Gale-Force Designer: Matthew Steckley

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The clean lines of the School Chair ($3,200) and the Floor Lamp (with 26-inch drum shade: $1,150) reflect the quiet elegance of nature.
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Matthew Steckley creates heirloom-quality works from reclaimed wood in his Miami workshop. “I try to apply my talents wisely to enhance the beauty of nature,” he says.
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Inspired by the architecture of bridges, the Arches Writing Desk ($7,000) is cleverly crafted from salvaged Bischofia wood. “I knew if I could incorporate two continuous arch supports rather than four independent legs, there’d be no need for cross supports underneath to buttress the legs,” Steckley says.
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The simple arc of the Bowing Desk Lamp echoes the waves Steckley loves. The lamp ($795) utilizes energy-saving LED bulb technology.
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The three-legged Infinity Stool, made from West Indian rosewood ($3,200), reflects the mathematical sign for infinity: a sideways figure eight.
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Steckley uses his trademark curves and tripod design for this Floor Lamp with an Internal Shade, done in wild tamarind (5 feet high: $1,150).

Miami woodworker Matthew Steckley reincarnates hurricane-downed trees and salvaged driftwood into fabulous furniture.

His “Eureka!” moment: Inspired by driftwood and the waves during a surf trip in Baja California, Mexico, Matthew Steckley formulated plans for a furniture-design business with environmental sensitivity. This year, the self-taught artisan celebrates his 10th anniversary building chairs, tables and accessories that have earned him design awards.

Downed but not out: Many of Steckley’s pieces are crafted from trees that fell during Hurricane Wilma in 2005. Other timbers include victims of Dutch elm disease and recovered driftwood from ships off the Miami coast, which he collects while surfing. Steckley often chooses naturally downed Cuban mahogany, a mainstay along Miami roadways, for his creations. “The grain and color are beautiful and only get better with time,” he says.

Going into labor: Steckley’s designs are labor intensive–you won’t find a nail or screw anywhere. He opts, instead, for demanding mortise-and-tenon or dovetail joinery. A single stool can take 8 to 10 days to hand-sculpt and polish.

When furniture comes to life: The moment a piece truly lives is just after the first coat of all-natural oil finish is applied. “It’s now separate from its origin, yet it displays beautiful elements from the source wood,” Steckley says. “Add to that the results of several hands working their experiences into the design, and a special piece is realized.”

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