For Alex and Lindsay Remley, a pile of discarded barn wood inspired a dream.
To appreciate exactly how much the constant buzz of table saws and the sight and smell of swirling sawdust in their new cavernous warehouse means to Alex and Lindsay Remley, you must first go back to the pile of old barn wood in their driveway a decade ago.
Dropped off by a friend who figured Alex—then a salesman for a wine distributer—could make use of it, the wood stayed there, tucked under a blue tarp for a couple of years. They took it with them through two moves. Someday, Alex kept thinking. Someday I will make something from it.
He already had proven his creativity and carpentry skills when he remodeled their early 1900s Clintonville home. He built vanities and a deck, and when his wife decided she wanted concrete countertops (long before concrete countertops were cool), he watched YouTube videos and checked out library books, and he made them.
So when Lindsay finally found a photo on Pinterest of a kitchen table she wanted, she asked her husband to make it. Alex transformed that long-neglected pile into a chevron-patterned centerpiece more than 6 feet long.
Relatives admired it. Friends coveted it. Soon, Alex was making more tables. “And someone said, ‘You should turn this into a business,'” he recalls.
Again, Alex needed only the suggestion.
Re:work Furnishings was born in the couple's garage and with an Instagram page in 2012. It was so successful that last year, Alex left his job to focus on the business full-time. It now occupies 10,000 square feet at 1271 Edgehill Road in the Grandview area. They held a grand opening in March.
It was not an insignificant moment for this couple, who these days find their work an in-demand commodity by some of the hippest companies around: restaurants like BrewDog's new DogTap in Canal Winchester (for which they built an 18-foot captain's table—their largest piece yet) and Watershed Kitchen & Bar on Chesapeake Avenue, as well as retailers like Homage and Abercrombie & Fitch.
About 90 percent of the wood the company uses is reclaimed, and the couple visits scrap-yards to get architectural pieces and much of the metal they need. That sustainability is important to them. “We're conscientious about our world,” Lindsay says. “We just try to do our part.”
“I loved that they are local, and such a terrific family,” says Dr. Linbee Sayat, who proudly displays several pieces made by the Remleys in her Upper Arlington home. “Alex's ability to create for our spaces was so impressive.”
And while the Remleys' new space is large, cool and even has a second-floor showroom where customers can stop in and purchase anything from a nearly 10-foot-tall mirror to a set of coasters, it may be the “office” for their children that pleases them the most. Jackson, 7, Dylan, 5, and Oliver, 2, all have their own safety goggles, gloves and earmuffs in a little cove next to their parents' office. (Lindsay, a freelance makeup artist, spends at least a couple of days each week at the shop handling social media, marketing and calls to new customers.)
“At the end of the day, they really are what this is about,” Lindsay says of her children. “We want to be a family who just gets to do what we love.”