Design and Remodeling Trends

reclaimed lumber and timber

Perhaps one of the hottest trends in remodeling and new home design over the past five years is the use of reclaimed lumber. There’s something so beautiful about the artistry of hand hewn beams or the weathered look of barnwood that creates a feeling of warmth that is difficult to replicate with new materials. Check out any recent catalog from Restoration Hardware or Pottery Barn or page through design magazines such as Dwell, Architectural Digest or House Beautiful and you are sure to fall in love with the beauty of reclaimed lumber.

If you’ve decided to include reclaimed wood in your next remodeling or design project, you may find it somewhat difficult figuring out where and how to buy material. Many people turn to Craigslist where you might find local suppliers who have crews scouring the country for old barns and buildings which they buy, disassemble and sell piece-by-piece. Other options include dealing with suppliers on Etsy or Ebay. If you happen to live in Montana, which is considering by many to be the birthplace of the reclaimed lumber industry, you will likely find numerous local suppliers who offer a huge selection of everything from hand hewn beams to entire homestead cabins which they can rebuild on your property. Remodelers, home builders, interior designers and local craftsman in the Minneapolis area often turn to The Old Grain Co., a Minnesota supplier of barnwood and reclaimed antique timbers and lumber

Dave Huston, managing partner of The Old Grain Co., shared his thoughts on why people love using antique wood in their home designs. “You can create so much warmth and beauty with reclaimed wood. There’s history to the product too. Clients love knowing that part of their home was built re-using material from a 200 or 300 year old farmhouse or historic building. There’s a story to tell and you can’t do that with wood shipped over from 40 year old Chinese trees.” Dave also explained why carpenters love working with old growth trees, “when you buy wood from Home Depot or your local lumber yard, it’s often times cheap pine from China. It’s rarely straight and it blows apart when you shoot nails into it. Wood from old growth trees has a tight grain and it’s easy to work with”. 

If you’re thinking about selling your house, consider meeting with an interior designer to discuss how you might be able to update your home and make it more sellable by including reclaimed wood. It can be as small as an accent wall or fireplace mantel. Prior to meeting with a designer, be sure to look through an RH design book or design magazine to get some ideas. Share these with your designer and you’re sure to have great results. 


Published in Home Improvement
  1. Jack Longfellow 2 years ago

    I love working with rustic wood. I am a building contractor in Minnesota and reclaimed lumber is probably the most requested feature we get from people planning a home remodel. It’s great to work with too because the grain is so tight.

    Finding quality reclaimed wood can be a challenge but most large cities have at least one reputable company selling antique wood and other recycled wood products. Craigslist is often times a good place to check too, although you’ll often find that sellers on Craigslist haven’t cleaned or de-nailed the wood, so you’ll need to do that yourself.

  2. Sam J 2 years ago

    Reclaimed wood is great, however, the problem I’ve found is that most people find it too expensive to include in their remodeling project. A good alternative to create the same rustic effect is to soak steel wool in vinegar for three days to create a solution to age the wood. We use rough sawn cedar and apply the resulting solution to a new cedar board. We let it sit for 5-6 hours and the board turns grey, similar to a rustic, reclaimed board.

    The look isn’t identical to authentic reclaimed lumber, however, consider it as a cheaper option.

  3. Bob Miller 2 years ago

    I love the look of reclaimed wood, especially the way it’s incorporated into the furniture at stores such as Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn. The wood has such a warm, rustic look to it. I recently purchased a coffee table from RH and read online that the finish can easily rub off if you spill any liquids on it. I found a product called Rubio Monocoat works really well to keep the rustic, dull look of the reclaimed wood, while still offering protection from spills.

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