When Josh Hooge and Steve McFarlane first launched J&S Custom Furniture Co. in their shared backyard ten years ago, they envisioned it as simply a side hustle (but one with deep roots: Hooge’s woodworking family tree—pardon the expression—stretches back to the 1600s). Since then, they’ve grown into a team of four, all working with salvaged materials to craft one-of-a-kind furniture pieces for one-of-a-kind home spaces. “We’ve come a long way from the East Vancouver backyard days,” says McFarlane.

Even the offcuts from J&S serve a purpose: “If there is anything that we can’t use internally, that just goes into our firewood bin, which is donated to the community,” Josh Hooge says. Photo by Kyoko Fierro

The team describes their craftsmanship as old-school—“Think back to your great-grandfather’s time,” says McFarlane. Even their innovative design hearkens back to a simpler time: instead of contrasting with natural settings, Hooge and McFarlane create their pieces to flow with the environment. “One of the things you don’t see in nature is a lot of square cuts or 90-degree angles. That’s something that only humans do,” explains Hooge. The team incorporates softer lines into their rustic, industrial pieces to create harmony between the furniture and the natural world.

Photo by Kyoko Fierro

Equally important to design in the J&S philosophy is sustainability. The company uses reclaimed timber from construction and demolition sites across the Lower Mainland to build their solid wood pieces. Despite the materials’ history and the traditional techniques, their work still feels fresh, lively and creative.  “We have really refined our craft,” says McFarlane. “It’s essentially art, now.”

Photo by Kyoko Fierro

Original story published in 2023 July/August Western Living print issue.