Labor Day

Labor Day…..Celebrated as the end of summer by many Americans, this holiday has an interesting history. It marks the onslaught of the football season in the US, the coming of a new school year for us parents, and my favorite part, a return to “manageable” temperatures here in NY. It doesn’t, however, mean a break from “labor”.

Last weekend, my wife and I decided to go through some old paperwork in our home office. Which led to cleaning out a file cabinet. Which led to getting the desks cleaned off. Which led to realizing the space really wasn’t functional for us. Which led to completely gutting the room, pulling up the carpet ( the LAST room in our house with carpeting ), pulling the baseboards off, spackling holes, and in general, prepping the room for a complete makeover.

I thought that this was a good project to share, just because it is relatively small, inexpensive, and not all that time consuming. As you can see, we’re ready for paint on the walls – and while it is drying, I’ll be touching up the Chestnut baseboards in my workshop. The original goal here was to paint the existing floor, just for something different against the natural finished floors in the rest of our home. But as we feared, the ancient carpet padding had bonded to the flooring like glue, and despite my best efforts with a scraper, wire brush, and some 60 grit sandpaper, it wasn’t going to come off.

So now the plan is to use some Heart Pine flooring that we had left from another project for the flooring, and then paint it. Yes, I’ve been known to cringe at the idea of painting a perfectly good wood floor, but done right, I think that it can be a dramatic accent to a room. I’ll document how we go about it and maybe it will inspire you to try something new.

You can really get a lot of bang for the buck with something like this. In our case, a couple cans of paint, a new work surface for my wife to use for scrapbooking, and an inexpensive chair that folds out into a single bed for guests will give us a nice dual-purpose room. The floor could be anything in a project like this. But we have some stellar Knotty & Naily White Pine right now that is a perfect candidate for a painted floor. Looks a lot like this, but with some nail holes from the prior use of the wood in a factory in Ohio. It has a great price in our Bargain Basement, and is ready to ship as soon as you’d like. The softness of the wood not only helps it to take paint well, but the fact that it WILL get beat up will help make the floor that much more unique.

Give us a call to talk about your project – large or small, they all make an impact on your home. Enjoy the long holiday weekend, and don’t “labor” too hard.

– Jered

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HD 2010 – Are you here?

The booth is up. And it looks amazing. Come by and say hello – check out our engineered reclaimed Ash & Walnut flooring, a plethora of reclaimed wood paneling & siding, tables & tops crafted from live-edge materials. Best of all, check out our ideas. We have so much cool wood to work with, we’re sure to find the perfect compliment to your project.

Booth 429
Hospitality Design Expo 2010
Sands Convention Center
Las Vegas

If you can’t get here from there, then check out the latest on Pioneer Millworks’ website!

Hope to see you here.

– Jered

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Size Matters

I live in a small house. Well, it isn’t that small, at 1600 sf. But within the 2 stories that make up our home, we have plenty of space, with a full attic that hasn’t been finished off yet, ( Yes, dear, it is on the list of projects to be completed during the next decade ) and a somewhat water-tight basement. I like, no I love, our home. One room at a time, for the past 8 years of living there, we’ve painted, put in floors ( of reclaimed wood of course ) added trim to complement the original Chestnut, knocked out walls, put in new windows, siding…the list is long and my hands are more lovingly worn because of it. The footprint has stayed the same, but through good design decisions and some adjustments with the help of a sawzall, we have plenty of room for our family of 4, one cat, and a recent addition of a Cairn Terrier. The yard? .07 acres, and no, I didn’t mis-place the decimal. Many homes occupy a footprint at least that big, and in fact, the city of Geneva wouldn’t allow new construction on a lot like ours at 47′ wide because of setback restrictions never even thought of in 1922 when it was built. Yet we’ve managed to fit in a small patio, a grilling “deck”, and a backyard swingset for the boys. And it has a front porch offering a warm sunset in the evening and relaxing chats with neighbors over Finger Lakes Reisling and local craft beers.

Our home is indeed comfortable in size, so I was intrigued when reading a recent article in the New York Times about a home that most people would consider a shed. In fact, it was a garage! With a simple addition for a bathroom, plenty of recycled & re-purposed materials, the woman acted as her own general contractor and created a beautiful, functional, and cozy space of 250 sf for her to call home. IN A GARAGE, and for a very respectable $32,000. Look at the photos and floor plan in the article, and you’ll see very intelligent design, great attention to detail while maintaining simplicity, and the true fruits of doing things yourself. Sure, this is a single person residence – you’re not going to comfortably raise a family of 4 here. But it really makes one think – how much space do you need?

By not having huge spaces to fill with “stuff”, you’re freed to focus on the details a little more. Maybe this means spending a little more on the floor to create a great canvas for the rest of the room. Narrower floors have made a real comeback in the past couple of years, and they’re perfect for smaller rooms. Narrow planks give you more of a mosaic than a wide board when working in these smaller areas, and in turn, having more planks across the floor makes the space seem a bit larger. The best part is, they’re less expensive than a wide-plank of the same species.

In the kitchen above, the narrow boards and color variation of our Malacca Straits combine to add a great amount of interest in a relatively small space. Shrink this down to even the smallest galley-style kitchen, and it will still keep you noticing something new every day. This idea works with other species too – especially those with even more character like our Settlers’ Plank Autumn Woods.

See? Size might matter, but not necessarily in the way people usually think. bigger isn’t always better, in terms of room sizes, overall footprint, and flooring widths. Besides, with tons of space, you have to spend more time cleaning, than relaxing and joying what you’ve created.

Enjoy the nice weather – and keep in touch.

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The Outdoors


Did I mention yet this winter that I miss my camper?

I was walking my property the other day (you know, around the .07 acres in Geneva that I own ) which takes about 30 seconds for a full loop, and I stared at the camper, wondering when the first outing would be. The boys have been asking about when we can go for the first time, and it really got me wondering as well, with temps running 50 – 60 here lately. I’m not sure when that will be. New York is a state where is can snow in May, so it is never safe to bet that it will be much before June.

Then today, walking by our boiler house ( we have 2 huge Garn boilers which take our waste wood and generate heat for our shop and kilns ) I could smell the Fir that was burning away in there. No smoke, just the pleasant sweet aroma, which is the same that I catch by the fire in the summer.

All this warm weather, thoughts of the camper, and general spring fever is making many of us think about the outdoors. Time to gear up at any one of the many outdoor retailers we work with, like Bass Pro Shops, and while you’re there check out the huge array of materials supplied by Pioneer Millworks. Flooring, barn siding, ceilings, timber trusses, and even wood for some of the fixtures, all came from our shop. If you’re out west, check out Columbia Sportswear and see all the Settlers’ Plank Oak on the walls & floors.

We love to get outdoors, thats for sure. We sponsor a big event every year, the Wild Water Derby, which runs on the rapids of the Canandaigua Outlet every spring. This has grown to become quite a gathering of water-loving folks, and our employees often enter rafts, or brave the rapids in canoes or kayaks. If you’re in the are, you should come by for sure!

So maybe if the weather cooperates this weekend, I’ll pop up the camper and air it out. Then again, maybe thats tempting fate a little too early. Maybe I’ll stick to some pre-season dreaming and shopping for now.

Thanks for checking in, keep in touch.

– Jered

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