It's an all too common scenario: first time homeowners looking at move-in ready homes with builder-home finishes. An overuse of white everything: white walls, white tile, white countertops and white cabinets with no trace of the previous homeowner and no preferred aesthetic to count any future buyer out! No one else has ever set foot in the kitchen or bathroom, therefore it's not tainted with cooties. Do we really want to be the generation that says to their children "well, white & gray were in style, kids".
"Really, Mom? Like my high school uniform - white and gray - that was in style?" says my hypothetical kid back to me.
Considering only blank canvases for future home buyers is steering us to miss opportunities to really enhance the home with warm tones of walnut, maple, oak, teak and other wood varietals. Wood, as an modern element, is making its comeback into residential spaces, so why are builders not on board?
Walnut, one of my favorites, is increasingly popular in homes because it adds warmth without being too orange or red. People still cringe when they think of the 1980's popular cherry finishes, although cherry used sparingly at moments can be quite beautiful. Walnut is versatile in kitchens and baths against classic silhouettes, colors and finishes. Maple and oak are also having a big comeback. Instead of the typical rift cut, fabricators are seeing more interest in the plain-sawn cuts for cabinetry fronts and tables. Below are some examples of how these woods are being used in new homes.
Another trend our generation connects with is reclaimed wood, almost to the point of over-saturation. While I believe in using salvaged wood that has ties to the original structure, using reclaimed wood as symbol of your hipster, granola roots is growing as tired as moustache stylist in Brooklyn. "Really Ma, you were into born in a hospital, not a turn-of-the-century barn!" Shut up hypothetical kid!
If you are using salvaged wood, let the texture of the wood be an understated expression of the space and not the headliner of your home. Use reclaimed materials next to classic finishes instead of over-saturating the space with reclaimed.
Wood interiors don't have to be relegated to only highly-custom high-end homes and coffee shops. Homeowners concerned with resale values and builders looking to appeal to a broad audience should feel free to branch out from the white-washed generic interiors that dominate today's real estate listings - smart use of wood finishes can set your space apart, in any decade.