Woodland Creek Furniture Blog

  • What is the Definition of Rustic Furniture?

    I have recently been surprised at what some people categorize as rustic furniture. Fourteen years ago when I began in the rustic furniture business, my definition of rustic furniture was furniture made from hand peeled natural logs and then combined with wildlife carvings or natural antlers. I have lived in Michigan most of my life and the cabins and cottages I visited as a kid had traditional rustic furniture made from pine or cedar logs usually adorned with a primitive bear or pine tree carving. This style furniture was called Northwood’s style rustic furniture, and it could be found in cabins that dotted the Au Sable or Manistee Rivers or cottages on the west side of the state from Leelanau to Mackinaw City and back around the eastern side of the state from Rogers City to Alpena. Really, it was found throughout the state as it was ubiquitous and basically the only Midwestern style of rustic furniture at the time.

    I have recently realized that what I feel qualifies as rustic furniture is not what the next generation may call rustic furniture. Recently, I was working in Woodland Creek Furniture’s showroom, and a customer came in looking for a unique rustic dining table. She specifically said “unique rustic dining table.” I showed her to an area of the store that had some very nice handcrafted barnwood and log dining tables. She said “no, not cabin furniture; I would like rustic furniture.” We walked around the store for a bit, and she stopped at a table that I would not have considered to be classified as rustic, but to her it was the perfect rustic table. The table had a traditional X trestle base design with a distressed solid wood top in a white wash finish. Yes, there was some distressing, but this was basically a table design that just twenty years ago would have been called “traditional”. We just enhanced the look by distressing it and giving it a twenty first century “urban chic” finish. This got me to thinking “maybe other people have a different definition of rustic furniture. The term rustic furniture is a broad term and maybe my definition was wrong. So what is the correct definition of rustic furniture?

    Rustic furniture has been around since the first people came off the boats and landed on Plymouth rock and started pushing west. Yes, these early settlers may have had more refined furniture in their western European homes prior to departing, but they did not initially have the fancy equipment to produce this style so they fashioned furniture from logs, branches and whatever else they could find. The cities on the east coast grew as did the western settlements. Furniture styles changed, but an enduring love affair and respect for the rustic lifestyle remains. This is evidenced by the great lodges and camps built in the Adirondacks. Some lodges date back 150 years. These lodges and camps are full of handcrafted rustic furniture made in a distinct style now called “Adirondack furniture”. Adirondack style furniture was and continues to be made with real birch bark, twigs, and branches usually in designs have had incorporated arched doors or curved trim. Many people collect this style of rustic furniture. Prices for a handcrafted Adirondack style sideboard can range from $800 to $35,000 depending on the artisan who made it and the amount of detail.

    Thomas Molesworth made a distinct style of western furniture using hides, natural wood and animal horns. He is credited with creating a style of furniture that is today called “cowboy furniture.” Molesworth operated the Shoshone Furniture Company from 1931 to 1961 in Cody, Wyoming. Mr. Molesworth’s furniture is also sought after, and original pieces bring some very high prices when they can be found.

    A recent trend has been to recycle and utilize the weathered wood found on the thousands of barns that dot the back-roads of Midwestern America. These barns provided shelter to the animals and equipment that fed America while it was struggling to find its identity and economic engine. Tens of thousands of aging barns have wood that dates back 100 to 200 years. The wood exhibits the worn character of a maturing nation. Barnwood makes excellent furniture. The elements and oxidation give the wood a wonderful textured, aged patina. All the woodworking tricks in the world cannot replicate the look that Mother Nature slowly and methodically created over time. When salvaged barnwood is sanded and finished properly its character jumps out at you. Now take that “aged, weathered texture and combine it with refined moldings, copper panels, frosted glass, and milled mullions, and you have a distinct style of rustic furniture – or, its own recently coined category called “barn wood furniture”. Woodland Creek Furniture offers hundreds of barnwood designs including barnwood dining tables, barnwood coffee tables, barnwood sideboards, barnwood console tables, barnwood end tables, barnwood chairs, barnwood bar stools, barnwood beds, barnwood nightstands, barnwood chests, barnwood dressers, barnwood vanities, barnwood kitchen cabinets, and much, more. Every barn wood furniture design can be customized to fit your home or office. In addition to a quality piece of rustic furniture you are also getting a piece of American history. If only wood could talk we would hear wonderful stories of how life was on the farm over the past 150 years.

    Log homes became very popular and almost mainstream over the past 25 years. It’s hard to know the exact number of log homes built, but I remember hearing a report on Public radio a few years after 9/11. The report basically spotlighted how New Yorkers were reevaluating their high paced city lifestyles post 9/11. The report stated that over 5,000 log homes had been built in the 2002 in New York state alone. The report suggested that many living in the big city wanted a more natural, earthy and tranquil home life after the tumultuous events of 9/11. Thousands of city dwellers sold their city flats and townhouses and opted for a hand hewn log home nestled in the pristine mountains of upstate New York. Whether this was their primary home or just their getaway camp, the thought of having a tranquil sanctuary outside of the concrete jungle became much more appealing. Tens of thousands of additional log homes went up all across the U.S. Sizes ranged from cozy 600 square foot cabins to enormous 15,000 square foot homes. This interest in the rustic lifestyle fueled the burgeoning log furniture industry. Log furniture is the most primitive and primal of all rustic furniture designs. Log furniture is usually made using mortise and tenon construction. Natural logs are hand peeled and the ends are then given a tenon and fitted into an adjoining mortised log. Log furniture is made from many different species of wood. The most common species are white cedar, red cedar, aspen, hickory, and juniper. Woodland Creek tries to differentiate its log furniture through its distinct designs and by personalizing customer’s log furniture with handcarved bears, moose, deer, raccoons, and birds. The customer can tell us their favorite animal or scene, and our carver will hand carve a one of a kind piece of log furniture or log mantel for the fireplace.

    I am sure many other style of rustic furniture will surface in the years to come. I know the artisans at Woodland Creek Furniture are constantly pushing the limits of design by mixing in new elements. Right now we are experimenting with adding concrete tops to many of our rustic style bases. Of course not just ordinary concrete tops as our expert finishers have found ways to make concrete look like stucco, granite, natural stone using hand crafted artisan finish techniques – all available in a wide range of colors. Photos will be coming soon so for now this is just a tease.

    On behalf of the entire Woodland Creek family we thank you for your interest in our handcrafted rustic furniture. Please consider this an open invitation to visit our workshop for a complete tour whereby you will see the talented woodworkers crafting and designing one of a kind rustic furniture. You will also see thousands of pieces of reclaimed and exotic woods from all over the country and world. We promise you an experience unlike any other and rustic furniture unlike any other.

    Sincerely,

    Rob Evina
    President
    Woodland Creek Furniture

  • Why Our Barn Wood Furniture is The Highest Quality Available?

    Last year I took a trip overseas and visited China and Indonesia. During my trip I noticed that the vast majority of furniture designs I saw in hotels and even some of the residential homes were modern. Most of these furniture designs combined glass, stainless steel and shiny - almost plastic looking laminates for a very linear and sterile furniture style. I couldn’t help but think to myself “how could the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia be trending toward furniture designs made with reclaimed barn wood planks, timbers, and beams and the entire other half of the world could care less?”

    I have a personal theory on this. Our country went through the industrial revolution and all the fads that came with prosperity decades ago.  Asia is just now getting a taste of disposable income. We saw the metal cabinets and porcelain fixtures of the fifties, all the crazy George Jetson furniture in the sixties, the shag rugs and wild patterns of the seventies, and the eighties brought our fascination with modern. Now, there are still many people that enjoy the retro looks, modern and everything in between, but the newest trend is to decorate with furniture made with real wood and real character. What has more character than a piece of naturally weathered wood that has been providing shelter to farmers’ tools or their animals for the past 100 to 150 years? I am talking about barn wood siding, barn wood beams, and barn wood timbers. Mother Nature has been throwing her best at the barn’s wood with harsh cold winters, humid hot summers, and moisture laden rainy spring & fall days, and the barnwood seems to only get better looking with time. The sun bakes the moisture out of it, and the blowing rain wets it back down. Now, picture this happening several thousand times over the last century. Some of the barnwood used in our furniture is 150+ years old – that is 54,750 days. What happens to the barnwood after fending off the elements for that many days? Well, it gets the most beautiful textured patina that only comes with this slow, aging process. We have tried (and so have countless other woodworkers) to take fresh wood and use certain aging techniques on it to make it look old, and to be very honest, it does not even come close. How can we expect fresh wood to look like naturally aged barnwood when it took 54,750 days for Mother Nature to methodically work her magic? It is not possible. Yes, there are some companies out there that still try to artificially age it, but up close and personal, you can tell. Some companies will swear they are using old wood, but the discerning eye knows the truth.

    Woodland Creek Furniture decided a long time ago to give up on trying to do what Mother Nature does best. Woodland Creek and our select vendors only use premium, select barnwood planks, timbers, and beams in our barnwood furniture designs. We have been approached by dozens of new startup companies offering less expensive barnwood furniture to carry their furniture, but we always pass on it. Yes, I will admit that some of it looks good in the photos, but up close and personal the wood used does not have the same character and the finished product does not have the same soft luster and feel (I could write another page on construction quality differences, but we will not address that today). With our barnwood furniture you can run your hands over it, and it is soft to the touch. Our competitors’ furniture is rough. It feels almost as if it came out of a saloon. Some people may like this, but we feel barn wood furniture should walk a fine line between rustic and refined. Yes, our barnwood furniture is definitely rustic as the natural dents, divots, & weathered texture leave no doubt it is rustic and will fit comfortably into any cabin or camp décor. But it is also refined and will work in many Tuscan, Old World, Cottage, Ranch and even traditional homes. Barnwood furniture may be the perfect transitional furniture. I have even seen some of our customers mix it into modern home settings. Modern chic?

    We often get asked why our barnwood furniture looks and feels so much better? Well, we cannot reveal all of our secrets, but one simple difference is the amount of time that goes into final sanding. Hand sanding is labor intensive, and labor always adds cost to any product or service. Our competitors do not want to incur this cost so they do the bare minimum (some don’t even sand it all all). Other details that add to the aesthetics of our barnwood furniture are the thick, solid wood handles. Even these are sanded so they are soft to the touch. The mitered, wrapped corners exhibit old world craftsman ship. And then there is the clear coat finish. We only use the highest quality clear coat to seal in the wood’s character and beauty. We could probably save $35 a gallon by using a cheaper line of finish, but we refuse to skimp on the quality. We hope our barnwood furniture designs also inspire you. The mixtures of reclaimed barnwood with tree bark panels, reclaimed metal, reclaimed copper or just contrasting color woods create designs that are distinct in design and style. Add some clavos or hair on hide accents, and you give the barn wood furniture a western flair. Mix in a little live edge and you have a rustic chic design. It is endless. Woodland Creek welcomes custom barnwood furniture requests. About 95% of what we sell is custom made to fit our client’s homes of commercial offices so I guess it is safe to say that we do not have any standard sizes as everything can be made to fit your space. Don’t see a layout you need? Let’s discuss it as all barn wood furniture designs can be made in custom layouts.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this blog entry. Woodland Creek will continue to strive to offer the finest handcrafted barn wood furniture on the market. We will work hard to make you a lifelong customer.

    Sincerely,

    Rob Evina
    President
    Woodland Creek Furniture

  • Rustic Bedroom Furniture for Your Home

    Why is our rustic bedroom furniture the best fit for you?

    If you have ever meandered through the seemingly endless walkways of big box bedroom furniture retailers, you might have started to notice a very particular pattern. Aside from color schemes and design tweaks, there is not really all that much variety. Also, you might notice that the floor models are wearing down from the limited use of other passersby, who wanted to test run the furniture before they bought it. One feature that might stand out because of this is that there is a consistent lack of durability and quality. It just doesn’t seem like these types of retailers are offering quality and comfort over simplified and generic standards of production.

    That is where we draw the line, and where you will find the answer to that question! Rustic bedroom furniture from Woodland Creek Furniture is the best fit for you because it is the answer to all those other issues, and it tops it off with its unique and elegant look and feel to boot!

    Our rustic bedroom furniture is made from reclaimed barnwood, farmhouse wood, logs, and other sorts of reclaimed wood, which we source from local areas. The wood we use is typically over 100 years old, giving it a sense of antiquity and history unmatched by other department store catalogs. With our professional craftsmen quality work, we can create rustic bedroom furniture that will not only outlast the alternatives but outshine them as well. With a wide variety of rustic bedroom furniture options throughout our two giant showrooms, the toughest decision to make after having this question answered will be choosing which one is the right fit for your bedroom!

    Woodland Creek Furniture is Traverse City, Michigan’s premier producer of fine rustic bedroom furniture. People from around the state, country, and the world have visited us and made the decision to furnish their homes with these natural and elegant pieces. We proudly invite you to stop on by and see for yourself!

  • Spice Up Mealtime with Reclaimed Wood Tables

    Reclaimed wood tables are great additions to your home for many reasons:

    • LOOK: There is no denying it. These tables look fabulous. They look fresh, stylistic, and rustic. They look like they are high quality. They look like they took many hours to reclaim, design, and craft (That’s because they did). They look like they should be added to your home and made part of your furniture family!
    • FEEL: They feel smooth. They feel like a quality table. They feel like they will be part of your life forever (with proper care, they will!). It just seems right to add a reclaimed wood table to your home!
    • ECO-FRIENDLY: These reclaimed wood tables use wood that has already been used. They do not require our company to cut down fresh trees. We use pieces of wood from locations in neighboring states that would otherwise be left to rot. We breathe new life into our pieces, which helps us herald the strong history, our next point!
    • HISTORY: Our tables have a place of their own in American history. These reclaimed wood tables are made of wood that was used during a time when our country was coming of age, developing new farming techniques and utilizing quality wood to build their barns. While their time may have seemingly passed, they are now being given a second chance at life by undergoing our reclaiming process and finding their ways into homes like yours. You now have an opportunity to own a piece of history, that you will use as a part of your history!
    • UNIQUE: You will not find authentic rustic reclaimed wood tables like this in your big box retailer. While fresh wood can be finished to look like reclaimed wood, there is no replication of the authentic wood pieces that we source from around us in Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois, to craft these unique and beautiful pieces of furniture.

    Why wait any longer to own a unique, eco-friendly piece of history with the right look and feel for your home decor? Come on down to one of our huge showrooms and see what all the buzz is about regarding reclaimed wood tables!

  • Add Reclaimed Wood Furniture to Your Rustic Interior Design

    Reclaimed wood furniture is growing in popularity around the country when it comes to home decor. The reclaimed wood that is used in the production of furniture is sometimes not what it claims to be, however. Many competitors are offering furniture that has a reclaimed wood look to it but comes from fresh cuts of lumber. The authenticity, durability, and history of the wood are all compromised! Actual reclaimed wood furniture uses wood found from sources such as old barns, factories, and warehouses that were built at least 100 years ago, meaning they have the age, character, and meaning all buried deep within the timber. For anyone who is avid about their history and their furniture, these are all very important features!

    The reclaimed wood furniture style is growing in popularity for several reasons:

    • It looks and feels great and unique
    • The rich history and tradition that are behind each piece of furniture
    • They reuse resources, instead of requiring more trees to be cut for wood
    • The physical characteristics of the wood are marked by higher quality and sustainability

    Why, you may ask, is it better to reuse the wood, especially if it is so old as it is? Well, the answer again lies in our history. The wood that was used over a century ago by the nation’s agricultural pioneers was harvested in a time when air pollution from the industrial age did not stunt the growth or quality character of new trees. The wood is stronger, healthier, and last much longer than the wood that is harvested from trees that are bred and cut down in the modern age for mass producing furniture.

    The reclaimed wood furniture that we use at Woodland Creek Furniture is sourced from barns and other locations around the states of Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. We use wood that is at least 100 years old and filled with history and character, before implementing our unique process to craft and reclaim it into new and elegant pieces of reclaimed wood furniture. We would love for you to take a look through our wide variety of pieces either online, or in one of our two massive showrooms.

  • Log Furniture For a Unique, Natural Touch

    We totally understand the appeal of symmetry. In nature, symmetry can be found in all shapes and sizes: From the symmetry of our bodies to the seemingly symmetrical leaves of a birch tree leaf, there is no denying that there is a special sort of magic to these natural designs. However, as beautiful as symmetry may be, there is also a lot to be said about the naturally asymmetrical quality of individual natural bodies as well. Mountains, crashing waves, meadows, landforms, clouds, and even fallen tree branches can shine as their imperfect twists, turns, and features stick out in asymmetrical contrast with themselves. Something about the natural disarrangement of things makes them feel like they have a unique place in the limelight, ready to be recognized as yet another beautiful mark on the world.

    At Woodland Creek Furniture, we pride ourselves on our collection of log furniture pieces. A quick overview of these items on our web page will give you an idea of what we are talking about. We take logs that have fallen, and we help them back up, rearranging them into truly unique, asymmetrically elegant pieces of log furniture that will add a complex yet naturally stunning look and feel to any room, whether it is for your family’s summer cabin or the rustic home decor of your private residence. Not only can you depend on having a piece of furniture that is unique, but you can also depend on the quality craftsmanship that we have built our entire business upon.

    Our vast log furniture collection includes bed frames, burl wood coffee tables, hickory log dining chairs and log dining tables, floor lamps, rustic entertainment centers, and much more. Stop by one of our two massive showrooms in Kalkaska or Traverse City and get a good look and feel for the log furniture items we have ready for you to take home and make a part of your rustic interior design! Our friendly and professional customer service team will help you navigate through your options and decide what will be the best addition to your home!

  • Serving Meals From Farms to Farmhouse Dining Tables

    Our farmhouse dining tables play an interesting role during mealtime when you consider the supply chain it took for everything to come together the way it did for this to happen.

    First, you have agricultural pioneers who spread across our nation’s farmlands and discovered innovative ways to harvest and store the fruits of their labor on the farm. Not only did they sustain themselves and their families, but they learned to make a living feeding those around them. That is an aspect of our American history that continues to run through the supply chain and get fresh food from the farm to your table. Our farmhouse dining tables take pieces from those original farmhouses and barns and turn them into elegant and rustic pieces of furniture to add to your home. This adds to the unique character of the supply chain because you will be eating food from farms that have learned from and adapted from the techniques of the original agricultural wizards off of tables that are made from the barns and farmhouses that these wizards used to innovate those techniques! What better way to celebrate the country’s strong tradition than that?

    The farmhouse dining table collection we offer has the unique elements that we are talking about, and to make matters even better, they look and feel amazing! People from around Traverse City, Michigan, the country, and even the world have come to our showrooms to see the variety of quality farmhouse dining tables and other rustic furniture pieces we hand make and keep in inventory.

    The farmhouse dining table series is unique in that our customers can work with our specialized customer service team to help design and create a custom look for their table. Size, color, and wood type specifications can be sorted out and made ready for production, which will truly result in a farmhouse dining table that can only be found in the comfort of your own home. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to celebrate our American heritage while sprucing up your home decor!

  • Contemporary Rustic Furniture for a Unique Blend of History and Modernity

    Contemporary rustic furniture is a style that is starting to make waves in the interior design community. As many of the urban stylings have recently swept over the tastes of the current generations, many people have grown tired of the static, plain look of modern stylings and have sought comfort in the designs that reflect a more natural look and feel. Woodland Creek Furniture proudly crafts contemporary rustic furniture. This style offers a beautiful and naturalistic feel to the piece itself while presenting the owners with a taste that harkens back to times when life was more simple. A time when people appreciated the beauty that surrounded them so much that they wanted their indoors to resemble their outdoors as much as possible. Still, there are many people who are caught between two worlds of design: They want to have that modern, contemporary look and feel, yet they want to stay somewhere in the realm of rustic, antiquated, and homely. While we talk a lot about our reclaimed wood pieces, we also would like to mention honorably, the lineup of contemporary rustic furniture that helps these kinds of folks find their equilibrium when they are caught between these two worlds!

    An overview of our website or walkthrough of one of our two large showrooms will give customers some amazing insight into the variety of contemporary rustic furniture pieces we have available. We have skillfully blended contemporary design elements and features into the reclaimed wood pieces that we are renowned for crafting to create the contemporary rustic furniture that you have been longing for. Among our many items, you will find:

    • Dining tables
    • Sideboards & sofa tables
    • Coffee tables
    • End tables & nightstands
    • Chairs
    • Beds
    • Bar Stools
    • Entertainment Centers
    • Dressers

    As you can see, we have everything you need to find that middle ground between history and modernity, where the wood meets steel, and where style bursts out with grace and strong character. Let us help you step up your interior design by getting you closer to owning your very own piece of contemporary rustic furniture today.

  • Cabin Furniture for Your Cabin in the Woods

    Cabin life. It really is something else. The fresh air of the forest or mountain emanates through the rooms and hallways. Natural light flows in through the precisely positioned windows. When the night falls, the natural light is substituted with some of the light of the crackling fire, with the strong scent of a hearty meal sneaking into all rooms from its origin in the kitchen. You relax on your finely crafted cabin furniture, that, if selected right, perfectly complement the look and feel of your surroundings.

    The concept behind a well-designed cabin is that there is a seamless line between nature and abode. The cabin dweller might be indoors, but they will still feel like they are outdoors with all of the naturalistic design elements that surround them. The next best thing to being in the great outdoors is being indoors, away from all the bugs, beetles, and bears, and inside a cabin that feels like you are still right outside.

    At Woodland Creek Furniture, we specialize in crafting cabin furniture that is perfectly suited for the task of creating that outdoorsy look and feel on the inside of your cabin. Using reclaimed wood, the design and quality of our cabin furniture are unmatched and just what you need to tie together the decor of your cabin. With a broad selection of options to choose from, our warehouses are sure to contain just the right piece or pieces you are looking for to furnish your getaway!

    We offer cabin furniture for bedroom, bathroom, lighting fixtures, office, patio, storage, dressers, and more. With our wide selection of handcrafted, reclaimed wood cabin furniture sets, you can relive your dream of connecting the inside of your cabin to the outside by giving it the stylistic, elegant, and natural look that it deserves to stand out as a comfortable getaway that you call your own. Come into Woodland Creek Furniture today, check out what our huge showrooms have that will fit your cabin furniture requirements, and start picturing what your cabin is going to look like from the inside, out!

  • Bringing Home the Barnwood Table of Your Dreams

    For some of our customers, owning a barnwood table is a reminder of their days back at their family’s farm. For others, the barnwood tables are natural and elegant pieces of Americana that fit comfortably into their home’s interior design. Whatever the reason may be, our customers have a wide variety of barnwood tables that are inspired by a movement of American heritage and craftsmanship.

    Our barnwood tables are exclusively made out of reclaimed wood beams from 100 to 150 year old barns from the states of Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan. Unlike many of our competitors, who utilize paint and finish techniques to make fresh lumber look old, we use actual pieces from our nation’s rich agricultural history and reclaim them using our unique process, which keeps them looking rustic and natural while breathing new longevity into them.

    The other unique aspect of our barnwood tables that sets us aside from mass-produced, fresh-lumber furniture is our ability to customize the size specifications and finish colors to suit your specifications and tastes. The quality of our customer service is something we at Woodland Creek Furniture pride ourselves on, and we would love for you to come by one of our spacious showrooms to check out our friendly team and a wide variety of barnwood table options!

    For a unique and finely handcrafted addition to your home that will not only complement your rustic decor, but will also earn you multitudes of compliments from your house guests, we invite you to come and get a good look and feel for our lineup of barnwood tables. Following a rich tradition of agricultural history in the United States, help us pay tribute to the years of work and toil that went into feeding our great nation when it was coming of age. Do so by taking home a piece of that history, and using it to be the place where you continue to feast on the great products that the modernized agricultural industry still provides us to this day.

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