The lived-in look that tells a story becomes a hit with homeowners.
The old adage “Out with the old, in with the new” has been flipped on its head to describe one of the most compelling trends in interior design: the reclaimed design look, which gives new life to materials or products by repurposing and reusing them to create spaces that have a rich, lived-in look. Put simply, it’s “out with the new, in with the old.” The trend is giving form to warm, cozy interior spaces, exuding a worn feeling that avoids looking weathered and otherwise dingy.
Today, wood is the most prominent material being used to achieve the perfect reclaimed look. Wood boards from old barns, logs excavated from rivers, and timber from wood beams are all giving designers the inspiration to fashion everything, including chairs, cabinetry, artwork, and floors and ceilings.
Ian Crawford owns the Whitefish, Montana-based Vinoture, which produces custom reclaimed wine barrel furniture. His most popular design is a bar stool that comes in four separate sizes and is the perfect complement to a bar or kitchen. Like head-to-tail cooking, Crawford reuses the whole barrel (he favors French oak barrels). “I get them from Washington and Oregon wineries,” he says, noting that the majority of barrels he uses come from the Bordeaux region of France.
“Working with a reclaimed medium like wine barrel staves creates a product that has a visible history,” Crawford says. “The entire winemaking process contributes to the unique patina of the wood and the finished product”—think distressed accents from rusting and oxidation, even brands from the winemaker.
John Loecke, a partner at interior design firm Madcap Cottage in Brooklyn, New York, says his clients are increasingly asking for spaces to be outfitted with reclaimed materials. “They like relaxed spaces with a warm, lived-in look,” he says, pointing to wood as the most popular reclaimed material, but insisting that metal is another likeable option.
While many reclaimed pieces are bespoke, more mainstream sources have caught on to the design movement, such as Pottery Barn and World Market. For homeowners, it comes down to their distinct tastes. “It all depends on their personality,” Loecke says. “It is the idea of living in a less formal way. Our clients want to live in their homes, but at the same time, they don’t want to worry about how the home wears.”
Employing reclaimed materials is as much about a look as it is a sustainable choice. “It tells me that a homeowner is environmentally conscious and has an appreciation for unique furniture and art with a story behind it,” Crawford says.
Vinoture’s America’s New Barstool
Vinoture’s signature America’s New Barstool is the perfect complement to any kitchen or bar area. The stool is made from sustainable materials: the staves, heads, and hoops of reclaimed French oak wine barrels from wineries of the Pacific Northwest. Each stool has its own distinctions and tells a story through its connection to a specific winery and vintage, as well as its own unique patina and distressing from the wine-aging process. The America’s New Barstool measures 30 inches high, but a mini 18-inch-high version is also available. The stool, which comes with a blond or natural red seat, is priced at $250. vinoture.org.