Thursday night (7/13) was the opening for HiLo in downtown Portland, Oregon. A few of us from Pioneer Millworks attended the event where we ate, were painted gold, and silently discoed the night away. The 120-room boutique style hotel resides in the Oregon Pioneer Building (a National Register of Historic Places). We have a few ties—turns out back in 2008-10 our own Elise Payne worked in the building.
The party started as soon as we walked in the door. There were specialty drinks and intricate food of various varieties scattered throughout the hotel.
We’ve turned to our team of craftsmen, artists, and out-of-the-box types to play and pioneer new salvaged options. The results are remarkable tones and sheens with sleek or intense textures—modern options with a soul.
And the barn wood we know and love? Even it has another side—an inside, an underside, a creative side. It’s time to push the envelope further and get adventurous with colors in the cracks and crevasse.
Thoughtful Sophistication options are available in solid paneling, engineered paneling, solid flooring, engineered flooring, board stock, treads, thresholds, and fixtures—all with the eco-loving and LEED benefits and that make your projects sustainable.
Premium Select Mixed Grain Antique Heart Pine bench paneling.
These are some of our favorite ideas and we’ll be sharing more iterations in our next few blog posts. We love creating custom colors, textures, and patterns – what are your customization aspirations? Let our team know so we can start idea sharing and swapping samples.
Pushing boundaries is a challenge our teams thrive on. Things get creative after handling thousands of board feet of over 20 reclaimed wood species in countless grades. The latest results? We’re well beyond the weathered surfaces most associated with reclaimed wood—swapping out molder blades, introducing saw techniques, and adding a bit fire. We’re bringing in pops of colors and contemporary textures to whet your creative palette.
Welcome to Raked—bringing a modern twist to our more traditional reclaimed wood. We’re milling this dimensional character on a variety of wood facades. Revealing the inner bright and clean wood which contrasts with rugged or painted surfaces, this high relief texture is yielding a crisp, graphic pattern well suited for any vertical surface.
Kissed—Swooping arcs add warmth and grace to our Saw Kissed Douglas fir. This wood becomes even more visually compelling with an artfully applied sawn texture to the original reclaimed surface. We find this makes for casual and warm paneling or flooring, across whole surfaces or highlighting details inside and out.
On Fire—Shou Sugi Ban is an ancient Japanese technique of burning wood as a preservative treatment for exterior siding. We apply this process to our sustainably harvested Larch creating a dark, slightly iridescent look that in exterior uses can change over time, depending on its exposure to the elements. The evolving look suggests the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi – a reminder of the transience and imperfection of all things.
Added Color—Bringing in color further celebrates the character that we love about reclaimed. We’re excited about the bold hues some of you have been requesting. Bright or soft, we’ve found that carefully adding color enhances the natural texture and character of reclaimed wood.
Double Up—Opaque painted boards are fun, but we can’t resist adding some texture. While a wire brush floats over the dense heart grain it whisks away the softer sapwood leaving a raised texture along with color on each plank. Knots, nail holes, other signs of previous life continue to bring their originality to this texture and color treatment.
What you can do with these new textures and finishes is limited only by imagination—we’ve created custom paneling, bar wraps, fixtures, and more for a variety of clients. Interested in pushing your design boundaries? Reach out to our Reclaimed Wood Design Experts. They’re always excited to brainstorm.
Bryan Danger started Zenbox Design after a May 2014 article in the New York Times featuring he and his partner Jen’s Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) garnered a lot of attention. Bryan has a master of Architecture from UofO but moved into Graphic Design and somehow found himself working in a high-tech corporate office for 14 years. After a year driving through Mexico and Central America in their 67 VW Bus, Bryan and Jen moved back to Portland to start on their new path. The problem? They had renters in their home. Solution? They had a 480-square foot garage that wasn’t being used. They designed and built out the garage into a cozy living space. Word got out quickly and readers and neighbors alike were demanding Bryan design their ADU and custom furniture. Hesitant at first, the couple wanted to keep their new found “nomadic balance”. Though they had been working with neighbors for free for some time, zenbox design was officially born and takes on a few clients every year for custom homes and furniture. The rest of the time the couple rents their garage on
The problem? They had renters in their home. Solution? They had a 480-square foot garage that wasn’t being used. They designed and built out the garage into a cozy living space. Word got out quickly and folks started requesting Bryan design their ADU and custom furniture. Hesitant at first, the couple wanted to keep their new found “nomadic balance”. Though they had been working with neighbors for free for some time, Zenbox Design was officially born and takes on a few clients every year for custom homes and furniture. The rest of the time the couple rents their garage on Airbnb and travels with their dog, Karma, around the continent in their custom sprintervan (another Zenbox project).
1. How would you refer to yourself? Woodworker? Artisan? Craftsman? Designer/Creative. Our designs range from custom furniture and installations to small custom homes.
2. How did you get started? Ive always designed/built as much of my own furniture/environment as I could. In 2013, my wife and I had downsized and purged all our belongings to take a 2 year road trip. Upon returning we hated the idea of simply buying all our furniture rather than each piece being intentional, and started designing/building them instead.
The garage transformed into an ADU, courtesy of zenboxdesign.com
3. Why wood? Our designs tend to use a combination of wood and steel, but we feel wood is critical because of the softness and warmth it brings to a space. All the better if that wood is also reclaimed and has a story/history to tell.
4. What was the first thing you made from wood? As best I can recall, a 3’ tall model of the Trojan Horse, when I was 6th grade. As Zenbox design, I think our first piece was a steel and reclaimed wood barstoolthat we still use (and offer to clients) today.
5. What does being creative meant to you? It’s simply how my brain works—I have to be designing or creating something to feel active or alive. It’s not a switch I can turn off and I naturally find my brain creatively redesigning every space I walk into and everything I touch.
6. Do you have any rituals? None.
7. What is your favorite piece? Our tiny home has a bar/island that takes up no space on a day to day basis but can roll out to seat 6–8 when we entertain. It’s a 6’ long slab of reclaimed fir we took out of the house in the remodel and it seems to be the perfect combination of creative reuse because the material is serving in its second life and the piece itself serves multiple roles (and is also the centerpiece of our home).
6′ slab of reclaimed fir, courtesy of zenboxdesign.com
8. Who inspires you? Anyone who is thinking and living outside the box, breaking norms and following their dreams!
9. What do you hope to communicate through your work? Clean lines. Elegant simplicity. Functional beauty.
10. If you weren’t doing this what would you be doing? We seem to be constantly reinventing ourselves, so “this” is different every day. Luckily we seem to keep finding clients that push our creativity and expertise, so the evolution of Zenbox Design is created by the projects and clients we choose to partner with. If we one day run out of both client and personal projects, I guess I would likely become a tattoo artist, or scuba diving instructor, or both.
11. The ultimate piece you want to create? I feel like each new client presents this opportunity. The goal is always to design that person or families’ perfect custom home. To craft both the environment and pieces within it in a creative and functional way so that their living space literally transforms their lifestyle.
12. What’s your favorite thing about PDX? The people. The creatives. The dreamers. We travel much of the year and have yet to find anyplace with the intense diversity, creativity, and “weirdness” that is Portland. It’s almost impossible to not be charged or pushed creatively here. We live our lives outside the box and Portland seems to the only place where that is not only accepted but fully understood and supported/celebrated!