The interior design industry can be very wasteful sometimes, and I'm always on the hunt for creative, sustainable building solutions. Reuse and recycling are key tenets of sustainable design, and incorporating reclaimed wood will add richness, history, character, and texture to your space. Reclaimed wood can be used for many applications including flooring, decorative paneling, and exteriors. Sawkill Lumber Company is based in Connecticut and serves the New York City area with some of the coolest reclaimed wood around. They source reclaimed wood from barns, industrial sites, houses, and bars. What sets Sawkill apart is not only the quality and history of its wood, some of which has been around for 1000 years, but also the intensity, focus, and care that goes into its rehabilitation and transformation. They have a seven acre lumber mill in East Windsor, Connecticut, as well as a 4000 square foot warehouse in Crown Heights, Brooklyn which you can visit Tuesday through Saturday, 9:30am-5:30pm. They aim to make reclaimed wood more readily available, and offer a wide variety of dimensional lumber and wood species. Keep reading to learn more about some of my favorite options, and see pics of gorgeous reclaimed wood in action:
The best way to select the wood that's right for your project is to visit the warehouse. While they maintain a limited stock, they can also work with you on custom milled-to-order projects with a 2-4 week lead time. It's helpful to see the character and texture of the wood in person, and get a feel for the variation among the lot. Prices range from roughly $7-$20 per square foot, and Sawkill works with you to deliver a beautifully unique product. Here are some of my favorites:
Northeast Softwoods Skip Planed
This beautiful reclaimed lumber comes from residential structures circa 1890-1920. It is a mix of Spruce, Fir, Hemlock, and White Pine. It varies in color from light to dark brown, and has an attractive rustic patina.
New York City Boardwalk
For a more casual, greyed out look, consider reclaimed boardwalk from Coney Island, Rockaway Beach, and Atlantic City. This distinctively charming wood is made from South American hardwoods, and is some of the most durable wood on earth. Reclaimed tropical hardwood from local boardwalks may be the only option for utilizing these woods sustainably.
Eastern White Pine Original Surface
Eastern White Pine was one of the most versatile and widely used woods of the colonial era and into the mid-1800's. I love the grainy texture and nail holes on this beautiful wall shelving unit.
Character Black Walnut
This is one of the few, new lumber products that Sawkill carries, but in a grade that retains the natural features of the wood - streaks of lighter sap wood, knots and stress cracks. I love the rich tones and classic texture of this popular wood.
This wood is actually sourced from mushroom processing facilities. The boards were originally used for curing mushrooms, a process in which the fungi removes the early wood fibers, leaving a hyper-textured and earthy brown patina. This wood is great if you are looking for something with a rough, knotty texture.
Longleaf Pine 'Dirty Top'
With amber and brown hues, this reclaimed Southern Heart Pine wood comes from the Carolinas, Texas, and Florida. Hardy and durable, it features saw marks, nail holes, and stress cracks.
This quirky and distinctive wood is made from the outer skins and ripped edges of beams and joists. These off-cuts are typically considered to be a waste product, but can be also be used to create a charming, Wabi Sabi inspired wall cladding.
For a custom look, you can pull together a variety of different wood types to create a wall that features a diverse range of color, texture, and grain patterns. While this process is a bit more hands-on and time-consuming, the result will be a unique, one-of-a-kind finish.