Date: January 17, 2013 | Story: Tiffany Burgess |
Reclaimed materials, classic Americana style and whitewash paint techniques may be showing up on your radar as current home trends. However, they aren’t a newfound love for Paul Michael. Instead, they are a lifelong passion. He has been a champion of handcrafted pieces, salvaged materials and the creative process in general since the early 1970s when he founded Paul Michael Company in Lake Village.
Today his business prides itself on this strong tradition of quality and craftsmanship, as well as the clever use of materials that might have otherwise been cast aside. Starting with his own musings in the large Lake Village workshop, Michael brings in found pieces of wood, metal and other materials, and looks for ways to use them in his next project. Whether it’s a headboard crafted from recycled barn wood or a bench made from regional cypress, each piece he and his team create is carefully crafted from salvaged components.
Classic style and traditional form are also part of his furniture line’s appeal. Michael got his start as an antiques dealer and it was here that he became familiar with furniture styles—gaining a sense of form, portion and scale, which he now uses in the workshop. “After Paul Michael Company got off the ground and running, we found a need for ‘real’ items with both substance and quality,” he says. Michael also credits his team of resourceful craftsmen for the one-of-a-kind designs that have become synonymous with the company. A studio-like atmosphere coupled with the willingness of everyone to participate in the evolution of each piece from start to finish yields an astounding product time after time.
“The treasure hunt and creative process are two things I enjoy most in life,” says Michael. “Repurposing naturally fits into who I am as a buyer and creator.” It is this spirit he carries with him as he seeks rare finds to transform into useful, quality works of art that soon end up on the floors of one of his four bustling homeware stores with locations in Louisiana, Texas and of course the original storefront in Lake Village. Michael is constantly searching for reclaimed pieces that are rare, of great quality, and are able to be used for a multitude of purposes and ideas. “I keep an open mind and look for objects that fit within my ability to interpret their potential,” he says.
As for where the inspiration comes from? “I believe all people have talent. The difference is some people are able to release it and others keep it trapped inside. That is the idea behind the studio atmosphere we work in—our people are able to let go of their talents and collectively we have been successful in creating quality furniture and accessories,” he says.