Reclaimed Wood From Tsunami Transformed Into Beautiful Barn Door!

barbs barn doors

One of the many tasks I get assigned as Design Hubby is to source unique materials.  Our client was building a sliding barn door for her house and asked if we could find something unique, funky and with a cool story.  I didn’t know where to start, and the only thing I could think of was footloose and Kevin Bacon dancing around that barn.


Traveling to Utah, where footloose was filmed and tracking down the barn would be a cool road trip but it wasn’t in the budget for this client so I went with the next best thing…Craigslist.

Two hours later we were traveling down the 5 freeway to San Diego to meet “Dave” the marine wood dealer. Like every good craigslist transaction he asked me to meet him in the back alley of his house.  Dave had converted his entire driveway and alley into a lumber yard.  It was an incredible sight to see bright orange, teal and rust colored planks stacked everywhere.  It was also really smelly; the odor was so strong if you closed your eyes you would have thought you were at a fish market not a lumber yard.  Melissa started giving me the look, the one that says “what shenanigans have you got me into this time” when Dave popped up from behind a wood pile and said “What’s up dude?”

barn wood reclaimed

Dave is best described as a “marine wood hipster” with work boots, skinny jeans, goatee and of course, a long shore man style knit cap. (As you can see above.) He toured us around and shared with us the history of the wood, which was originally from two bait barges located in San Diego Bay for the last 30 years.  A combination of sun, fish scales, rust and saltwater had created the patina on the planks that were blue turquoise and vibrant orange.  In 2011, as a result of the tsunami that devastated Japan, the bait barges were damaged and replaced.  Dave knew a guy that knew a guy and ended up getting the wood.

wood design

wood project

After hearing this story we knew we had something unique and began to get excited and started selecting planks for the barn door.  We laid out the design in the alley, running back and forth to the wood pile to select different colors and lengths.  After 45 minutes of searching and selecting, we soon had the makings of a barn door.  We loaded up the car and hit the road.  Thirty minutes into our drive home, my car stunk like fish and as I rolled down the windows, I realized I had found something quite unique for our client.  It had a cool story behind it and it was definitely funky (pun intended.)

barn doors reclaimed wood

Here’s the finished product after we sealed it with a clear coat to ensure the beauty would last for generations. Our clients were absolutely enamored with the final look. What do you think? Comment below!sliding barn doors