Home & Garden: Treasure Hunt
Treasure is found in the most unlikely of places. For Greg Landers, those places are down country roads where no one else would want to look, the decaying remains of once magnificent barns and houses.
With a touch of creativity, the Edmond resident takes something old and makes something new. His artistic work with re-purposing antique wood gives the ever-popular “going green” expression a whole new outlook on recycling with heart.
“It started out by accident, as I suppose most stuff like this does,” says Landers, who started The Barn Market this year. His business sells furniture and other items that mix modern day functionality with a whole lot of rustic charm from the past.
“I had done houses for a long time. I used to flip houses and redo those and when that market slowed down some, I was looking for something to do. I’ve always had an interest in old structures, old barns and old architectural type materials,” he says. After success with his first few pieces, Landers says the business “just kind of happened.”
The key is having a good source of lumber for his pieces where the wood has aged naturally through weather and time, according to Landers. With Oklahoma reaching its Centennial only recently, he mostly buys from out of state, seeking older antique lumber. While 150-year-old buildings, barns, and houses are torn down, full of history and stories across America, Landers is busy discovering new ways for their use.
Landers will sometimes refurbish or redo old pieces he finds if they “have good bones,” but the bulk of his artistry come from the pieces he makes from scratch.
He feels strongly that lumber that is 150 years old is not like anything you can get your hands on today. “It’s totally different wood than we find in today’s market,” he says. “It has a character that’s all its own.”
“I really stick to pine,” he says. “Pine reminds people of simpler times.” It’s the golden image of those times gone by that give Landers’ pieces their charm.
These buildings are forgotten by many; but as Landers is proving, they can still be of great use.
His inventory of harvest tables, entryway pieces and side tables can range between several hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars, but Landers also enjoys creating smaller pieces which hit a lower price range for those items a customer can actually pick up and carry out of the store.
He has chalkboards framed out of old flooring, coat racks and even reclaimed windows that turn into interesting wall hangings. These types of pieces come from Landers’ favorite aspect of the business, what he calls “treasure hunts,” where he goes out and finds the pieces to work with.
A common ingredient to his larger pieces is also found on these various hunts. “I find old porch posts for legs for farm tables that are 100 plus years old and have their own character, and try to combine the two to come up with something that’s unique, that nobody else is doing,” Landers says.
All of this “treasure hunting” takes time and Landers is a one man army, which he says can be difficult, but worth the rewards as he juggles operating a business and working as an artist. Barn Market really “blossomed this summer into something that’s really taken off,” he said.
In addition to the one of a kind quality of Landers’ work, there’s also something quite fulfilling to him about the artistic side of recycling. “You’ve done something good because you’ve used reclaimed materials instead of going out and buying new materials and age it or something,” he says.
In fact, Landers’ ultimate satisfaction comes in creating a piece that emerges straight out of the past. “Something that looks like you literally went and found it in an old farmhouse or drug it out of an old hayloft, that’s to me where you’ve really nailed it,” he said.
Local residents interested in seeing a glimpse of the past and finding a beautiful addition to their home can see some of Landers’ pieces at Broadway Antiques and Market in downtown Edmond just north of 2nd on Broadway. To see the Barn Market’s full inventory, visit www.thebarnmarket.com where detailed photographs on Landers’ website tell the tale of days long gone.