When I first stepped into The Timeless Material Company’s main showroom, I felt that little thrill I get whenever I’ve stumbled on to a place where my imagination can run wild. In this case, the barn that houses some of the many salvaged historical artifacts, holds enough material that I started mentally constructing my new “historical” dream house. “I’ll use this as my front door….here are some stunning lead-paned, diamond shaped windows….I’ll take the claw foot bathtub, and of course, the beautiful, Crane kitchen sink in mint condition.”….my heart sings.
When you look around Timeless Materials’ substantial property you’ll see acres of building material that’s been saved from buildings slated for demolition. In fact, as Ken Kieswetter puts it, “The salvage business was a natural outcome from the demolition business.” You see, Timeless Materials, a salvage business, exists because Ken and his family also own a demolition company, Kieswetter Demolition. Ken saw the potential of all the beautiful old building structures, and now salvages what he can before he takes the building down. They also own a construction company, Timeless Timber Structures, that uses salvaged beams to build timber frame homes.
In Ken’s mind, new products just don’t hold a candle to the materials of old. “These materials will outlast the new “green” products because there are no glues used and the materials are denser so the products don’t deteriorate at the same rate.” For example, he points out that the wood he salvages is from buildings one hundred years old or more, and therefore from first growth forests. What this means is that wood planks are wider, denser and stronger than wood used for products today. Another thing to keep in mind is that the wood has been “seasoned” — for more than one hundred years in some cases — meaning that it will be little affected by changes in humidity throughout the year.
Timeless Materials has meters and meters of reclaimed wood flooring. They take it from barns, factories, school houses, and whatever other buildings that are destined for demolition. They have maple, clear fir, pine, etc., there are plenty of different flooring options available. All wood flooring is solid, no engineered wood flooring is available — nothing with glues.
As Ken and I toured through the converted barn that holds all these beautiful treasures, he told me about the history of the barn itself. In fact, in the “mantel” room (housing one of their most popular products), Ken tells me that it’s the place where JM Schneider’s grown son was gored by a bull. It’s part of the barn’s history. On the second floor he shows me a winding, narrow staircase and I ask where it’s from, thinking of a “Tara-like” residence on a miniature scale, but it turns out it’s from an old church in Quebec, and the nuns used it. They’d have to be pretty thin because it can’t be more than two feet wide.
When you’re looking at all these products, including windows, doors, stairways, etc., it is the craftsmanship that takes your breath away. The intricate carving and detail that went into these products still stands out today. It’s quite something to see, and even better to incorporate into a new home.
“So,” I asked Ken, “How do people use these pieces?” Ken nodded and said that the most popular item they have are their fireplace mantels, in part because they can be added after a renovation has been done. Of course the best way to incorporate things like the doors, windows, kitchen and bathroom fixtures, is to design around the pieces. That means, pick out the pieces you like first, so visit Timeless Materials with your designer/contractor/architect. Because every piece was made by hand in the old days, sizes aren’t standard. Measurements need to be taken as the design is developed.
Ken has great plans for his property: The building next to the barn is currently being renovated to house a new interior design studio and he’s looking for a registered interior designer to take up residence and run their business out of the space. If you’re a designer, and you have an interest in immersing yourself in the old, while gazing, past the open pasture, at the brand new RIM buildings (filled with plenty of potential customers!), contact Ken Kieswetter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the Timeless Material Company, visit their website. For directions and hours, see below:
The Timeless Material Company
305 Northfield Dr. E.
Toll Free: 1-800-609-9633
Hours of Operation
Monday – Friday: 8:00am – 6:00pm
Saturday: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Sunday: 11:00am – 5:00pm
Visit their second location in Southampton:
Timeless Materials North
194 North Rankin Street
Hours of Operation
Tuesday – Saturday: 9:00am – 5:00pm