Feb. 15 2012 12:00 AM

Against the Grain


Mass-produced furniture has its place — almost every place, in fact — but if furniture hand hewn from old growth cypress salvaged from the Vlasic Pickle Factory lights your fire, Against the Grain offers a thoughtful alternative.

Against the Grain is a Michigan-based sustainable wood works company that designs and makes sustainable art, home décor and furniture pieces.

“Everything that we do in a project we make, from lighting to sinks to furniture and cabinets — it’s all urban recycling, primarily coming from industrial buildings and diseased trees in the area,” owner Jay Belous explained.

The enterprise first moved to Lansing from Eaton Rapids about a year ago, starting at 110 Grand River Avenue and adding a 5,000-square-foot studio on Washington Avenue. When intrigued clients began to accumulate, the new showroom at 1221 Turner St. in Old Town was “a natural progression,” Belous said.

Against the Grain creates custom design interiors, using sustainable materials, and makes studio furniture, but there’s no strict line in the shop between designer and carpenter. “We’re carpenters and we’re not,” Belous said. “We’re designers as well.”

“We’re looking for customers that are open for something a little out of their daily routine and expecting a hands-on approach,” Belous said. “That can even mean errors and flaws, in a sense.”

In addition to eco-friendly material sources, everything at Against the Grain is hand made. That not only ensures a unique product, but a satisfying relationship between client and craftsperson. At a big box store, you can get the feeling that you’re throwing money into a giant hole that goes all the way to China — or at least to Sam Walton’s heirs.

“When you buy hand made, you affect the economy and the community, especially when you buy local,” Belous said. “It really affects a lot of people.” Belous has six employees. “By coming to one place you can affect 10 families in one purchase,” he said. “That may be small but it’s not going overseas to some corporate place somewhere.”

Against the Grain

1220 Washington Ave., Old Town, Lansing.

(517) 202-9708