Two Blocks North

It’s Sunday. My thighs and calves are hurting today. Seriously sore. As a general condition, the muscles I typically exercise are two fingers on each hand for keyboarding, my butt, for sitting too much, and the little one between my ears. Yesterday I joined a dozen co-workers and family (yes, my 15 year old was there running a nailer) to install a floor we donated to the Two Blocks North project. This is definitely not work I do each day, in spite of owning a flooring company. The ups and downs, the kneeling, the bending over. I’m not in great shape, clearly.

two blocks northTwo Blocks North an ad hoc project put together by a few folks to help out a guy who was hit by a car while riding his bike to work. The driver was an 84 year old man who ran a light. He stayed to help at the scene.

The rider is a father and husband, and outdoorsy and well-liked in all the ways Portlanders are. He’s now confined to a wheel chair. The two story four square in North Portland couldn’t work for them anymore. The website tells it better, but the short of it is they were able to buy a one story nearby, and needed to upgrade and make it accessible.

Corey Omey, a friend of his and a principle at EMA Architecture & Urban Planning rallied people and the makeover got going fast. Corey called me about needing some beams. Sure, and how’s the flooring there? Well, the living room and hall are Pergo (retch) but there’s no money in the budget to replace. Okay, we can come up with something, and I might know some folks who would install it.

TwoBlockNorth_ASo sure enough, we found a batch of 500 square feet of our Tradewinds, and barely a word was needed for co-workers to jump in to help. In fact, ever try to install a floor with almost too many people? There was a fair share of jumping over each other, team choreography, and tangled hoses. But one seriously focused install happened nonetheless, from 8 in the morning to about 4:30, with barely a stop for donuts brought by sweet Ashley. At about 3 I started to get dizzy and realized I was way too dry in the throat. We all were. Kate looks up and says, “Hey I’m from California and I always have water in my trunk.” I don’t really know what she meant, but it was delicious water, and now I’m going to carry water too.

TwoBlockNorth_BTradewinds seemed like the perfect floor. We make it from crating and shipping material that comes into U.S. ports, inbound from China, typically. It’s a totally haphazard mix of Indonesian woods. I see meranti, teak, and a bunch that I’ll never know. It’s really not one of our best sellers, I think because its lively mottling and mixing is a powerful look. I love it, though, and Jennifer, our GM, even put it throughout her own home. It would be a good choice here due to its toughness and its visual interest, perhaps.

TwoBlockNorth_CNear the end of the day the new owners happened by. We were experiencing a rare rain-less day, so they had come over to check out progress, and continue to get a feel for their new home, and yard. I was describing the source of the wood to Hanne and Brian, and I mentioned its not for everyone, I suppose feeling a bit self conscious. “But it is for us,” said Hanne.

Yup, my legs are sore. Magnificently, screamingly, wonderfully sore.

Jonathan

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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.

 

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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!

 

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Effortless Style with Narrow Widths

Reclaimed narrow width Hickory from Pioneer MillworksAs a design element, narrow floors have traditionally appeared in formal spaces. Yet, effortless, custom styles can be created with a variety of clean or character-rich narrow width planks – flooring or paneling.

reclaimed ag oak versailles patternNarrower boards are classic. We’ve walked across ‘strip’ flooring so narrow it was face nailed (as it didn’t have t&g) but has held true for a century. Others have a tongue and groove connecting delicate 1.5″ planks. Still others in these legacy homes are laid in patterns. We’re seeing a resurgence of patterns in recent installations – horizontal and vertical – in homes and commercial spaces. The narrow wood lends itself to this use. While visually stylish, certain patterns such as herringbone or chevron, can give a narrow room the illusion of being larger. The slimmer planks are also ideal for intricate parquet patterns.  (Above: Versailles pattern in American Gothic Reclaimed Oak with an oil/wax finish. Below: American Gothic Reclaimed Oak with a custom finish in a herringbone pattern).

val reclaimed oakpatina grade reclaimed narrow stock Pioneer millworksOur patina (high character, original surface) products bring another step of revitalization to narrow width applications. An installation using narrow width patina grades will have more variation, as there are more pieces, but is likely to read as a single field in comparison to an installation using wider widths. (With wider widths, individual boards become more pronounced.) The unabashed character will also bring a relaxed atmosphere to spaces.

Narrow width Grandma's Attic Reclaimed Softwoods as wall paneling.

Narrow width Grandma’s Attic Reclaimed Softwoods as wall paneling.

 

Structurally, narrow widths tend to be more stable and show less movement than wider width material. For projects that are located in environments where the humidity may fluctuate narrow widths can be a good choice.ag reclaimed hickory narrow pioneer millworksWhile we custom craft to order, we have a current selection of narrow width products ready for your project. Let your reclaimed wood expert know what your favorite is:

American Gothic Mixed Oak
American Gothic White Oak
American Gothic Elm
American Gothic Chestnut
American Gothic Hickory
Reclaimed Karri/Jarrah Patina
Reclaimed Karri Bright
Character Heart Pine
Tropical Hardwood Mix, Bright
Knotty’n’Naily Douglas fir
Grandma’s Attic Softwoods

 

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