Personalize your space with these unique touches.
Whether you’re renovating or building from scratch, nothing makes a house a home like built-in fixtures from local artisans. Collaborating directly with the maker, you can create fixtures that suit your taste perfectly—and your design dollars stay in the local economy. Here are a few of our favorites.
Pete Knapp learned wiring from his father-in-law, Louis Raneri. Now the two of them craft lamps that add character to any room under the name LR Lighting. “Our designs are kind of steampunk-inspired,” Knapp says; some lean more rustic or industrial. “Typically, we incorporate a found item—my father-in-law likes to use old tools and things like that.” Knapp has fun with it. “I’m working on a water meter lamp, which is almost an ironic piece, building electrical components out of things that are normally associated with water. The switch is actually a rotary switch, in a water spigot. So you have to ‘turn the water on’ to turn the light on.”
Recently, Knapp has started making lighting fixtures. He made wall sconces out of two antique fire grenade holders and sold them easily. Then he made a three-light ceiling fixture out of tractor funnels—great for a kitchen island, dining table, or pool table.
LR Lighting—named for Raneri as well as for Lazarus Restoration, Knapp and his wife’s furniture refurbishing business—takes custom orders. Pricing depends on time and complexity but, for reference, the three-light ceiling fixture retails for $275. Minimum lead time is two weeks. In Morgantown, find LR’s lamps at Eloquence Antiques & Artisans and at Hoot and Howl. Call for fixtures and custom work. 304.906.5654, @lazarusrestorationwv
Forest to Floor
One thing West Virginia does great is grow trees. So why get your hardwood flooring from anywhere else? Or your stair treads, panelling, or molding, for that matter. Mountain Craft Wide Plank makes all that and more just a few hills east of Morgantown, in Bruceton Mills.
Unlike most flooring factories, which buy their lumber already dried, Mountain Craft sources local timber and mills, dries, and finishes its lumber on-site. “We touch a piece of wood 12, 13, 14, times, and we’re looking for defects every time we touch it—rot, cracks, machining defects,” says owner Matt Thorn. A 2,000-square-foot floor might be made up of 400 pieces, and Thorn aims for every piece to meet specifications to within thousandths of an inch.
Mountain Craft works in local woods: mainly red and white oak, hickory, cherry, maple, and poplar. The factory can make planks up to 8 inches wide, match existing board widths and stains, and custom hand-distress boards for a rustic look or lay on a finish as smooth as glass. Thorn emphasizes his seven-year membership with the National Wood Flooring Association. “We’re by the book,” he says. “We stand behind our product—if something happens, we’re just a phone call away.”
Flooring prices start around $6 per square foot and range up to around $12; expect a month lead time. 681.285.1075; @mountaincraftwideplank
Chunky and Industrial
A decade ago, Terry Croyle’s father, a concrete worker in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, saw a video about concrete countertops and suggested Croyle take a look. He was hooked. Now he makes concrete architectural elements full-time at his Beyond the Box Concrete Design Studio on Canyon Road, marketing much of his work under Art Not Production on Etsy.
Concrete satisfies certain tastes, Croyle says. “Nice thing about concrete, there’s variance in it. Either you love that or you don’t.” Along with countertops, his studio takes orders for sinks, mantels, floating hearths, and other pieces. The material can be tinted to match any Benjamin Moore color. He likes the way it’s possible to mold a sink and countertop together, even including a drainboard, all as one piece; he also likes the chunky look of a floating hearth. Pieces are typically poured an inch thick, he says, but a deep lip gives them that massive look. The weight is about the same as granite.
Recently, in response to customer request, Croyle has been incorporating metal and rougher wood elements in his pieces for a modern industrial esthetic. Countertops and hearths start at about $90 per square foot; sinks can range from $200 for a small production piece to $1,000 and up for custom work. Lead time is typically 3 to 5 weeks. 304.319.4746, @beyondtheboxconcretedesignstudio
Dreams in Iron
Danny Trenary took a welding job out of high school. He happened into a great mentor, and he also happened into a passion for metalwork. He learned all he could everywhere he worked, loving the contrasts and possibilities. “You can bend and twist metal and create delicate artwork—out of something so hard and manly, you can make something soft and pretty.” One day, he picked up a book about blacksmithing. And then, a decade ago, he built his own coal forge. “I made it out of a tractor bucket and scrap metal from farmers’ fields, cobbled it together. My first anvil was a chunk of railroad track on a stand. A really awful setup, but it worked. I used it for years.”
Today, Trenary, his wife, and their seven kids run Vin Tin Welding and Fabrication out of a studio in West Virginia’s eastern panhandle—okay, maybe not the youngest family member, born just this year. Designers and builders across the country place orders with Trenary for hand-crafted ornamental indoor and outdoor railings, fencing, gates, fireplace tools and screens, pot racks, cabinet knobs, towel bars and rings—any fixture that can be smithed. His wife, Katie, manages the business side, and the kids get in on the family business, too, learning to pack boxes neatly for customers and helping carry them to the mail truck.
Railings start at $120 per linear foot. Turnaround was running at about four weeks in March 2019. 540.333.6655, @vintinwelding