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Folks get out of the house for West Virginia Home Show

Dale Oxley on Saturday touts the benefits of the rainwater pillow for collecting and filtering water runoff.
LAWRENCE PIERCE | Sunday Gazette-Mail photos
While their parents look at a display of log houses, Elizabeth Ridenour, 7, and her brother, Wyatt, 9, find fun with a hot tub from Leisure World.
LAWRENCE PIERCE | Sunday Gazette-Mail A good-sized crowd is on hand at the West Virginia Home Show

The West Virginia Home Show kicked off Friday at the Charleston Civic Center with a rush.

“We had people lined up. We were busy from the time the doors opened,” show manager Peggy Sampson said. “I think people were ready to get out. It’s been a long winter.”

About 250 exhibitors packed the Civic Center for the show, sponsored by the Home Builders Association of Greater Charleston, going on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Civic Center’s front lobby turned into a backyard haven with six designs of patio and gardening set-ups.

“It’s one-stop shopping,” Sampson said. “You could build and furnish your home right here at the Home Show.”

Sampson said a lot of people are interested in generators and water systems.

When Dale Oxley saw the rainwater pillow at a show in Las Vegas he said, “this is a product we needed in Charleston and throughout West Virginia.”

Oxley works for Modern Home Concepts, which was showing off and selling the pillow at the home show.

The rainwater pillow allows a person to store water to use for irrigation systems, washing clothes or, with proper filtration, a drinking source. It collects rainwater — perhaps runoff from a roof or a deck — filters it and stores it until it’s needed for use.

“No matter what the situation is, you can have a couple-thousand gallons of water,” Oxley said. “You’re not paying for that water and you’re not paying sewer for that water.”

Rainwater is filtered before it enters the pillow itself, the storage part of the device, said designer Jim Harrington.

Harrington is a gardener in Atlanta. During droughts in 2006 and 2007, his clients were looking for answers.

“My clients couldn’t water their yards, and I saw this news segment about soldiers moving liquids in Iraq,” Harrington said. “There was a big flat-bed truck with a pillow on the back, and [the idea] just clicked.”

He’s stayed busy at the show.

“There is a lot of interest in water, in general,” Harrington said. “People want to have clean water, and that’s a valid concern.”

He said it’s also important for people to learn about how clean rainwater is.

“It’s a valuable resource,” he said. “This gives us an opportunity to hide a lot of water in space that you wouldn’t be using otherwise.”

Ryan Ruth and his family came to the show Saturday for ideas. The family is building a house over the next four months.

Ruth said the family looked at swimming pools, windows and interior designs.

“There is a guy here with a computer program that can show you the outside of your house where you actually build it, and some of the interior,” Ruth said. “That caught my eye because, sometimes, it’s hard to visualize a house before you build it.”

The family comes to the show each year, but has not built a house before.

“It will be the first time we get to implement anything we see here,” Ruth said.

Reach Caitlin Cook at 304-348-5113 or at

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