Learn How The Beelers Upcycled Their Old Oak Tree Into a Custom Kitchen Island
In the Beeler family’s backyard, a beautiful old oak tree stood as a centerpiece framed by expansive skylights—skylights obviously built specifically for the view of this particular tree. Loved by the previous owners, they went to great lengths to save it from impending rot; but when the Beelers moved in and began landscaping, they learned that the tree would need to come down.
“In an offhand conversation with Clint Harris with Acorn Tree Care, he mentioned that they milled trees as well,” said Samantha Beeler. “Since we knew the tree had a story with the original owners, I thought that it would be so fun to save it to use someday.”
Acorn cut down the tree in one single piece and sent it to the mill to cut into the slabs they’d need. Then, the Beelers stored them in their unfinished basement. They met with Jeff Hanlon and his team at Against the Grain Custom Wood Tops three years later to build a custom island—a project that wouldn’t have been possible without the proper milling and storage of the slabs.
“It took us about five weeks, and Sam stayed involved in the design of the project as it went along, visiting the shop twice during the layout and build phases,” said Hanlon. “Having that direct interaction with the client is what really helps us build something that’s tailored to their style.”
“What makes our craft both fun and challenging is the opportunity to fulfill someone’s design goals by harnessing the natural traits of each piece of wood,” said Hanlon. “We enjoy custom woodworking for a reason—the possibilities are endless. Each species of wood will have its own character and natural beauty, and we love it when our customers challenge us to form interesting and beautiful pieces.”
The biggest fans of the red-oak-redo are most likely 9-year-old Sylvia and 7-year-old Benny (and their friends) who’ve made the basement their hangout. Although protective of this piece’s history and fabrication, it’s been put through the wringer with play dates and parties and still looks brand new.
“This house was here before us and will have a life after us,” said Beeler. “We are proud to have been able to preserve some of its past, as well as give it new life for the future.”