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Timeline Prefinished Wood Makes the New Old Again

By Pamela Rouse
Published: Thursday, October 14, 2010, at 11:55AM
Timeline Pre-finished Wood Pamela Rouse [Flickr]

Just out of the line of sight in a space along Mateo in the Arts District, Matt Stroud has been creating one of a kind furniture designs and wall paneling.

"We've been falling under the radar up until a few months ago," he said, "Because this has been a film location for so long, (people) don't think it's an actual business."

The building Downtown residents might recognize is 544 Mateo, a former warehouse that has starred in many film and television shows including "CSI" and HBO's "Mad Men."

What many may not know is that it also houses design and architecture businesses on the first floor, where Stroud and Shelby Keyser have been operating Timeline Prefinished Wood out of for the last year.

Stroud seems a little self-effacing even when showing off his work. What he does is labor-intensive, but the pieces he creates are exceptional, yet sturdy and functional works of art. He talks enthusiastically about the process and the wood designs themselves.

"It's all hand-aged so it looks like real old peeling wood, but it's really durable and doesn't scratch." he said, showing his model wall. The wood can be ordered in custom sizes to be used as paneling, shelving or furniture. To give it the aged look several thin layers of coatings are applied, then sealed with a flat furniture coating. Unlike reclaimed lumber, the product is sturdier and won't peel.

Stroud started wood working at the age of 15 when he was living in Texas, creating high-end conference tables. He moved to San Clemente, California at 19 where he continued the craft of furniture-making, creating high-end decorative finishes such as wood-grain or marble.

His original shop was in Fullerton for just over eight years. Stroud had been wanting to make the move to Downtown for some time. A day came when he finally decided to take the drive up and take a look around. He laughs, recalling, "I pretty much got off the freeway and took a left turn and saw this building that said 'paints oils and varnish' on the side and thought, 'This is perfect for me!'"

Stroud moved everything Downtown, including himself. He and partner Shelby Keyser are residents of the Old Bank District.

Until recently, most of his clients were from out of state through his website, taking orders that were then shipped. This is still a bulk of his business. Since moving the business downtown, they have designed pieces for some of the film productions in the area as they've stumbled upon his work while filming.

Their work has shown up in local restaurants in Burbank and Little Tokyo, and Stroud shares that he's creating tables for local restaurant The Spice Table.

Pieces vary from client to client. One person wants a bed-frame, another a "wood slab" headboard (hand-painted, growth rings included), and one client called wanting a mantelpiece made for them.

Unlike reclaimed lumber where one would need to work with what they have, Stroud can create it, cut it exactly to size and finish it custom-made for the client. The piece has the sharp edges but with the hand-carved front.

"Anything custom I'm interested in, we just don't build standard looking cabinets," he stated emphatically.

Timeline Prefinished Wood / 544 Mateo / 213.620.5730/ general hours: M-F: 9:30pm-6pm; Sat: 11pm-3pm

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