Local business turns junk into gems

July 30, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Raun Meyn admits his business started with dumpster diving.

"If I drive by a dumpster and there's like a board or a door or you know a column or something sticking out that's coming from a building being torn down, you know, I'll stop and get out and grab it or fish through and see what I can find," Meyn said.

He's not looking for any old junk, though. He's laser-focused on re-claiming wood.

"A gem to me is like a six panel door that's been sitting outside for years and it was painted 30 different times and all the paint's peeling off of it and you can see the different layers of history. I love that texture and that quality," Meyn said.

Meyn takes that salvaged wood and creates custom picture frames. He has been turning scraps into new, useful products for about ten years. About two months ago, he was able to quit his day job and open a store, which he calls "FoundRE:." It's a homage to the fact that all the wood he uses has been found somewhere in the Chicago area and re-purposed.

"The fact that the material is recycled and reclaimed and it's preventing or saving space in our landfills and it's doing the community a positive thing that's just, yeah it's icing on the cake," Meyn said.

The shop sells other little trinkets as well. And it all has a common theme.

"Whether that be yeah like an old doorknob or just a rusty old pulley or we found those cool blue prints, old lamps, rail road, you know, lanterns so really anything can come in here. We have some bird cages but everything does have that kind of you know, it's all found, and all has a story behind it," Morgan Lord said.

In addition to picture frames, FoundRE: also makes custom furniture out of old, salvaged wood. If you'd like to get in touch with them visit their website at foundrefurnishings.com/home.html.

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