What’s Old Can Be New Again

Jason Biondo at the Antique Lumber Company, photo by Kate Maier
Jason Biondo at the Antique Lumber Company, photo by Kate Maier

With the debut of Montauk’s new Antique Lumber Company, Jason Biondo’s career path is finally starting to make sense. The locally born father of three, perhaps best known as the guy behind Hammerhead Construction, has juggled jobs as a journalist, bartender, and maintenance supervisor since graduating from college with a fine arts degree more than a decade ago.

Now he’s putting his previous passion for sculpture to good use – along with his experience as a builder – with a backlog of custom furniture orders and a fledgling business that is taking off in a big way.

The Montauk showroom is an offshoot of the Antique Lumber Company started by Biondo’s business partner, Sag Harbor native Don Disbrow. With a dozen years of experience in dismantling barns, Disbrow maintains a trusted connection with the Mennonite community in Maryland. He’s a man who can get things – although it may take some time.

For bigger jobs, like flooring, “we have to locate it. If we don’t have it, we can find it,” said Biondo, whose typical customer ranges from the professional builder, looking to score the perfect antique heart pine for an accent wall, to the day tripping housewife with a credit card.

There is something about the smell of fresh cut lumber that brings out the wood geek in all of us. In Montauk these days, there are wood geeks aplenty.

Montauk is booming like I’ve never seen it before, and I grew up here,” said Biondo in an interview atop a bench he had crafted himself on the lawn of his Main Street store.

“People that built houses in the 80’s and 90’s are heading to Florida… and there’s this whole influx of young hip people moving here.”

As with most things that trickle east, reclaimed wood has been all the rage in the city for years. Armed with Amex cards and visions for their soon-to-be-renovated summer retreats, Montauk’s newest homeowners are ready and willing to bolster Biondo’s business.

“The hipsters love antique lumber. They know what they’re talking about and they know what they want,” he said. And since the new showroom doubles as a headquarters for Hammerhead, one stop shopping is a real possibility for buyers.

“If need be, I’m a licensed and insured builder, so I can install it for you.”

The company offers a varied range of both new and reclaimed wood options for flooring, furniture, or whatever else the consumer can imagine, from antique rough-sawn hemlock barn siding to new spalted maple or Brazilian cherrywood.

Biondo’s downtown Montauk location opens the door to foot traffic that wasn’t in the equation at his partner’s previous showroom in Water Mill.

Still, a significant part of his sales are direct to builders, particularly older, more seasoned craftsman who Biondo says are “seriously into this old school style of building.”

“There’s no scrap lumber with this stuff,” said Biondo, referencing a slab of oak perched on the back of his pickup truck. It came from a barn built in the 1860’s, and is to be reincarnated as a $1,500 dining room table destined for a Manhattan apartment. If there’s anything left over, it could become part of a picture frame – because wood with a history is simply too cool to throw away.

The whirlwind business venture, which started with a speculative phone call from Disbrow during Biondo’s build out of the bar at Montauk’s new Coast Kitchen just a few months ago, has already infected the rest of the family.

His wife, Lauren, is cultivating her own flair for decorating, and her refinished furniture pieces and driftwood signs are destined to become part of the merchandise at the store — as soon as the family has time to stop and catch their breath. Antiquelumbercompany.com.

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