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Meet 3 St. Louis Area Companies That Ethically Source Timber

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The intentionality of sustainability and local sourcing continue to grow in residential design, as evidenced by a trio of metro area companies: American Timber Salvage, Refab and Rustic Grain.

All three occupy St. Louis: American Timber Salvage in the Near North Riverfront neighborhood, Refab in the Benton Park West neighborhood and Rustic Grain in the Patch, the city’s southernmost neighborhood.

American Timber Salvage, its website states, seeks “to salvage historic building wood materials for re-use” and cites as one of its more significant projects the 113-year-old Cupples 7 warehouse, which was demolished in 2013.

Among old-growth lumber for salvage locally, the company customarily concentrates its efforts on the oldest and rarest northern white and southern long-leaf yellow pine.

“We work with homeowners, interior decorators and designers, architects, rehabbers and artists,” American Timber Salvage’s website adds.

Notably, Bruce Gerrie, who founded the company in 2006, collaborated with the late, great Bob Cassilly to provide materials for downtown St. Louis’ beloved City Museum. There, Gerrie owned and curated the St. Louis Architectural Museum, according to the website.

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On its own website, Refab states its mission as collaborating “with local nonprofit organizations, community groups and government to promote the collective and creative re-use of our built environment.” It does so “by deconstructing buildings otherwise slated for demolition, retraining community members for careers in green industry, and refabricating building materials.”

Refab deals in reclaimed lumber, hardwood flooring, barnwood and other goods, specializing in such products as butcher-block countertops, wide-plank tabletops and barn-beam mantels, the website continues, and catering “not only to rehabbers and remodelers but also to artists and other creative types.”

Here, sustainability reigns. “Refab aims to keep as much as possible out of our landfills,” its website states. “For that reason, each of our products [is] created keeping waste production in mind.

“Our products are constructed from salvaged lumber that is acquired through the deconstruction of old buildings. We utilize every part of the lumber in the construction of our products, from the heartwood to the weathered surface.”

Similarly, reserving a legacy ranks as the guiding precept at Rustic Grain. “We, at Rustic Grain, believe that the best things are still made by hand,” its website states. Using locally sourced materials, the company seeks to create heirloom-quality products as sustainably as possible.

Moreover, Rustic Grain authenticates its craftsmanship with the precise name, location and history of the structure providing the reclaimed material.

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The company’s craftsmen “take great care to preserve the character of the material they work with,” the website continues. “We honor the history represented by each knot, marking and nail hole. As a result, no two items we produce are exactly alike. … Our tables and chairs are not only beautiful and functional but they also serve as touchstones for evoking old memories while creating new ones.”

American Timber Salvage, 3400 Hall St., St. Louis, 314-550-0754, americantimbersalvage.net

Refab, 3130 Gravois Ave., St. Louis, 314-357-1392, refabstl.org

Rustic Grain, 205 E. Davis St., St. Louis, 314-690-3633, rusticgrain.com

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Bryan A. Hollerbach serves as LN's copy editor and one of its staff writers. He loves to read, write, impersonate an amateur artist and research all things bibulous.

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