The crew at Universal Floors in Washington, D.C., had already painstakingly restored the wood floors at the city’s historic Decatur House, so when Universal’s Sprigg Lynn delivered more flooring this holiday season, it wasn’t for installation. Instead, it took the form of a Christmas tree.
The idea to create trees out of flooring scraps came from Lynn’s wife, who saw a version of such a tree online. “The way I’m wired, I’m always trying to find a way to improve it or make it better, so that’s what we did,” Lynn explains.
The trees are a perfect extension of Universal’s “Choose to Reuse” program, in which the company collects and stores old flooring that can then be reused as a better match when repairing and restoring historic floors in the area. Even when reusing antique wood, though, “we can’t necessarily use every single piece,” Lynn explains.
Now some of those pieces, ripped to size, sanded and mounted to a metal rod, are finding new life as a Christma tree. In addition to the one at the Decatur House, home of the White House Historical Association (pictured above), Lynn offered to create some for the U.S. Supreme Court, where Universal recently restored the flooring in what had been Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s offices. The Supreme Court asked for three trees—all crafted from wood floor pieces that had to be removed from the actual office during the repair process.
“I think it’s a good thing for everyone, because it’s green: You don’t chop down trees, and these scraps would normally would be thrown in a landfill,” Lynn says. And because the trees are great conversation pieces, “It’s another way to get exposure and help your floor business at the same time,” he adds.