SOURCES

A cou­ple in Ari­zona sources ma­te­ri­als from old barns to cre­ate new, mod­ern fur­ni­ture.

Flea Market Décor - - Contents - BY KRISTIN DOWD­ING PHOTOGRAPHY BY JESSE SMITH

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.

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