DIY stars shine on Dogwood stage

Shannon CareyInside 640

The Dogwood House and Garden Show‘s How-To Stage will be packed all weekend with tips, tricks and insider info from the experts. While they’ve all got great ideas to share, three of the presenters will pack a celebrity punch, too, as some of DIY Network‘s stars bring their expertise to Knoxville.


First up with presentations at 1 p.m. Friday and Saturday of the show are Robert Kulp and Mike Whiteside of DIY’s “Salvage Dawgs.” The pair co-founded Black Dog Salvage in Roanoke, Virginia, and on the DIY stage they’ll talk about their experiences finding, buying, extracting and reselling architectural treasures.

To Kulp, the business’s first salvage job was a real eye-opener.

“I didn’t realize how much great stuff would be found in one single house,” he said. “People were buying stuff from us as we took it out of the building. You do get excited about the fact that you just saved this thing from a landfill and somebody understands that it’s got value. That’s gratifying.”

The show has featured two Knoxville salvage projects, a home on Washington Pike and the Pickle Mansion just off UT campus. In both cases, the homes couldn’t be saved, but the Salvage Dawgs were glad to save elements from the structures.

“We’re preservationists, we truly are,” said Kulp. “If a house can stay viable in its current location and it works, keep it, but by God if it’s going to be torn down we want to be there. We want to inspire people to understand what we’re doing and the importance of respecting our architectural history and that there is hope. Even if a building is going to be torn down there is hope for the parts.”

For the do-it-yourself historic home preservationist, the Salvage Dawgs urge caution before throwing things out.

“Don’t throw it away if you can help it,” said Kulp. “Find that salvage yard and do some trading. Don’t discount the fact that if the thing is still in place to keep it right there. Everything doesn’t have to be new, and not everything has to match. Eclectic style is great.”

“We live in a disposable society now,” added Whiteside. “Back when these pieces were made, what they threw away was truly garbage, and I think that’s coming back around. I think the Millennials, they grew up with an electronic device plugged into their ear, but I think they’re starting to figure it out and realize that what Mamaw had in her house has value. They ain’t selling it at Walmart.”

The cover of DIY star Sara Bendrick’s book, “Big Impact Landscaping.”

DIY Network landscaping guru Sara Bendrick will grace the How-To Stage at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. Bendrick builds and designs landscapes in San Diego with her company Sarita Landscapes, and she’s appeared on several DIY shows, including “Build it Like Bendrick, “I Hate my Yard,” the new “Lawn & Order” with Chris Lambton.

“I want to be a resource for people, whether they have questions about a specific area of their yard or just want overall ideas to inspire and educate them about the construction process,” Bendrick said. “To me, the landscape is one of the most overlooked parts of the property with some of the biggest opportunity.”

Bendrick said budget and basic know-how are the biggest obstacles for people hoping to DIY their own outdoor spaces. She suggested that people start by finding inspiration from magazines, Pinterest or how-to shows, and get creative with available materials and spaces.

“(Landscape design) gives you an opportunity to change how a space feels which can translate into more than just a renovation. You can change how people feel or interact with a space,” she said.

For more information about the Dogwood House and Garden Show, including schedule and ticket info, visit the show’s website: www.dogwoodhouseandgarden.com.

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