima all the time. Might be a bit far for you though. They even have some of their items online. We are just getting ready to put an offer in on our first house and I can not wait to remodel via Re-store!

We have Habitat ReStores in Missouri. I’ve been anxious to drop by one and see what they have available. We’re in between houses (yay living with family!) but should be settled in the next few months. Then I’ll have a good excuse to drag Hubster out there one weekend.

I L O V E the maps! What a great find!


A few people have already mentioned Habitat for Humanity Restore. Here is a link to the locations by state. I believe they have one close to Cincy.


We have several here in St. Louis and have been fortunate to snag some great stuff from them. We actually have a trip planned there this week to look for 2 old wooden/glass french doors to repurpose a shed on our property into a playhouse for our daughter…an old chunky fireplace mantle and a large chandelier to repurpose a bit for our great room. Hopefully our luck continues and we find some great treasures.

That store looks amazing…too bad it’s not closer to us. :( I want those maps!


The sink is lovely, but the 2 spout thing is…well…takes some getting used to. I’m sure it’s in a movie somewhere, blending the cold with the hot to get warm/doing it backwards and getting scalded by the hot. Anyway: Great store!


OMG! I could spend hours at this place! It looks so amazing! I would love to have a claw foot tub. That’s what we had in our house growing up. What a great trip for everyone in the family. Thanks for sharing!


oh man! my husband and i were just in Cincinnati this weekend and i would’ve loved checking out old clawfoot tubs and those gorgeous doors! especially since our little man was with his grandma for the weekend and we could’ve spent half an afternoon in there.

i will check it out next time we’re in town.

we did hit up Ikea (and an amazing antique mall out near Jungle Jim’s) and i did NOT leave empty handed. :)

fun. fun.


My last house had a clawfoot tub, which I loved. It added SO much character to the bathroom.

Also, 10% off for putting their bumper sticker on your car? I’m not big on bumper stickers, but what a great idea!


i didn’t know you were in ohio! we’re near cleveland. this store looks awesome!



I love your blog!! I found your blog a few months ago and now it’s in my list of favorites!! I love in Cincinnati and you mentioned going to the Ballard Outlet…I had no idea it was so close to me in West Chester!! Love it! Now I need to check out the building value store. I’ve never been to the Habitat for Humanity Restore, but it’s also on my list of places to get to. Have you ever been to Home Emporium?? They have one near Tri County Mall and they are always getting in new building and decorating materials. If you’re ever in the area again it’s worth checking it out. You never know what you might find.


There’s an amazing little place on Route 68 between Yellow Springs and Springfield. It has several barns that you walk through and dig around in. Tons of old doors, porch swings and Victorian exterior details. The people are insanely nice and they have some very cool treasures. I bought a bunch of old wooden ammunition boxes and crates that I use as planters for $3 each. I think you would LOVE this place. It’s on the north side of the street and has a very unique repurposed fence made out of various gardening tools – can’t remember the name of it though.

Bonus – Young’s Jersey Dairy is just down the street. Mmmm ice cream. :)

I love it all! Especiall that sink & tub! And I’ve always wanted a map like that, those are great! I hope there is somewhere like that near us that I’m overlooking. (I love ReStore, but they never have anything likethose mantels!)


That place looks so cool! I just checked out their website to see if there are any other locations, nope. :( I would love to find someplace similar in the Phoenix area.


Yes, I have Green Demolitions near me, and used them to finish my house that we built almost 2 years ago. they take donated items and offer a tax ded for the donation, then use the $$ from resale to fund rehab. You can see some of the highlights at:


We have a create resource in Buffalo, NY called Buffalo ReUse where they promote green demolition and people can donate materials. It’s an invaluable resource to our community… they were even featured when Extreme Home Makeover came to Buffalo!


I meant “great” resource… not create. But you can create alot of things with everything there!


The antique fireplace mantels remind me of a repurpose project my friend did here: http://farynblaze.com/repurpose#/i/4. She turned hers into a beautiful headboard.

xoxo Tara


I just wondered, were those maps pricey? I liked what I saw! What a great place!


The Wooden Nickel in downtown cincy has some pretty great architectural salvage (a little pricier, but more grand!). Northside really is a pretty great urban area… lots of good stuff to eat and drink and some great thrift/vintage shopping.


Thank you for sharing this! I work for Building Value and we love to hear good stories like yours. I wanted to let you and your friends know that Building Value is also a non-profit organization so by supporting Building Value you are helping provide job training opportunities for people with disadvantages and disabilities. Most of the people you see working there are gaining job experience to help them gain permanent community employment. Because of it’s association with Easter Seals WRC – Building Value’s parent organization – all product donations are considered charitable contributions on your taxes. It’s truly a win-win all around! Thank you for sharing!


In the Columbus area…Columbus Architectural and Salvage (they have a website too) and in the Newark, OH, area…Loewendick’s. Both have great stuff. The latter requires a lot longer to peruse as it is not at all organized. But I think that is half the fun! I am currently looking for a salvaged butcher block top for my island (base is machine legs) that measures 3’x6′. Seen anything like that around?


Tracy – I haven’t seen anything like that around but it sounds absolutely lovely and unique!


Just a thought. I would put that arched window on the inside of my house…above our master bathroom door It would look pretty with a soft light shining through into the master suite.


That’s so awesome!! I wonder if there is a place like that here in Columbus? I’m a geography major, finding a school map like that would be like winning the lottery!


OH my! My hubby and I just moved to Ohio so we don’t know ANYTHING about the area, I’m stoked to check out all these places! <3


The square pedestal sink looks great, but, believe me, those faucets are a big pain in the rear in the practical sense. We had a sink like that in the bathroom when we lived in England, and it is a nightmare trying to wash your face! You’ve got hot water coming out of one tap and cold water coming out of the other, and you’re scalding your hands trying to make a warm mix to wash!


Hi! I absolutely love your blog and home decorating and design ideas! Could you tell me what kind of patio doors you have in your kitchen. They are perfect for our house and would like dimensions, and the brand name. Do they have screens and both swing in as your dining room doors? love, love love!


We used a local company to have the doors built and installed. They are custom to match the proportions of the window that used to be there. They do have removable sliding screens so we can open the doors during summer without bugs flying in. The doors in the kitchen open up into the house like the doors in the dining room.


I was wondering if you ever get in slipper tubs or know we’re I can get a cast iron slipper tub


I’ve never used a slipper tub before but maybe you could try craigslist or ebay for an affordable, used option?