Reclaiming the Home

Colorado artists are reinventing eco-friendly furniture from repurposed material.

By Kaleigh Lawson

Imagine an old weather-beaten snow fence transformed into a beautiful dining room table, beetle kill pine turned into a sturdy chair or a decommissioned wine barrel converted into barstools.

Such furnishings, made from reclaimed and recycled pieces are not only sustainable, they’re also stylish and full of character and are definitely making appearances in Colorado homes.

Forget “recycled,” today’s eco-friendly furniture is “upcycled.” Rocky Mountain Table Company (RMTC), a Denver-based company specializing in handcrafted tables, seating and storage units from reclaimed materials since 2005, is changing the way we look at old wood planks from decommissioned structures or trees brought down by destructive pine beetles.

Artist Jessica Schimpf of Mantra Glass Art created this reclaimed Pine Beetle Kill Panel features Recycled Blown Glass Terrariums with organic orchids and succulents. Materials: Pine Beetle Kill, Recycled Blown Glass, Orchids, Succulents, Organic Soil, Wall Hanging Device. 2 pc set for $460 or 1 panel for $209. Available at reclaimedwest.com

 

In recent years, reclaimed materials in homes and restaurants alike have increased in popularity and RMTC is largely involved in this salvaging trend. Their pieces are truly a work of functional art. “Our furniture is very transitional which means we have pieces that fit in many environments therefore we work with a wide customer range from new home owners all the way up to executive level office and conference customers,” says owner Donnie Criswell. In Colorado, not only is reclaimed furniture a trend, but the materials salvaged are in a trend of their own. “Trends that we see (and love) are the mix of reclaimed wood with other architectural elements like metal and steel,” says Criswell.

In addition to beetle kill pine, also widespread in many Colorado homes are boxcar floor planks and Wyoming snow fencing found at Cherry Creek’s Revampt—an eclectic furniture shop that works with artists to create wonderfully unique upcycled furnishings and accessories from reclaimed, recycled and repurposed materials. Each material offers a one-of-a-kind look. “You can see the character and history behind it,” says founder, Daniel Louis who opened Revampt in 2010 based on a desire to take the green revolution of eco-furniture to new heights. Rather than stopping at building furniture with sustainability in mind, Louis sought to sell products that were created exclusively from reclaimed materials. The creative artists behind the products at Revampt give would-be trash, including bicycle parts, tin cans, recycled beer bottles and scrap wood, a new lease on life in the form of wonderfully unique furniture and accessories that are just as stylish and whimsical as they are functional.

Josh Mabe, the artist and inspiration behind Twenty1Five, creates hand-crafted products that incorporate the elements of perfect balance, harmony and stylish modern design techniques as see in his B2 Dining Table T1F Design. A self-taught artist, Mabe believes any piece of wood can be rediscovered to fit both artistically and functionally in to furniture and home design. Available at reclaimedwest.com

 

Yet, reclaimed materials are not solely limited to old barn wood floors and torn-down fences—artist and designer Jessica Schimpf, completely self-taught in the discipline of glassblowing, utilizes recycled glass, organic plants and post-consumer packaging to create sustainable artwork. Her company, Mantra Glass Art produces 100% recycled hand-blown glass products.  “I absolutely loved seeing my first test pieces with recycled color. It’s never been done before; most soft-glass artists have this perception that the little imperfections (air bubbles, banding and imperfect colors) made from recycled glass are not as beautiful as completely clear non-recycled glass art. That’s where I saw a world of opportunity,” says Schimpf. “Not only is it good for our environment, the pieces are 100% one-of-a-kind and could never be reproduced exactly the same, inherently making the work more exclusive and extremely valuable.” Schimpf’s work, along with that of other talented local artists can be found at Reclaimed West—a Colorado-based company providing high quality reclaimed building materials, furniture and fine artwork all created by local artists from the Rocky Mountain Region. Reclaimed West also sells its own Reclaimed West brand items (and can completely customize items upon request) that highlight the beauty and potential of products that are reclaimed in America and made in America.

 

Rocky Mountain Table Company

rockymountaintableco.com

 

Revampt

revamptgoods.com

 

Reclaimed West

reclaimedwest.com