Mile-High Reclaimed Wood in Denver

I had never been to Denver, except for a prolonged visit to the airport several years ago.  So last month, I flew out to meet some people and see some of Pioneer Millworks‘ finished work. Even though many commercial and retail projects are consistent from one location to the next, it is always gratifying to see how our reclaimed wood is integrated with other aspects of design.

My first stop was a small womens clothing store that opened a couple of years back – No doubt, the floor has gotten better with age.  Even the staff at the store knows it!

Old paint, scratches, dents & dings, and absolutely beautiful.

Salvaged from a factory in Michigan, the occasional stripes of paint help to make the floor come to life, along with the scratches and dents imparted by decades of use. Sometimes the floors aren’t the only things with stories to tell. A woman that works at the store explained that just days before my visit, a newlywed couple had come in twice – first on their own, and second with their interior designer – to look at the flooring and use it in their new home. We love it when a design makes that kind of an impression.

Just down the corridor is another gem, where the floor was crafted from Yellow Pine planks recycled from a grain mill in Arkansas. A trend in both residential and commercial design is to celebrate the beauty of imperfection, which this floor does exceptionally.

Surprisingly smooth from years of use

The undulating surface, tonal differences from one plank to the next, and even some subtle texture caused by years of grain rushing past, makes for a perfect backdrop for the clothing. Some of the fixtures in the store make use of our reclaimed Douglas Fir as well.

Though I didn’t need any makeup, I dropped by this cosmetics store, which uses our barn siding on the exterior of many of their new locations. The dark and rich tones in the barnwood are selected such that when installed, the brightly lit interior of the store stands out. At the same time, the siding creates a highly textured facade that keeps the continuity of natural materials and products.

Variegated colors, textures, and signs of previous – quite a contrast to the surroundings!

Lastly, I noticed some familiar looking shutters made with our Attic Collection reclaimed softwoods. These are a great example of our capabilities beyond floors and walls, having been fabricated in our own shop. Even though these are heavily whitewashed, the randomized texture from the original and planed surfaces is a crucial part of the overall design. This variation breaks up the color of the shutters to help them stand out from the background wall color.

Shutters? Yep – we make those too!

Denver, and the entire Rocky Mountain region, is well served by either of our two locations. This helps to keep shipping costs down, with a faster lead time on a broader selection of products. If you have a chance to stop by the local shopping malls in the Mile High City, feel free to check out these stores for yourself. I’m hopeful that not long from now, we’ll have more projects to share.

Mixed Reclaimed Wood: Soft or Hard?

When Annie made the hour and a half trek to our Farmington, NY headquarters from Buffalo, NY, she was in the midst of a major kitchen overhaul in her 19th century home. She had her eye on our Grandma’s Attic Mixed Reclaimed Softwoods after viewing our website and when we chatted on the phone she decided to come out and see it for herself.

Grandma's Attic offers a very old, casual wide board look that is the result of careful selection and partial planing. Generally our attic flooring is crafted of a mosaic of hemlock, eastern white pine and Douglas fir, however other softwoods are used as available. It is a versatile option that can be left as rugged as the original planks, or smoothed out to replicate a footworn old floor.

Grandma’s Attic offers a very old, casual wide board look that is the result of careful selection and partial planing. Generally our attic flooring is crafted of a mosaic of hemlock, eastern white pine and Douglas fir, however other softwoods are used as available. It is a versatile option that can be left as rugged as the original planks, or smoothed out to replicate a footworn old floor.

While Annie visited we were able to really discuss her project and her family’s lifestyle – kids, dogs, and home offices for both her and her husband – all revolving around the newly expanded kitchen in her historic home. We reviewed the finished sample panels and pieces of the unfinished planks in our showroom so she could really get a feel for the color and character in Grandma’s Attic. We also discussed our other options.

Recently our sister company, New Energy Works Timberframers, installed a Grandma's Attic t&g ceiling in a timber frame home. I really like how the original depth of patina, saw marks, scrapes and dings, compliment the clean lines of the heavy timbers. I've found the mixed softwoods have big impact whether on the floor, ceiling, wall, or even when crafted into fixtures.

Recently our sister company, New Energy Works Timberframers, installed a Grandma’s Attic t&g ceiling in a timber frame home. I really like how the original depth of patina, saw marks, scrapes and dings, compliment the clean lines of the heavy timbers. I’ve found the mixed softwoods have big impact whether on the floor, ceiling, wall, or even when crafted into fixtures.

Annie wanted “warm” and rustic, something that looked and felt like it could have been there for a hundred years. But she also wanted something that would be durable and forgiving in a busy space. Oh, and one more thing – she wanted W-I-D-E, minimum 7″ widths. Taking all of this into consideration, I suggested the Settlers’ Plank Mixed Reclaimed Hardwoods instead of the Grandma’s Attic. While the Grandma’s Attic is a beautiful choice for a wide range of spaces, it’s also a floor that is going to show its age over time. It’s a floor that will change with its new environment just as it did in its first life so it’s great in lighter traffic areas, on walls or in spaces where the owner really wants to see and celebrate these changes.

Settlers’ Plank mixed hardwoods is crafted from a variety of elm, beech, maple, hickory, ash, and other hardwood species we may have available. This grade is more relaxed, creating a barn floor look with a greater variety of color and grains due to the many species featured. It is very durable and looks great with a poly finish (as shown in this image of The Vermont Street Studio) or a more traditional tung oil.

In Annie’s case, she just preferred the idea of the Mixed Reclaimed Hardwoods, a floor that would help to hide the scrapes and dings every floor incurs. The Settlers’ Plank Mixed Hardwoods allowed Annie to get the warm, wide plank, authentic, and lived-in look she wanted, in a low maintenance, budget friendly form. Not only would the reclaimed hardwoods look like they had been in the house for a century, they also came with a history of their own, a story Annie is sure to share with family and friends. Annie emailed us exclaiming, “Everyone loves it! It has been great to see people’s reactions.”

Annie finished her 7+ inch wide Settlers’ Plank Mixed Hardwoods with a natural tung oil. If her floor gets scratched, she’ll be able to “erase it” by lightly sanding the scratch then re-applying tung oil. Her project is also a great example of the flexibility of this grade – it works well in a variety of settings from historic homes (like Annie’s), to modern/contemporary designs (such as the studio below), to commercial spaces.

The Settlers' Plank flows from Annie's kitchen through the family dining area sharing character, history, and color.

The Settlers’ Plank flows from Annie’s kitchen through the family dining area sharing character, history, and color.

I was thrilled to see the finished project – the warmth and age of the wood are a beautiful complement to Annie’s cool toned walls and white cabinetry. It’s a perfect blend of history with a modern sensibility in a family oriented space.

-Roblyn