Reclaimed Wood Products Transform Waste Into Opportunity

By: Karen Dybis | November 15, 2021

Photo Courtesy of Woodward Throwbacks.

Detroit was the center of one of the largest single-family housing booms in the Midwest as the city grew from a small waterfront port into a manufacturing powerhouse in the beginning of the 20th century. But as population declined and homes shifted ownership, there was a lot of prime wood that needed to be saved. That is where woodworkers, salvage experts and artists who specialize in reclaimed works came in. 

Metro Detroit is home to many stores and artists who work with reclaimed wood and related materials. This makes it easy to find these pieces for your home. You can install their work as flooring, furniture or art pieces for your walls, giving your home an individual look that cannot be replicated from any big-box store. Reclaimed is a smart way to go if you want one-of-a-kind interior design for your residence. 

The way these shops preserve the details so they aren’t destroyed by tear downs or demolitions is what makes them special. The people they work with during the process of reclaiming the wood and architectural details also makes it special. For example, Reclaim Detroit fights blight, creates jobs and helps rebuild the city, one piece of wood at a time. 

Why should you consider reclaimed wood and materials for your home or business? First, it can create jobs, especially with an enterprise like Reclaim Detroit. It helps to train and employ workers, including ones that otherwise would face barriers to employment. Second, it prevents these beautiful examples of craftsmanship from going into the landfill and helps make sustainable reuse practices that improve life for everyone.

  

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More importantly, these efforts are helping build a better Metro Detroit for all. Reusing these materials is good for the environment as it builds up important systemic structures. Moreover, it underlines that every house matters, showing respect for the homes that stood for so many generations. 

Here are some Metro Detroit businesses that offer reclaimed wood and related products for home, businesses and more. 

Woodward Throwbacks

When you see its promise that Woodward Throwbacks is “Not Your Grandpa’s Wood Shop,” you know you’re in for a personality-filled shopping experience. Detroit residents Bo Shepherd and Kyle Dubay wanted quality furniture, a cool vibe and a safe, clean city. They started looking around Detroit for reusable materials and turned that into a thriving business with a huge facility that employs Detroiters for its beautiful frames, shelves, seating, tables and more.

Workshop

This Detroit retailer creates handcrafted wood furniture using old-growth pine that it helps salvage from Detroit houses. Each piece carries a stamp of the stress address of the home or building where the wood was reclaimed, highlighting both the city and the history of its residents. This way, the lumber enjoyed a “third life,” from tree to home to furniture, according to Workshop. The store carries accent furniture, tables and outdoor options. 

Architectural Salvage Warehouse of Detroit

If you’re looking for furniture and accessories that honor and celebrate environmental sustainability, then this Detroit favorite is the right place to shop. Its motto is “transforming waste into opportunity,” creating jobs through the deconstruction of buildings and homes. They remove fixtures and other key parts and sell the salvaged materials on their social-media pages and website. 

Live Edge Detroit

This Troy-based business says it is the premier supplier of rough-sawn wood, surfaced slabs and finished goods. Their products are salvaged from what it describes as urban trees. All of the Live Edge Detroit products, from wood planters to serving boards to tables are milled, dried and made in Metro Detroit.

Tree-Purposed Detroit

Tree-Purposed, which is based in Livonia, was founded by Evan Burger, owner of a local tree service, Arbor Man LLC. It is built around salvaging urban hardwoods from around Metro Detroit. Trees are condemned and removed every day. Their mission is to “save this local natural resource from landfills, tub grinders and burn piles.”