Owen Gabbert, LLC recently collaborated with Celeste Lewis Architecture on a large residential remodel in Northwest Portland. When the homeowners asked if we could use Myrtlewood, a native Oregon species of wood, for the kitchen cabinets, we found ourselves at a crossroads of sorts. The request would make for a beautiful but pricey and potentially challenging project; doors and drawer faces need to be made of solid wood. In this case, the clients were aware of the challenges this raw material presented, and more than willing to work with us in order to get the results they wanted. That’s when we brought Neel Briggs of Big Branch Woodworking in on the project, who appreciated the opportunity to work with the uncommon species of wood and understood how to work with it. Briggs is uniquely familiar with the specialized material as it grows near his hometown; he purchased the Myrtlewood from a sawmill in his hometown Oakland, Oregon – the same mill where he purchased wood for the local high school wood shop – and turned it into a work of art. The final result is a stunning and entirely unique element to this NW home with a truly local story.