Art and Furniture – 1st Place

Every year, Community Forklift joins reuse centers across the country to participate in The ReUse People Of America’s National Reuse Contest. Anyone can enter by submitting a project to their local participating reuse store (that’s us!) in one of two categories: Construction & Remodeling, or Art & Furniture.  We’re waiting to find out which 2017 entrants won at Nationals, but in the meantime – check out Community Forklift’s local winners!


1st Place – Art & Furniture

Blake Sloane

Art Wall with Pocket Door

One of my favorite projects of 2017 was this reclaimed wood wall and pocket door for a client in Bethesda, Md. The homeowner’s recently added an additional apartment to their mid century home for their handicapped sister to move in to. Everything was built to be wheelchair accessible, including the 36″ wide pocket door. This door and wall separated the new apartment from the existing house’s kitchen.

The homeowner gave me complete freedom to come up with a design, so long as it incorporated some of the 500+ square feet of white cedar they had recently removed from a living room ceiling. In addition to the cedar I use reclaimed white oak 3/8″ thickness from paneling that came from a 100+ year old row house in Baltimore Md.

In progress

The client chose the bold color scheme to contrast with the warm wood tones, and I created an interesting geometric design that flowed from wall to door. The piece was created in three sections, plus the door, in my home shop, and then installed on site. There were many challenges with this project, and it required careful measurements at the onset. All of the cedar and oak pieces that make up the geometric pattern are 3/8″ thickness x 3″ width. They are glued and nailed to a 1/2″ thickness plywood substrate (also reclaimed!!!) that is then screwed into wall studs. The door itself is the same 3/8″ thickness cedar and oak laminated to 1/2″ and 3/4″ sheets of birch plywood(not reclaimed) for a final door thickness of 1 5/8″. The door is framed in oak, and the wall is trimmed out with more of the same cedar. Everything came together quite well on site and it took me about 3 hours to install.

In progress

Artist Info:

Since 2015, Forty Third Place has served the most discerning clients in the DC Metro area. Jonaki Sanyal and Blake Sloane collaborate together in their home studio on all manner of projects. Woodwork and carpentry, design, and photography are among our specialties. We are known for indulging even the most whimsical and unconventional projects.

Blake is a carpenter and woodworker by trade. In Chicago, he made a name for himself making beautiful things out of salvaged and reclaimed wood.

Jonaki is a social worker by day and photographer by night. She works with teens, brings home the bacon, and is the muscle on the worksite. She documents all of our shenanigans.

In 2015, Jonaki and Blake relocated after more than a decade in Chicago, back to their home base in PG County, Maryland. What began as a lighthearted rehab of our newly purchased 1930’s home–set to 80’s music–turned into a year long epic project. We delighted in taking our time to really think about the space, adding creative custom features, and carefully sourcing and selecting meaningful and responsible materials. We have become known for applying this same care to all of our projects.


While we wait on the results of the 2017 National Reuse Contest, check out the entries of past Forklift winners here! The submission form for 2018 is not yet live, so check back later in the year if you have a project you might like to submit. They say that the greenest building material is anything that’s being reused…we urge you to consider using salvaged or surplus materials for your next home improvement or creative project, and be sure to document your progress with lots of photos along the way!