On Thursday, December 4th there wasn’t a cloud in the Oregon sky, a treat for a late autumn day in the Willamette Valley. We picked a perfect day to visit Bruce Wadleigh’s home and workshop in Salem, Oregon. Our drive meandered through a rich abundance of Oregon’s farmlands with a backdrop of evergreens and amber and gold leaves. Life for most of us is fast paced and somewhat complicated. I found the 45 minute drive from Portland to the home of Barnwood Naturals a bit meditative. For me, it is a feeling I only achieve by reconnecting with Mother Nature.
Barnwood Naturals recycles century old Oregon barns and reclaims the wood for instant “Wow!” flooring. Oregon barns in the Willamette Valley were constructed by resident farmers using a material readily available – Oregon Douglas Fir. The color variations and character of the natural wood provides a wood floor experience unlike any other. The weathered look of wood cannot be recreated, and so pieces with unique colors and patinas are particularly in demand. The Douglas Fir wood used was harvested from old growth harvest over 1000 years old. Imagine the history and stories contained within.
Bruce Wadleigh’s passion for reclaimed wood flows into each piece he artfully crafts. He and his team deconstruct each barn without the use of machinery and without leaving a footprint on the land. This thoughtful process is labor intensive. The barn must be continually reinforced during the deconstruction process and each nail (destined for recycling too) is hand removed. Sometimes a single floor board can take over 20 minutes to de-nail. Once the wood is salvaged and sent to Bruce’s workshop (ironically located in a barn on his property), each piece is hand sanded to the client’s specifications.
Colors and stains can be customized to client specifications. Each barn offers unique wear and weathering giving a story and legacy to each order. Bruce admits Barnwood Naturals will never be a high production business. “Our clients love old wood and appreciate the history,” he admits. Bruce also makes coffee and end tables and provides custom pieces for wall paneling, mantles and other applications.
As a matter of fact, Bruce is always experimenting with natural resources to renew. When Portland General Electric replaced their electricity poles, Bruce took in the surplus of material. For his own home, he repurposed a 30″ portion of one of the poles into a simple coffee table. Its rich texture juxtaposes his contemporary taste and works well by his wood burning stove in the kitchen nook. Natural stump like tables are popular in chains like Pottery Barn and West Elm, but aren’t made of natural materials and lack the character and rich history of Barnwood Natural pieces.
In vogue for interior design today, is mixing all things natural into everyday living. The deep, rich character of these one of a kind hardwood floors infuses rustic elegance and Northwest flair into any style. The best part of the Barnwood Natural experience is bringing into your home the natural abundance of the Northwest landscape and its rich legacy.
For more information, please contact Joe Armijo at Direct Source International, Barnwood Natural’s national supplier. You may also visit one of two Direct Source’s showrooms here in Oregon, located in Portland’s Northwest district at 1991 NW Upshur Street, or in the Salem at 1425 McGilcrist St. SE. You may also call 503.222.0745 or outside of Portland 1-877.853.2581