Mother Earth Living

IF Green: Saving Forests, One Chair at a Time

What if furniture mattered? That’s the question two woodworkers intend to answer with their new company, IF Green.

A tale of two craftsmen: Stephen Becker and Tim Tracy could be twins separated at birth, jokes Lisa Grove, Becker’s wife and the third partner in IF Green. Becker managed an organic farm in Kansas; Tracy managed one in Washington. Becker ran his own cabinetry business; Tracy built his own cabin. The two met while working at a home-building/remodeling firm in Portland, Oregon.

Furniture with a philosophy: In 2005, Becker, Tracy and Grove launched IF Green, offering stylish, built-to-order home furnishings that are economically, physically and socially sustainable.

Less is more: Becker strives to use minimal resources while creating strong, attractive furniture. The Split-Back Dining Chair is made from just one-third sheet of plywood, thanks to his ultra-efficient design.

Something new, something old: The IF Green crew can’t decide which new material thrills them more: an innovative, eco-resin product called 3form that can be twisted and curved, or a batch of Douglas fir reclaimed from an old cherry-orchard storage vat, stained pinkish-red from the fruit.

Dumpster delight: IF Green’s Dumpster often gets emptier as the week goes on, as Becker and Tracy re-appropriate material. “We use it for storage, really,” Tracy quips. Unusable remnants are given away for use as firewood; sawdust becomes compost.

No rest for the creative: Becker is obsessed with making things. “It’s a blessing and a curse,” he says. One snowy night in Portland, he stayed up until 2 a.m. building a sled for the next day using old cross-country skis, a crutch and a piece of wood slated for the garbage. Unfortunately, the snow didn’t stick.

The goods: Ogle or order wheatboard ottomans, palm-wood chairs and more at

  • Published on Aug 8, 2008
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