Reclaimed or repurposed wood is a trend that continues to grow in popularity. While flooring is the most common use of it, reclaimed wood is also used for walls, beams, stair parts and even cabinetry.
A recent project used heart pine from a 19th century building. This older material simply has more character and, in this instance, created an historic kitchen flanked with built-in ovens in repurposed brick. Designers seek reclaimed wood that has both character and a story.
Manufacturers source this material from many places, including the Old Crow Distillery and Jim Beam Barrel House in Kentucky, John Deere in Kansas, and Coca-Cola in Atlanta.
It’s nice to leave some of the original face in select floors for those looking to add a little more character to their home. This also further preserves the history of the wood by leaving traces of a previous life.
Designers are hearing from more and more customers that they want a floor that can take the abuse of everyday life. Wood is a natural product that will scratch, but the scratches become a part of the antiquity of the product, with repairs easily made by using the same oil as the original finish.
The natural character of the wood and oil finish work in perfect harmony to achieve this durability.
Some designers actually prefer various materials with different grades of distressing to blend with the total design. When you walk into a large room, the floors are one of the first materials you see. A floor with character has a charm that is unmistakable.
Plank width, length, type of surface and color are considerations when choosing a floor. Colors can be natural finish or a variety of oiled finishes for woods with a different tone. These need to be selected with the designer to blend with the other finishes in your home.
By slicing the raw material into wear-layers and manufacturing it into engineered flooring, manufacturers can more than triple the amount of flooring they produce from each piece of reclaimed material. With the limited amount of material available, preserving it in any way possible is a priority.
It should also be noted that the Lowcountry is an area prone to high humidity, which jeopardizes the structural integrity of wood, causing warp. Slicing the material into a thinner wear layer and adhering it to an engineered or plywood backer makes the material stronger and more resistant to warping.
Visit a showroom or studio and experience history where you stand and see some of the creative ways this material can enhance your home.
Richard Winslow is the owner of Winslow Design Studio on Hilton Head Island, serving the Lowcountry. www.WinslowDesignStudio.com