Creating A Home With Soul!
Hi My Friends!! I hope you are getting into the holiday spirit no matter which holiday you are celebrating. It is a time for miracles, kind words and random acts of kindness!! This is an article I wrote for a magazine that I though you would all enjoy!!
New, bright and shiny certainly have their appeal. Stocked materials are manufactured in standard sizes, readily available and easy to install, which can streamline projects and lower expenses. But there is something about incorporating reclaimed pieces or making new surfaces feel aged that gives a home its soul.
It’s easy to see how a Mediterranean, Old English Tudor or Country French home would feel more authentic with a few elements built in from the past, but mixing some of these items into a transitional or ultra-modern home can have just as much of an impact.
Paired with sleek furnishings, reclaimed floors, old beams and plastered walls bring a warm and timeless touch to contemporary designs. Architectural consultant Sarah West explains, “Even the smallest architectural detail can set the tone of a room. Adding an old hinge or a lock to a door adds a sense of history.”
Old wood used for flooring or ceiling beams is a wonderful place to start. Lorraine Vojack, owner of Custom Floors Unlimited, is a master of finding, finishing and reinstalling reclaimed wood. According to Vojack, “Wood has soul. God invented and designed the perfect thing with a tree. It holds our soil, cleans our air, filters our water; cut it down and it keeps living and moving… It can constantly be transformed into useful purposes.”
When working with wood, it is important to keep in mind that not all wood is the same. Not only are there so many different kinds – walnut, cherry, mesquite, etc. – but within each type, there are different species. For example, there are over 126 species of pine, all of which should be treated differently according to how you will use them.
Wood from old cedar fencing has a wonderful gray patina, making it the perfect material for a planked ceiling or accent wall. Old scaffolding planks covered in years of plaster and paint work beautifully as shelving.
Working with reclaimed wood is more expensive than new wood due to waste factors involved in removing existing nails and properly fumigating it. But as Vojack notes, “With all of its complications, aged wood has a charm and a history that evokes a feeling people can’t describe but are drawn to nevertheless.”
Planning for these elements upfront can save dollars and time. For instance, having reclaimed door sizes on hand before the jams are built ensures these pieces will fit in the space without the hassle of retrofitting the doors or rebuilding the frames. I once found that installing an antique door after the opening was already built cost more than the door itself. In these situations, new doors can be finished with a similar patina and character.
While remodeling my offices, I salvaged shutters from my dining room and brought them back to life with a textured, peeling paint finish. Reinstalled as door fronts to a closet, they have become a beautiful focal point in the room as well as a reminder of fond memories I shared with my family.
Using interesting furniture pieces as bathroom vanities or kitchen islands is another way to add that sense of uniqueness and timelessness to your space. Designer Sarah Eilers of Lucas/Eilers Design Associates says, “When looking for a vanity for a powder room, the width and depth is the most important element. Most cabinetry is 24 inches deep to accommodate a deck mount faucet and sink. If your piece is shallower, use a wall mount faucet, or have a carpenter add to the back of the piece and ask a finisher to paint or stain the new wood to match.”
Eilers also feels strongly about incorporating historic lighting, like these twin chandeliers from a villa in Italy, now showcased in a plastered dining room. I too have found that vintage lighting can set just the right tone in a space. One of my favorite light fixtures was saved from a home that was being demolished in the prestigious River Oaks neighborhood in Houston. Although antique lighting may need to be rewired, it is typically one-of-a-kind and becomes art when installed in a room.
Yes, there is something to be said for having things from the past built into your home, maybe because they remind us of the many incredible stories of yesteryear. These survived pieces, handed down from generation to generation, give us peace that a bit of our story will be carried on as well.
I hope you all have a wonderful week!! Till next time!
If you are interested in hosting an event or carrying the book please don’t hesitate to reach out! Email Karly@segretofinishes.com for all inquiries! We love to visit new cities!!!