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.
Woodland Creek Furniture