“The first time we tried to sell our [bird]houses in public, the customers knew more about birdhouses than we did,” admits Matthew Borgen, co-founder of Recycled Rowhouse. Borgen and his partner Monica Giacomucci started cobbling birdhouses from found wood as gifts for friends and family. But after that initial attempt to sell them, Borgen—a professional artist and gallery technician—decided to take the projects more seriously, visiting the library to learn about local birds. The result is functional birdhouses with a unique aesthetic.
“We’re constantly looking on the side of the road and hitting yard and estate sales,” says Giacomucci—who comes from a business and communications background—and because of Philly’s “rich architectural history and the liberty people feel putting just about anything on the curb on trash day, there is never a shortage of raw materials.” While birdhouses are their primary product, Borgen and Giacomucci have also started making candlestick holders from old balustrades and jewelry boxes with laminated scrap wood and antique handles. – Jaclyn Hardgrove
Recycled Rowhouse, facebook.com/recycledrowhouse
Crafty Balboa Holiday Show: Sat., Dec. 8, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Ss. Neumann Goretti High School, 1736 S. 10th St. Shop for local, handmade gifts (including Recycled Rowhouse) at the fourth annual holiday show.