Turning History Into One-Of-A-Kind Household Items


Thursday, November 26th 2015, 8:27 pm
By: News 9


As Oklahomans gathered around the table this Thanksgiving, they probably shared stories with their family, but there is a place in Oklahoma where the tables have stories of their own.

If only this could talk," Joe Spence, of Urban Farmhouse Designs, said.

The stories it could tell.

"This is probably the most well-traveled piece in the world on a boxcar for 80 years," Spence said.

It is now along for a new ride nearly a century later.

"I like the story," Spence said. "It's local. So you've got your Oklahoma roots."

The base is a strong foundation. Oklahomans know a thing or two about that.

"This came out of the Rock Island Plow Building in Bricktown," he said. "It was built in 1908."

Together, the two pieces make a unique centerpiece of days gone by and worth any tale told around the table. They bring together different eras in time and now much more.

"I started this three years ago in a two-car garage, doing butcher block counter tops," Spence said. "I answered a craigslist ad is what happened, not the personals but an ad."

He and Jason Thomas, who is now the owner and creator of Urban Farmhouse Designs, started building farmhouse tables in an old shop in the middle of a field outside Piedmont.

“It's not always a smooth path, but we just kept our head down and kept working and word started getting out about what we're doing," Spence said.

Three years later, they are inside an old Firestone building in downtown Oklahoma City, and the stories continue.

"About 40 years," craftsman Dannie Wright said. "I had to find a way to make a living."

No two tales are the same, just like the pieces they craft together.

"We've had quite a few guys come in who were oil field welders and they're like 'Man, we got laid off,'" fabricator Marty Bird said.

Their skills and craftsmanship are now re-purposed much like the finished pieces; the fruits of many hands' labor.

"This is not work to me. I just love doing this and working with the old wood," Wright said. "Knowing the history of where it came from."

And, now, where it is going next.

Urban Farmhouse Designs is located at 400 S. Western Avenue in Oklahoma City.