Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Prepare To Be Floored


Character Unlimited is Coming to High Point Market
When designers, builders and architects walk through the doors of Character Unlimited in Hudson, N.Y. for the first time--a city well known for its active arts scene and enclave of antique dealers--the reaction is almost always the same. Taking in the natural beauty of the time-weathered materials and handcrafted custom furniture, they turn to designer Micah Geraghty and say, “Where…have…you…been?”   

We expect the responses to be just as awed and enthusiastic when buyers and designers discover Character Unlimited here in High Point, exhibiting for the first time ever at the Fall 2011 Market.

To be sure, Geraghty is coming to the Antique & Design Center at Market Square with an offering of products not typically found in High Point. That’s because along with his custom furniture designs crafted by hand from pristine reclaimed materials, Character Unlimited will also be showcasing samples of the reclaimed materials the firm uses to design, build and install everything from interior wall panels to ceilings, flooring and entire homes.

Among notable projects, Character Unlimited recently supplied much of the eco-friendly building materials for the remodel of a massive home in Bedford, N.Y., that became the subject of a coffee-table book called Kennedy Green House. Written by Robin Wilson, the book documents the renovation of the home into a green domicile by its owner, Robert Kennedy, Jr. (Yes, that Robert Kennedy, Jr.).

The seeds of Geraghty’s passion for organic materials and building were planted early, as a young boy working in his father’s construction business. They grew over time into a unique ability to see beauty in what others disregard or deem useless. “It really stems from growing up as our country did originally,” he describes. “Out of necessity, people used the items they had for a longer period of time, rather than throwing everything away and making something new.”

The young man’s affinity for building and natural materials led him to launch his own restoration company at the age of 18.  “I would go out with a small truck and source the reclaimed products for our projects myself,” he remembers. “Then, in 2005, I purchased a huge flooring operation. We would take raw material and field dress it off the buildings, and each lot of material our customers purchased was documented with photos of the structures.”

And what buildings! Early Americans built homes, barns and out-buildings with no power tools, electricity or fuel and Geraghty searches far and near to preserve and recycle the wood, metal and stone they yield. He and his team cull everything from hand-hewn frames to vintage wood wide-plank flooring, to weathered siding, windows, doors and cupolas from the old structures.

“Character Unlimited is a family-run business and we pride ourselves on the fact that we don’t sell anything that we don’t fabricate, and that every piece of wood we use is reclaimed by us.” Most recently, they netted the wide-plank cherry that comprised the Van Vechten Family Grist Mill which was built in upstate New York circa 1650. “We’re talking about pieces of wood that are wide enough and long enough to have been standing timbers in the 1500’s,” Geraghty points out.

To use beautiful woods saturated with natural character, and marked by unique tones and grain textures solely for flooring seemed a shame, so Geraghty moved beyond flooring to focus on turning the materials into the tables, chairs, cabinets purveyed today at Character Unlimited. “I wanted to move beyond simply supplying the material into the art form, and the feelings they create when somebody looks at them and owns them.”
Written By Kimberley Wray
Photos Courtesy of Character Unlimited LLC