There is a trend happening now, and it’s very exciting to be a part of it. People today are looking for more from everything they live in, drink, and eat. What they recognize is missing with a great many things is “authenticity”. To be authentic, it can’t be counterfeit. Growing up, I remember furniture from the 80’s. I remember fake wood wall paneling that was an imitation of the real thing. Looking back, I try to imagine what would possess someone to use that as a texture, but then again, it was a sign of the times, and whether it be for economic reasons, or because it was just easily accessible, somebody thought it was attractive. That’s not so much the case today. I think we’ve been bombarded with so much fake, that we can’t help but crave the real thing. Instead of bombarding the home with too much of any one thing, every space has “intentional” focal points.
What makes barn wood authentic? There’s so much beauty in imperfection. There’s magic in a story. I’ve collected images of places we’ve been over the last 7 years recording barns we’ve taken down, buildings we’ve visited, and towns in the middle of nowhere that have an untold history. Visiting these places and bringing back a piece of them is magical in and of itself, but being able to experience the transformation from forgotten relic to new heirloom is a daily inspiration.
Don’t let the rustic nature of barn wood fool you. What’s so great about rough materials is that they can be made into many forms. The formica topped stylish furniture of the 60’s and 70’s can be swapped out for reclaimed hardwoods and it brings the piece to life. Replacing poorly textured drywall with an organic looking wood feature can warm up a space and make it feel more like a unique space. Replacing the bar top in a kitchen with a nice live edge slab or reclaimed wood butcher block can make it feel more cozy and inviting. There are so many ways to integrate authentic features into your space.
Here are some images from our travels to some of the barns and buildings we’ve deconstructed or visited over the years. Many of these have since been turned into beautiful furnishings and home accents across the country.
Thomas is an Arizona native, artist, and man of many talents. He founded Porter Barn Wood in 2010 and Porter Iron Works in 2012. He has since become an industry leader in reclaimed materials in Arizona and has worked with builders across the country to provide custom unique furnishings and materials in both commercial and residential applications. Thomas and his wife Emy have two children and live in Phoenix, AZ.