Respectful Deconstruction

Eric Schwarz


Founder + Executive Director

Years in Industry: 12 years

Portrait Photography: Colin Miller/Strauss Peyton 



Pro Insight: Reclaimed longleaf yellow pine is a near extinct tree, which means you can only get the wood from deconstruction projects; it smells delightfully like Pine-Sol when you cut it, and the long, dense, pin-stipe grain is really appealing to the eye.

Waste Not: Refab’s mission is to promote the collective and creative re-use of our built environment. We deconstruct buildings in the St. Louis area, salvage and resell historic and contemporary building materials from our warehouse in South City and build custom tables, countertops, mantels, shelving and wood walls from the reclaimed lumber we salvage.

Telling a Story: One thing that makes Refab special is the storytelling that we do. Sure, our offering of antique door knobs is impressive on its own and our dining room tables speak for themselves, but for a customer to know that their knob came from a 1912 mansion in Ladue or their tabletop used oak exclusively salvaged from a century barn in Byrnes Mill makes those pieces so very special.

Salvaging History: I have a lot of respect for old buildings and hate to see them crushed and hauled off to the landfill. No one is making hand-pressed bricks anymore, today’s framing lumber doesn’t even compare to the old-growth stuff we salvage, and to buy a simple solid wood door would cost you an arm and a leg now.

Changing the Game: When people hear reclaimed lumber, they think of rustic, rough-sawn barn boards. I want to challenge that preconception and show that those old boards have the most beautiful grain underneath their rough exteriors. Beyond that, I want to demonstrate that reclaimed wood furniture is not limited to chunky farmhouse tables and the like, it is right at home with mid century modern and timeless designs.