A couple in Arizona sources materials from old barns to create new, modern furniture.
For more on Porter Barn Wood, visit porterbarnwood.com. Check out their events page on their website for details on their workshops, festivals and more.
THOMAS AND EMY PORTER ARE IN THE BUSINESS OF SALVAGING HISTORY. With a love for old materials, this couple and their team of skilled artisans and designers build custom projects out of abandoned resources to create unique custom furniture pieces. Since starting their company in 2010, the Porters have grown from one part-time employee to over 30 people, and what started as a few projects and a handful of customers turned into a trending and versatile enterprise that takes the word “recycle” to a new level.
FLEA MARKET DECOR: HOW DID PORTER BARN WOOD COME TO BE?
EMY: Thomas and Craig Suiter, friend and now business partner, brought in a load of barn wood from Pennsylvania to use as project material and with the intention of selling the lumber to local contractors and the general public. Thomas hired an employee to assist in the shop, and then another. After a short while it was apparent that this would become our full-time venture. We offer modern metal work and blacksmithing, custom finishing, concrete casting, and we have an amazing design team that works with customers to build all sorts of creative projects. The business has expanded into a wellknown and trusted resource for custom fabrication and reclaimed-wood materials supply.
FMD: WHERE DID YOUR LOVE OF REPURPOSING THINGS COME FROM?
THOMAS: “My grandfather especially instilled the love of woodworking in me. From a young age I observed and followed him around his garage workshop.
EMY: “I grew up in the Midwest. Digging through barns, exploring yard sales, snagging curbside treasures and scoring a thrift-store find is in my blood! I’ve always loved projects, paint and creating.
FMD: WHERE DO YOU SOURCE YOUR MATERIALS FROM?
THE PORTERS: We primarily focus on sourcing from old family farms, abandoned industrial buildings and structures in disrepair, east of the Mississippi River. We also source live-edge slabs from dead-standing, storm-damaged, forest-fire or otherwise responsibly felled timbers.
FMD: ANY DIY WISDOM YOU’D LIKE TO IMPART?
THE PORTERS: That old dirty piece of wood has potential. It could be the centerpiece for a family wedding, an heirloom gift to your spouse, a sign that hangs above your child’s bed, a shelf that adds function to your bathroom or kitchen. We often have customers who want to incorporate wood with a certain history or sentimentality into a project we build for them. We encourage it. That’s what makes working with reclaimed wood so special. It tells a story.
FMD: DO YOU HAVE AN ACTUAL STORE PEOPLE CAN WALK INTO, OR IS MOST OF YOUR BUSINESS ONLINE?
THE PORTERS: Porter Barn Wood is
“That’s what makes working with reclaimed wood so It tells a special. story.”
open to the public Monday–saturday 9 AM–4 PM. It’s a fun place to explore! Come check out our showroom, complete with a wood-sample wall and a two-story cabin we reconstructed from Pennsylvania, originally built in 1760. Every now and again we host free workshops and ticketed concerts. Near and dear to our hearts is our annual Porter Barn Wood Bluegrass Festival, which is the first Saturday in November every year. It’s free to the community with food trucks, kid activities and, of course, stellar music.