In 2007, Gail Elwyn and her husband, Barrett, started Rethink Renovations, offering eco-friendly construction and design services. Soon after the birth of their first child, they decided to expand the company based on their own family’s needs. “I was becoming more aware of the environment, and eco-friendly has always been important to us,” Elwyn says. “We were doing a lot of research on products in the home, and being a mother, I’m also constantly shopping for products for our own home. That’s what led to our new furniture line—I just couldn’t find enough options in St. Louis that I liked. So instead of just the option of buying online, we want to offer a line of furniture that people can physically see and touch and really feel the quality. And it’s something from the Midwest.”
The School House Collection, the company’s first line out this spring, features bedroom furniture designed by Anna Lampe (Rethink Renovations) and built by Patrick Chaney (Turnure Carpentry) for children and teens in multiple woods and finishes, including Siberian elm, cherry and walnut. The company currently offers bed frames, nightstands and craft tables and stools, with a dresser design in the works. “Our products are eco-friendly on all levels,” Elwyn notes. “We have pieces of upholstery within our furniture that’s organic, and the finishes, paints, stains and clear coats are all non-toxic.” And she says the pieces are made in St. Louis with wood that is locally sourced either from the Midwest or within the U.S. “Our woodworker (Chaney) has an art background, and he looks at woodworking as an art form. The design can really fit into any home because it has straight lines, but it’s not completely modern or contemporary. It could work in a Victorian home, Mid-Century Modern or an American Craftsman. And the bed frames are designed to grow with the child, so they have panels that you can pop out, as well as the ability to change the fabric. There also is a magnetic chalk board on the front (that can be changed out, too), which makes it interactive.”
The company plans to make its furniture available in local boutiques. “We’re trying to make it accessible for people to have eco-friendly furniture at an affordable price and in line with the other products on the market,” Elwyn explains. “It’s kid-friendly, fun and different! Our craft tables are not only adorable, but they are so sturdy. The pieces are designed to grow with the home and the family.”
Rethink Renovation’s furniture will be on display at The Healthy Planet Natural Living Expo at the Webster Groves Recreation Center on March 4, as well as at the St. Louis Earth Day Festival in Forest Park on April 22.