Unnecessary Deconstruction: Rethinking Barn Reclamation

Healthy barns being deconstructed – or in the worst cases having siding stolen off barns that are in use – all due to the high demand for barn siding in current décor? Yes…it’s a harsh realization about a wood product we love.

barn demo 4-editBarns are part of our heritage and iconic to the Northeastern landscape. As long as a barn is in good condition, we’d like it to continue to be a barn. Yet, along with many of our reclaimed wood fans, we deeply enjoy the historic and heavily weathered planks. Our acquisition team’s mission was set: use their creativity and detective skills to find alternative weathered wood sources. With a final push of sourcing we’re excited to announce sustainable and alternative origins that alleviate the specific demand for barn siding. Introducing our American Prairie line:

AP_Grey_WestCoastB

American Prairie is full of wood that offers the same wonderful weathered surfaces as barn wood but is from more plentiful and renewable alternatives. Barn wood is broad and dynamic in scope; incorporating wood that is salvaged not just from dilapidated barns, but also agricultural fencing and other structures that have endured the elements, is a step we believe will reduce the pressure to take barns down unnecessarily.

ap grade samples

The American Prairie line is offered in four grades: Brown Board, Taphouse, Weathered Grey, and Painted. The grades offer naturally patinated planks in earth tones ranging from greys and silvers to browns and tans, or original painted surfaces including white and red. These boards are popular for vertical or horizontal installations in commercial and residential projects for both interior and exterior applications.

WGL Energy; Vienna, VA; ASD, Pioneer Millworks; Darris Lee Harris Job#1404; 1375.12

WGL Energy; Vienna, VA, Darris Lee Harris

barn_siding_res_installWe’ve joined several barn preservation groups including Restore Oregon – Heritage Barns, New York State Barn Coalition, and the National Barn Alliance. We find these are hardworking organizations, well worth being a part of.

Meet the team featuring: Sierra

Sierra is the newest member to our team of Reclaimed Wood Design Experts. We caught up with her when she came east to our HQ in Farmington, NY:

sierra in shopWhat do you like about living and working in Seattle?
Can’t beat living in a city that’s surrounded by mountains and water. Added bonus is that there is great food and music. You can usually find me at the Tractor Tavern or Conor Byrne Pub listening to the music.

What’s your background with wood, or reclaimed wood in particular?
Reclaimed wood has always been a family passion. I spent my summers working at Pioneer Millworks and I accompanied Jonathan (Pioneer’s founder and my Dad) on many buying trips. My favorite was to Australia for a cool hardwood called Karri.

What is your role on our team?
Most simply put, sales for Washington, Alaska, and British Columbia. My Seattle location puts me in the heart of the market.

What are you most looking forward to with your job?
I’m excited about exploring Vancouver, BC and hoping to find an excuse to travel to Alaska. I’m also looking forward to knowing the design side of Seattle professionally.

Sierra has always been a team player helping us out at various trade shows over the years.

Sierra has always been a team player helping us out at various trade shows over the years.


What about wood or reclaimed wood appeals to you?

Wood adds such warmth, beauty, and comfort to a space. With reclaimed and sustainable wood we always have a great story to tell and we can feel good about what we’re selling.

Which product is your favorite? Why?
I like a floor that I can beat up so I’ve always loved our Settler’s plank line, but I’m also really excited about the custom colors that we’re experimenting with for Ash & Elm.

sierra with reclaimed logIt sounds like your  favorite childhood reclaimed wood story took place in Australia. Can you give us the scoop? Dad and I spent three weeks there the summer I graduated from high school. One of the wood suppliers was a really interesting guy. He has a whole museum of cool things that he has found while demolishing buildings. In particular I remember a huge, beautiful, spiral staircase. He had a pet camel and a number of other animals you don’t find in most US households. We also picked up the same hitchhiker four separate times during our trip, and had a four day layover in Singapore.

What are your hobbies outside of work?
Swing dancing, listening to live music, hiking in the summer, working on our 1964 home, watching the Seahawks.

sierra dancingShare something quirky about yourself?
My cat, Bob, has just about as many frequent flyer miles as I do. I’ve had Bob for ten years, since he was just a kitten. During the first couple of years I spent a good amount of time on the East Coast, even though my home-base was Seattle. He’s super social and doesn’t like to be left alone so I just took him with me. He’s racked up a decent amount of miles!

We've heard that Bob the cat is one of Sierra's true loves, a constant companion, and unending source of entertainment.

Bob the cat, one of Sierra’s true loves, a constant companion, and unending source of entertainment, has traversed the country with her on numerous occasions.


What’s your favorite book?

A Winter’s Tale, by Mark Helprin

Questions on reclaimed wood in the Washington, Alaska, or BC regions? You can reach Sierra here.

 

A Place for the Fans: Biggio’s in Houston Takes Wood to the Next Level

biggio for blog headerIn January we showed you Ohio State University’s Newark campus where we salvaged what we could of their old bleachers.  Today we’re sharing bleacher boards in their second life at the newest Houston TX sport’s bar, Biggio’s.

Biggios Bleacher boards Houston by pioneerAstros Baseball Hall of Fame Member Craig Biggio and the Marriott Marquis Houston formed a partnership which includes the new sports bar named Biggio’s. The eatery is a sprawling two level space overlooking Discovery Green. Leading the decor lineup is a wall of TV screens that span two stories. Not to be missed is a variety of sports-minded design details, including the bar front showcasing the Craig Biggio’s wooden bats and various expanses of our Reclaimed Bleacher Boards.

hostess biggios houston pioneer bleacher“This product was meant to be for the Biggio’s space! [Pioneer Millworks] happened to be in our office when we were finalizing plans and you introduced us to this perfect option that could be extremely unique for the space. It was something we had never done before and knew it could be a risk, but it sure turned out to be one worth taking. Since the reclaimed bleacher wood could be from anywhere, we wanted to make sure we had pieces that could tie back to the story of the Houston sports scene that surrounds the Houston Marriott Marquis from almost all directions – the Astros Minute Maid Park being the closest. We knew that the guests of this sports bar would truly appreciate this unique product- it’s so fun to think of the stories that are “within the wood.”” notes Julianne Cary of Looney Associates, leading hospitality designers.

Biggios Bleacher boards Houston - 7-EditAiming to meet the budget and time frame for Biggio’s, our team including Carolyn, Roblyn, and Alex put their skills together landing on reclaimed bleacher boards. The boards for Biggio’s were sourced from several different salvage projects including: Hinsdale High School, Illinois; Pittsburg State University, Kansas; Altoona High School, Pennsylvania. Biggio’s embraced and celebrated the original grey paint [from the Pittsburg reclamation] and the labels/numbers [from Altoona], giving them predominate space behind the Biggo’s main level sign, the elevator walls, on the hostess station, and surrounding booth seating.

bleacher board elevator wall biggio texas pioneer millworks

Pittsburg State bleacher board reclaim.

Pittsburg State bleacher board reclaim.

 

Altoona bleacher board reclaim.

Altoona High School bleacher board reclaim.

The sports bar has local Texas ingredients prepared in unexpected ways and some familiar ways too. Chicken wings, loaded nachos, a giant pretzel, guac and chips to Texas caviar served with tortillas and bison chili. Entrees include chicken and potatoes or chicken and waffles to Texas wild boar Bolognese with pasta and red-fish with corn and succotash. There are various and changing draft beer selections on each level and crafted cocktails featuring spirits from local and small craft distilleries.

upper level seating biggio w bleacher boardsSeating options are numerous inside Biggo’s, ranging from the large central bar, to cushy chair/sofa combinations, to high-top tables, to semi-private booths and group boxes, to a long line of soft chairs facing the two level televisions and a smaller, boutique-like second level bar. Each area is accented with a mixture of bleacher planks adorning the walls.

reclaimed bleacher plank walls booths pioneerBleacher boards used for atmosphere and celebrated as sports memorabilia – Biggio’s has given us another exciting venue to experience the character, food, and fun of Houston!

 

Meet the team featuring: Josh

Josh has been a member of our team for over a decade. If there’s a forklift moving around in our yard, Josh is most likely driving as he handles all of our inventory. He’s as accurate as our inventory software when it comes to answering “what’s in the yard?” off the top of his head. After a little cajoling, Josh shared more about himself: 

josh hugs reclaimed timber 1How long have you been part of our team?
12 years! Pioneer Millworks and New Energy Works [our sister company] is a great community. We invest in our employees and I have had many opportunities to advance. I’m proud of our ethos and the incredible work we do.  Also, we’re always finding new sources of wood. Sometimes it’s a small batch of locally sourced material…other times, we find vast quantities and develop new product lines around them. The products themselves are ever-changing and that keeps things interesting.

What do you like about living and working in Upstate NY?
As someone who loves the outdoors, what’s not to love about the Finger Lakes? I love the geography here; the  hills, valleys, and glacial lakes…Not to mention, we’ve  got an inland sea just a few miles to the north. More importantly, I come from a large family and most of us live in the area.

josh alex and bryan again 002 blog

De-nailing and acquisition: Bryan, Josh, and Alex circa 200(?)

What’s your history with the company?
I started as an entry-level nail puller years ago. I’d just quit a horrible job and needed something temporary to pay the bills. I never thought I’d be here for over a decade, but it’s a great place!

What is your role on our team?
I supervise the yard/de-nailing team and manage our inventory. I’m also part of the acquisitions team.

JoshPeckWhat’s your favorite part of your job?
There’s always a challenging project going on, always something new and unexpected.

black and tan wall paneling pioneer millworks portland orWhich product is your favorite?
I’m terrible at choosing favorites. If I have to pick, right now, I’m really digging our Black & Tan [shown above in the 50/50 grade] I love when the wood has a story to tell.

AlexMSpeaking of stories, you must have a fun story or two from your years here…
Several years back Alex and I took a trip to Bethlehem, PA to load some industrial salvaged Heart Pine timbers and decking. Alex beat me at a game of pool that night and as a result I had to eat scrapple, and only scrapple, for breakfast the next morning. It was the first and only time I’ve eaten scrapple (a Pennsylvania breakfast staple apparently). When I ordered only scrapple the waitress gave me an incredulous look….I had to explain that I’d lost a bet. [Alex and Josh (above) remain friends and coworkers and still share the occasional ‘bet’.]

josh hover cat

When ‘hover cat’ stormed the Internet, we debated on replacing Josh’s forklift with this new ride…always a good sport, Josh still chuckles when we bring this photo up.

louie and JoshWhat are your hobbies outside of work?
Between keeping tabs on my 3 year old son and minor projects around the house we bought earlier this year, I haven’t had much spare time. Too many hobbies to list but a few big ones: I enjoy fishing, hiking, gardening, home brewing, and playing guitar.

What’s your favorite book?
I could never pick a favorite…there are just too many. A couple of the better things I’ve read recently are “Suttree” by Cormac McCarthy and “American Gods” by Neil Gaiman.