Cass County Reporter: Reclaimed Lumber Rich in History

Reclaimed Lumber Rich In History
Central Cass Graduate Opens ICSS Design and Supply in Fargo
By Rachel Stanislawski


Central Cass alumni Seth Carlson, is on to great things as the 2006 graduate recently opened his own Fargo-based reclaimed wood business, ICSS Design and Supply in June 2013. 

With the purpose of providing customers with an “innovative and sustainable alternative to contemporary design and construction”, Carlson founded ICSS Design and Supply in 2008 in Duluth, Minn. while attending the University of Minnesota Duluth. ICSS seeks to educate perspective buyers on the importance of sustainability practices through the use of reclaimed wood products. 

“I ran a furniture manufacturing company, Ingvald’s Custom Builds in Duluth, which inspired what I’m doing now,” says Carlson. “The reclaimed wood market is growing, and I’m the only one who has tapped into the market in North Dakota.” Carlson’s mission is to search for, purchase and sell reclaimed wood to builders, architects and homeowners.

With unique patterns fashioned from flowing grans and seeds, Carlson’s supply of grain-eroded slabs from the 1877 Old Globe grain elevator in Superior, WI is a prime example of why reclaimed wood is becoming a hot commodity.

“The character of the wood is unmatched,” says Carlson. “The history of where they wood came from is what interests people. This wood lived a life, and now people are able to bring that story into their home.” Pieces from the elevator, which was once the largest in the world, come complete with over a century-old history. So rare is the wood, that Carlson purchased the entire supply when the elevator closed. 

“Most of my lumber now comes from the grain elevator,” says Carlson who constantly searches for promising barns, buildings and various sites to purchase materials before they are torn down and destroyed.

“I don’t do tear downs,” says Carson. “I’m always looking for someone to do teardowns. Unfortunately, most people won’t take the time. Instead, the wood is burned, plowed over and turned into a landfill.” However, the supply Carlson is able to save for reuse is sure to have a story to share. 

While Carlson’s reclaimed wood comes rich in history, Carlson works to ensure that the wood isn’t exclusive to the rich. 

“Initially, people only thought reclaimed wood was for the rich,” says Carlson. “The biggest reclaimed timber supplier is in Duluth, and their prices are extremely high, only millionaires can purchase the products. I’m hoping to source more local wood to keep the prices low. My goal is to see the wood saved, and I will take a smaller profit to see the wood reused.”

Around a week ago, Carlson as able to acquire a historical supply of reclaimed wood from a local source. “Recently, Jade Presents in Fargo has been renovating, and I bought all the lumber they’re tearing off the roof and selling,” says Carlson. “It’s kind of cool because the pieces will be made and kept in Fargo so we’re keeping to local. A couple furniture business in town have purchased some of the wood.”

ReDoux, Grain Designs, Vinyl Taco, Wurst Beer Hall (yet to open), Maxwell’s restaurant, condos, and area homes and lake homes have kept the life of Carlson’s wood alive as they utilize pieces in their architecture and design. “Fargo is very progressive,” says Carlson. “The homeowners are reaching out of their normal conservative design philosophy.”

On a more national level, Carlson’s Eastern White Pine wood from the Old Globe Grain elevator can be seen in Ron Kirn’s line of signature Barn Buster guitars. Kirn is a popular guitar builder in Florida. 

For those who have yet to be sold on the idea of incorporating reclaimed wood into their home, visit Carlson’s website at www.icssdesign.com to view pictures of his products in use, and to see what inventory is available. ICSS has an array of grain-eroded slabs, rough dimensional lumber, timers and beams available. 

“Once people see the product installed and how aesthetically pleasing it is I can usually win them over,” says Carlson. “You get such awesome customer feedback if you’re a business with reclaimed wood and people can see that you care about sustainability.”

As Carlson is now closer to his hometown, he remembers his Casselton roots. “Casselton was the coolest town ever to grow up in, I had a great childhood. I played all the sports, and was involved in music and speech,” reminisces Carlson. Carlson is the son of Casselton City Forester Bill Carlson, and has two siblings: Kelsey and Craig. With a background in marketing and career as Marketing Director for the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team, Kelsey has been a tremendous aide in helping market ICSS. Meanwhile, Carlson’s brother Craig is working towards his Ph.D. in the area of plant genetics and horticulture at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. 

ICSS Design and Supply is located at 4200 3rd Avenue North Fargo, where Carlson rents space from Mike Casavant, owner of KW Boring. Casavant has been wonderful with graciously helping load and unload semis for Carlson. If you’re in the market for an exceptional design piece with a story to share visit ICSS, and bring history into your home.