Written February 2016 – by Blain Mikkonen

It is probably safe to assume this is the first time that you’ve read a Grain Designs blog post, and I make that assumption with great confidence because this is, in fact, our first blog post written by a Grain Designs team member.  We’re calling this our official “Welcome” to the blog world, and we hope this ongoing blog series will allow you, our valuable clients and visionaries, to get to know us a little better and keep you involved in our day to day operations.  Yes, we try to keep up our social media pages with our ongoing projects, but most of our posts showcase completed projects.  Here we plan to give you a look at day to day shop operations, allow you to get to know the Grain team, and the ongoing shop shenanigans.

This official “Welcome” takes a look at Grain Designs in our infancy.  The team, process, and projects that started Grain Designs.

Abandoned House Reclaimed Wood Photo 2

Abandoned House Reclaimed Woom Photo

This is what most would call an abandoned rural South Dakota home; we call this a gold mine.  This house was the first site Grant and I began salvaging for reclaimed materials.  We arrived with ambition, tools, and a case of beer.  We left with dreams, tools, half a case of beer (speculating), and a truckload of wood that would launch the first series of Grain Designs products.


A preview of the demolition process: tearing up flooring.

Grain Designs Original Shop

That truckload of historic South Dakota wood made the trek back to Fargo where we set up shop in my South Fargo apartment garage.  Here is the first team photo, in our first shop, without tools.  This is the original Grain Designs team; Phil is on the left, Blain (me) in the middle, and Grant on the right.  The wood and doors from that dilapidated house can be seen here scattered around the garage…  The remaining photos illustrate some of the very first Grain Designs products we created from our very first material salvage in our very first shop.

Lake Reclaimed Wood Nail Typograhpy2

Lake string art coat hanger from reclaimed trim and door pins.

Reclaimed Wood Door Frame Nail Sail Typography

String art from part of a broken door

Reclaimed Wood Nail Minnesota Reclaimed Wood Sleepy Zzz Light

More original string art on a kitchen cabinet door and a door transom.  Unfortunately, the string art has become a thing of the past because it is too time-consuming to do one-off custom projects one nail at a time; just ask Phil; he’s a well-seasoned string art craftsman.  This post is also likely to stir some commotion about the ever popular mint trim that can be seen in these photos as well.  Also unfortunate, but the mint wood is gone and that type of original character cannot be duplicated.

Reclaimed Wood Trim Side Table Reclaimed Wood Trim Dining Table Reclaimed Wood Trim Coffee Table Reclaimed Door MirrorThese products begin to resemble our most common shop projects that scatter our portfolio today.  The door is one of two original doors that were in the house before we repurposed them into mirrors.  In addition to the door and wall decor, a pair of end tables, coffee table, and dining table were all built from the home’s material.

Reclaimed Wood Barn Door Steel Table

And finally, the very first farmhouse table we built.  Maybe this is the very second if you count the mint table above. I don’t recall which table is the chicken and which table is the egg.

If you want to stay connected and see our more recent work, be sure to follow us on the social media outlets below and also check back to our blog right here in the near future!  We’re excited to share!

Facebook – facebook.com/graindesigns/
Instagram – instagram.com/graindesigns/
Pinterest – pinterest.com/graindesignsfar/
The Pines Venue – https://thepinesvenue.com/
The Pines Venue Instagram – instagram.com/thepinesvenue/