Reclaimed wood is a popular feature in interior design. The versatility of the material is appealing to many. Tables, chairs, barstools and more can be made from recycled lumber, or barn wood.
There are many people, both DIY lovers and professionals, jumping on the reclaimed wood bandwagon. The history of each piece of lumber is apparent and brings depth to each individual project.
We found two local companies, both using reclaimed wood, that create completely different pieces. Here are their stories.
Driftless Reclaimed Woodworks
Just like every piece of wood has its own personality, every builder has their own style. For David Haugerud of Driftless Reclaimed Woodworks, his style is rustic classic.
In taking down barns, Haugerud found that barns are often the “staple to family history.” To capture the history instead of discarding it means turning their barnwood into pieces that “can be kept in their family for generations.”
Haugerud learned his trade in Montana. He took what he knew and moved back to southeast Minnesota. Currently, his woodworking is a hobby business, one that has the potential to be so much more. His furniture is on display at Generations Antique Mall in Harmony, and he is looking to expand.
Every piece made by Haugerud is custom-built, a trait his customers appreciate. “Customers really like to have the power in what they are buying and the ability to customize a piece of furniture to fit exactly their needs,” he says. For example, he can build a bed to be a certain distance off the floor to allow for storage underneath. Because of this, Haugerud builds a variety of pieces, from end tables to television stands, bars and beyond. “One thing I really do enjoy is building bars,” he says. “They are large and incorporate some of the structural beams from the barn.”
His passion lies in bringing new life into the old wood, giving every piece a new purpose.
What started as a winter break experiment in college has snowballed into a full-time career for Brad Cornell, co-owner and founder of Signature Woods. While he began by dismantling barns and selling the wood wholesale, he has morphed the company into something much larger.
Now, along with selling process reclaimed wood, Brad and his wife Lauren make and sell sliding-style barn doors, reclaimed beam fireplace mantels and accent wall paneling for a feature wall. “We specialize in these three products so what we do, we do extremely well with the highest quality,” says Brad.
“Reclaimed lumber is one of those unique products that can fit into any style of home,” Brad explains. “Modern, industrial, rustic, you can make it work with any style.”
Indeed, whether an old home or a new construction, reclaim wood just fits. Lauren says that reclaimed wood fits in well in new homes because “you’re bringing a piece that already has history and character into a new home with fresh paint, this contrast of new and old brings a sense of history and warmth into a new home.”
Working with reclaimed lumber brings a unique set of challenges. While pieces made from new wood can be standardized, door and mantels made from barn wood are highly customized. While Brad and Lauren have tried to create some consistency in their offerings, especially in frame style and track options, the unique nature of this material makes it difficult to standardize things. Even wood that comes from the same barn will have weathered differently and each piece will be unique.
“We’ve done our best to create a standardized texture palette and color palette,” notes Brad. “Because there’s such a variety, almost everything has to be custom because there’s an infinite amount of combinations you can choose.”
Because of the unique nature of each piece of reclaimed wood, no two pieces are alike. “Even if someone picks the same sizes, style, texture and color, you put those two doors next to each other and they’ll look similar but not even close to identical,” says Brad. On average, a door plus its track system will cost around $1000, though that figure could be higher or lower depending on the size, style and other factors.
It is the unique nature of each piece that makes Signature Woods products stand out. Their handles are hand-forged by a blacksmith in Tennessee, adding another unique aspect to every door. Lead times for doors are between two and four weeks; mantles take four to six business days for custom pieces, though some can be purchased from the showroom if they fit the fireplace.