In 2017, the U.S. Forest Service called Room & Board with an intriguing proposal: Would it like to buy salvaged wood from abandoned homes in Baltimore? Why, yes. Some of the city’s 17,000 vacant buildings were built with high-quality Douglas fir or yellow pine from old-growth forests that no longer exist. Instead of demolishing these century-old houses, the USFS and Humanim, a social impact organization, are deconstructing them and then repurposing the materials, diverting waste from landfills and creating local jobs in the process. So far, Room & Board has purchased 10 miles of lumber, shipping it to partner Spectra Wood in State College, Pennsylvania, where craftspeople turn it into the Urban Wood line, including the Milton shelf, McKean cabinet, and Bruns ladder.
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