Before I start my review of what you should look for in exotic wood furniture, let me first explain what it is: it’s furniture with exotic materials and an exotic design… simple, huh? Well, if I tell you that “exotic” means: “which comes from another part of the world”, then I am sure you will better understand. For us westerners, this means furniture pieces from Africa, Asia, South-East Asia or even Latin America. As for the raw materials used, they are exotic wood species like Teak, Tamarind, Sono, African Mahogany, Eucalyptus, Ebony, Ipe and many others.
Let’s take a walk outside first: you certainly have seen exotic wood furniture like Teak garden tables and chairs. More and more patios and decks are furnished with these sets because Teak is naturally decay and weather resistant, lasting often for more than 50 years outdoors. Teak furniture is also a statement of your discerning tastes as a homeowner.
While many exotic wood furniture pieces can use Teak oil to preserve their color and appearance, you should check with a knowledgeable woodworker what finish is best suited to the wood species of your particular furniture. You will apply most of these finishes with a rag in 2 to 3 coats. Make sure you let it dry before you take the furniture outdoors.
By “furniture” we actually mean both functional and decorative furniture pieces. Hence, to harmonize the different elements of your home, I suggest you include some decorative exotic furniture pieces like Teak sculptures, for instance. They would match your newly purchased Teak root coffee table and not have it stand out too much from the rest of your modern furniture, if this is your dominant furniture style. You could also include another exotic wood furniture piece like a Bali-style lamp made of Sono wood.
You obviously want to make sure that your new pieces of exotic wood furniture fit in their particular setting, outdoors or indoors. Expert advice from a knowledgeable professional is invaluable. If you can have your piece custom designed and built for you, it will be perfect, as you will be able to set the dimensions, style, color and material so it mixes well.
There are several companies that have discerning exotic wood furniture, some may be close, some far from your location. For long term satisfaction, it is usually important to “fall in love” with the designs, styles and materials used by a given company or store. Espace Mosaik in Brome-Lake, Quebec (Canada) is one of these unique exotic furniture stores that I particularly like. Modern, Balinese, Indonesian or Root Art styles, definitely exotic. Reused, recycled or recuperated exotic wood is also what sets them apart.
Who designs and builds their exotic wood furniture? Most pieces are created by Joel Dumas, in his Denpasar (Bali) workshop. But you will also see pieces they have collected by touring distant villages in Java and Bali, sometimes farther away. They have partnered with a local craftsman who uncovers rare pieces and materials thanks to his deep connections within the local communities. Several times a year, all pieces are carefully packed and shipped to North America. Oh, and did I mention they also offer to custom design and build any piece of furniture?
If you use the information in this article and talk to knowledgeable professionals, choosing unique exotic wood furniture to furnish your home or garden will most likely reward you with an immense satisfaction. You will create a distinct atmosphere that you and your invited friends or family can only notice, enjoy and envy. One last word: make sure you don’t fall for cheap exotic furniture that you will see in all your neighbors house – or it will achieve the exact opposite effect.