Local furniture business turns trash into treasure

09/06/2016| Curran McSwigan

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Local furniture business turns trash into treasure

09/06/2016 | Curran McSwigan

One man's trash is another man's treasure is a saying that the owners of Sandtown Millworks have taken to heart in their hand-made furniture business. The local shop takes salvageable wood from around the city and builds one-of-a-kind furniture pieces.

The collections feature all types of items, from coffee tables to barn doors, which are each individualized in construction and appearance. Most of the material comes from old buildings and row houses in Baltimore that were built in the early 20th century. The use of recycled material is aesthetically appealing but also environmentally conscious.

"Our entire existence is focused on staying environmentally-friendly," said James Battaglia, general manager of Sandtown Millworks.

The Federal Hill showroom in South Baltimore is an archaeological treasure trove, with all types of pieces that detail a rich Baltimore history. Every new scrap of material is an opportunity to bridge the gap between past and present, and create a truly authentic piece. The focus is on highlighting imperfections in a way that gives a sense of character and illustrates the unique life of each item of furniture.

The furniture is so unique that it even attracts interest from outside Baltimore. Sometimes customers are residents of other states, such as people who have moved out of the city but love Baltimore and want to take a piece of the area with them. Sandtown Millworks provides this reminder of home through their creations.

The company is growing rapidly and adding new jobs to keep up with demand. "One long-term goal is to move into a bigger flagship space, where we can host our shop and showroom together," Battaglia said. The hope is to expand for more wood storage space and room to create products. There is even talk of a possible expansion into other cities.

However, for now, much of the Baltimore market still feels untapped to Sandtown Millworks. The company has been pleasantly surprised with the amount of business they've received in Baltimore, and hope to first focus on expanding locally. The company began marketing their furniture in a very grassroots way at the Baltimore farmers market, and continues to naturally evolve successfully.

Since opening in Baltimore five years ago, the shop has seamlessly made the leap from residential to commercial pieces, building pieces for businesses like Under Armour, Pandora, COPT and various restaurants in the area. The 3 Bean Caf on Key Highway features Sandtown's furniture throughout their craft coffee shop.

"It's been unbelievable, Baltimore couldn't be more ideal for what we do," said Battaglia, in reference to the shop's relationship with the city. In the immediate future, Sandtown Millworks plans to stay localized and engaged in the community, continue to expand, and remain an influential Baltimore business.

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