Teak Me Home Reclaimed Wood Furnishings
By Alex Elsinga and Lawrence Grown
Editing by Reyna Bernstein
Teak Me Home is a sustainable artisan furniture company, founded in 2012 by San Francisco Bay Area original Alex Elsinga.
After graduating from UC Davis, Alex began working in the healthcare industry, but was quickly sidetracked when seeking solid wood furniture for his first home. To his surprise, he couldn’t find bedroom, living, or dining room furniture that met his eco-friendly standards for quality, style, and functionality. He decided to take matters into his own hands, and found mentorship with local skilled woodworkers, learning how to design and handcraft his own pieces. Through this work, Alex fell in love with the beauty of reclaimed teak wood. Teak is an extremely dense hardwood with highly prized color patterns, and each reclaimed piece is unique and rich with history. Soon after he started, Alex began receiving requests from friends and family to craft furniture pieces for them. His hobby turned into a career: he said goodbye to the corporate world, and founded Teak Me Home.
As owner and lead furniture designer, Alex’s care for quality and sustainability shines through every detail of the building process, from the very first steps of sourcing wood through handcrafting heirloom furniture pieces. He is passionate about connecting the past with the present – the wood used in Teak Me Home furniture is reclaimed from structures which were originally built from old-growth trees harvested at the turn of the 19th century. History still beautifully alive, the Teak Me Home team carefully disassembles these buildings, beam by beam. The teak wood is then milled and meticulously handcrafted into fine furniture for a new generation to appreciate and to share in the wood’s continuing story.
Teak wood is highly valued because of its interesting grain patterns, its beautiful warm tones, and its extreme density. It is almost immune to decay, containing natural oils that are resistant to insects. Teak trees can grow 150 ft in height and 3 to 8 ft in diameter at the base. The leaves are among the largest in the world, 2 ft long and 1.5 ft wide. They yield a purple dye and are used for thatching and wrapping. The tree also produces small fragrant white flowers that grow in clusters and a fruit the size of a cherry that contains oily seeds.
Using reclaimed teak wood is far more labor-intensive than working with new wood. Reclaimed wood needs to be de-nailed, planed on both sides, and patched where signs of the previous structure existed. Teak Me Home’s unique process protects and restores the environment, keeping our Earth’s forests safe from deforestation, which in turn conserves wildlife and slows climate change.
Each piece of reclaimed teak is unique. Variations are to be expected and celebrated. It is not uncommon to find several contrasts in the same piece of furniture. Grain variations, signs of the old structure that have been filled, and mineral deposits are not viewed as flaws. Knots and other characteristics of old reclaimed wood are much like the nubs found in such fine fabrics as silk and linen, indications of genuine quality. As a result, Teak Me Home’s finished pieces are exceptionally beautiful, unique, and solid, meant to last a lifetime.
Visit Teak Me Home’s Berkeley showroom at 1510 San Pablo Avenue, or their website at teakmehome.com to incorporate the organic warmth of reclaimed teak wood into your residential, commercial, or hospitality project.