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Ontario Wood Profile: Organic Interiors

Posted: August 14, 2018

by MJ Kettleborough

I know I’m not alone in having an apartment furnished with semi-disposable things. Furniture that serves a purpose, but wouldn’t be missed. In my case, it’s mostly the kind with frustrating assemblies and hard to pronounce Swedish names or hand-me-downs.

There’s nothing wrong with that, but I have to admit there’s something sentimental about a hand crafted wooden piece. There’s pride in having an item like that in your home. And maybe that’s why Organic Interiors has had so much success.

Organic Interiors is a small, family run furniture company based out of Ariss, Ontario, just northwest of Guelph. The company is the brainchild of Jason Kuepfer, a man with a serious passion for wood. Jason, who has been in the furniture business for 25 years, founded the company in 2017 with partner Claire Warren. Jason is the Master Creator and Designer, while Claire handles the marketing, customer care, and ‘green’ standards.

Organic Interiors crafts one-of-a-kind furnishings that are literally a piece of Ontario’s history. “We use a lot of reclaimed wood, sourced from old barns, to make our tables,” Jason explains. As agricultural practices change, farming is modernized and these old barns are no longer being used.

Jason adds, “They’re being torn down and, as the saying goes, if we don’t use it we lose it. Most of the time, that lumber is originally from Ontario’s old growth forests; pine and hemlock. These are the trees that early farmers cleared off of their land. I think it’s important to preserve the history behind this material.”

Jason and his team make everything from desks and coffee tables to boardroom tables and commercial furnishings like chairs, signs, bar tops, and even walls. Pieces come in an assortment of styles and many feature the increasingly popular ‘live edge’ style.

“My favorite wood to work with is from the threshing floor of the barns,” says Jason, who worked on a farm growing up. “That’s the upper level, where the hay is kept.” Threshing floor wood is usually rough with a lot of personality. “I let the wood speak to me. Sometimes I see a special characteristic, and I know what I’d like to make from it.”

Organic Interiors also sources material from fallen trees, particularly trees that have naturally come down on roadsides. It’s a green practice, which Jason says his company fully supports because, “we like to treat the environment responsibly.” This mentality goes beyond finding purposes for existing lumber.

Jason is also passionate about using safe wood finishes. “Many wood products release formaldehyde into the air in a process called ‘off gassing,’” he explains. The Organic Interiors blog states that, “Formaldehyde is a toxic gas,” that has been, “linked with health issues such as cancer and other auto immune disorders” after long-term exposure. For this reason, Jason only uses formaldehyde-free products on the furniture he creates.

A portion of Organic Interiors’ profits is donated to Forests Ontario to support reforestation efforts, as a way to give back to the environment. You can visit their website at www.organicinteriors.ca.

MJ Kettleborough is Forests Ontario’s Communication Assistant.