Q&A: Lake Wood Designs Lets “The Wood Speak for Itself”

Devin Garrett, founder of Lake Wood Designs, talks business, furniture, and what’s next for the Duluth-based company

Photos by John Keefover of Keefography

While working with Duluth Timber Company (now closed), Devin Garrett got antsy. He was helping with sales, a website launch, and other initiatives, “but I had a vision of getting to a more finished value-added product,” he says. So, after leaving the timber company, he bought some tools, some wood, and began crafting tables, paneling, and millwork for clients in his garage. “And I just kept going,” he adds.

Today, he’s the founder of Lake Wood Designs, a Duluth company that curates reclaimed wood from pickle and wine barrels, industrial buildings, and warehouses. (When Duluth Timber went out of business, he also purchased all of its stock and machinery.) We asked Garrett how the business has been faring during the pandemic, what sets Lake Wood apart from other makers, and what’s next for the entrepreneur.

What distinguishes your furniture?

We try to let the wood speak for itself. We’re not taking and altering wood to look old. We’re using old wood with simple finishes that its natural character. We’re minimal in that way. It’s not overly complicated.

What sets you apart from other makers?

The desire to grow! We had a good trajectory pre-pandemic, but the lockdown really slowed us down. We do a lot of restaurant and commercial work. Overnight, we lost a lot of revenue. But since I started the business, I’ve left myself open to getting feedback and learning what the market is interested in. Now, I’m doing a lot bathroom-focused stuff and fireplace mantels.

How much of your work is residential?

About 50 percent. We have a decent portfolio of projects. In one house up the North Shore, an older couples’ dream home, we did the floors, ceilings, paneling, vanities, countertops, cabinets, everything.

Is business rebounding now a bit?

Yes. We call it “hunting season.” All of a sudden, we’re getting a lot of inquiries from people preparing for their next projects. We’ve done custom work, like built-in cabinets and bench combos on five continuous walls in a 13-sided house. But we’re also really good at flooring, tables, stair treads, and trim. We are your one-stop shop for unique reclaimed timber that adds warmth and charm to any project.

Want to check out the showroom? Go here for a tour.

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