A Maple Transformation

BLA members turn beautiful trees into equally beautiful, craftsman pieces. This is especially evident in the work of Jonathan Nussbaum, owner of Jonathan A. Nussbaum Furniture Maker, a BLA member and strong advocate for local, responsibly harvested wood. Jonathan works with many species of wood to create classic fine furniture that highlights the beauty of the wood he uses. One of his recent projects is work on a custom, Big Leaf Maple kitchen.  The wood for this project traveled only 60 miles from the forest to the kitchen! He has also created a walnut and spalted maple media console, as shown below.

BLA Members Involved: Jonathan A. Nussbaum Furniture Maker

Wood Species Used: Big Leaf Maple

Project Type: Cabinetry, Furniture

BLA Members Tackle the Living Building Challenge

Builder James Arnold and his crew at JRA Green Building Construction recently built a custom home for a client in Southwest Portland. But, it was not just any custom home. The client decided to go for the Living Building Challenge. The Challenge is a strict rating system that leaps far beyond LEED in its requirements for non-toxic, locally sourced materials for every component of the building. Wood used in the Challenge must either be reclaimed or FSC® certified, and it must all be sourced from within 200 miles of the job site.

James Arnold, a BLA member, knew who to call. He contacted Sustainable Northwest Wood, BLA member and Portland lumberyard. They were able to get beautiful, 100% FSC® and locally sourced wood from local mills, including Kaster’s Kustom Cutting, a BLA member in Mulino, for every last foot of wood in the building.

The wood was sourced from restorative forestry projects designed to improve overall forest health and help restore old growth conditions. FSC® Western Red Cedar was used for the decking and siding, bringing warmth to the clean, modern lines of the building. FSC® Big Leaf Maple was custom-milled into flooring, trim, and architectural panels for the cabinetry and interior doors. It was also used to build the eye-catching floating staircase, a focal piece in the house, as shown in photos below.

The maple cabinetry in the kitchen is a special product that was made using a veneer log on plywood cores. The maple is from another BLA member, a small custom sawmill, Zena Forest Products, which utilizes a variety of restorative forestry methods.The veneer is from Oregon grown, FSC® certified softwoods. The maple veneer and softwood base are joined beautifully by BLA member Sustainable Northwest Wood.

There are many different hardwood plywoods available on the market, but none used local hardwoods – until Sustainable Northwest Wood started making them recently. This innovative partnership between BLA members provides a beautiful way to showcase our Pacific Northwest hardwoods.

The home was designed by Michelle Jeresek, who was at Departure Design at the time and is now principal at Ivon Street Studio. It also has net zero water and energy. It generates all of its own electricity through its solar panels and Passive House design, and all of its water through an advanced rainwater harvesting system. Way to push the design envelope, BLA members!

BLA Members Involved:  JRA Green Building Construction, Sustainable Northwest Wood,  Zena Forest ProductsKaster’s Kustom Cutting, Ivon Street Studio

Wood Species Used: Western Red Cedar, Big Leaf Maple

Project Type: Flooring, Trim, Cabinetry, Doors

Fir Connections for a Historic Kitchen Remodel

This gorgeous kitchen remodel was completed in collaboration between three BLA members. Craftsman Design and Renovation, an award-winning Portland design-and-build firm, designed the kitchen updates. Then, in search of the perfect wood, Craftsman’s design team contacted Sustainable Northwest Wood. Sustainable Northwest Wood is a Portland lumberyard and BLA member, which supplies lumber from small mills in rural Pacific Northwest communities. Everything carried by SNW Wood is grown on forests managed to the standards of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or as part of stewardship programs restoring native ecosystems.

The result: a super-selectively harvested FSC® Pure Douglas Fir wood from a Girl Scout camp just 20 miles outside of the city. Fir is a traditional wood used in the Pacific Northwest. Though these trees were relatively young, several had extremely tight growth rings, mimicking old-growth trees. When carefully milled by BLA Member Kevin Kaster, of Kaster’s Kustom Cutting, the fir wood provided a perfect match with the existing flat-sawn trim.

This FSC® certified wood was cut through restorative forestry overseen by BLA member Trout Mountain Forestry. They manage camp properties for several youth development groups including the Girl Scouts and Camp Fire. The forest is managed in a way that promotes forest health through strategic thinning, enabling a diversity of ages and sizes of trees.

BLA Members Involved: Sustainable Northwest Wood, Trout Mountain Forestry, Kaster’s Kustom Cutting

Wood Species Used: Douglas Fir

Project Type: Cabinetry

Photos by Pete Eckert for Craftsman Design and Renovation.