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3 local companies turning trees into trendy wood furnishings

Mitch Hooper

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Living in Ohio, we don’t have the city skylines like other states do. Instead of tall buildings filling the air above, we have trees and wildlife. Whether you’re in Cleveland, Columbus, or Cincinnati, our Midwestern state has maintained and stayed in touch with Mother Nature. And this connection to nature has found its way inside our homes, as well.

Places like Urbn Timber, Pathway Tables, and Edgework Creative have found ways to preserve the natural beauty of wood plus add touches to enhance the final product. From large scale dining room tables to a stand for your office space, these products are just as much a work of art as they are a functional piece for your day-to-day lives. (614) had the chance to catch up with these three Columbus designers to get a better understanding of the trend of trees and how to go about getting these in your homes.

URBN TIMBER

(614): What are some of your favorite designs you’ve made recently?

We are always trying to innovate with new designs and concepts for our live edge furniture. A recent favorite of ours is a vanity completed for a couple in German Village. It features a live edge cherry counter and backsplash with a clear glass sink atop, and a stainless-steel base with a lower cherry shelf. Creating furniture that is both aesthetically appealing and functional is most important to us. Another favorite is a thirty-foot black walnut bar we built and installed for Nocterra Brewing in Powell, OH that showcases two waterfall miters and looks like it is growing up the wall!

The site also includes different pigment sets, glitters, and oils. How can someone who owns a wooden furnishing use these to elevate what they already have?

Along with providing fully finished furniture to consumers, we also sell raw live edge slabs, epoxy, pigments, wood finish, and steel bases separately so individuals and other local businesses can create their own furnishings. Sustainably salvaging trees from the Columbus region and offering them back to our community as usable products is the core of Urbn Timber’s mission.

(614): What are some mistakes you see people make when it comes to decorating their wooden furnishings?

When it comes to fine hardwood furniture, it is important to remember it is a natural product and needs to be built and maintained for longevity. Purchase your live edge furniture from a reputable company with professionally trained craftsmen. Make sure the wood has been properly kiln-dried and your furniture is built to allow the wood to expand and contract through the seasons. Your furniture maker should provide a proper cleaning kit based on the finish they used to help maintain the wood overtime.

(614): What are some ways people could use your furnishings in their homes or offices?

Being a fully custom woodshop has provided us and our clients the opportunity to design and create some truly unique furnishings. Kitchen tables, islands, coffee tables, bar tops, sofa tables, counter tops, desks, vanities, and shelves are among the most common designs we create. More creative pieces we’ve made are a vertical ash wine rack and a maple bookshelf that featured three steel and glass shelves. The possibilities are nearly endless!

PATHWAY TABLES

(614): Can you also talk about the transformation the wood goes from from starting as a log and into a finished table?

The transformation from log to a finished table, we try to find the oldest, ugliest, most twisted and knotted trees we can that no one else wants. Those trees have the most character and unique grain patterns inside of them. Once we have the trees in our yard, we decide which way we want to mill it into table top slabs, really that’s just looking at the tree to decide how it’s going to yield the best character slabs.

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Once we have it sawed, we photograph each slab, sticker and band it together to be put away for one to two years of air-drying time. Once its air dried, we bring it into our kiln to finish the drying process. Finally, we’re able to get our creative minds working and start finding the pieces we want to use to make tables, from there it’s a multiple step process from flattening and sanding, filing any cracks or voids with resin or glass, to finally applying the finish to the wood.

(614): What about the natural wood grain do you guys love?

Each and every piece is different, the way we slab the wood ensures that we don’t ever have two pieces that are the same. The natural wood grain allows you to be creative and utilize the flaws and characteristics that each slab has to showcase its natural beauty.

(614): What are some ways your tables could be used in a home? Or in an office?

Our pieces are functional in their purpose, they can be used as formal dining tables, conference tables, coworking desks, coffee tables for the living room.

(614): Can you talk about the different approaches you take to making a table? (i.e. the walnut river table compared to the maple dining room table)

The different approach to making a table really depends on the wood being used, if we have slabs that have a lot of character such as holes, knots, wild edges that’ll lend itself to a river style table. Where as slabs that don’t have those voids and character are still great and can be used to create a more traditional dining table that is made using two solid pieces of wood. In the end depends on how creative you want to get, the river table is more functional art and the standard dining table is more traditional.

EDGEWORK CREATIVE

(614): What are some trends you are noticing with wood furnishings?

We’ve been seeing a big trend towards wood countertops and kitchen islands. It’s a nice way to incorporate a natural material into a sometimes cold and sterile space. We have also been doing a lot of whitewashed finishes on dining tables and desks. It provides a crisp and clean look but you can still see the wood grain.

(614): How can someone get wood furnishings into their decor scheme that doesn’t have much wood?

Mirrors, mantles, beams and shelving! These are simple and small ways to incorporate natural materials into your home.

(614): What are most of your clients using your wood furnishings for?

We build lots of dining and kitchen tables. There’s an intimacy that you share around a table. It’s where you spend quality time—it’s the hub of the home. Your table is where you share in life’s small moments and create new memories. Hearing about the memories being made at our tables is the highlight of what we do.

(614): What is a big mistake you see people make when purchasing something wooden?

Staining walnut. It’s the most incredible wood species- the movement, color and richness can’t be touched. Our preference is to let the material shine and not stain it

To find your wooden furnishing, visit edgeworkcreative.co, pathwaytables.com, or urbntimber.com.

millennial | writer | human

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Things To Do

Hit Your Peak: 3 worth-the-drive ski slopes near Columbus

Asa Herron

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The cursed Ohio Winter Monster has made its presence known to all with its 5pm sunsets, snow storms, and seasonal depression for all. How are you going to fight back against the gloom this year? It may seem like it’s impossible to do fun things with your friends or to stay active in the winter, but I’m here to tell you that not all hope is lost. Finding a new hobby is a great way to kick your winter woes to the curb and start the new decade on a good foot.

Skiing can be a great way to casually exercise with friends and resuscitate your serotonin levels. Here are three high quality places to ski within driving distance of Columbus for you to check out.

MAD RIVER MOUNTAIN

Located in Zanesfield, Mad River Mountain is about an hour's drive northwest of Columbus. They have the most reasonable prices of all the nearby ski resorts. Plus, their on-property bar, The Loft, has 12 taps of craft beers on rotation to add a little more fun to the night. Mad River is open until 1 a.m. on Fridays, too, so you’re getting a full Friday night of flurries.

Mad River is home to over 20 trails (spanning 3.9 miles) and four terrain parks making it the largest ski resort in Ohio. They also bolster ten ski lifts (the most in Ohio) and are tied with Snowtrails for the largest vertical drop in the state with their 300 foot slope. An added perk of Mad River is that they just built a new $6.2 million facility in 2016 to replace the space they lost to a fire in 2015. Plus, most of their trails are designated “easy” difficulty. Mad River has everything you need to have a relaxing, affordable day of skiing.

Details on hours and pricing can be found at www.skimadriver.com.

SNOWTRAILS

Founded in 1961, Snowtrails is Ohio’s oldest ski resort. It is located in Mansfield, so also about an hour drive north. This resort is only slightly more expensive, with lift rates starting at $31 for midweek evenings and $52 for all-day on the weekends, with skis, boots, and pole rentals are $37. If there’s one day this month that you visit Snowtrails, let it be January 25 for their mid-season party. Get ready for an outdoor DJ, a custom built snowbar, and a fireworks show 30 minutes after the slopes close for the night. Not into skiing? No problem! The party is free and open to the public, so let your expert friends hit the slopes while you hit the spirits at the snow bar.

Snowtrails is the second largest resort in the state with six ski lifts and 3.3 miles of trails. The majority of their trails are designated “intermediate” difficulty, so more experienced skiers will enjoy their time here.

More information can be found at www. snowtrails.com.

BOSTON MILLS & BRANDYWINE

Boston Mills & Brandywine is the farthest ski resort from Columbus on this list, but great for a full weekend away. This quaint resort is in Peninsula, OH is a two hour drive from Central Ohio. Their pricing is $40 after 3:30 p.m. and $45 for an all-day pass. Staying another night? Come back on Saturday for $5 Late Nights admission from 8:00 PM to 1:00 AM.

Boston Mill & Brandywine ski resort is known for being especially conducive to beginning skiers. They offer high quality lessons and will walk you through the process. This is the place to go if you have “stupid” questions about skiing, or just want to tube. However, they also appeal to veteran skiers as the majority of their 18 trails are designated “advanced”. Despite the high quantity of trails, this resort is much smaller than the other two, with only 1.2 miles of skiable trails, and their largest vertical drop being 264 feet. But for these prices? Could definitely be worth the trip.

Learn more about Boston Mills & Brandywine at www.bmbw.com.

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Arts & Culture

Watch: “World’s largest mural” in Short North is more than meets the eye

Regina Fox

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At a glance, "The Journey AR Mural" adorning the Graduate Columbus hotel in Short North is stunning. Look a little harder, and it actually comes to life.

Standing at over 107 feet tall and over 11,000 square feet of augmented reality, "The Journey AR Mural," is the world's largest AR mural, offering technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.

The gaily-painted snapdragons, hibiscus, Easter lilies, and hummingbirds bloom and fly when viewed through the Journey AR Mural app (free for iPhone and Android). Watch the murals come to life in the video below.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B7PRvBxpBkI/

Los Angeles-based artists Ryan Sarfati and Eric Skotnes (going by “Yanoe” and “Zoueh," respectively) are the creatives behind the project.

In an interview with Short North Arts District, Skotnes revealed he was inspired to take on the project after learning that Columbus is home to the second largest population of Somali immigrants in the country—he hopes the murals symbolize strength and prosperity for its viewers.

To learn more about The Journey AR Mural, visit shortnorth.org.

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Food & Drink

Worth the Drive: Lima’s Kewpee Hamburgers

Regina Fox

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Lima, OH may not be the first destination that comes to mind when planning a road trip, but you may have to reconsider after learning about a little (AKA one of the oldest burger chain in the world) not-so-hidden gem called Kewpee Hamburgers.

It all started in 1923 when Kewpee Hotel Hamburgs opened in Flint, Michigan. This was home to the "Mity nice Hamburger," which could be purchased for just a nickel. Kewpee was also known for its life-sized naked mascot baby, created to the likeness of the classic comic strip Kewpie dolls.

By 1940, the chain rebranded to simply "Kewpee Hamburgers," and was 400-locations strong. From Ohio to New York City, Kewpee's stole the hearts of Americans with its square patties, hot chili, thick shakes, homey diner atmosphere, and not-to-be-beaten prices.

During its rise to popularity, Kewpee also managed to revolutionize the fast food game by becoming one of the first restaurants to offer a drive-thru.

But much to the dismay of its fans far and wide, most restaurants in the franchise met their demise during WWII meat shortages.

Kewpee's time-honored legacy lives on in Lima, OH where the only three remaining restaurants are located. Despite its novelty across the country, Kewpee continues to offer guests their beloved greasy grub at rock-bottom prices ($2.45 for a cheeseburger? Take that, Five Guys).

It's hard to believe that such a famed piece of America's food history is just 90 minutes from Columbus, but it's true and definitely worth the drive. How could you say no to this innocent, yet slightly ominous face?

To learn more about Kewpee Hamburgers, click here.

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