If you haven’t yet made a stop into Woodside Lane Grainmill Art, a storefront on the Square for about six months, it’s well worth your time for a look-see. With so much commitment to ‘going local’ here in San Marco and the greater Jacksonville area, Woodside Lane’s beautifully handcrafted tables couldn’t be more ‘local’.
Kevin Byrnes, a master craftsman with more than thirty years of experience and owner of Woodside Lane, obtained reclaimed wood from an old Jacksonville grain mill on West Beaver Street. The mill was built in the 1940s of longleaf pine, and was being demolished. When Kevin saw the old, heavy, solid wooden mill, he knew at once it was constructed from a virgin stand of longleaf pine. Longleaf pine is from the Southeast, and these virgin stands were of trees that were over 100 years old. Mature longleaf pine gives a beautiful grain, texture, and resin that’s hard to find in today’s pines, because now they’re harvested much earlier in their life span. They simply do not display the full and hearty texture that the wood from older pines yielded.
Enter Kevin Byrnes and the imminent demolition of the old mill. The mill was a massive fortress that processed corn, serving the dairy industry in the northeast Florida region. When the dairy industry died, so did the need for the grain. The property changed hands, and finally, the mill was scheduled to be torn down. The artist in him desired to obtain as much of that wood as he could, knowing he could create things of beauty from it. And so he did.
He loves that this wood has story; the nail marks and dents, texture and resin from its days as a Jacksonville grain mill. He loves that this wood is strong: it processed heavy grain, daily, for decades. He loves that this wood is locally sourced. And he loves to refinish this wood with his own hands, creating custom tables for families who appreciate a table with history, and who’ll imbue it then, with history of their own.
These tables are beautifully displayed inside Woodside Lane, on the Square, next to the theater. Kevin greets customers there, and helps them to design the table that’s just right for their home, their family. The textures and markings of the wood are beautifully rendered, after Kevin has prepared them for final construction. Customers understand that the distressed appearance comes from the fact the this is reclaimed wood and not artificially “distressed” in a factory somewhere else. This is local; authentic. A local grain mill’s mighty and beautiful wood is in the masterful hands of a local craftsman, who is now making tables of beauty for local families.
When you come into the shop you’ll envision one of these tables in your home. They are artfully presented; the store has a gallery-like vibe.
You may work directly with Kevin to create a custom table, or purchase one he already finished; the store has several to choose from today.
San Marco’s Taverna restaurant has one of Kevin’s reclaimed wood tables, and it’s part of their covered, outdoor dining area. If you’d like to know what it feels like to gather around such a table, hit Taverna and ask for seating at the long, rectangular table just outside the restaurant window. Their heat lamps will warm you if it’s a chilly evening. You really can’t go wrong. A great meal from a great local restaurant, served atop a hand-crafted table from locally reclaimed wood.
Then go on down the street to Woodside Lane, and talk with Kevin Byrnes about his creating something of beauty for you.
Let’s not keep this local treasure a secret. Pass the word to people you know who appreciate things like reclaimed wood and local history and meaning in their homes. Nearly every design magazine features interiors that contain such unique pieces as part of a home’s furnishings. This is just too great a story not to be shared!