Reclaimed Wood From Malibu: Funk And Functionality

Forget that faux-distressed catalog furniture — if you’re in the market for green home decor, consider the real thing: furniture composed of naturally distressed, reclaimed wood, such as the handmade Ecologica Malibu line, available via that clearinghouse of all things arty and handmade, Etsy. Launched and run by Brazilian-born textile and furniture designer Mariana Schecter (now of Malibu, Calif.), this line takes full advantage of the natural, windswept state of salvaged wood in the form of conversation-worthy chairs, tables, bookshelves, planters and more.

Where exactly does Schecter get the unique wood used in the line (which often comes bearing weathered paint and notches)?  “I get my ‘rescued’ wood from several islands in Indonesia, sourced from old [defunct] houses and canoes, or ships like jangadas,” she told Etsy in an interview. Those who salvage the wood are paid a decent wage, of course, as are her local craftspeople.

image via Ecologicala Malibu

The result is a line of home furnishings designed for both funk and functionality, designed by Shecter and assembled by her team in Malibu (an expanded version of which is also available in person through the Ecologica Malibu retail store). Schecter says that, for the pieces featured at her retail store, she lets her imagination run wild, but that when it comes the online store, she does her best to keep designs within affordable bounds for those who’ll also be covering shipping costs for the pieces.


image via EcologicaMalibu

Each piece is unique, offering a unique imprint of its previous history in the tropics, and many pieces are composed of teak. The line includes bookshelves, entertainment consoles (pictured), benches, chairs, dining room sets, mirrors, “storage cubes”, and even an extensive selection of waste-baskets. Prices range from $50 to $4,200, and custom pieces are available by commission; more online at Etsy.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.


  • Reply May 7, 2012


    I wonder how much lead is in that paint?

  • Reply May 8, 2012


    This seller was shown by regresty (check out the bill of lading) to be reselling furniture shipped from Bali, not making furniture out of reclaimed wood shipped from Bali.

    • Reply May 9, 2012


      Thank you for the comment, Stephica. Readers are invited to study Etsy’s response to these accusations at the link provided in the above story (and included immediately below) as well as the statements from Regretsy and decide if this is a business they wish to support. 

      Pete Danko
      Managing Editor, EarthTechling

      • Reply June 5, 2012


         jeezopeez. You think because Etsy says declares it handmade that makes it so?  What are you guys,12 years old? Yes, I understand the irony that I’ve resorted to calling names, lol.

        Don’t writers have to research their articles – do a background check OTHER than reading the fluff that comes FROM A SINGLE SOURCE?  A supposedly “handmade only” venue that’s known to coach sellers in order to have their made in _______ crap that’s mass produced and sold on Etsy so that it complies with Etsy’s TOU?  In other words, an author of a piece relies solely on information that comes out of the asses of Etsy Admin?

        And, just in case you care enough, the ecological malibu store has been closed by Etsy, so now I suppose you *might* have enough proof.

        Whatever happened to integrity in “reporting”?.

        • Reply June 5, 2012


          Hi EarthHealth,

          I appreciate the issues raised by you and the other commenters here and regret to say that as a small startup we have to carefully weigh how we use our limited resources. Some stories we can delve into pretty deeply, but we can’t in all cases. This story was never intended as an investigative piece; we wrote it up simply to alert readers to something that looked cool. When commenters pointed out with great vehemence the questions surrounding this seller, I knew it would take a vast amount of reporting to try to untangle the truth. That just wasn’t possible for us, so I referred readers to the cases laid out by Etsy and by Etsy’s detractors in the hope that people could then make their own informed decision about the seller.

          Thanks for reading,

          Pete Danko
          Managing Editor, EarthTechling

  • Reply May 10, 2012


    This is greenwashing at its finest. Ridiculous.

  • Reply June 5, 2012


    Seriously, earthtechling? How on earth is this related to “earth” when it’s shipped across the oceans (yeah, so ecological) after being made by factories in Bali/Indonesia for a company named All From Boats.

    Sad thing is, that I really think the furniture is cool, but I’d never buy it BECAUSE it is shipped from overseas and that hardly makes it earth-wise.

    Idiots for featuring this.

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