Made in Iowa: Spring Run Design Co.
Woodworker uses reclaimed or fallen wood to create beautiful wood creations
Katie Mills Giorgio
Kory Helgens, 36, of Marion, would tell you that sometimes a summer storm can inspire a unique business venture.
As owner of Spring Run Design Co., Helgens hand crafts wood furniture and home decor from reclaimed wood and salvaged trees.
“Our family farm outside of Monticello had 63 trees knocked down from a storm in the summer of 2014,” he said. “We ended up sending a lot of the logs to a local mill to be milled and kiln dried. When we got the wood back to our farm in July of last year, I thought it would be fun to build a kitchen table for my family out of some of the eastern red cedar that we got back from the mill.”
So Helgens started building the table from scratch in his garage, with no plans drawn up. “I had never built a table before. But as it started to come together a lot my neighbors would come around and comment how great the table looked. Then one of the neighbors suggested that I should start a business.” With encouragement from family and friends, Helgens started Spring Run Design Company — paying homage to the family property that was called Spring Run Farm — about a year ago. Today, Spring Run Design features everything from kitchen tables and end tables to cutting boards and coasters.
Helgens currently works on his stunning wood creations in his spare time — a full-time job and a family keep him plenty busy. “I am usually in my garage building and creating items late into the evening,” he said. “My dream is to do this full-time in the future.”
Q. If you had only three words to describe what you do what would they be?
A. Resourceful, driven and creative.
Q. Where do you find your inspiration?
A. I probably find the most inspiration going out to our family farm and from timber. Our farm is no longer a working farm, but I work with a lot of wood that comes from the barns and buildings my great-grandfather, grandfather and father built on our land. You can just feel the history in each piece of wood, which is just awesome.
Q. What’s the best part about being a creative person?
A. The best part of being creative is where most people see scrap wood lying around they think it is just junk and should be burned, I see end tables, dining tables or even cutting boards that can be made from that scrap wood. I think that’s pretty cool.
Q. Do you remember the first craft project you ever tried?
A. It would have to be from when I was in 4th grade and I found a small log cut in half. And so I decided I would clean it up, sand it down and stain it and give it to my dad on Christmas of that year. It was the first project I did really on my own with wood. Even though it probably didn’t look great or wasn’t all that impressive my dad loved it and he keeps it on the shelf in his living room.
Q. When you become rich and famous for your work, then what will you do?
A. Wow...rich and famous? I would probably do the same thing I am doing now. Building furniture and creating whatever I can think of out of wood, but hopefully in a much larger space than my garage and small building out on the farm.