Wood: What it does and doesn’t do

By: Emily Chamberlain – BCH Client Relations Manager

Too often a client comes to me in design and shows me a photo of what I refer to as “taupe” wood. It’s a wood color that seems simple but actually requires several processes to achieve its unnatural color tone and appearance. The trouble is multi-faceted in our business: it’s costly (bleaching wood can be seriously expensive), it seldom meets expectations (social media designers rarely will share their exact stain formulas), and it can run the risk of cheapening an overall aesthetic. So what do we suggest? How do we pivot?

Take a look at the photo above. There are conflicting wood tones in this stunning home built by BCH. Rather than match the flooring to the beams, cabinetry, and dining table, we opted for a curated look where the pieces are singular and the design is versatile. This approach provides a well-rounded and warm design flow.

Interestingly enough, nature has its own rules when it comes to wood. Some of the more beautiful elements of nature are in the imperfections and imbalances. It’s the quotients we can’t control. As builders, we choose to embrace the materials the earth affords us and create beauty with what we’re handed. Over the years, we’ve noticed there are major benefits to this. It’s much easier to set realistic client expectations — stain is far more predictable staying with natural/simple tones —, and this keeps costs down for clients as the materials are typically easier to find and maintain.

So let’s re-cap: Though the ultra-neutral woods are tempting, be advised, they’re not real. Achieving these tones is often expensive and requires forgiveness. Let’s normalize wood again, shall we? Let’s embrace its natural beauty! The benefits are truly are endless.