Just as each furnishing is crafted from materials reimagined, repurposed, and reclaimed, in the process of creation, each craftsman’s life is reimagined, repurposed, and redeemed.
Vantz Live Edge Furniture company was born out of a mission to provide men in recovery from addiction with outlets for creativity, employment experience, career training, and safe, supportive, affordable housing within the nation’s first authentic recovery neighborhood.
In a revolutionary response to the devastation of a national opioid addiction epidemic, Vantz Furniture is one of a variety of small businesses sponsored by the Riverbank House recovery community in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. These small businesses allow men to rebuild lives of dignity and purpose through employment, and all business proceeds are then invested back into the recovery neighborhood in the form of scholarships that keep the cost of long-term residency affordable. From a small, informal campus woodshop, Vantz has grown into a 4,000 square foot furniture showroom and production facility within walking distance of the Riverbank House recovery campus.
When the neighborhood’s Karma Café opened to the public in May of 2017, the restaurant was furnished with live edge tables and rustic booths created by two neighborhood residents, Kyle and Andi, and from that first project, with mentoring by members of the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen, Vantz Furniture was launched. Like all Vantz craftsmen, both Kyle and Andi have found live edge furniture construction to be ideally suited to their new lives in recovery.
Before his life was derailed by drugs, Kyle trained as a custom boat builder on the coast of Maine. After joining the Riverbank House community in 2016, he found a direct connection between the art of live edge furniture design and his new identity as a man in recovery. “I’m constantly growing as an artist because I have to work with the materials at hand — the slab of wood that comes from a particular tree. It’s a learn-as- I-go process that is peaceful and creative and all about recovery. It’s an amazing process to work with — rather than against — the grain, which is just like my experience in recovery. I work with the raw material I have until something beautiful and stable and warm and functional emerges.”
With some background in construction, Andi began learning the craft of creating one-of-a-kind live edge furniture when he was almost a year sober at Riverbank House. “I love the connection between live edge art and recovery. A fallen tree that has lost its purpose and been left to rot is taken out of the dark forest to dry out and settle. When the tree is cut open, everything that the tree has been through — its history and trauma and circles of growth — is exposed. I get to take all that history and turn it into something beautiful.”
Vantz Live Edge Furniture is all about salvaged lumber and salvaged lives. It’s a partnership that represents repurposing and beautifying the fallen material at hand. It’s about bringing warm and stability into the home, office, business, or garden.