Construction and Remodeling – 2nd Place

Every year, Community Forklift joins reuse centers across the country to participate in The ReUse People Of America’s National Reuse Contest. Anyone can enter by submitting a project to their local participating reuse store (that’s us!) in one of two categories: Construction & Remodeling, or Art & Furniture.  We’re waiting to find out which 2017 entrants won at Nationals, but in the meantime – check out Community Forklift’s local winners!


2nd Place – Construction & Remodeling

Lori Steenhoek

The Pig Potty

I just love a good bathroom. I mean LOVE. I always take note of them; doesn’t matter if I’m at your house, a new restaurant, a highway-side gas station, or a hotel across the world. I always notice bathrooms.

The 1/2 bathroom in our DC row-house desperately needed a refresh. The walls were brown (come ON, for a bathroom??), the lighting was dim, and the tile floor was warped and dated.

I’m a 3D artist/renderer with a background in architecture and animation, so I spend a fair bit of my working days creating imagery and designs for my clients. I rarely get the right moment to create and design for myself, but this project idea kept nagging at me until I knew I needed to make it a reality.

I had been eyeing inspiration images online of DIY live-edge wood benches for awhile, but I thought it would be interesting to create a linear bathroom “vanity” instead. I found the perfect piece of salvaged beech wood at my local re-use store and knew it would be a perfect fit. The wood cost $288, far less than most other typical vanities I had been sourcing online. On the same outing, I picked up a simple, white vessel sink for a mere $20. Bargain! This DIY project was off to the races.

With the help of some local contractors, I got the wood sized and cut and hoisted into place. They helped build a (mostly hidden) wooden shelf, anchored to the wall studs, to support the wood counter from below. I gave the wood several coats of Waterlox sealer to finish it with a protective sheen.

A plumber reconfigured the faucet for the new wall-mounted fixtures I picked out, and I scrubbed and re-polished the vessel sink until it looked new. A hot-pink, vintage pendant light (bought on Ebay) was another fun re-use item I scored for this project.

I added new tile floors, a new toilet, pale pink walls, and a simple round mirror, and things really started to come together.

My 2-year old daughter insisted on the finishing touch — the Pig Painting — which we found while window shopping in a small town in North Carolina. The pig hanging on the wall has been a crucial part of her potty training excitement over the past few months as she always goes running for “The Pig Potty” as this newly completed room has been named. So I guess in the end, this room is not entirely for me and my bathroom obsession, but for my daughter, whom I can only hope one day feels the same appreciation as I do for a good throne room.


We are still waiting to hear who the 2017 national winners are, but you can see the entries of past Forklift winners here! The submission form for 2018 is not yet live, so check back later in the year if you have a project you might like to submit. They say that the greenest building material is anything that’s being reused. We urge you to consider using salvaged or surplus materials for your next home improvement or creative project, and make sure you document your progress with lots of photos along the way!