From Farm To Table: How Shenandoah Furniture Gallery Preserves History
Article written by the PURCELLVILLE GAZETTE ⋅ OCTOBER 20, 2014
Vickie Kelley likes to say that Shenandoah Furniture Gallery’s tables are made to last 100 years after they are handcrafted at the Shenandoah workshop in Berryville. But
these 100 years will be a second life, since the wood used to create their signature furniture, floors, and cabinetry is taken from old or antique barns or fencing in the area.
The Purcellville business was founded in 2006, and has made a name for itself with its focus on the preservation of antique wood in the creation of furniture ready for use by today’s families.
Vickie’s husband Hunter Kelley owns Hunter’s Aged Woods and has been taking down old barns in the area for 35 years. For many years, the wood he gathered was used to create flooring, but the wood is now also repurposed for furniture, especially the farm tables for which Shenandoah Furniture has become known.
Their son, Nicklaus Kelley, owns Kelley’s Traditional Masonry, and takes the stone from the foundations of the demolished barns. He often partners with Shenandoah Furniture Gallery in creating or remodeling kitchens where stone is one of the design elements. He has also used the stone in chimneys or in the construction of houses in the area, since there is a demand for stone that has not been freshly quarried. He typically uses traditional stone masonry techniques instead of modern techniques to maintain a traditional stone look.
“Every part of the barn gets reused for something,” Vickie Kelley said. “The whole family is involved.”
Kelley and her family have lived in the area their whole lives. “50-some years ago it was an all agricultural area,” she said. “Now it’s more of a technological area. Who better than us to know where the barns are?”
Landowners often contact them because they have a barn, and they’re paying taxes and insurance on it, but they no longer use it, or it’s a safety hazard. The Kelleys can take down the barn for no demolition fee. A demolition fee can be up to $20,000. They do it in exchange for the materials in the barn.
“It’s a win-win for everybody,” she said.
Once Hunter Kelley demolishes the barn with his crew, he brings it back to be de-nailed and kiln dried. He flattens it and straightens it, and then takes it to the workshop in Berryville.
In Berryville, the wood is used to fulfill orders for furniture. Buyers can have everything made to order, from the kind of wood used, to the color, style, and size of the piece. Most of Shenandoah Furniture Gallery’s products are made to order, meaning that they create furniture that has already been sold.
“The advantage to the homeowner is that it’s a reclaimed product and they can design it themselves,” she said. Customers often bring her pictures of furniture they
have seen and liked.
Shenandoah Furniture Gallery sells furniture made of oak, chestnut, rustic cherry,
rustic walnut, pine, and poplar.
“Typically, in this area, barns were made out of oak or poplar,” Kelley said. “A farmer, what he would do is, if he was going to build a barn, he would take down any tree that was in the way and use it to build the barn.”
Kelley pointed to a table made from maple wood from a demolished barn. Maple is more rare in their products, but a farmer used some maple back in the day to build a portion of the barn.
Shenandoah Furniture Gallery is known for designing, building, and installing
farmhouse kitchens: everything from the flooring to the furniture, cabinetry, and appliances. Historically, the kitchen was outside, or in a separate building from the house. When the kitchen moved into the house, families would move freestanding furniture and cabinetry into the room to furnish it. In the 1950s, it became increasingly common to build the cabinetry into walls of the kitchen, but lately, the trend has reversed and homeowners are once again using more freestanding cabinetry.
Shenandoah Furniture Gallery can use old wood, new wood, stone, and stainless steel in the creation of these kitchens, and can also create kitchens with a more modern look for interested homeowners. Shenandoah Furniture Gallery can also partner with contractors who want to use their materials.
All of their pieces come with information about their history: where the wood came from, or what the barn was used for. All are signed and dated. Pricing depends on the size and difficulty of the piece.