One man's trash is another's treasure

VICKSBURG – A local restaurant has found an environmentally friendly way to remodel and stick to a budget.
Cuzz’s Bar-B-Que, off U.S. Highway 61 South, has used recycled newspapers, old record albums, wood scraps, used furniture and earth-friendly paint and tile. For owners Anton Chumakov and Brian Culley, sticking to a budget was most important, and the expertise of their artistic friend Lindsay Carraway made things possible.
“I told them to let me brainstorm, and see how we can do this ourselves – and do it better,” said Carraway, who studied industrial design at Pratt Institute in New York City and graduated with a metals and jewelry degree from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia.
“We managed to stay under budget,” which was about $1,000, he said.
Eco-friendly paint “was the most expensive item we used,” Culley said.
“I wanted to keep with the barbecue theme,” Carraway said. “Red was too overwhelming, but orange gave it some depth.”
Eco-friendly paint, available at any home improvement store, contains none or little volatile organic compounds coating, or VOC – organic chemical compounds used in household products, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s website.
Any amount less than 50 grams per liter is considered “environmentally friendly,” said Sandra Malski, a Behr paint manufacturer spokesperson. VOC levels can be as high as 700 grams per liter.
For decoration, Carraway took old record albums and transformed them into bowls.
“They are so easy to do,” she said. “You just put them in the oven and melt them.”
And, old newspapers were used in multiple ways.
“In the old days, people would buy ribs and it would be wrapped in newspapers, so that’s where the idea came from. I recycle newspapers and magazines at home.
“When I told my grandmother what I wanted to do, she already had enough to build a house. We used newspapers from The Vicksburg Post, The Port Gibson Reveille, the Old River Peddler,” Carraway said.
Instead of wallpaper, Carraway used newspapers coated with polyurethane. The ceiling squares were painted silver, which reflects light, making the space appear bigger.
The chairs have new covers. The wood molding is made of refurbished wood scraps from Carraway’s grandparents’ farm in Hermanville. Table tops were covered with a collage of magazine pages.
As part of the restaurant’s eco-friendly appeal, Culley said food will be served using real dishes, and to-go orders will be packed in biodegradable products, instead of the foam, which has been used since they took over operation of the restaurant in 2007.
To save money on labor, Culley and Chumakov gathered friends and did the work themselves.
“We would work until 4 in the morning on some nights, and be back at work around 7 in the morning,” Culley said.
“The cost would have doubled if we didn’t do it ourselves – and recycle,” Chumakov said.

Manivanh Chanprasith/Vicksburg Post