Rustic or Polished, Wood Furniture a Stylish Addition to Any Room | HomeEdit http://buff.ly/2ppKVfW
We love our pets, but from sharp claws to gnawing teeth, our smallest family members can sometimes wreak havoc on our hardwood floors and furniture. Here are some easy first aid tips to help! http://buff.ly/2bGD5ES
Add some rustic flair to your bedroom with a live edge headboard, like this black walnut one we found on Pinterest! http://buff.ly/2ot7LD4
Ask anyone to name a hardwood, and it’s a safe bet they’ll reply, “Oak.” There are good reasons for this. Of the more than 600 extant species of oak found throughout the Northern Hemisphere, 90 are native to the United States, making the hardy, attractive, and plentiful wood familiar to every American. We’ve been using it for furniture, flooring, paneling, and building ever since the days of the Pilgrims; it’s even the country’s National Tree. If America’s longtime relationship with oak continues to flourish, it’s because today’s architects, designers, and homeowners are constantly finding fresh, inventive ways to use it in contemporary settings. Here are three modern projects that lend a decidedly 21st-century vibe to the venerable hardwood.
Among the late New York City–based architect Ali Tayar’s last projects was a large house in Austin, Texas. Having previously designed a Manhattan loft for the same client, Tayar injected some snappy Big-Apple attitude into the sprawling residence’s laid-back, Lone-Star-State sensibility. Drawing inspiration from the oak-studded Texas landscape, Tayar specified rift-sawn white oak flooring throughout the house. He used the same wood for paneling, built-ins, staircases, trims and moldings, and the custom Arete kitchen cabinetry—the last a minimalist floor-to-ceiling grid of honey-color wood juxtaposed with gleaming stainless-steel appliances and soft-gray marble countertops. The finishing touch: the ceiling lighting’s gridded egg-crate diffusers are made of—what else?—oak.
Oak takes dark stain very successfully, as is demonstrated in a Hollywood Hills, California residence renovated by Griffin Enright Architects. The project includes a new stair that ascends a half-flight through a raised library area to a landing with a glass wall that opens onto the backyard. The library, a platform at one end of the living area, is demarcated from its surroundings by a materials inversion: the living area has ebony-stained oak floors and a white ceiling, while the elevated library has a white epoxy resin floor and ebony-stained oak bookshelves, walls, and ceiling. The contrasting palette helps create a sequester spot for reading, while a dynamic note is supplied by the stair, which has fumed micro maple treads.
Oak plays well with other hardwoods, as Alameda, California–based Burton Architecture shows in the living area of an Oakland residence they recently renovated. Having specified 2¼-inch-wide white oak strips for the floor, which they did not stain but gave a clear urethane finish, the designers chose to clad the walls with planks of unstained alder—a wood with similar honey-blond coloring to the white oak flooring but with less figuration. This mix-and-match strategy gives the room an enveloping, cocoon-like feeling. The mood is further enhanced by the clean-lined fireplace, which has a soft-blue ceramic tile surround and an imposing hearth in the form of a bench-size slab of white Caesarstone. The whole composition is elegant and modern yet warm and welcoming. What more could you ask for?
Arete European Kitchens
700 North Lamar Boulevard
Austin, TX 78703
Griffin Enright Architects
12468 West Washington Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90066
1913 Broadway, Suite A
Alameda, CA 94501
Legislators from both sides of the aisle recently moved “to reintroduce the Timber Innovation Act – bipartisan, bicameral legislation that aims to find new and innovative uses for wood as a building material.”
- “Building with wood benefits both rural economies and the environment, and using wood for construction reduces pollution and incentivizes private landowners to keep their land forested, rather than selling it to developers.” (S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
- “There is enormous potential for mass timber and the Timber Innovation Act takes an important step forward to advance this new technology. While wood is one of the oldest building materials around, new technology utilizing engineered mass timber panels and wood-based building systems creates new possibilities for wood construction.” (Adrian Blocker, Weyerhaeuser senior vice president of wood products)
- “Healthy, well-managed forests can provide important habitat for wildlife, restore watershed health, and help store carbon. By supporting the development of new markets for saw timber, we will help landowners keep their forests as forests, while avoiding global warming pollution from conventional building materials.” (Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation)
- “Advancing tall wood building construction through the Timber Innovation Act is a win for working families and our environment. Encouraging the use of green building materials, instead of building materials dependent on fossil fuels, reduces greenhouse gases, creating a cleaner, healthier environment for future generations.” (S. Representative Suzan DelBene (WA-01)
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One sure fire way to refresh an interior is to put in new hardwood flooring. But for most of us, the idea of replacing an entire floor seems overwhelming, unless you’re lucky enough to find a good, reliable, reasonably priced contractor to do the job. There are now several websites to assist homeowners find vetted building professionals in their part of the country. I’ve been particularly impressed by Sweeten, a free service in the New York City and Philadelphia metropolitan areas, that not only helps clients find the best local design and construction experts for their projects, but also provides a lot of valuable information about whatever type of home renovation is under consideration, including floor renovation. Here are three examples of their flooring work that caught my eye.
“During” and “After” pictures of a Williamsburg, Brooklyn, kitchen renovation that included installing handsome new walnut flooring. Photographs courtesy Sweeten
A young couple, first-time homeowners of an older 1,800-square-foot, two-story townhouse in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, needed a general contractor to renovate their outdated bathroom and kitchen. So they posted a description of their project, including its current condition and the scope of work required, on the Sweeten website to get matched with an appropriately skilled local contractor. From the list offered, they chose sustainability design-build specialists Ecostruct, who worked with the couple on everything from the overall design concepts to the practicality of materials, before beginning construction on the four-month project. The entire process is documented in text and images on the Sweeten website, but I was particularly taken with the handsome new knotty walnut floors in the kitchen—a 1,000-percent improvement over the bland beige tiles they replaced.
The renovation of this Brooklyn kitchen involved replacing an area of “before” floor tile with new “after” hardwood parquet matched to the original, which is no longer produced. Photographs courtesy Sweeten
Many older New York apartments have hardwood parquet floors. Such was the case in a Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, residence, except for the kitchen area, which had been tiled off, chopping up the open-plan living space and creating a clunky raised border to trip over. When the apartment owners decided to upgrade the kitchen, Sweeten matched them up with Alan B., a builder who, the client says, “was willing to wait through the time that we were re-designing things.” The final plan called for tearing out cabinetry, creating multiple open and closed storage, and installing an island. But to my mind the floor is where Alan and his team excelled: Thanks to their painstaking work cutting and staining new oak tongue-and-groove planks to match the original parquet, which is no longer available, the kitchen now flows seamlessly into the living area.
“Before” it was renovated, this Manhattan apartment had light-stained oak floors, which were given a dark finish to create an “After” interior of great sophistication. Photographs courtesy Sweeten
The owner of this high-style 900-square-foot apartment in Manhattan’s iconic London Terrace building is a friend of Sweeten’s founder and CEO, Jean Brownhill. She so admired how the homeowner and his builder worked together to completely transform the space that she recruited the contractor, Gregorio E., into her referral service. Gregorio’s team removed the kitchen island, installed white lacquer cabinets, and white marble countertops. The homeowner designed the living area’s custom built-in millwork, which combines a high-gloss-lacquer section with a walnut storage unit. He kept the original oak floors but transformed them with a matte black finish. The result looks natural and effortless now, but it took the homeowner more than six tries, and eight coats, to get the exact stain effect he wanted—well worth the effort, in my opinion!
195 Chrystie Street, #502H
New York, NY 10002
Sweeten makes free general contractor referrals in the New York and Philadelphia metropolitan areas. They typically focus on major renovations starting at $15,000.