Green Day

Last week, we read an article in the New York Times about Dan Phillips, a Texas man who builds one-of-a-kind low-income housing using solely recycled materials. The homes, some of which had a whimsical, dollhouse-like quality, didn't look like any of the crappy low-income housing we've seen around here. As the article stated, "Among the traditional brick and clapboard structures that line the streets of this sleepy East Texas town, 70 miles north of Houston, a few houses stand out: their roofs are made of license plates, and their windows of crystal platters." While Mainers are known for their ingenuity and resourcefulness, we didn't think anybody was doing this locally.

We were wrong.

As it turns out, a similar story is playing out in Brunswick, and though he isn't building low-income housing, Steven Gray has created a similar type of cabin on his own property. However, fine furniture made from barn boards, pallets and other reclaimed woods is the specialty at Gray Goes Green.

Gray, a longtime furnituremaker, turned to reclaimed wood because it pained him to see so many of Maine's beautiful barns fall victim to neglect. Furniture is a way to give the boards a second life, and those who love history, recycling and old homes will appreciate his efforts. The furniture — Adirondack chairs made from shipping pallets, tables and hutches crafted from reclaimed pine, oak or maple — has character.

On Saturday, we discovered a sofa table at Maine Artisans and Minerals in Freeport dimpled with nail holes and other signs of wear. It was absolutely beautiful — and affordable. Gray also sells his work online, by appointment in his studio, and at the Crystal Spring Farmers Market (until October) and the Fort Andross Mill Farmers Market (October-May), both in Brunswick.

You don't have to give up your commitment to the environment to get great furniture, after all. With Gray Goes Green, you can feel good about wood.


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