After working in the corporate world for 20 years, Carlo Stenta found himself in his mid-40s unemployed wondering what he was going to do when he "grew up.”
The Redondo Beach resident had frequently worked alongside his father while growing up in New York. He had some experience remodeling and with small-scale construction work, but he had no formal experience in woodworking.
Then, one day he needed a table for his backyard.
Instead of buying one, Stenta decided to build one with his own hands.
That's when he fell in love working with his hands. He wanted to pursue something tangible, he said. And, at the same time, he decided to create a business out his calling.
“I wanted to make things that were quality, but also something that was realistic with my level of skill,” Stenta said.
While his wife, Jennifer, was still employed, there was a mortgage to pay and a young son to raise.
But Stenta took the leap and started his own company, Recovery Furniture, where he crafts his work in Redondo Beach. He uses reclaimed construction timber from South Bay homes, hardwoods from fallen trees and steel to build various types of tables, lighting, art objects and industrial pieces.
Stenta said every piece he makes is functional.
“I want to make it beautiful, I want it to flow and I want it to say something," he said. "Where is this from? Who makes this? Was it made with human hands?,” Stenta said. “I think there's a desire to have something like that.”
Early on, Stenta befriended local contractors.
“I bought the crew a six pack; they gave me some wood,” Stenta said. “I built the table and I realized that there might be an opportunity here.”
Stenta said he is striving for sustainability as much as possible.
He still has a good relationships with local contractors who give him quality wood from residential tear downs.
“If it comes from a South Bay home, I'll tell the client where the wood actually came from, what block it came from, what neighborhood it came from,” he said.
Stenta works with Angel City Lumber in Los Angeles, a company that started in 2017 that transforms naturally fallen trees into slabs and boards for artists to use in their work.
Stenta uses his “design + build studio” to hone his skills and to develop prototypes to test in the marketplace. When he is commissioned to build a piece specifically for a client, he builds the final product out of shared shop spaces in Los Angeles.
Since he began creating furniture, Stenta said he has been building his own aesthetic and he has become more “proud” with his craftsmanship and wants to share his work with the South Bay.
“I strongly believe that responsible revitalization includes reclamation,” Stenta said.
Pieces from his 2020 collection are available at E&K Vintage Wood in Gardena.
For more information about Stenta's work, visit recoveryfurniture.com.