By Kitty Golding
Kitty & Company will be conducting a series of short interviews with Chelsea Residents for 52 weeks, bringing to light differing personalities and design styles in our community. Perhaps you will meet someone new through these weekly interviews or perhaps it will be YOU! Stay tuned and follow us each week – we now introduce you to Mr. John Tripolsky.
What is your current profession? Marketing during the day (my Digital Marketing Company, Bark House Marketing ) and reclaimed woodworking at night ( my company, Roots and Iron)
Your family members: Staci, my wife and our first baby due in February!
People think of me as: A professional creative (using both sides of the brain) but really I am just that!
When did you move to Chelsea and where did you live prior to coming to Chelsea? We moved here in the middle of 2018 from Charleston, South Carolina. My wife is originally from Ann Arbor and I am from Clinton Township, MI.
What do you love about where you currently live? I love Chelsea because it feels like the real deal- you genuinely see people and business owners interested in our community . We love living in town, developing relationships and learning the stories and history of people in which we come into contact. Our home was built in the 1800s by Lewis Winans and we are enjoying discovering it’s rich history.
If you could have a second home anywhere, where would it be? Not far from here and most likely on a lake somewhere. (I grew up on Lake St. Clair)
What three words describe your style? Creative, malleable, and stubborn
Who most influenced your design styles? My wife beyond anyone else. If I get invited to one of her Pinterest boards I know that I will be losing a whole weekend as we have a project to do! Sometimes I go crazy and do things the hard way when I create and build but she reels me in. We work well together – we balance each other!
What are you most inspired by in your design/decor? Preservation and history inspire me. Peeling back layers of paste and paper on walls and finding old mementos tucked behind studs is fascinating. In the modifications we are doing in our home, we are finding some cool old pristine wallpaper- so we are taking chunks of them on the wall itself and framing them in order to preserve and highlight as artwork!
As you think about the home in which you grew up, what elements did you like and do you think you have incorporated some of them in your own home?
Nothing actually comes to mind as far as style, but I developed a love of wood and tools and wood working through my grandpa who owned a small marina. He built a wooden boat out of mahogany. As a a kid I would pound in the nails on this boat and around age 14 I also worked with him making wooden fishing lures out of wood scraps. We made all our own tooling and jigs and I also learned the sales and marketing side of this business developing an entrepreneurial spirit early in life by this mentorship.
When entering your home, how do you want it to feel? I want it to feel modern with a farmhouse-esque “Tripolsky” spin
What is one element or trend in design you do not like? Reclaimed wood with a gloss finish! Please go natural!!
What is the biggest design issue you struggle with? Waste. For example, we use a lot of wooden boards in the work we do and at times, the boards don’t cooperate, or we cannot use the entire piece. We have come up with some creative solutions by giving these scraps to The Chelsea Pen Company for their wooden products…and I also give some of these unusable pieces away to people that want it for shelving, or other odds and ends.
Have you ever built a new home or remodeled an existing one? * Yes to both of these. In South Carolina we built a new home, but it was a mistake as it really wasn’t us! It was a track home and we got to pick style A or B. For our Chelsea home, we bought an old fixer-upper and have slowly been remodeling since the day we bought it. The enjoyment is the discovery of what is wrong and how we can fix it or preserve it. For us this is the fun challenge, although it would scare a lot of people.
Have you stayed true to a style through the years, or have you fluctuated in your tastes? Every home has been a polar opposite of the other. We’ve gone from a concrete contemporary condominium to a traditional lake home to an affordable historic remodel.
If you were moving and could only select one item from your home to keep, what would it be? I would detach our oven hood. I just completed it out of pallet wood and we love it.
Which room in your home gets the most use? That’s a tough one, because we have an open concept and we are still trying to figure out the rooms
No room is complete without: a story!
If you are a pet owner, how has that influenced your choices in design, if it has? * We have a five year old basset hound and 3 hens with their own stare-worthy chicken coop, however we don’t make design choices around our pets.
Has any local venue particularly caught your eye - if so why? Jiffy is a natural draw to me. The history behind it, the fact that this smaller city surrounds it and is such a big company in a small town. I love that I can see the industrial towers from my home – it is all so interesting.
What did you do to pass the time during the COVID-19 State shutdown? * We stayed the course- working and I have to say, became even got busier.
A few of your favorite things!
Movie – I’m not a movie person – but I liked “Midnight in Paris”
Favorite Historical Place You have visited – The one I haven’t visited yet….
Scent – Leather and Tobacco
Music– I bounce back and forth between Rock, Country and Techno (Dance Club music)
TV Show- I only babysit my wife while she watches
Meal – My gramma’s (who is 93) Maltese spaghetti sauce with calamari. And it can only be made by her. In elementary school I used to take it for lunch on occasion and everyone around me would know I had brought this dish again by the smell and were grossed out by the squid tentacles!
Travel Destination (on your bucket list)– We fly by the seat of our pants- and are very spontaneous – so wherever I can get to quickly is our next travel spot. Very soon it will be wherever I can get to fast and push a stroller!
Season – I am still figuring this out- I’ll get back to you - I like winter but hate snow!
Favorite thing to Collect – It alternates but mostly, “experiences”.
Design Style- I like to make my own – For now, I will call my style: Clean Intentional Reclaimed Design
Museum –Newseum – which is now closed for good – it was a museum dedicated to the history of journalism, first amendment freedoms and the free press, in Washington D.C.
Hobbies- My passion besides woodworking is talking to small businesses – what is their history, what makes them alive, etc? I love consulting with businesses in my marketing career – and I’d do for free if I could.
Item on a bookshelf – well, we have none as of now, so I’ll let you know!
I had a lot of fun talking with John, this interview was our first interaction and meeting. John is a true Creative with nonstop ideas, energy and the willingness to try anything. To get to know his business sides a bit better, as they sound fascinating, here is a bit of information:
Roots and Iron: We Reclaim historic materials and piece by piece put them in homes where they are loved and appreciated and get to start a new life. Sharing the stories that come with the wood I use is the most fun part of this work. We are willing to make all kinds of items, have reasonable prices and we don’t usually turn a job away.
The conversations that I get to have with people through this work are priceless- it’s my favorite part of the job. We have made some incredibly unique items, two that come to mind are a long farmhouse table that was made out of 14’ long planks, and a 40’ run of barn beams milled down, from a water flower power mill in Kalamazoo.
Bark House Marketing: Helps brands find their voice through digital marketing. We are known for devising a strategic plan and sticking with it – for Start-Up Companies to Fortune 500 Companies. We love the partnership with companies this work brings, from launching podcasts to developing websites, we have no geographic confinements.