Reclaimed Wood Means Reclaimed History

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Hey Good People – Rob here.

The number of stories about reclaimed wood and the trend toward it in mainstream construction appear to be growing by the week. The dual advantage of reclaimed wood is this; meeting the demands of green(er) buiding practices, and meeting the demands for those who wish to capture authentically aged materials in new projects. Oh, I guess there’s also the advantage of making a profit from rising demand for these types of materials in a market which is otherwise, shall we say, less than robust.

Old BarnIn some ways, this boom in such a specialized area is kind of a strange turn of events. Typically, it costs more to buy reclaimed lumber, than it would to treat new lumber in the factory and make it look old. I suppose this is something of a testament to the eye of discerning consumers who know a knock-off when they see it. People want authenticity. I think they want to be connected with a larger history that extends beyond their project. One way to do this is to incorporate a surface that has pre-dated their project, and perhaps the entire property too, into living spaces or work spaces. Actually, maybe this upswing in the reclaimed wood industry not so strange after all.

I suppose the attitude is that if you’re going to spend the money on a project during a lean period, it might as well be on an element of your project which has a proven track record to last, and look good while it’s doing it. It’s hard to argue with that kind of logic. And the fact that you’re incorporating a texture like reclaimed wood into a space which has some history of its own means that it’s not just another project, or just another space. It’s a connection to something greater, starting with preserving the natural environment by getting full use of what’s already out there, and perhaps ending with a sense of continuity – that reclaimed materials exude a certain mystique of a time when things were made to endure.

Old barn image courtesy of Clearly Ambiguous.

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