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Building On The Past

Colorado craftsman Josh Mabe turns old wood into new furniture.

July 2013

When Josh Mabe looks at a discarded board or an old, weathered beam, he sees a story. Perhaps the pieces were part of a structure that belonged to Colorado’s first homesteaders—remnants of a historic Western town. As the co-owner of Twenty1five, a custom furniture company based in Palmer Lake, just northwest of Monument, Mabe attempts to preserve these stories by using reclaimed wood to build striking tables, desks, and doors. “We take anything from an old ranch barn to wood that a contractor doesn’t need,” Mabe says, “and make it new and beautiful again.”

Mabe first realized he was drawn to these types of materials a few years ago when he took over for a retiring high school woodshop teacher who told him to toss the scrap boards filling a shed. Unable to part with them, he stashed the pieces at his house and eventually used the materials to build a dining room table for his family. Two years later, Mabe and his business partner, Randy Valentine, launched Twenty1five. (The company name comes from the Bible verse Revelation 21:5, in which God proclaims: “I am making all things new.”) 

With each hand-built piece, Mabe aims to “pull the character out of the wood” and uncover textures and colors hidden in the grain. His tables and desks showcase clean, traditional lines that add sophistication to the woods’ rustic origins. And custom Twenty1five items come with a booklet detailing the history behind some of the materials used in that product. “People always focus on barns with the most character on the outside,” Mabe says, “but I’m more interested in the story that comes from within.” twenty1five.com