By Natalie Mourton
Beech Tree Woodworks has recently joined forces with Ravenworks Joinery, a like-minded, Seattle-based green cabinetry and woodworking company. Former Ravenworks Joinery customers and contractors familiar with owner Bob Margulis and his work will now be able to look to Beech Tree Woodworks and owner Nic James for quality, green custom cabinetry and built-ins. According to James, both companies share a similar approach to quality, customer service, and green values. He hopes that their joining together will allow them to become a leader in the greater-Seattle area for green cabinetry.
Margulis will be stepping away from eco-friendly built-ins and remodels to pursue another opportunity and passion. After accepting a position as the Executive Director of the Wild Steelhead Coalition, Margulis knew he needed to leave his return customers and contractor contacts with someone like-minded. The similarities between Ravenworks Joinery and Beech Tree Woodworks led him to approach Nic James. Margulis believes Beech Tree Woodworks will provide the same quality of service Ravenworks’ customers have received in the past, as well as a commitment to the same green and sustainable values.
Prior to founding Ravenworks in 2006, Margulis was an entrepreneur in a variety of other industries, including creating his own software company and CEO of a medical imaging software company. He attended the Cabinetmaking and Fine Woodworking Program at Seattle Community College to use as a base for learning a new industry. Although his graduation project was a large, Shaker-style armoir, he feels his real graduation project was building a cabin on his own on property he owns near Driggs, Idaho.
As a lifelong conservationist, Margulis knew his venture into woodworking would be focused on both green practices and materials. He chose to differentiate himself from the local competition by being exclusively green with a focus on eco-friendly cabinetry and kitchen remodels. In the process of working in the woodworking industry, he discovered another role as an educator for how to incorporate green practices and the benefits of doing so. Working with both clients and general contractors allowed Margulis to explain the importance of being eco-conscious during the building process.
His position on the board of Group Health, a health insurance and medical care provider, has allowed him to be immersed in the business and industry of healthcare. As a result, he knows how being green directly relates to being healthy. According to Margulis, “the EPA says 90% of American lives takes place indoors, and the air quality outdoors is three-to-ten times better than the air quality indoors.” Therefore, the choices made during construction, whether by the client or the contractor, will have an effect on their health for years to come.
“We have 10,000 unregulated chemicals that we are exposed to on a day-to-day basis. The goal was to just provide homeowners with a mental framework in which to evaluate what they bought; what were the questions they should be asking themselves when they went into the store.”
“The key to businesses like Beech Tree and Ravenworks is added value, and sometimes the value is education in order to translate better practices that have influence on homeowners [when] they don’t understand the choices made on their behalf, in terms of materials.”