Hot Stuff

A table grows in Sandtown

Shabdiece Esfahani - May 2011

Hot Stuff

A table grows in Sandtown

Shabdiece Esfahani - May 2011

When is a table more than a table? When it used to be a row house. (Okay, we'll explain.)

Two years ago, a partnership formed among Habitat for Humanity, the U.S. Green Building Council, and Under Armour to build Baltimore's first LEED Platinum certified home (the highest attainable for green building standards) in Sandtown. One of the requirements is that the builders must reuse and/or recycle the majority of material waste. So Will Phillips, head of Under Armour's Green Program and an organizer in the Habitat project, sought out John Bolster, president of New Renaissance Architects and Builders, to reuse the salvaged lumber from the Habitat home in a creative way—making furniture. Sandtown Millworks was born.

The furniture was so sturdy and uniquely attractive that Phillips and Bolster decided to use more salvaged wood from other construction/demolition projects. "These trees started growing in the Revolutionary War era, if not before," Phillips explains. "They have this beautiful wood grain and incredible density, which is why they are still in great shape after holding a building up for one hundred plus years. We can't stand the thought of them rotting in a landfill."

The duo plan to open a showroom later this year but, for now, shoppers can get their furniture fix through appointments at their Federal Hill workshop or at the JFX Farmers' Market.

"People from Baltimore love it," says Bolster. "It distills a lot of the character of each building into one piece of furniture. We keep the design simple and let the wood and its history stand out."

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