Fresh Woods at Stumptown Coffee


Two new Stumptown Coffee locations build out much of the interior space with new wood, taking a pass on salvaged woods. There may be at least a few reasons why the vanguard artisan coffee maker made these material choices.    

The design choices may not have easily allowed for reclaimed – At the Mhtn location, they used Black Walnut in a herringbone pattern (keep a look out for this growing trend). In Bklyn, they used an alternating color stain on a wider plank Oak.  Or they were looking for cleaner modern lines, It could be that weathered antique woods have become almost a cliche for cafe design, that they were looking for a new design direction, while still retaining the natural warmth of wood. Or they were simply looking to save money up front – Probably not the overriding issue, but also added to the fact that reclaimed woods can be more prone to installation challenges and cut-off waste. 

Many coffee chains use wood as a building material for the same reason, though with less distinctive designs. Stumptown also chose some funky cross cut tree trunks for their small tables and a semi-distressed blue finish on paneling that set the public space off from the work area. The design seems to come together well, with the new woods mixed with low lighting and tin plate (reproduction painted black). All and all, they seemed to pull off a difficult design aim with new woods – making them feel modern with a nod to the vintage, down-to-earth and still professional – and retaining the coveted look of authenticity – at least in the near term, since there may be a few trade-offs relative to reclaimed. 

Sustainability – Are the woods FSC certified or do they just look good? 

Shelf life – How will the woods look after a year or two? Scuffs, dents and wear tend to detract from the new floor look- and enhance a reclaimed floor. 

Story – Do the woods carry a back story? Newly harvested woods from fast growing tree plantations don’t offer much of a compelling narrative, especially in relation to century old woods from virgin forests.

Without more information on the wood choices, we’re stumped.