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A Local Company is Turning Row House Trash into Living Room Treasures

Row houses have long been a staple in East Coast cities since early British settlement. But while other cities built these iconic row houses by the hundreds, Baltimore built them by the thousands.

Adaptability has been the key to survival for our city’s oldest house style. That’s why many residential redevelopment companies have kept busy remodeling them. While each row house is being restored on the inside, Sandtown Millworks is outside in the dumpster collecting hidden gems many construction workers are throwing away.

For a long time, lumber from vacant homes went to landfills, incinerators, or recycling facilities.


Now, companies like Sandtown Millworks salvage everything from the joists that hold up the floors to the roof boards from under the tar roof. They then haul the lumber to their woodshop in Baltimore and use it to build their unique furniture.

Each piece that Sandtown creates comes from a bit of history and a lot of labor. Simply popping out the nails can be a full-time gig in itself. Each board of wood can have about 50 nails in need of removal!

Sandtown also has worked with wood salvaged from some pretty well-known buildings including the Admiral’s Cup, a longtime Fells Point bar that reopened in 2012.


Pieces of furniture available include:screen-shot-2017-02-15-at-7-33-02-pm

  • Dining tables, benches, and sideboards
  • Coffee and end tables
  • TV, media, and storage consoles
  • Desks and bookshelves
  • Beds and bedroom furniture
  • Barn doors

Demand for old-growth wood continues to grow, even as the supply remains locked in decades-old houses and factories scattered throughout Baltimore and other cities. Our city is even identifying houses that have reclaimable material and putting them under what’s called a deconstruction contract.

In March 2014, Baltimore Housing awarded a contract to Humanim, a nonprofit workforce development organization, to dismantle several dozen houses and salvage the materials for reuse by taking apart the buildings piece by piece.

Yes, this deconstruction is more expensive and a bit slower than if you were to just simply knock down an old house, but in the long run this process does a lot of good. It creates more jobs. It’s better for the environment. And let’s be honest, it helps make some pretty cool furniture.

During the 18-month initiative, Humanim salvaged nearly 130,000 board feet of lumber from 126 buildings, said Jeff Carroll, vice president at Humanim.

“I’m pretty optimistic about the progress that has been made,” he said.

So if your home is begging for a feature piece with original nail holes, nicks, saw marks, and hundreds of years of history, make sure to check out the Sandtown website.




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Josh Mente

Real Estate Leader Josh Mente, is a founding member and owner of The MD Home Team of Keller Williams Excellence, and is responsible for business administration and marketing for the firm. Josh’s career path began in 1998 as a loan officer for Eastern Savings Bank, where he managed national accounts. He later joined Option One Mortgage originating more than 500 transactions per year valued at $100M+ in sales. In 2006, Mente shifted his expertise to real estate sales, gained his license and focused on buy/fix/sell transactions. Josh is a member of Elite Real Estate Network (ERN), the 2009 Rookie of the Year for Long and Foster corporate, and in 2012 ranked 206 and 2013 ranked 234 in Real Trends of the Wall Street Journal, ranking in the top 250 agents nationwide for all brokerages. From any early age, Josh was introverted and worked hard to overcome a fears of sales - a business that doesn't lend itself well to introverted people. When challenged by a manager that he didn’t have what it took for a specific job, Josh pushed forward and won approval in his new position. That was a pivotal moment that set the pace for his success in real estate sales. Having earned an AA degree from Montgomery College in business administration in 1995 and a Bachelors of Arts Degree from Towson University in Mass Communications 1997, Josh married his college sweetheart Melinda and they now have three wonderful daughters that provide the opportunity to watch them grow up and experience things for the first time. A committed sports fanatic, Josh spends time on the golf course, and follows the Ravens and Orioles as a season ticket holder. He is a part owner of two restaurants in Manhattan, enjoys music and time away with the family at their beach house in Rehoboth, DE. He hopes to find time for his hobbies that include building furniture, playing guitar, learning Spanish and flying planes.

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