Just one look at Austin’s laid back demeanor and it is clear that he is a man of nature. “The people who are drawn to wood and nature,” he says, “You can just tell when they are talking about it. They light up, and there is something really cool about that.”
Those words clarify the peace Austin is feeling now as he finds himself turning towards his unique calling. As is the case with most artists, the path to his passion was full of twists and turns. He graduated Flagler College with a degree in Business Management, moved to South Beach to be a DJ for seven years, and then returned to St. Augustine to pursue a career in real estate. His real estate career helped segue into the fulfillment of a lifelong passion, crafting practical art through Old Town Timber. “Folks that are house hunting are usually focused on design aspects for their new space,” he says, “I’m now involved in all aspects.”
Austin’s father Len Weeks has been a craftsman and builder in St. Augustine since the ’80s. Austin has warm memories of helping his father in his shop as a young boy and accompanying his father on architectural tours to cities like Miami, and of course St. Augustine.
An avid collector of wood, Austin finds treasure everywhere. He combs the beach, visits tear-downs and never passes by a discarded pile of old lumber. One of the favorite aspects of his work is the transformation. “Taking pieces of mangled wood out of dumpsters and turning them into a unique piece of furniture that will stay with families for generations is special.” He smiles. “It’s also pretty cool to see the look on the customer’s face when they see the piece for the first time.”
Austin’s favorite piece at the moment is a tree light installation at the Yoga Collective. He also just created a unique bathroom/dressing room space at Panache salon. The walls are tree limbs with the nubs being the clothing hooks. He has a secret recipe for making magnetic boards from wood which are also utilized in the room. He says, “I like taking normal stuff and giving it a twist.”
One of those twists comes in the form of fluorescent tables and fixtures. This is achieved by mixing powder into resin and then pouring it into the nooks and crannies of the wood. The result is a glow-in-the-dark finishing which is perfect for backyard entertaining.
Austin is currently cultivating a plan for a storefront, which will house all of his unique creations. Oh, the stories those pieces will tell.
To see and purchase some of Austin’s work visit www.oldtowntimber.com.