Barns and barrels: Two local reclaimed lumber projects

Photo: Hank Bilek Photo: Hank Bilek

Reclaimed wood has been a hot item for years now. Most people are familiar with the idea of giving old wood, from barns or other sources, new life. Most often, the salvaged stuff ends up as flooring, though cabinetry, furniture and ceilings are also big. But the folks at Mountain Lumber, the Ruckersville company that’s been sourcing and selling reclaimed wood since 1974, have seen a few projects over the years that were really inventive.

One customer bought long-leaf heart pine floor joists to use in making an electric guitar. Another constructed a floor medallion using wood from the oaken vats used by a cidery in England. Wood from the outside of the casks has different tones than the wood that lined their interiors, where the cider itself stained the oak. “Colors ranged from light reddish browns to deep purple,” says Mountain Lumber’s John Williams. In this fancy floor, darks and lights alternate to make a sunburst pattern, with end-grain reclaimed maple in the center, laser-etched with the image of ferns.

Sometimes the apple falls close to the tree. Company founder Willie Drake “was on a bicycling trip in France years ago, and he saw these wine barrels,” says Williams. The barrels were tall enough to walk into—and sure enough, “A guy bought a barrel and he made it into the entry for his wine cellar.”

Photo: Becky Seager
Photo: Becky Seager

Reuse, recycle, repeat

When Becky Seager started her business, Reclaimed Goods, in early 2015, she hoped to solve furniture problems. “What I found with all the places I lived was, you can’t find exactly the right thing,” she says. A dining table or desk from a major retailer might be quite nice, but not exactly suited to the quirks of real rooms in real houses. Sourcing salvaged wood from far-flung places, and working with a local builder to create high-quality custom furniture, she aims to give clients furniture that really fits.

Cal Financial, a firm with offices off Preston Avenue, asked Seager to design a reception desk that would allow a worker to sit or stand, plus offer space for outgoing mail and files—all while looking sharp. Salvaged old-growth pine barn wood gave it a rustic tone, balanced with “a modern edge,” says Seager. And she added an aged zinc top for durability.

Seager says the response to her business has been “overwhelming,” and she’s adding more interior decorating work to her plate these days, too. “I just like to make spaces look pretty,” she says.