Reclaimed Wood – Old and new in New York City

I had the rare opportunity to visit a project in its very infancy last week in New York City, one that will become a retail space, wine tasting room, and several floors of condos.  To most material suppliers, the demolition stage of a project isn’t much to see, but to those of us with a passion for wood and an eye to the past, it can tell us a lot about the building, and give some direction to what materials would be a good fit for the project.

Sometimes a building will tell you where it came from if you look close enough.

Sometimes a building will tell you where it came from if you look close enough.

The photo above is rotated 180 degrees, and it caught my eye while coming upstairs from the basement level.  The CW Wilson Lumber Company was located in Brooklyn and was in its prime around the turn of the century.  The original structure here was built in 1852, but it seems as though at least the first floor was renovated at some point, considering the varied sizes and species of the joists and the types of sawing used.  Paying homage to the original materials, we’ll be working with reclaimed Heart Pine  from some amazing timbers in our yard.  What’s more amazing though, is the transformation this space will undergo.


One of two basement levels, this will become a wine tasting room, making use of our reclaimed wine vats to compliment the original structure of the building.

From the beginning of a project here, to completion of a restaurant north of the city:

Racanelli’s New York Italian was recently opened after renovations to the original 40-year old space.  I worked with the architects and the owners to select weathered barn siding for the walls, and chunky original floor joists for the ceilings and shelves.  While the original intent of the barn siding was the inside brown face, the original weathered reds were used occasionally to pick up on the rich tones of the brick walls.


“The Bridge” helps to define the bar area separately from the dining space without using a full wall. Ingenious.


Above the bread station, a cylinder of reclaimed barn siding emphasizes the center of the restaurant, with a curved wine shelf along the front.

Racanelli’s is located in Scarsdale, NY, a short train ride on the Harlem line from Penn Station.  Order the Pappardelle Bolognese.  Trust me.

The old saying about New York is that it is “the city that never sleeps”.  When you’re wearing the soles off your shoes every day though, you have to have some down time.  The Pod Hotel on 39th St just opened their lounge on the first floor, complete with a full bar, plenty of seating, and… pong tables!


What better way to relax than by playing a little table tennis with a backdrop of reclaimed wood and Mexican-inspired artwork?

Maybe you’ve spotted some of our work in other locations around New York?  Chances are, if you’ve been in a new restaurant or retail store in the city, you’ve seen wood from us here at Pioneer Millworks.  Keep in touch, there’s sure to be more.


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