Posts Tagged ‘Inn Interior Design Project’

Tips on picking wood and furniture for that next home project

Seeing the Forest through the Trees, Some tips on picking eco-friendly wood for that next home project.

Here are stacks of gorgeous reclaimed wood at Mason Brothers Architectural Salvage Shop.

Are you building a home, adding a floor or purchasing a table? Well you don’t have to give up being environmentally friendly just because you need wood, a slow-growing renewable resource, for the project. Instead follow a few of the tips below and you can leave your environmental guilt at the (salvaged) door. Have fun! My best, Joanne

The coffee table is built from reclaimed wood from an old weaving loom.

Think Antique, Second-hand Furniture, Custom Made:

Furniture is obviously big part of wood industry. Even upholstered furniture needs wood for framing. Going the route of antique pieces, furniture made from old wood, or second-hand furniture prevents the need of using new wood. Or consider having a piece made out of reclaimed wood, for example, my coffee table is made from an old weaving loom. Many local woodworkers will make custom pieces. You can ask one of your local salvage shops or reclaimed wood centers for a list of names of carpenters who work with reclaimed materials. For second-hand furniture you can easily find it at your local furniture consignment shop, antique shop, Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill or even online on Craigslist or Front Porch Forum. or or do a search for locally made furniture with reclaimed wood. You’ll be surprised what is available to you.


All the cabinets in this kitchen are from reclaimed Douglas Fir from the old Port Authority Building in Portland, Oregon built by Cabinet Maker George Ramos.

All the cabinets in this kitchen are from reclaimed Douglas Fir from the old Port Authority Building in Portland, Oregon built by Cabinet Maker George Ramos.

Consider Recycled and Salvaged Wood:

Reclaimed wood can be anything from 2 x 4’s just taken down from a recent house to vintage 1880s floorboards.. Old wood, doors, and other wood-salvaged materials not only keep you from using new wood but it also keeps these products out of our overflowing landfills. My island top is made from 1880’s Douglas fir that was from a railroad building. Wood is as different as your designs are, so choose wisely…thicker wood for island tops, thinner wood for wall paneling, tongue and groove for flooring…etc.


The floors are local cherry wood from a certified forest and the table is a vintage Stickley dining set. Both great examples of new and reclaimed wood.

Shop Local:

When purchasing wood for a building or other projects consider local first. Purchasing your wood from a sustainable managed local forest, whether or not it is certified, is good for the forest, the watershed, the community. A forest that is managed correctly, following sound forestry practices, will have an environmental impact far greater than simply good management of the trees themselves. A well managed, and/or a certified forest, will positively impact area watersheds, for example. Added bonus of buying local wood?  Transportation needs go down, which is also good for the environment.


Here I am, looking for salvaged wood for a mantel project.

Here I am, looking for salvaged wood for a mantel project at the rebuild center in my town.


When you shopping online, at a larger retail store, or you if are not sure about your local forests’ sustainability practices, always look for certification. There are many types of certification. One of the most credible forest certification programs is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). It is an independent, international nonprofit organization that sets a strict environmental and social standard for sustainable forest management. Their website,, gives you information about their organization and places to find local FSC products and services. Look for their logo or ask for FSC certified wood.


Even the smallest pieces of wood don’t have to go to waste. This gorgeous cutting board made from a variety of reclaimed wood species took the artisan a couple of weeks to make.

Rethinking Design Can Mean Less Waste:

Most woods have a variety of grades. Knowing which grade creates the least waste can help save wood and lower your costs. Number one common (sometimes called third grade, or rustic wood) cherry, for instance, is a more basic grade of wood with more knots and color variation, then for example, clear or first grade, which is free from most visible defects and discolorations.  Each wood has variations in their grading system, grain and cut, so take a few minutes to learn about the wood you want.  But no matter which wood you choose, opting for a more “perfect” wood will result in more waste. Remember, that older salvaged wood is from a natural forest where the growth rings are tighter which makes the wood much harder than wood that is grown faster in a managed forest…so even when it is a softwood – if it is from an older tree – it can be very hard…get to know your options and your woods.


reclaimed wood comes in all shapes and sizes. These old porch posts have a new lease on live as farm house table legs at the Mad River Barn.

Reclaimed wood comes in all shapes and sizes. These old porch posts have a new lease on life as farm house table legs at the Mad River Barn.

Avoid the Endangered List:

Teak and mahogany from old growth forests in Brazil or Indonesia are places that suffer from over-forestation that not only devastate the forests but the communities around them as well. With the number of sustainable wood and non-wood options, there is no need to continue to support over-forested woods.  If you must use Teak, make sure it is reclaimed or certified.  These same types of wood, from certified managed forests, can be just fine to purchase. This is where certification is important — do not use a tropical or exotic wood that are not certified. And stay away from endangered forests.

Never Judge a Piece of Wood by It’s Cover

I always tell folks to never turn their backs on ugly reclaimed wood — because there is a swan underneath all that grim and years of oxidation. If you are looking for wood — bring a piece of sand paper with you and a water bottle. That way you can sand a bit of the top off and then moisten (to get the feel of what it will look like with polyurethane, shellac or a wax sealer on it.)

Here is what the wood looked like before we made sliding barn doors out of it.


Here is the design project “after” the wood was sanded and cleaned and sealed. Mad River Barn design project.

Demand Action:

First and foremost, get involved. If you (or even your community) are building, remodeling or purchasing lots of wood, do it with a conscious decision to choose the right kind by following the above guidelines.  Also, avoid pressure treated, or chemical treated wood, much of the inexpensive wood (including particleboard), contain toxic substances that can off gas and are not good for you or the planet. Encourage your retailers to carry wood from well-managed forests. Remember, it is all about supply and demand. If you demand protected, well managed forests, then you’ll get them.

Salvage Secrets and Salvage Secrets Design & DĂ©cor.

Salvage Secrets and Salvage Secrets Design & DĂ©cor. Internationally acclaimed books by Joanne Palmisano, Photography by Susan Teare.

For more information about wood, designs and other great ways to decorate using reclaimed wood and other earth-friendly ideas, I hope you check out my books, Salvage Secrets and Salvage Secrets Design & DĂ©cor.





Pop Sugar Post…How to Create a Wooden Ladder Light

Thank you Pop Sugar for asking me to share how to create your very own Wooden Ladder Light. When Mad River Barn asked me to be their designer for the renovations of their Inn, Restaurant, Pub and Game Room…I knew this was my chance to create this light! Follow this easy step by step tutorial on the Pop Sugar site. You’ll be thrilled on how budget friendly it is!  Have fun…and send pictures of your light. My best, Joanne 

Mad River Barn Restaurant Design by Joanne Palmisano

Not only is the light made from a vintage ladder but the farmhouse tables are made from reclaimed wood and old porch posts. The chairs were reused but painted a fun red color and the wall paneling is old paneling from the bedrooms. Lots of fun salvaged and vintage fills the restaurant at Mad River Barn. Photo by Susan Teare

Here is the tutorial...

Here is the tutorial…

Don’t forget the Categories Button to see more DIY projects! Hope you sign up for my blog as well. Thanks! J

Rustic Wood Bathroom Vanities…Mad River Barn Coming Together

Coming together at the Mad River Barn are the new (and recycled) bathrooms.  Hope you enjoy these process shots of the bathrooms. Can’t wait to show you final results — included the recycled parts we are using for the toilet paper holders, towel hooks and light fixtures! Thanks for following the MAD RIVER BARN project! :)  Hope it’s Inn…spirational!  (I know… I couldn’t help it).  My best, Joanne

These were the bathrooms before renovation started. They were in need of updating as well as lots of repair — water damage…all the things that come with time and lots of use! You will be happy to know that everything that could be was recycled!

Some of the pieces ready for a pick up from Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

behind the scenes

As you can see, everything had to come down and after was rebuilt back up with the latest energy efficient technology and water resistant material.

And back up it goes!

This is just a handful of all the reclaimed barn wood that was saved from the barn and the farmhouse. I think we will come close to using it all in this project! Some of it was reused in the making of the vanities.

Even the galvanized pipes found behind the barn are being reused. Heather and Andrew, the owners of the Inn, are nonstop when it comes to making this project happen. Here they are unloading the metal pipes which Brett (my friend, neighbor and amazing artisan) will cut and make for legs for the vanities.

The circle of life…Heather and Andrew donated the old sinks, faucets, towel bars, etc…and I shopped around at the Rebuild Center in Burlington and the ReStore in Williston and picked up recycled sinks I wanted to use in the vanities. I like using white sinks, toilets and tubs in bathrooms — they stand the test of time.

Brett is working away in his garage/workshop on the vanities — using the recycled sinks I picked up. Thanks Brett for all your help!


The test run in the driveway of the workshop. Looking good so far.  A few more coats of sealer…


Dave, plumbing up the showers.


Checking out how the vanities will look in the bathrooms….oohhhhh…getting there! Thanks Dave for the peace sign :) Need to add the back splash and faucet and we are almost done — soon you’ll see the whole room put together!  I can’t wait.




More Mad River Barn News…Creating Design Projects Out of Salvage

Things are moving along at the Mad River Barn Inn — I’m excited to say. The construction project is going gangbusters!  Thrilled to share what we will be doing with some very cool salvaged pieces.  Big thanks to Mike for the cool steam punk lighting made out of salvaged metal, Megan at Conant Metal and Light for working with us to make some additional cool fixtures out of old metal baskets and rewiring the chicken feeders for the bathrooms. The Rebuild Center for all their help, Burnett Scrap Metal for collecting old salvage goodies for me, Gary from Benjamin Moore Paints for all the paint support and product information and Matt from Aubuchon Hardware for all the paint technique advice.  We will be using Benjamin Moore Paints to transform some of the recycled and repurposed pieces in the Inn.  Lots more people involved — I’ll mention them along the way :)

Talk about Reuse! Lots of the old piping will be used for table legs, lighting fixtures and even decor!

This piece of marble from the old kitchen will be used in the Farmhouse kitchen on the dining table!

These boards taken from the buildings will be put back in — in a totally different way! They are slated to be bathroom vanities, farmhouse tables, cafe tables, and counter tops. So excited!

These large beams will be made into Platform Beds! They are going to be modern, hip and comfy with the most amazing mattress on top!

If the weight isn’t too much, I really want to make a coffee table out of this old cooler door for the Game Room. Of course, we’ll have to remove the door handle…gets in the way for a good card game :)

Yes, even the old HVAC will be reused. We’ll keep you posted on this. I have a few ideas.

While picking up the doors at the Rebuild Center we spied two amazing transom windows that will be perfect for decor in the long hallways. Andy, the owner of the Inn, is getting them in the trailer!

At the Rebuild Center in Burlington, we picked up a bunch of old doors, some will be used for the second entrance doors and others will be cut to create cabinet doors in the dining room and at the wait station for the restaurant.

Until next update…enjoy the beauty shot of the work in progress!

Inn…spirational! Interior Design Work for Mad River Barn

I’m absolutely thrilled to share with you the design story of The Mad River Barn Inn. Last winter, Heather and Andrew Lynds, the new owners of the Barn, contacted me and asked if I would be interested in helping with interior design for the renovation of the Inn, the Rooms, the Pub and the Dining Room. What is truly inn…spirational, is they want to try to reuse their own materials as well as add salvage and recycled materials and details to the design.  I was thrilled!  This spring the project started and it has been a pleasure and honor working with Heather and Andrew and the entire building crew.  I’m excited to share design details and research as we go. You’ll get to see a lot of the before and after and in between… I’ll try and keep you up-to-date on the project!  Can’t wait to share with you the final project and design ideas - some of them will even be step by step for you to make yourself.  Hope you will follow along and come and visit this winter when it is done! My best, Joanne

There will be a few changes...but don't worry, we will be keeping some of the historic charm as well.

There will be a few changes…but don’t worry, we will be keeping some of the historic charm as well.

Updating the rooms will be fun. will the bathrooms.

Okay…so will the bathrooms.

The great thing is everything is being either saved, recycled or donated. Very little is going in a dumpster. Wait till you see what we do with some of the paneling we had to remove from some of the spaces.

The whole right side of the building was lifted up apx. 12 inches! Part of this old stone wall will be exposed in the dining design.

What till you see what I do with these old plumber handles.

Using the reclaimed barn wood that is coming out of the buildings and these Salvaged Posts from Mason Brothers Architectural Salvage, we will be building Farmhouse tables for the Dining room. Thrilled!

Using the old wood, galvanized metal pipes Andrew found behind the buildings and sinks from the Rebuild Center, we will have rustic contemporary vanities for the bathrooms, built by my friend, Brett.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been collecting barn doors from the Rebuild Center in Burlington, for some great projects in the lobby and game room.

Oh Yeah! They are also renovating the farmhouse that will be their home. Can’t wait to show you the kitchen design. More to come next week!