Hello there! My name is Ryan, and I am the owner and creator of Great Lakes Design. Like any great artist would tell you, I love to create - NOT to produce. Woodworking is my passion, and every piece I make is 100% unique. Our mission at Great Lakes Design is to thoroughly express ourselves artistically, make our world a little better and more beautiful than we found it, and find synergy through collaboration and teamwork. I can't wait to make a furniture piece that is perfect for you.
We take an artistic approach to carpentry and woodworking. Using limited tools and a profusion of handicraft techniques, we create personalized art and furniture. Here are some things that are important to us:
Use of Reclaimed or Recycled Materials
We think reclaimed lumber is great! It prevents useful material from ending up in the waste-stream. It's also vastly more sustainable than logging in old-growth forests. We use hand-selected reclaimed lumber that is milled into an almost-new condition; ensuring a top-quality product. The wood is locally sourced and comes from 100+ year old trees. Most 'defects' are removed during the milling process, but we are happy to leave the lumber in its original condition upon request. We DO NOT use barnwood because it often tests positive for lead and other toxic substances.
Local Sourcing of Hardwoods
The majority of our hardwoods come from the south-eastern Michigan forests and mills. Minimal transportation of our materials reduces our overall carbon footprint. Much of our hardwood lumber comes from naturally felled trees in our urban environment that would otherwise be chipped or made into firewood.
Sustainably Grown and Managed Sourcing of Hardwoods
We only purchase virgin softwoods from sustainably grown forests of the United States and Canada. We check to ensure our softwood and panel materials are certified by SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative).
Minimal Waste During our Production Process
We are proud to have an almost 0% scrap rate. Off cuts and wood waste are saved and used for artwork and small projects. We make less than 200lbs of landfill waste per month.
Reuse or Recycling of All Packaging Materials
Cardboard is reused for shipping small products. Bubble wrap and plastics are saved and reused to protect our items during shipping. All other plastics and ‘unusable’ packing materials are recycled.
Traditional or Eco-Friendly Finishes
We use the most premium paints, stains, and topcoats that are eco-friendly and require no maintenance. Traditional finishes that are safe, durable, and enhance the natural beauty of wood. Low-VOC rating on all finishes.