The Enduring Appeal Of Wood: An Element For All Design Styles

The enduring appeal of wood — no matter what new materials are developed and discovered, it is always an appealing choice for home furnishings and accessories. All throughout history, wood has been turned into furniture not just for its ease of manipulation and construction.  Its warm hues, beautiful grain and durability make it a favored choice for all styles of home decor, from modern and contemporary to traditional.With a constant supply of new wood designs being created by today’s designers, its popularity shows no signs of waning.

Wood Anchor tableThe design of the “Windrow”  table is meant to evoke a windswept tree.

Many design shops like Wood Anchor make it a point to use sustainably harvested or reclaimed wood for their furnishings. This custom fabrication shop/design-build studio uses reclaimed and locally harvested lumber and is currently the only reclaimed wood company in North America specializing in Landfill Diverted Elm.

Wood Anchor chandelierThe Imbue light fixture was inspired by elements found in the “Manitoba landscape, by the raw material of nature, and our intimate understanding of process,” explains the studio. The giant pendant is created from a thin slice of wood.wood anchor inside metalInside the wooden fixture is a sculpted piece of metal that casts a shadow, simulating the dappled light of a forest.Ark ing Loaf Table2This semi-custom Loft Table, although of an old-world style, is perfect for today’s interiors.

“Modernism inspired by the past” is the tagline for Ark.ing furniture, which makes custom furniture and design solutions.  The company says Ark.ing is short for ‘Ark making’ because they are “inspired by the idea of an ark—a solid, durable vessel made of wood, lovingly crafted to hold what is valuable and above all built to last.”

coolican stoolThe classic and clean designs, like this Palmerston Stool, will work with many home decor styles and can adapt to changes in decorating.

In the same vein, Coolican and Company produces small batch furniture that they call “Endlessly Durable – Purposefully Made.” They aim to produce furniture that lasts, with “an aesthetic you won’t tire of, and craftsmanship that won’t give out.”

Drake wood benchBeautiful handcrafting and an emphasis on the wood’s grain are characteristic of Drake Wood Designs. Oliver Drake is a professional woodworker based in Chelsea, Quebec, who uses ethically sourced wood and locally obtained sustainable timber. This bench is a perfect combination of rustic and classic.Hollis morris stick lightsHollis+morris wraps their minimalist, modern stick lights in a rich wood frame. These lights are a great example of modern design using wood to lend a warm touch.hollis morris trianglesThese triangular lights, as well as all the products pictured here, are true to hollis+morris mission of creating minimalist furniture with a refined esthetic.Honing Design coffe tableHusband and wife team Brian and Lisa Honing operate Honing Design, “where stainless and wood connect.” Together, they build custom high-end furniture for both indoors and outdoors. This Hagensborg Bench, designed for the indoors, is a melding of the old and the new. The design softens the modern edge of stainless with reclaimed wood.Honing Design consoleAgain, the rustic feel of reclaimed wood is married with the modernity of steel to yield a versatile piece with warmth.Kino Guerin large consoleThe Salto console table is crafted from a sweetgum veneer.

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Some of the most intriguing wood pieces around are those by Kino Guerin. As an artist, he set himself the challenge to make furniture from a unique piece of wood with no legs, crossbars or supports. Guerin’s designs have sinuous curves and shapes that seem to defy the qualities of the medium.  In short, his ability to manipulate what  we typically consider a rigid medium is nothing short of astonishing.

Kino Guerin benchThe Why Knot bench is functional and fun.

Michael Monroe, artistic advisor for ArtfulHome has said:, “Kino Guerin is a master at bending a rigid material to get this beautiful flow and movement. It is not easy to do. These pieces look as if they are effortless, but they are technically very hard. He creates an elegance. A beautiful, lyrical flow.”

Kino Guerin small consoleGuerin’s Nebula console table is made from a walnut veneer.Live edge floor lamp closeSometimes one wood accessory like this live-edge floor lamp is all it takes to soften your home decor.

Even in modern settings, live edge pieces are having a moment thanks in part to the gorgeous wood that designers are sourcing and reclaiming.  Metal Wood Studio specializes in custom life edge furnishings and accessories that combine beautiful wood with metal, in an aim to create things that last for generations. The natural edge feature, made popular by George Nakashima, father of the American craft movement, is a popular way to bring warmth and life to a room’s decor.

Metalwork coat rackMetal Work also creates racks that feature the burled wood grain and live, rustic edge.Metalwork colored resin2Butterfly joints and resin filler are commonly used to strengthen and reinforce live-edge pieces. Here, Metal Wood has used a vividly colored resin instead of the more typical clear type. Why? “Because I love color,” said the designer.Metalwork live edge mirrorA modern mirror with two live edges is a fitting wood piece to incorporate in a modern interior design.Metalwork tableSometimes there’s nothing like the a large slab of gorgeous wood to make a space come alive. Metal Work specializes in these types of tables, sourcing the slabs from local mills that use salvaged trees. The studio can also source rare slabs that are still salvaged from our international suppliers.camilla live edge table benchThis type of live edge table and bench from Camilla House Imports would work in any home. The plexiglass base on the slab table, and the mixed seeing that includes a more contemporary style of upholstered chair, bring the wood into a modern setting. The addition of a patterned rug contributes to the updated feel.camilla live edge benchNo matter what decor style you place it in, the showy wood grain takes center stage.Camilla House live edge tableHere’s another live-edge table from Camilla House Imports that is darker and more modern. The metal base and darker wood make this table far more modern than the previous examples. It’s a fine example of how versatile wood can be from a stylistic standpoint.Camilla live edge detailThe live edge on this table is less burled and knotty than many others.netthouse table setDesign firm Netthaus created this setting that makes use of a more rustic wood table. Even with the addition of the retro chairs and accessories, the grouping still has an updated, modern feeling about it.ontario wood chairVersatile and confortable, this chair has a casual structure and feel.

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Canada has a wealth of resources, including beautiful wood.  One of the most active (and effective, we think) marketing efforts is Ontario Wood, which is part of the Ontario Wood Products Export Association (OWPEA), a province-wide association of wood product manufacturers and related services.  They can be found at all the major home design shows, featuring various designers and artists who use wood from Ontario.  The styles represented run the full gamut, but all feature the natural grain and other design attributes of wood.

Ontario wood coffee table 2This table takes natural imperfections in the wood and turns them into knockout design elements. The natural feel is highlighted by the polished, smooth and organically shaped wooden base.Ontario wood coffee tableIn general, wood furnishings like these showcase the natural beauty of imperfections. Placed amidst a sea of angular, modern pieces, this coffee table will become a focal point.Ontario Wood consoleA dark wood console made from slats of Ontario wood is another piece that works with a variety of home decor styles.Ontario wood tableA game table made from a tree slice is not only interesting for its design, but for the girth of the tree from which it was taken.Storyboard BenchIf you’re not ready to commit to a large wood piece like a live-edge dining table, a smaller bench like this one from Storyboard, is a great way to try out this kind of wood.Studio Lulo Fusion StoolThis stool by Studio Lulo is a what can happen when technology meets tradition. The Toronto-based furniture design studio “combines digital design techniques with traditional furniture making methods to create modern, high end and customizable furnishings.”Take me table Nina DubarrySpanish interior designer Nina Dubarry created this prize winning “Take Me” table, that is light and portable. Just grab the leg extension that just from the top surface and go!zenporium settingZenporium,  which specializes in rustic, modern-organic, eco-friendly and Mod teak designs, uses “guilt-free wood” in its designs.  Many of the company’s products have a global feel.

Unlike mass-produced wood furniture, today’s handcrafted designs focus on sustainable woods and those that are salvaged or reclaimed. Some companies take the reclaimed aspect to the next level, creating pieces that are completely up cycled from wasted materials.

adam fullerton shelf copyAdam Fullerton uses upcycled wood, combines it with all sorts of other wasted materials, and turns them into objects of curiosity, style and functionality. This radiator shelf uses the face of an old radiator as a design feature as well as a structural element.

Wood in all its forms — slabs, slices, veneers, turned pieces and reclaimed lumber — play an important role in any interior decorating project.  Whether your decor is wood-heavy traditional or rustic, or even if it’s minimalist modern, any type of wood will add warmth and interest to your space.  So many design options exist that figuring out how much to wood use and in what pieces is driven entirely by your taste and your budget.

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