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An Interior Design Field Trip… Behind Bars!

Design friends, it’s story time! Remember not so long ago, when I may or may not have hinted on Instagram that I was headed to prison?

No, the fashion police were not involved. As it turns out, a wood flooring mill is located right inside a state prison here in Tennessee: Turney Correctional Facility in the tiny town of Only.

John Dupra of Revel Woods (a premium hardwood floor supplier) took a handful of designers from around the U.S. on an exclusive tour of American OEM and Hearthwood Floors. Thanks, Revel Woods!

 

My design industry peeps:

LuAnn Nigara: A Well-Designed Business Podcast
Sarah Danielle: Mydoma Studio
John Dupra: Revel Woods
Jessica Duce: J Duce Design
Vince Nigara: Window Works of NJ
Lori Miya: Miya Interiors
Veronica Solomon: Casa Vilora Interiors
Rebecca Robinson: Rebecca Robinson Interiors

Now, I know I probably care more about hardwood flooring than you might (or any average homeowner), but this experience was too unique and enjoyable not to share with y’all.

I hope you enjoy this little peek behind the scenes, too!

 


White oak


real talk



First, I want to get just a little serious for a moment (just for a moment), because this experience was so humbling and inspiring.

The wood flooring mill is operated by the offenders, and it was AMAZING to see how it functions as a voluntary rehabilitation program to get these men back on their feet.

  • Working in the mill is 100% voluntary and designed to rehabilitate offenders, helping them learn a trade and learn how to be an employee.
  • They make wages to pay any restitution owed, to send home to their families, and to save for their life after release.
  • The program also lowers recidivism from 60%+ down to less than 10% — so it really works!

In fact, the day we were there, a guy was leaving, like literally being released from prison. He participated in the program for five years as the mill electrician and saved $30k. He was smiling from ear to ear as he left!!

Now that warms the heart.

I could also feel the PRIDE each of them had in their work. They were so excited to explain their intricate processes and the skills required to achieve such a fine level of craftsmanship. It’s far superior to what machines can churn out.

Which brings me to the product itself…


Hickory — look at those beautiful grains and stains!


superior hardwood flooring



Alright, let’s talk about this hardwood. The custom work that goes into making these gorgeous pieces shocked me!

The work that is done by hand, called hand-scraping, is SO much more incredible than what a machine typically does. (Their pride is well-deserved!)

At one station, they actually measured the amount of stain on the wood. They used a scale to detect whether the stain was thicker in any one spot or if it was even across the piece…

THAT MUCH detail goes into it!

The man in charge of this station had so much practice he could eyeball it correctly before ever weighing it!! What an eye!


The staining brushes


the best part



Okay, the best part. Through Revel Woods’s innovative direct-to-designer program, I can specify the exact flooring for
any space — even if the project is on the other side of the country!

I share the property details, and Revel Woods provides selections appropriate only for that home, in that climate, with those materials. Genius.

Bonus: Revel Woods only partners with heavily-vetted mills, and John Dupra’s emphasis on relationship building creates the best client experience for all involved. Their collaboration is more like that of family than of business associates.

I witnessed this all first hand on the tour with Revel Woods and Allie Finkell of American OEM.  They believe in their product, they believe in their program, and they believe in each other…

And we believe in them!

 

Oh how I love that these boxes not only say Made in the USA… but Made in Tennessee!!

Hope you loved going behind the scenes, and get ready, because you are going to be seeing a whole lot more of Revel Woods around here. I can’t wait!

Hope y’all have an excellent week and I’ll see ya back here real soon,

Elizabeth

Your information will never be shared or sold to a 3rd party.

By |2019-03-19T09:31:20-05:00March 19th, 2019|activities, coming home, construction|

12 Comments

  1. Nancy March 19, 2019 at 11:20 am - Reply

    Fabulous Blog Elizabeth!! So informative and Revel Woods is such a great company. Loved seeing behind the scenes.

    • Elizabeth Scruggs March 19, 2019 at 12:58 pm - Reply

      oh Nancy- it was amazing!
      the pics don’t do it justice- such an incredible program, and the wood floors are SO beautiful!
      thanks for reading!

  2. Jessica March 19, 2019 at 2:13 pm - Reply

    This is so fabulous. Thank you for a great read.

  3. Maria Standley March 20, 2019 at 11:19 am - Reply

    How inspiring! We need more opportunities for men and women to learn a trade they can be successful in and take pride in their work. Thanks for sharing! I’m soooo looking forward to starting our bathroom renovation!!!

    • Elizabeth Nicole Scruggs March 22, 2019 at 5:19 am - Reply

      Maria, that is SO true!
      More opportunities like this is a win for everyone!
      thanks for stopping by, and good luck on your bathroom reno!

  4. Debbie Turkett March 20, 2019 at 11:40 am - Reply

    What a wonderful tour and story! I just love the product and the production facility is a wonderful opportunity for those men to learn a trade and make their mark in the world! Fantastic!!

    • Elizabeth Nicole Scruggs March 22, 2019 at 5:20 am - Reply

      oh Deb, this was right up your alley!
      it was just amazing that this entire operation was behind bars-
      You could have eaten off the floor!
      the men were so kind and respectful, and this was truly an opportunity
      for them- one they had probably never had in their lives.

  5. Dot March 20, 2019 at 2:52 pm - Reply

    Very interesting post, Elizabeth. Thanks for the education!

    • Elizabeth Scruggs March 20, 2019 at 4:30 pm - Reply

      Thanks Dot!
      It was such an inspiring visit:)
      thanks for stopping by and reading!

  6. Sheri Bruneau March 22, 2019 at 5:08 am - Reply

    What a great field trip for you! Thanks for sharing.

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