When it comes to home design trends, what’s old is new again. Perfectly decorated “matchy-matchy” interiors and fresh-out-of-the-factory-furniture is out, replaced by a “collected look” that includes treasured pieces, vintage decor and repurposed materials.
This new emphasis on making the most with what you’ve got and adding carefully selected antique, vintage or secondhand pieces to your home signals a shift from “fast furniture” (Americans throw out 12 million tons of furniture each year) to a more sustainable approach to home decor. According to a recent article in Fast Company magazine, used furniture is about to become a $16.6 billion business.
If you’d like to give your space new life by adding something old into the mix, consider crafting a piece of furniture from salvaged wood. Heritage Salvage, a full service reclaimed building materials and custom design facility just south of downtown Petaluma, is a great spot for finding a storied piece of wood. The business, owned by the affable Michael “Bug” Deakin, offers design services and has a three-acre lumber yard and a skilled crew.
Deakin founded Heritage Salvage in 2003 and brought decades of building experience and a passion for lumber and trees to his company. While growing up in British Columbia, his father would bring home lumber discards from his work at Kootenay Forest Company; Deakin built his first home out of reclaimed materials in 1970. As an adult, he continues to save old pieces of wood from the landfill.
The Heritage Salvage team sources and refurbishes wood from all over the world — from a Penngrove chicken coop to a Costa Rica cashew tree — and sells it directly to customers or refashions it into stylish furniture pieces for homes and businesses, including over a hundred restaurants across the country. The Petaluma company has made a bar from bleacher boards for HopMonk Sonoma, a panel siding for Sonoma Academy from Oregon cedar logs, and a tabletop for a Windsor family from wood sourced from Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo.
Deakin likes to remind people of how great trees are — to him, “the art of giving new life to old wood is all about the stories.” In 2018, he got to share some of his stories and his passion for trees with a larger audience when, along with the Heritage Salvage team, he starred in a six-episode season of “Heritage Hunters” on the DiY Network.
“You buy the wood but get the story for free. Or you can pay for the story and get the wood for free,” said Deakin in one of the episodes. The season, filmed in various locations, including Petaluma, is available on Amazon Prime and is a must-watch for design and architecture buffs and those who appreciate beautiful pieces of wood.
While the team at Heritage Salvage tackles more intricate and large-scale projects on the TV show, they also sell pieces of wood at the lumber yard to customers who have smaller home improvements in mind.
No matter the scale of a customer’s project, working with reclaimed wood is an opportunity to learn how to appreciate “the beauty in what is here” and to share “stories of the past,” according to Deakin. Perhaps that’s the greatest benefit of incorporating old materials and pieces of furniture in your home decor — that there’s a story behind each individual piece of furniture and a little bit more personality in each room.
Click through the above gallery to see furniture made by Heritage Salvage.