NORTH RIDGEVILLE, Ohio — As a native of Litchfield, near Medina, Steve Lambert grew up in the country.
“Out there, you fix things. You don't buy new things,” said Lambert, the owner of My Wood Loft. “It's taking pride in what you do.”
In Ohio’s country, there are many barns — some that date back to the 1800’s when they were constructed with great craftsmanship and supported the growth of America.
“These barns, they did their job for a long time. They supported the growth of America,” said Lambert. “You know, it was a time where a farmer struggled to make ends meet by farming and exist and provide food and sustenance for the whole community. And that barn housed all of that.”
Sadly, many of these wooden buildings have seen better days. They are decaying and disappearing. Instead of letting all the history that comes with the barns go to waste, Lambert and his wife, Tori, preserve anything they can through their company My Wood Loft. The team at My Wood Loft carefully dismantles the structures and repurposes the wood into heirloom quality furniture, furniture that should last for generations instead of a few years.
“When you look at the skeleton of a barn, and it's eight-by-eight, nine-by-nine beams that are hand hewn, some poor soul spent hours like this, shaping that beam out of a log. It deserves to be brought here and turned into something that's going to be appreciated and thought of is as beautiful as it is,” said Lambert.
“What's so cool is we have the pictures of all the barns that we've taken down as well,” said Tori Fox-Lambert. “So we can give them a picture and say OK this farm was located in LaGrange, it was in Grafton or it was in Oberlin ... It ties in the story of not only the reclaimed wood with the local history, you know, it just brings it all together as one.”
Their motto is "reclaiming American heritage one barn at a time." Every barn and every piece of wood that comes with it has a story and they want to preserve all its character and charm. Every item they make is one-of-a-kind.
“You can't reproduce it. You can't. You can't do to this wood what Mother Nature's done to it,” said Lambert.
“There's a lot of art with it, figuring things out,” said Patrick Knight, an employee at My Wood Loft. “It's not all the same. You kind of have these different pieces that you have to fabricate and make kind of custom. So it keeps it interesting. It's always something different.”
The Lamberts find potential in everything, even the smallest pieces of wood.
“I always say there's still a chance,” said Steve Lambert. “Until it's about that big. There's still a chance for it to become something else. Something useful.”
They make a range of items, from doors to farmhouse tables to mantels and more.
“We have an indoor reclaimed lumber yard. In our indoor reclaimed lumber yard you can take the materials with you and you could do with it what you would like or you could put in a special order for us to do what you wanted,” said Tori Fox-Lambert.
Through turning old wood into treasures, the team at My Wood Loft is also helping the environment through keeping wood out of the landfills.
“And not only wood. I mean we use metal roofing, we use the live edge slabs, some of the trees that have been cut down and not cut down for just the purpose of a live edge slab. They were cut down because they needed to come down and now we're using that wood and we’re turning it into beautiful tables,” said Tori Fox-Lambert.
“The great part about not having cut more trees is we're not deforesting, we're not ruining the environment,” said Nick Bodey, an employee at My Wood Loft. “We're not putting animals out of their habitats. We're using stuff that's already here, that we already have access to.”
The Lamberts have an appreciation for antiques, eclectic designs and also hard work. They’re helping barns that were built by hand generations ago live on through something new for generations to come.
“There is so much history in some of this wood and a lot of people just destroy it and it just makes me sad,” said Tori Fox-Lambert. “So I'm glad that we can preserve it. We can turn it into something that will be loved for a long more time.”
“I just love giving things a new life, a new purpose, an heirloom purpose,” said Steve Lambert.
For more information on My Wood Loft visit here.