Furniture made from reclaimed wood, whether it be from the wild or from a collapsing warehouse, expresses the human and natural history of the region it was plucked from. Last week I wrote about Urban Woods, an LA-based furniture shop whose materials reflect the unique environs of California. This week, Garden & Gun (one of my favorite southern magazines) turned me on to Turning House Furniture, a Virginia-based company building impeccable pieces with wood reclaimed from such quintessentially southern structures as an R.J Reynolds tobacco warehouse in North Carolina and the Rip Van Winkle bourbon factory in Kentucky.
Turning House divides its generous catalog into three collections (Summer House, Belgian Modern, and Fresh Heritage). These striking pieces can be bought through a small circle of distributors, but will be available for online purchase by the Spring of 2010.
Turning House, and its sister company, Turning House Millworks, use a fastidious system for deconstructing buildings that would be otherwise demolished. The delicate "unbuilding" process can save as many as 19,000 trees per building.
In addition to the wood, we recycle 98 percent of the structure, including bricks, copper and steel, even the nails extracted from the wooden beams and boards. We also use recycled materials for packing and shipping.
Many of the buildings Turning Wood salvages were built in 1800s before wood was replaced by steel as a primary structural material. Imbedded in these old buildings are many species and grades that simply don't exist today in new growth, so to own a piece of Turning House furniture is to own a biological specimen as well as an artistic one.