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Repurposing with flair

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Photos by Hank Lohmeyer John Good of Eckert is in the process of completing a guest house showcasing his specialty of using re-purposed materials that provide a rustic, natural and warm feeling, and that inspire his creative spirit.

An Eckert man has taken his talent for art, merged it with lessons his dad taught him years ago and created a vocation for himself and a distinctive type of craftsmanship.

John Good found early in life that he had a talent and love of art which he pursued into his adult years. "I was very interested in art -- painting and sculpture," he says.

He also grew up one of three sons of a building contractor, and from the age of eight years he learned skills of that trade from his dad.

Having a hand in both the worlds of fine arts and building trades seems to have combined and helped spark the creativity that has put him on his current life path. John loves to use his artistic ability to create decor accents from what he calls "reclaimed and re-purposed materials."

But even more than that, John has an abundance of creative energy that fills his days with ideas for projects ranging from driftwood light fixtures to fine home remodeling, and even to building the distinctive and unique Orchard City Centennial Park gazebo.

"I have an innate need to create," John says. "I need constantly to be doing something. Ideas just come to me. I don't ever have a problem with ideas."

John and his wife of 14 years, Jessica, live in Eckert on a place that previously served as the home and business location for his grandparents, Max and Doris Good. They sold antiques at their home on Highway 65. Max refinished antique furniture in a barn-style shop on the property and Doris was a specialist in antique glass. People in the area will remember Max and Doris Good. "They lived here for a long time," John says.

John also worked previously in Dallas in the telecommunications and fiber optics industry. He and Jessica have lived in this area for six years.

"I see a thousand projects for improvements to this place," John says adding that he will just have to take them on one at a time.

John worked at his art trying to sell items at shows. But he finally realized the activity wasn't ever going to produce a very good living. "It was a hard sell," John says of his days showing at shows.

He explains how one day when confronted with a home repair project that normally meant a trip to the home improvement store his creative gears meshed. He realized that some cast-off items right at hand around the place would work just as well if combined in the right way. That was pretty much the beginning of an ongoing project of discovering the usefulness, beauty, and character of common materials and putting them back to work with new life.

John has been having fun, blending art with his home construction skills and making a living with his speciality of reusing and re-purposing various materials for improvement projects.

One example is the beautiful breakfast bar he made for a home out of the worn-out oak flooring taken from the same home during a remodel. He says his work "is a lot more fulfilling when I can do something creative for people."

Another example is a guest house project he is completing after some two years of spare time work. Using many materials from non-traditional sources like garage sales, online message boards, and from Mother Nature herself, John has remodeled a 400-square-foot building into an inviting, interesting and comfortable contemporary living space, right down to the antique gray-washed original log walls and bamboo flooring.

Using what some might consider to be a variety of cast-off stuff, the little guest house has the feel of authentic, unfinished wood trim work, metal with natural weathered patinas, and odd lots of different types of tile combined into pleasing patterns.

The guest house project combines his artistic talents and fabricating skills with pieces of drift wood and weathered timbers, antique plumbing parts re-purposed into light fixtures supporting stylish decorator light bulbs.

Tongue-in-groove pine ceiling panels contrast with the antique gray washed original house timbers, creating a living environment that is interesting, unique, and comfortable.

John will begin work soon on a different, long-term remodeling project -- using his skills to remodel the home that he and Jessica live in. It will be a project that John expects to be spending a lot of time on.

John is also a fine home remodeler. He has done projects for homeowners in Montrose and Grand Junction.

Other examples of his artistic style can be seen in the fruit stand entrance to the AppleShed in Cedaredge and in the AppleShed's antique style wood floors, he said.

A lot of people may have wondered who built the gazebo at Orchard City's Centennial Park. The structure shows off John's construction skills and artistic flair.

John is also a gardener and a lover of growing things. "I get the same kind of satisfaction from growing things and from creating things," John says. An expansive garden at his and Jessica's home provides plenty of outlet for his horticultural interests. And he intends to build a greenhouse for growing tropical fruits at home. He says this local climate is the best in Colorado for a wide range of gardening.

His other creative interests include photography and graphic arts. He designed labels for Williams Orchard's cider bottles.

With re-purposed materials he is able to create specialty, one-of-a-kind, accents, designs, and accents that aren't mass produced and that provide outlet for his abundant creative skills and energy.

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