What are you doing with YOUR summer?

Last year I had time to work on OTHER people’s houses, like the “Extreme Makeover – Home Edition” house in Geneva, NY. What gives this year?!

Right about now,every one of my friends is looking around and wondering what happened to summer. Not just because we’ve had such low temperatures ( only broke 80 degrees twice in July here in NY ) or because it has been so wet & miserable. And not just because time seems to fly by no matter what. It was because we’ve all got ourselves so overbooked with things to do, people to see, places to go. I was trying to find a free weekend to explore some long-abandoned railroad lines with a friend when it dawned on us that the next time the 3 of us had time was going to be OCTOBER. And even that month is already filling up for me! In between now and then, I have 3 weekends of camping, a family vacation, gatherings with friends, birthdays…the list goes on and on.

Why do we do this to ourselves? We get so excited about being involved in things, and then we complain about how busy we are! It frankly amuses me, yet I am as guilty as the next guy. I always used to be a “roll with it” kind of person, but sometimes it is great to not have ANYTHING planned. Like this weekend – I have no idea what we’re doing! It is kind of nice – perhaps we’ll do some cleaning, yard work, etc. Perhaps I’ll figure out why that goofy tomato plant I mentioned in an earlier entry has stopped growing. Perhaps I’ll get the dining room ready for painting.

Or perhaps I’ll relax. Yeah, thats an idea. Just sit back, relax on the porch in the rocking chair, and watch the kids play in the yard. Funny, we’re not supposed to do that, are we? Waste perfectly good time doing nothing? Maybe a quick project to spruce things up around the house is all I’ll need to feel useful!

One of the reasons we developed our reclaimed engineered wood flooring is for just such a project. While installing a floor may seem daunting, our engineered flooring makes it amazingly easy with just a few tools and some advice from us here at Pioneer Millworks. It is available in short turnarounds, it is end-matched for easy & quick fitting, can be pre-finished if you’d like, and it has the same beauty and character of the rest of our woods. Only need a couple hundred feet? Great! With our materials and expertise, you can have the floor installed in a day. If its pre-finished, all the better – move out the furniture in the morning, and in the evening, you’ll be sitting on the couch watching SNL, reveling in the fact that you have a new floor – not just any floor, the most eco-friendly engineered floor available.

Not that I’ll be putting a floor in my house this weekend, but we will be installing some pre-finished American Gothic Oak in a coming entry. Stay tuned to the blog here, and I’ll take you through the process step by step. Until then, drop me a line anytime and feel free to contact us with questions about your project. I’ll be on the porch watching the rest of my summer go by.

Thanks for reading – stay in touch.


Cool Wood

It is no secret that Pioneer Millworks supplies flooring for many retailers, In fact, we have providing flooring, shelving, timbers, barn siding, and all sorts of other woodwork for many of the biggest names in specialty & high-end retail.

See, we’re accustomed to the slick, clean nature of most mall stores – plenty of tile, glossy finishes, big bold colors, and a very fake and almost plastic-like look. Retail stores are usually repeated so that each location looks the same as well – if you go into the mall here in Rochester, NY, the average womens’ clothing store will look just like one anywhere else in the country. But if you’ve never been into a store like Anthropologie, for example, it is quite different than any other retail experience. Wood, plaster, tile, stone, and other varied materials are used in abundance, creating an effective, yet subtle, backdrop to the clothing and merchandise.

We always have plenty of cool wood around, which is more limited in nature than our standard product line. This works perfectly for retailers who like to shake things up a bit and differentiate each store. Throw in some wood for a textural variation here, or maybe an area of wood flooring there, and you can bring some “green” into your store, and bump the appeal of shopping there. Tout to your customers that you’re using a recycled product, and it adds another whole level of coolness, and awareness.

For example, right now we have some awesome Oak decking from a furniture factory in Indiana:

This isn’t something you see on our website, and while we could cut it up for flooring, this would be an awesome material for tables, retail fixtures, or even a historical restoration.

So next time you need something unique & interesting – call us at 800-951-9663, e-mail us or drop by the shop. There’s ALWAYS something cool to see.


One of these things doesn’t belong….

Last weekend, I was sitting on the porch and looking at my upside-down tomato plant, wondering if this strange looking contraption would actually work.

You may have seen the infomercials on TV, and while it is quite pricey for a few metal cables and some plastic, the idea of being able to walk out on the front porch for a fresh tomato anytime I want sucked me in.

I noticed a few small yellow buds developing that weren’t there last week, so I guess for now, yes indeed, it does work. But it got me to thinking about what else I could grow on my vast .07 acre property that would help offset the grocery bills, and help my kids learn about how food gets to our table. Our entire lot is quite shady for the better part of the day so a backyard garden wouldn’t work. The North side is home to my herbs which seem to do just fine with only a glimmer of late afternoon sun, and since the front yard is, well, the front yard and the only flat lawn I have, so I better leave that alone for those games of washerboards by the light of tiki-torches this summer.

No, the only place left is a small line along the side of our porch. Normally you might think that the idea of putting vegetables in with Hostas, a Rose, and some Snapdragons would be strange. But it actually looks pretty good. The Hostas are a relatively low-lying plant, the Snapdragons and the Rose add color, and when these luscious Red Bell Peppers come along, they’ll look great too.

You can do the same thing with design, and with wood in particular. Our house is by no means rustic, but we used a Character Select Heart Pine floor for the main areas downstairs. Why wouldn’t I use something of a higher grade, to fit in with the typical 1920’s architecture of our area? Because we liked it! The knots and all remind you that this is an older home, and we designed our interior colors to play into the varying tones of the Heart Pine. People usually associate the Character Select with lodges or Adirondack architecture, but you can work it in with other elements and still make for a cohesive design program.

One of the coolest uses of our reclaimed wood in a not-so-rustic application is this table we recently built for a media company in New York:

Our sister company, NEW Woodworks built the top from a series of large Oak joists reclaimed from a building in Pennsylvania. If you look around, you see no other wood in the room, yet this 18 foot table fits right in.

As I type this, we’re getting going on a large door project with NEW Woodworks where they’ll be using similar materials in a large office building. Seems as though many architects and interior designers have caught onto the idea of using wood in a new way and in a new place. No reason I can’t do the same in the garden, and no reason you can’t do the same thing in your project.

The one problem you won’t have with your wood though – Squirrels. They seem to be nuts about my new pepper plants.

Keep in touch.