Picker. The image that comes to mind when I see that word is not one of an artist and furniture maker in his mid twenties. In a loft. In Ontario. But, the picker that fits that description is one John Mihovetz, and I found him via a craigslist ad for a self-designed reclaimed wood and metal console table. I wasn’t in the market for a console table, but while idly searching the furniture listings came across his ad. The table in the ad’s photo was terrific: simple, understated, suitable for many types of spaces. Then — in the background — I saw it: a big, blue-green, of-a-certain-vintage, chunky metal cactus. I had to know more about it. I emailed the furniture designer, setting up a time to visit his loft in the Ontario Arts District, a small enclave of artistic expression in that town’s industrial/rail section. We found Mihovetz, a tall, affable young man with an intense love for his craft – and for harvesting the raw materials to produce it. This is where the picking comes in: he makes frequent treks into the backroads of the Southwest looking for weathered wood with which to create furniture, whether it be salvaged bowling alley flooring (gold and burnished) or discarded barnwood (dark and grizzled) …
Mihovetz also has a love for industrial items and Americana that includes metal farm, office and advertising items from a time when most were proudly made on American soil. A sensibility rare for one so young … He reconditions such pieces with a sensitivity toward preserving their obvious wear-and-tear, and allowing their former lives to shine through … But, back to that cactus: it’s actually a mailbox! Mihovetz found it while on his travels when it stopped him in his tracks … He convinced its owner to sell it to him, and after settling on a price, extricated it from where it’d stood its dutiful post for years. He’s selling it now for $800 … A great price, when you consider how much it would go for in LA, SF or NY.
Mihovetz will soon be leaving his loft for a spot in Pomona, a space large enough from which to sell his growing collection of self-designed and fabricated furniture and carefully picked items. Until then, he can be contacted for furniture commissions. Plus, he sells select pieces through nearby fave Treasures & Junk.
We enjoyed meeting and talking with Mihovetz … and, while walking us out to the car, he showed us a large metal workbench/table he had in the back of his pickup. What do you know: it was the exact table I had in my head for an outdoor dining area in my new garden plan! I put dibs on it and currently he’s cleaning up and reconditioning the table’s surface … I can’t wait to have it. And at a price much lower than what I’d pay at the Long Beach Flea Market, or in LA. We may never realize our own roving picker dreams, alas we’re limited by the constraints of time, energy and age … it’s good to know John Mihovetz is out there hunting for those distressed, rustic and rusty treasures for us.
John Mihovetz Reclaimed Wood Furniture: 909.851.6993
Treasures n’ Junk: 215 S. San Antonio Avenue, Ontario, CA. (909) 983-3300.
View more furniture pictures at his Etsy shop.