Though Terren Gomez-West grew up around carpenters, his dream was to become a professional snowboarding photographer.
For a number of years he was: He traveled around the world as a freelance photographer, traversing mountains in majestic locales like Thompson Pass, Alaska, to shoot with legendary snowboarder Mike Basich and Flow Snowboards.
But back in South Lake Tahoe in 2010, he found himself in his garage crafting picture frames, then a rolling bar for a friend, then beds and desks for others.
Soon after, Mez Works Furniture was born.
“My late father and uncle are both cabinet builders and carpenters by trade, so I was always around it, but I didn’t have an interest in it at first,” said Gomez-West. “I started out building more rustic things with reclaimed wood.”
Over time, however, his style shifted away from the “log cabin” look to what he describes as “midcentury inspiration with modern flair.”
With a photography background and website design skills to showcase his work, Gomez-West’s furniture started to get noticed online.
He began shipping to clients around the country, and his business expanded as more requests for custom items began to flow in.
In 2013, Gomez-West’s wife Allie came on board.
“She doubled our sales within the first year because she could get back to people in a timely manner,” said Gomez-West with a laugh.
Using large slabs of raw wood from Northern California, Gomez-West and his team of four sand, shape and seal the wood before seamlessly pairing it with metal accents for an industrial touch. They create coffee tables, dining tables and benches that sell for thousands of dollars.
Starting in 2013, Mez Works began branding and numbering each piece of furniture, and to date they’ve surpassed 350 pieces.
“We have this killer team,” continued Gomez-West, referring to the addition of friends Nick Poohachoff, Tim Peare and Scotty Amoroso to Mez Works.
“We have been fortunate to have all known each other for over a decade, well before Mez Works Furniture was even a concept, starting out first as friends before deciding to work together,” added Allie. “Our shared interests and deep connections has made it easy to work with one another with each member bringing forth skills that are imperative to our growth and success.”
Today Mez Works travels at least once a month to deliver custom pieces to homes in the Bay Area and ships their goods around the country. They work frequently with Ryan Group Architects in Truckee to build pieces for homes in Martis Camp and around the lake.
“(Mez Works) has a very keen sense of design,” noted Annie MacFadyen, an interior designer with Ryan Group Architects. “Just because someone is located in Tahoe doesn’t mean it has to be all knots and bears. You can still have cleaner aesthetics and a product that is timeless and durable.”
The team recently completed their largest piece to date — a 13-foot table for the new Lisa Maloff University Center at Lake Tahoe Community College.
“I never knew it would get to the point that it has now,” said Gomez-West. “It’s great to be able to work with your good friends and create something that people really appreciate.”