By Sean Becker
Photography by Urban Farmhouse
If you take nothing else away from a conversation with Cherami Thomas, you quickly gather that she is a woman bursting with ideas. You will also note that Thomas is hardly all talk. In fact, she is mostly action. Somebody has to turn those ideas into reality.
As the founder with husband, Jason, of Urban Farmhouse Designs, Thomas is ever busy expanding the company’s offerings. The couple started the company as a furniture manufacturing enterprise using reclaimed wood from decommissioned rail cars and defunct flour mills. The products proved so popular that they opened a storefront and hired a handful of craftspeople to churn out the goods.
For the do-it-yourselfers out there, the Thomases offer Urban Farmhouse Lumber Company, where business is booming. “We have one salesperson who does nothing but sell lumber,” Thomas says, sounding slightly amazed. Got a carpentry project or want to try your hand at building something yourself? Bring in your cut sheets and let the team in the lumberyard help you pick the right material—and the right amount.
While a steady stream of stock from railcars keeps coming, Urban Farmhouse has identified new sources for reclaimed wood as well. “We have beautiful beams,” Thomas says, “and we’re getting barn wood now in all different colors.” The company rescued all of the flooring from the recently razed International Harvester building that stood at 530 S. Broadway.
“We got good wood from the International Harvester building,” Thomas says. “And it’s less expensive than boxcar wood.” That gave Thomas an idea—offer a line of “Harvester” wood furniture at a lower price point. “You can still get a great table, but you can get it for about half the price [of a boxcar wood model]. Plus you can have a piece of Oklahoma City history in your house.” Sounds like the perfect conversation piece!
As homage to the fascinating past lives of the wood used to make their furniture, Urban Farmhouse has started issuing certificates with each piece. The numbered placards tell where the wood came from and what it used to be. The people who built the furniture also sign the certificates. “We want a story and pedigree to our wood,” Thomas explains.
Urban Farmhouse also introduced their new “Lifetime Commitment” program. It’s like a trade-in where you get the full price of your product back. “Say you buy a 6-foot table and need to upgrade later,” explains Thomas. “We’ll buy it back at the price you paid and you can use the credit to get a bigger table.” Try getting that kind of trade-in value at your local car dealership. If you’re deciding to downgrade, you can take the difference in price as store credit. Hardly a losing proposition no matter how you look at it.
The last time we checked in at Urban Farmhouse, Thomas was gearing up to release an Urban Threads clothing line. After extensive renovations (and the installation of the coolest changing room in the state), Urban Threads is right on the cusp of opening for business. “I have piles of clothes ready to go,” says Thomas. Look for a grand opening in the spring.
You’ll want to see yourself in the best light after getting decked out in your new duds. While you’re there, you have to browse the unique, artisan lighting made right there on the spot. “We have our own electrical department and an electrician, so we build our own lights now,” Thomas says. The selection ranges from lamps and task lighting to studio lights and chandeliers. No two items are the same, but they all have one thing in common: you’ve never seen lighting like this before.
With so much to offer, the Urban Farmhouse team is bursting at their OKC seams. So with business booming down on the farm, the Thomases have decided to venture south. “We’re opening a 10,000 square foot retail space in Dallas,” Thomas says. The branch office is shooting for a June opening. We have an idea that our neighbors in Texas are going to love what they see.
How to find them
Urban Farmhouse Designs
400 S Western Ave, OKC