Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Oak Furniture - New, old or repurposed

Oak is timeless, whether a beautiful inherited piece or newly crafted, there is nothing quite like its recognisable grain. If I was investing in a piece of solid wood furniture, oak would be at the top of my list, not the dark varnished oak of bygone eras but the beautiful blonded, whitewashed or limed oak finishes we see today. I have had to part with several pieces of wooden furniture in the past because of borer and it has always been old pine pieces. However, unlike pine and softer woods, due to its high tannin content, oak is highly resistant to insects such as borer. Oak also has natural anti fungal properties, which is why its bark is used to make wine corks and its wood to make wine barrels. In building, oak has been used since the Middle Ages, its strength and distinguishable grain make it a desired wood for craftsmen to work with.

When purchasing a piece of oak or wooden furniture for your home, think carefully about your existing decor, decide your style and then choose wisely. Maybe you have a coastal or Hamptons look to your home, in this case, white washed or limed oak may be your choice. If you have a traditional home with lots of antiques, you may choose an older, waxed piece so you can show off its wonderful grain. Think about the space you are looking to furnish. For example, you could buy a lovely wooden cabinet and re-invent it into a bathroom cabinet such as below. Once you select your cabinet, you just need a basin and taps, this way you can have a bespoke piece. It is a growing trend to repurpose a cabinet for a bathroom and one I will be following if when I build my dream home. You may be looking for a dining table or chest of drawers, whatever piece you are looking for, be assured if it is solid oak, it will be around forever.

Above: Bordeaux dresser from Fortune Woods - With this example you would need to off-set the basin to allow for plumbing which may mean loosing an 'opening' drawer.

Fortune Woods have a wonderful range of solid oak furniture. Their furniture is beautifully crafted from American White Oak. Dovetailed joints are used in creating their pieces and tongue and groove for the back of the cabinets and drawer bases. With their products you have piece of mind your furniture is solid, not a mix of wood and composite materials or veneers, their pieces are designed to last a lifetime.

The secret to introducing a stunning piece of wooden furniture whether oak or any wood for that matter, new or old, is to make sure that you don't over do it, select one or two show pieces and integrate them carefully into your home. Wood can sometimes look heavy so choose a light oak and combine with neutral colours and natural materials such as linen. Alternatively, mix it up and add a pop of colour. Below are some gorgeous images of interiors where a lovely piece of wooden furniture, not necessarily oak, has been carefully selected and thoughtfully merged into a space to create a fabulous room.

1. Metal chairs help create a contemporary look to this dining area. Just look at the wonderful grain in the old oak table. The chandelier softens this space.
 2. A fresh contemporary interior with a touch of wood. The black legs make a statement.

3. A rustic wooden table with colourful upholstered chairs for a boho look.
4. Minimalist is all that is required to show off this fabulous table which appears to be two bench tables side by side.
5. Another minimalist look - fresh and contemporary with the addition of a light rustic table.
6.  A little natural wood in this predominantly white kitchen adds warmth and texture.

Images via Pinterest: 1|2|3|4|5|6

Whatever style of home you have, I believe there is always a place for a beautifully hand crafted piece of wooden furniture, something you can cherish forever or hand down through time.

Lee oxo

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