This Saugerties home tucked in the mountains was featured as our April Project Highlight titled Excelsior Paradise, and boy is it ever. So many of our favorites materials come together in this eclectic house, with our customer’s beautiful decor accenting each piece. From walnut flooring and staircases to reclaimed oak barn doors and cabinets, we had a blast photographing each room.
A question we are often asked when customers are introduced to this rare wood product…Is it REALLY made from mushrooms? Our answer…technically, yes!
The features that set Mushroom Wood apart from other reclaimed products, such as its’ unique texture and prominent raised grain pattern, are indeed the effects of growing mushrooms!
Used originally to line the boxes of mushroom crops, Mushroom Wood is derived from wooden boards (similar to the ones below) salvaged and repurposed into some spectacular wood products.
Mushroom Farm (image credit: Kitchen Pride Mushroom Farm/http://www.sgsystemsusa.com/pti-labeling-solution/ )
But what is it about mushrooms (or fungi as some prefer) that cause the unique features of this wood?!
Fungiculture (the art of growing mushrooms) can be a lengthy process, covering six different stages from composting to harvesting. Mushrooms are not plants, therefore, they do go through the cycle of photosynthesis. Where sunlight is essential for photosynthesis to occur, a moist climate is necessary for fungi to grow and thrive.
Because of the climate limitations, materials used for this practice must be able to withstand high levels of acidity, moisture, and heat to produce a successful mushroom crop. Enter…Cypress and Hemlock!
Cypress Tree Tunnel (image credit: Joe Parks/ https://www.flickr.com/photos/parksjd/9002072932 )
Cypress and Hemlock are two species that stand up to the challenge of mushroom farming. These materials fare well in environments with high humidity and are durable enough to withstand the optimal time needed for the fungi growing process (2-3 months or more!)
During the mushrooms’ growth cycle, the boards are exposed to an abundance of acidity and water released from the compost. These enzymes devour the soft fibers in the wood, leaving only the tough, durable wood behind.
The initial result of the boards living in the mushroom hot box is (for a lack of a better word)…
…a nasty piece of wood! Yuck.
However, after some tender love and Excelsior care, this piece of wood is transformed into…
… this beautiful rustic material! Much better.
The erosion of the soft fiber in the wood raises the grain, resulting in a truly unique texture. Once the boards are cleaned and milled (carefully), they can take on a whole new life outside of the mushroom farm.
Upcycling materials that would generally have been thrown away, we take pride in this sustainable product. Reclaimed, untreated wood can be hard to find; Mushroom Wood fits the bid for both.
The light-weight characteristic of this wood, in conjunction with its’ natural resistance to moisture, makes for a versatile product we have used in a number of projects around the shop.
Coated or raw, this material has an ancient beauty not easily achieved by other milling processes.
From rustic doors and custom framing to siding and paneling, reclaimed Mushroom Wood is a dependable, stunning product, perfect for your rustic dream home decor.
For the love of wood…
If you are looking for a unique exterior product to bring character to your home, Reclaimed Redwood may be your solution. Our redwood is reclaimed from the iconic New York City water towers. These legendary structures have dotted the skylines of the city since the 1800’s. Built to be durable and clean, each tank was held together solely by steel straps to eliminate any possibility of adhesive impurities from leaking into the drinking water. Beginning as a clever method of accessing water on the top floors of the skyscrapers, these towers have proven to be far more resilient than the expected 40 year lifespan.
Material harvested from dismantled tanks is straightened and reused in a number of our favorite exterior projects. Redwood has a fantastic reputation of being resistant to water, rot, and insects, making it perfectly suitable for decking and siding material. We can mill this product into T&G, shiplap, pre-grooved decking, and more. With the choice to maintain a grey exterior patina, or to plane into a new amber colored vertical grain, you cannot go wrong with the historical beauty this redwood will bring to your home.
Many of you may not be aware, but Excelsior does not only specialize in flooring! We have a brilliant customs department to assist with your custom design projects in both residential and commercial settings. Our aesthetic is inspired by the same durable reclaimed wood we used for our flooring, which embraces the history and character we all love. If the wood we use has lasted over 100 years, why shouldn’t the furniture live just as long. Come see what Excelsior can build for you!
Above Photo- “Key Chair” made out of reclaimed IPE from the Coney Island Boardwalk.
Using reclaimed IPE from the Coney Island Boardwalk mounted on bent steel legs.
Walnut Dining Table
Using live edge walnut slab.
Exposed tenon reclaimed oak beam arm rests with sunbrella fabric cushions.
Redwood Dining Table
Using reclaimed water tower redwood.
We were absolutely blessed to be a part of Extreme Makeover’s Home Edition benefiting the Korpai family in Crawford, NY. They have an adorable five year old daughter who has dwarfism. This has inspired the family to become advocates for increasing understanding and reducing ignorance toward little people.
As you likely know, all materials and time are donated by hundreds of volunteers. When we arrived at the building site we were struck by the sea of vehicles and huge number of folks working hard to construct this home. It puts an instant smile on your face and joy in your heart to see so many come together to give. There is nothing like one of these building sites. It’s a beautiful, chaotic mess which somehow ties itself into a lovely organized bow in one week!
When we were contacted by Extreme Home Makeover’s staff they asked us to give what we could. How could we refuse? We felt so grateful to be a part of this. The enthusiasm of the Extreme Makeover staff, the magnitude of the project and the generous spirit of the collective group of volunteers were inspiring.
We decided to add some style and flavor to this project. So, we gave about 1000 SF of antique heart pine (reclaimed from the Revere Sugar Refinery in Brooklyn, NY), about 400 ft of wood reclaimed from the Coney Island Boardwalk, 200 square foot of reclaimed oak and another 200 square foot of reclaimed mushroom wood. We donated the material and our production guys donated their time and labor to mill the material. What charitable employees we have! The designers we met with had some creative ideas for the material. They mentioned using it for ceiling paneling, finish trim, furniture and outdoor garden benches.
When we drove there to make the delivery it poured rain for the entire hour drive. Tom and I rode in the flatbed. Ron, Christina, Hannah and Rachel rode the Ural motorcycle with the side cart. They were soaked. We arrived at the site and were surprised to find that it hadn’t rained a single drop. The crew didn’t experience any delays due to the nasty weather. To top it off, there was a rainbow arcing over the building site. Ron looked at me and said “Now that is karma.”