For the March 2014 Register-Guard publication Home and Garden.
Cabinets Fit For a Log Cabin
Reclaimed wood and custom cabinets bring rustic style to kitchens.
By Vanessa Salvia
What’s the quickest way to ensure that your new cabinets have some character? No, not paint. Try using wood that wasn’t milled for cabinets.
Greg Buessow of Distinctive Wood Kitchen & Bath designs, builds and installs custom cabinetry from his workshop in Springfield. Buessow recently completed a job for a family who live in Pleasant Hill. These homeowners chose Douglas fir that had been reclaimed from an old barn. Barnwood Naturals in Salem supplies 100% reclaimed metal and wood for design projects. “A lot of cabinetry is stock looking,” says the homeowner. “It’s painted either white or green and it’s very typical. We were looking for something different.”
Buessow uses exotic woods as well as reclaimed woods, for which he tries to source locally as much as possible. For this cabinet job, the homeowners wanted a color similar to mahogany to match some woodwork in the rest of the home. The homeowner says that the reclaimed wood is the first thing that visitors notice in the house. “You can tell it’s old,” he says. “There’s holes in it where the nails used to be. It was the interior of the barn so it’s not aged or gray and weathered like you see on some of the barns out there.” Buessow installed the cabinets and a large semi-circular kitchen island with a sink, bar and granite top.
The barn wood was also used for the range hood, for a total of more than 500 board feet. Buessow has had his own business for five years, but started out 15 years ago making cabinets. This job was not only one of the largest he’s done, but also one of the most unique. “It’s one of a kind,” Buessow says. It was challenging to source enough wood from the barn to ensure that everything matched. “Normally you would sand cabinets to a finish,” Buessow says, “but in this case the saw marks and the rough spots is what you want to showcase. It made it a little more difficult. We selected for color and character and you want it to match.”
With only two employees, Buessow says his small company puts a lot of heart into what they do. “The nice thing about custom cabinetry is that everything is cut and fit just for you,” Buessow says. Everything from the ground up can be made just for your space.”
A home owned by Pat Fountain in Junction City recently enjoyed a full kitchen remodel installed by Leon Birky of Powerline Cabinets in Halsey, Oregon. Fountain chose a medium hickory. “I really liked the hickory,” she says. “It’s rustic but adds character. No design is the same but it’s not overbearing.” Hickory varies in color from light (called white hickory) to brown and reddish brown. A fairly course textured wood, Fountain chose a medium hickory rather than the most course, darkest hickory, which she felt was more suitable to a cabin in Alaska. “This is a mid-knotty hickory and the way they put it up shows all the designs that hickory has in it,” she says. “It’s just beautiful.”
Fountain lives in a home that was built in 1954. For 42 years before the remodel, she had only a small doorway to walk through into the kitchen. “I wanted that wall out of there!” she says. Her stove no longer faces a wall, and her refrigerator increased in space from 16 to 37 cubic feet. Powerline also installed a 6 1/2-foot bar in her kitchen. “People can sit at the bar and watch me cook,” she says, “and from the kitchen I can look out and see the living room. My dining room is much smaller now but I don’t care.”
Powerline’s hickory wood came from a Springfield supplier called Tree Products Hardwoods. “The nice thing about the hickory is that it has the natural warm tone and the natural character,” Birky says. “It’s really dense, so it’s great for durability.”
For this weekend’s home show, Powerline will showcase the same type of hickory in a different style of door. “We’ll be showing a Shaker-style door with the brown, rustic hickory,” he says, along with a dry stacked stone accent on an island with black pearl granite countertops.