Vanillawood Hearts Reclaimed Wood

When Vanillawood founders Kricken and James Yaker outgrew their home office and started shopping for a design studio in Portland’s hot Pearl District, opening a retail store was the farthest thing from their mind. Yet they happened upon a 1000 square-foot warehouse with beautiful natural light and too-good-to-pass-up lease terms, so the design/build team seized the opportunity to showcase their organic contemporary style.

The Yakers took a sustainable approach to the store build-out, using an OSMO natural wax finish on the pre-existing hardwoods, no-VOC paint from local manufacturer Miller Paint, and plenty of reclaimed wood, their signature building material.  Kricken and James are forever on the lookout for unique sources of reclaimed timber, like the live edge Oregon Black Walnut they transformed into shelving for their store to add warmth and interest to Vanillawood projects.  Here’s a round-up of their coolest new finds:

Shipping Dunnage:  The inexpensive timber used to secure cargo during shipping makes a stylish statement on walls, surfaces, and floors (as seen below).  Enthuses Kricken, “Shipping dunnage has an amazing patina of light and dark, thanks to visible strap marks.  The color variation is just stunning!”  Unwanted crating material from around the world has long been a source of consternation for shipping companies, who have no use for it after they’ve delivered their cargo.  Not only is it a burden on landfills, dunnage is a major polluter of our oceans, where it’s often dumped offshore.

Boomsticks:  Once an important part of the logging industry (tied together, they kept logs corralled as they made their way down the river), abandoned boomsticks of Douglas fir are back in fashion!  After being resurfaced from the bottom of the Columbia River, the logs are then planed into strips of varying widths and thicknesses. The Yakers used this beautiful wood liberally in their Vanillawood retail store and showroom, as wall paneling (below left) and countertop (below right).

Bleacher Benches:  Wooden benches from old high school gyms and community centers have become a particular favorite of artisan furniture makers.  These renovation cast-offs, often made of prized Douglas fir or mahogany, are perfectly planked for counter and tabletops. And in the case of this cool mirror, the designer made no effort to hide its origins!

The Vanillawood design team source a lot of their treasures through Viridian Wood Products — see our prior coverage here and here — whose ever-changing inventory fuels their creativity.  Kricken loves to find surprising ways to incorporate the wood beyond flooring in her interiors, wrapping it around columns and creating cozy niches with wood-paneled walls. “It’s all about layering textures, colors and materials — and using those materials in unexpected ways!

To learn more about Vanillawood’s design projects and store, please visit their website.

Photos courtesy of Vanillawood.


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