A trip to his homeland Colombia was all it took for Omar Rivera to fall in love with the beauty of handmade crafts created by various locals he encountered. At the time he was working with about 60 artisans to import home decor. His admiration stayed with him when he returned to America. Nearly 15 years later, he’s opened his own shop in Sea Cliff, Restoration Oak, focusing on making safe, beautiful products.
The store, which opened on Feb. 4, is a contracting showroom on one side where customers can design their homes with items like clay wall finishes, Venetian plasters and reclaimed wood flooring. The other side is an artisan boutique showcasing one-of-a-kind wooden items. Most of these are made in-store while the others are imported from South America. Standout pieces include benches, leaning mirrors and slab tables. Prices range from less than $100 to over $2,000 depending on product and size.
“Right now we have a slab table that’s purple,” the Long Island resident said. “It’s the actual color of the wood. Everybody thinks we stained it but we didn’t.”
Depending on the size of the piece, Rivera can take up to two weeks to make one item. He promises two pieces will never be the same since he always throws in various types pieces of wood while constructing. Rivera and his team of three also do custom work bringing to life specific pieces customers ask for. And size isn’t an issue; they recently made a 10-foot long by 4-foot wide chalkboard for a restaurant and a 16-foot long and 6-foot wide table for another customer.
What makes Rivera’s shop even more special is the fact that everything is made with an eco-friendly mindset. Customers won’t have to worry about chemicals off-gassing since everything is made with natural green products. The earth weave carpeting he sells, for example, is made of 100 percent natural wool, while the clay items can even be used to plant flowers.
“When I started this business a lot of the stuff I was using was just hazardous,” Rivera said. “So I figured, why not try to find something that’s not hazardous that you can work with peacefully?”