‘By hand, from the heart’ is the perfect way to describe the unique woodwork pieces constructed by Rustic River Creations, some of which will soon have a prominent home in our new Puckett’s Grocery in Murfreesboro. Whether it is a dining room table or a set of barn doors, each piece has its own history that Matt Akin and his family strive to preserve, and we enjoyed getting to chat with Matt about the meaning and background behind the company!
“History can get lost in translation sometimes,” Matt said. “It’s our goal to convey the stories behind each of our pieces so that families can talk about it and enjoy it.”
A few years ago, Matt and his brother Aaron found themselves out of college and working but unhappy. The brothers then decided to pursue family over profits and make their dream of building rustic wood pieces to sell to the public a reality.
“Our grandfather was a mechanic, and his shop was behind our house,” Matt said. “It sat vacant, so we transformed it into our workshop to honor him in that way.”
Just like that, Rustic River Creations was born in Chapel Hill, Tenn. Matt, Aaron, their father Mike and Matt’s brother-in-law Josh have now been in business together for two and a half years and are passionate about their mission to preserve the past. They spend an immense amount of time searching and designing from the elements around them.
“We are Godly men that believe things were put here for a reason,” said Matt. “We think it would be irresponsible to take trees down that don’t need to come down. We are in the business of preserving and making sure things get to see another lifetime.”
The groups sifts through lumber to find the right pieces for each particular project from many different places, such as an old log cabin. They draw inspiration from these antiquated materials and transform them into generational pieces that families can incorporate into their homes.
“Dad is the creative genius behind all of it,” Matt said. “He has a great sense of design and building.”
In fact, Matt and his brother began building with their dad at a young age.
“Our parents owned a convenience store, so we spent a ton of time helping out,” he said. “Dad started to get bored with that, so he built a wood shop in the back of the store, where we would build coffee tables and different pieces of furniture.”
In addition to benches and outdoor swinging beds, Matt says their most requested style now is a rustic industrial farmhouse table, utilizing reclaimed wood for tops and their signature metal bases at the bottom.
“We’re not in the mass producing game,” said Matt. “We can with 100 percent confidence say that each piece is unique. There’s not going to be another one like it. The character is different–from the wood grain to the knots.”
It was the farmhouse tables that caught the eye of Andy Marshall, owner of our family of restaurants and CEO of A. Marshall Family Foods.
“About four months ago, we were out doing a delivery and passed by Homestead, so we stopped in,” said Matt. “It is such a cool and unique location. We looked around and thought our styles would really mesh there.”
Their chance visit prompted the group to sign up for the Holiday Village at Homestead Manor last December, where they met Andy. He loved their work and asked if they would be interested in constructing 14 tables for the new Puckett’s Gro. in Murfreesboro. Matt and his crew enthusiastically said yes.
“Mr. Marshall is fantastic,” said Matt. “The tables will be an eclectic mix. They will be completely different and very cool.”
Rustic River Creations will build six tables in a rustic industrial style with pipe legs and distressed tops. The other will be more traditional restaurant style tables. The crew keeps their followers up-to-date on their project builds through their blog.
“We like to give people an inside look at what and how we are building in an effort to be 100 percent transparent.”
Although Rustic River Creations does not sell their work in any retail locations currently, they are working on a showroom at their shop, which will soon be open to the public.
Make sure to stop by the upcoming Murfreesboro location to check out the unique tables! Can’t wait that long? Head over to the Rustic River Creations blog to watch their progress and follow their social media accounts, @rusticrivercreations, for an inside look at all their projects!