Raul Juarez-Celada was initially hesitant about having his business, The Reclaimed Wood Shop at 2102 W. 34th St., featured in one an HGTV show. Before the episodes aired within the last month, he said the wait time for custom pieces was up to 120 days at the store.
“I wasn’t sure I wanted any more publicity,” Juarez-Celada said. “We are already very busy.”
But when he was approached by Jon Pierre and Mary Tjon-Joe-Pin, a designer and real estate agent, respectively, who host the HGTV show "Two Steps Home" – helping Houston-area clients sell, buy and renovate to get their dream home – Juarez-Celada said he decided to take the risk.
His shop worked on four different houses for the couple, making custom beams and an oak mantel among other projects. When Tjon-Joe-Pin walked through the shop on camera, she called it “wood heaven.”
The Reclaimed Wood Shop was not mentioned by name on the show, but it was identified on social media by HGTV and "Two Steps Home." And the response has been extraordinary.
“We are getting calls from all over the U.S.,” Juarez-Celada said. “It’s been fantastic.”
The success of his business was something that Juarez-Celada, a former computer engineer, could not have anticipated when he started working for a lumber company in 2009, manufacturing custom beams. As a 13-year-old growing up in Mexico, Juarez-Celada said he loved working with wood but studied computers as the more "practical" option. But he always did small projects for friends.
In 2013, he founded The Reclaimed Wood Shop on West 34th and hasn’t looked back.
The shop goes by RWSHOP34 on social media now as part of a rebranding effort because they work a lot with new wood, too. Juarez-Celada still loves to work with old wood, but he said it is harder to source now. He used to get a lot of wood from old churches, buildings and racetracks but the prices have gone way up.
“A whole barn would cost $5,000 in 2009 and it’s $75,000 now,” he said.
The shop makes beams, fireplace mantels, corbels, kitchen island tops, sliding barn doors, French doors and other custom furniture. Clients meet by appointment with the Reclaimed Wood Shop team, which drafts their vision and then makes it a reality.
Juarez-Celada’s crew of four were inexperienced woodworkers when hired, but he has trained them, and all are still with the shop seven years later. He also gives much credit for the store’s success to Grace Guarniere, the storeroom manager.
Juarez-Celada said there is so much about the wood he appreciates, particularly white oak.
“I love the color,” he said. “I love the smell.”
He says a lot of people don’t know different pieces of wood furniture react differently in different houses because of humidity and other factors.
“It has to acclimate to a house,” Juarez-Celada says.
When the shop gets a bundle of wood, it is milled on-site which enables Juarez-Celada to get the most out of each piece. Sometimes the right use for a piece of wood is not evident right away.
There have been many "pinch-me" moments over the years, the HGTV appearance being one of them. The shop has made items for Houston Texans players, including Ka'imi Fairbairn, and Grammy Award winner Christina Cindrich. Recently an actor from one of Juarez-Celada’s favorite childhood shows, "El Chavo del Ocho," contacted him about making a table.
“It’s a beautiful profession,” he said of woodworking. “I don’t miss computer engineering at all.”