Charmed By Reclaimed Wood; Repurposed By The Modern Restaurant
What is the lure of an old building that makes you stop dead in your tracks? The structure itself is tragic at best. Main walls in a heap, rusted hardware, windows with cracks. You don’t see the rubble though, you see the past. Closing your eyes and listening, you hear music, laughter, a stolen moment between a young couple. Take a deep breath, smell the pine of a Christmas tree, the enticement of lemongrass, a corsage dried on a ladies vanity. Welcome to the spell of reclaimed wood.
Reclaimed wood is history in a 2×4. The timber from a barn or home, built in the 1890s can the elegant bar in an upscale bistro. A shipping crate from 1900 displays, a vintage wine collection. The hardware can suspend your antique lighting into a visual fantasy. How your food tastes will be secondary to your patrons. The character of your restaurant is eye candy for the soul.
Reclaimed wood is simply “Old Hollywood.” Think if Cary Grant, Kirk Douglas, and Spencer Tracey came to your diner’s opening. The scene in Casablanca where Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart are slow dancing, cheek to cheek. You can smell her perfume. Almost all reclaimed wood dates from the late 1800s to 1940. It is old growth timber recycled. After the second World War, the supply for lumber was great. A standard plank was a 1 3/4-inch instead of a 2×4. The demand also had lumber yards using weaker trees. The trees grew at a faster pace to meet demand, but turned out a cheaper product.
Reclaimed wood is recycling at is most honorable. Your restaurant can have the best chef and wine, but will patron’s return? People want an experience when they go out. A bar built from a 200-year-old cherry barn is a great start. The wood is vibrant in color and charm. That alone is enough to order a second martini while admiring it. The strength of this wood has more than stood the test of time, it just needed a makeover.
Timeless is a perfect word for your restaurant. Anyone can plate risotto, pour a merlot, make crème brulet. Do you want to come back to that establishment, though? Your patrons see a picture of a high school gym from 1910 hanging on your wall. Your bar keep explains the gym floor has proudly been remade into bar stools. Bingo! Not only do you have a return customer, you have history and integrity. Your restaurant caters to the environment.
Everyone has a story, the best ones are worth waiting for. Maybe it is a bit weathered, but aren’t we all? Your restaurant deserves the charm of a story folks tell over and over. Charmed, recycled and reclaimed wood, history in a modern tale.