Just about every week, Barry Kraft gets a phone call from someone saying their barn is falling down.
But they're not calling to complain. They're calling to give him access to the materials. Kraft's business Reclaim Renew (2145 Barrett Station Road, Des Peres; 314-858-9100) combines his well-honed furniture-making skills with old wood from Midwestern barns to build strikingly beautiful furniture.
"We have calls from grandmothers who say that her and her husband have been with that barn in their life for the past 50, 60 years," Kraft explains. "It has become a part of their life and the fact that it's falling down just breaks their heart. So when they come in here and see what we're doing with it, it makes them feel really good."
Kraft and his team tear down four to five barns a month, and they can get somewhere between 3,000 to 10,000 board feet of lumber from each one. That's enough to make dozens of tables, benches, mantels and other items.
"Let's just say I have enough wood to last me years," Kraft says with a laugh.
Although Reclaim Renew's storefront and showroom only opened in Des Peres in early June, the company has already outgrown three work spaces in its five years of operation. Kraft's team of approximately twelve builds custom cabinets, sliding barn doors, mantels, coffee tables and virtually anything else made of wood. They partner with a local stoneworker, concrete company and a blacksmith.
"Our stuff isn't just 'farm,'" says Katie Bingham, a longtime friend of Kraft's who joined the business in 2011. "Just because it came from a barn doesn't mean it has to go back into a barn style. We've gone super high-end modern, but also very rustic. So we can really morph the wood into a lot of different looks to match those home styles. I think that's why Reclaim Renew has become so popular here in St. Louis, because people love that history behind things, but they want a more modern touch."
And it's not just a matter of creative reuse. It's also a superior grade of wood."
"That wood is first-growth lumber that is just not around anymore," Kraft says. "It's never coming back; we'll never have it again."
Adds Bingham, "The durability of these products is through the roof — how solid and how strong."
At the Des Peres store, customers can purchase furniture to fit their style, or meet with the pair to design custom pieces for their homes, offices or any other space. Reclaim Renew has provided custom items for many stores and restaurants around the area, including Lion's Choice, Circle 7 Ranch and Twisted Tree.
Another reason to feel good about shopping at Reclaim Renew? The business is giving back. On top of building custom furniture for profit, Kraft also works with St. Louis' Rise Together Ministries to train refugees and others in woodworking. Many of the smaller wooden items, such as drink holders, were crafted by program participants.
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