When he began crafting furniture, Sean McDow didn't set out to use recycled materials "? it's just that he, like most college students, was cheap.
The Norman native and University of Oklahoma architecture senior was visiting his father in Dallas a couple of years ago when he decided to take up furniture as a hobby.
"They bought a new home where new homes were being built all around," he said. "I noticed all this material that was being thrown away in dumpsters, and so I asked the manager, 'Hey, can I grab some of this lumber that's been thrown away?'"
Despite having no experience "? outside of a high school shop class making "little stools, little knickknacks" "? McDow built two end tables during the visit.
When he returned to Norman, luck struck again when his neighbor replaced an entire fence, allowing McDow to turn the trash into treasure. Since then, recycled materials have become a mainstay of his work. Although it depends upon the piece, he said some are constructed entirely of secondhand stuff.
"I just noticed all this stuff was being thrown away and I thought it was ridiculous," he said. But as he switched his major from engineering to architecture, "I started to learn about being green and helping the environment, and that's when I started getting a heart for it. I can't believe so much material is thrown away, is burned, is thrown in a landfill, when in a matter of weeks, it could be turned into something beautiful in your garage."