Decorating with reclaimed wood

We’re getting home-decor tips from Benches on Division
Photograph: Stacie Scott
By Kevin Aeh |

Earlier this summer, when we wrote about Benches on Division (2017 W Division St, 312-929-0422), the fully equipped metalsmithing studio in Ukrainian Village, we were not only impressed by the large machines and variety of workshops being offered. We also liked the studio’s decor, specifically the pieces of colorful wood decorating the light blue walls. Jewelry designer Danika Faiola tells us that while the decoration of Benches was a group effort, she was the driving force behind the wall wood aspect. The blue paint color was chosen because it’s industrial and cool. “But we still wanted the space to have warmth and personality,” Faiola says. That’s where the painted reclaimed wood came in. “It served as both a visually pleasing design element and an economical way to bring some femininity into a masculine space.” She’s not kidding about the economical part: Faiola went to ReBuilding Exchange (2160 N Ashland Ave) for the wood. “They have a small section in the back of their warehouse that has several bins of free wood,” she says. After grabbing as much wood as she could, she went to Home Depot for a few sample cans of paint (typically around $7) that would contrast and complement the blue walls. “Originally, the wood was going to be arranged as a uniform line like a frieze near the top of the wall, but the tapered design proved to be more interesting,” Faiola says. To re-create the look at home, just follow those same steps. If you can’t make it to ReBuilding Exchange, you’ll probably find gratis wood at any local salvage or lumber yard.