Maxwell was inspired to make his pieces while working on creative signage for a church’s youth group area in 2010.
“They were in the process of tearing the chapel down. There were all these church pews left,” he said. “I would look at them and thought, ‘I could do something with these.’”
He made arrangements to get the remaining pews and went from there. He said, “It’s a cool way to use reclaimed pieces of wood.”
For example, Maxwell will use the back of a pew for a tabletop. He uses scraps to make frames for mirrors and pictures. The hymnal racks on the back of the pews are transformed into wine racks.
Maple, elm, pine and sycamore are among the types of wood he uses. Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta, Euclid Avenue Baptist Church in Little Five Points (Atlanta) and Mount Zion Baptist Church in Hickory Flat are among the places Maxwell has retrieved his materials from. He said Craigslist has also been helpful.
Maxwell’s father and grandfather had a paint contracting business, but he said, “I always liked to build things.” Maxwell would do a lot of the wood repair work when they would paint houses. He also worked at Home Depot for a couple of years and had an interior paint and design business.
“I got to build displays at Home Depot. That helped a lot in developing some experience for this,” he said. “I (also) had the finishing skills to paint furniture. I combined that with my woodworking skills and creativity to come up with this particular furniture line.”
After collecting enough inventory, Maxwell began to show his pieces at Scott Antique Market in Jonesboro. His showroom is located at 817 B Roswell St. in Marietta, across the street from Roswell Street Baptist Church. Viewings are by appointment only, and prices vary according to pieces. For more information, search “Altered Furniture” on Facebook.
However, time is winding down. Next spring, Maxwell and his family —wife, Sarah, and 2-year-old twin daughters Cadence and Cruz — will be moving to Brazil permanently.
They are members of Buckhead Church, part of North Point Ministries in Atlanta, which has a partnership church in Londrina, Brazil. Maxwell and his wife will be on staff at that church. When it comes to his faith, he said there is a direct line to his business.
“The pews were set to be thrown away. I’ve rescued them, taken them apart and put them back together in a useful way,” he said. “I can look back on my life and see where God has done that for me. I’m thankful now that He is using me in a useful way. I have a beautiful life now.”