Lamon Luther: Reclaiming Lumber… and Lives
Compassion, faith, and hope are not intrinsically wired into the furniture business, but Lamon Luther, a fledgling manufacturer based in Douglasville, GA, might just set a new precedent for the industry.
Brian Preston, the company’s founder, is not only committed to designing super cool hand-crafted tables, benches, and bookcases from beautifully patinated reclaimed wood, he is dedicated to salvaging lives in the process. Preston hires homeless carpenters, building hope through employment.
When Brian Preston first visited a tent village occupied by homeless men and rumored to be dangerous, he did not go with the expectation of recruiting talent for a start-up furniture company. Rather Preston, who had just turned 30, was beginning to question his purpose in life. He thought a new adventure that would test his personal comfort zone and contribute to humanity was a good idea, and that’s when he discovered a pool of jobless and skilled carpenters eager for an opportunity to work.
Preston could totally relate to these men. Four years ago his construction and remodeling business, which had served Atlanta’s most affluent suburbs, tumbled along with the economy. He and his wife, April Lee, lost everything. “I know what it feels like to be broke and have nothing. I’ve been there,” he says.
Ideas started to click and all signs pointed to building a mindful furniture brand, but the proposition was only feasible in the first place, because Preston himself has a talent for designing and build furniture. His wife attests, “Brian has always been extremely creative and talented when it came to building things with his hands. We actually began our marriage by remodeling a 1927 farmhouse! I enjoy showing him a picture of something and then have him make it.”
With a solid source for beautiful reclaimed wood and a staff of capable, hardworking carpenters, it didn’t take long for the company to find its groove.
Lamon Luther pays homage to the American craftsman. The company is named after Preston’s grandfather, an exceptional carpenter who built the house where Preston spent much of his boyhood. Preston says, “He used to say things like, ‘Come here. Let me show you what a tool can do.’”
The honest wood furniture that Preston designs today could have been made by his grandfather’s hand. It is mostly made with basic tools of the trade using time-tested practices and techniques.