It’s not unusual to look west late in the day and see the silhouette of an old barn outlined by the unique pinkish hue of a magnificent prairie sunset.
Our deserted prairie barns are old in years, but not in heart, as many of these old structures hold the memories of our fathers and our grandfathers before. The boards and beams from these farm beauties hide many a secret, but are only too happy to show you the scars of helping a hungry family through The Great Depression, or to boast about all the generations of jackknife wielding kids whose initials found their way carved into the floorboards of their hayloft fort.
Reclaiming this wood from these old barns, bridges, and historic structures is a growing trend in our area, fuelled by homeowners becoming more enamored with the warmth, character and authenticity of the rustic style. Rustic design elements have their roots in the Arts and Crafts ideals of the early 19th century, promoting the beauty and character of handmade craftsmanship. The uniqueness of dining on a table recycled from an old wagon bench, or walking on floorboards in your living room salvaged from a local grain elevator makes for intriguing guest conversation and rids us of the uniformity of box-store culture.
The blank palette of a large weathered Douglas Fir beam allows the homeowner options that do not exist with the purchase of new lumber; resurfacing and exposing the inner beauty of old growth grain, leaving the warm rustic weathered patina of warn pith, or choosing to add paint or stain…decisions left to the homeowner’s imagination.
Rustic design elements can warm any space…commercial, cottage, home or condo. This local custom bartop was salvaged from a 137yr Old Growth Douglas Fir tree, and is featured as a design element in our own condo on Augusta crescent in Brandon (20augusta.com). The live-edge was left alone on the reclaimed fir log to flow with natural materials of stone and slate tile, materials prevalent in rustic mountain-influenced architecture.
The post-and-beams surrounding the fireplace (featured in the picture to the right) are accented with reclaimed weathered sheet metal, revealing a patina from years of battling Mother Nature. The Eastern White Pine post and beams have the weathered surface removed, leaving a less dramatic aesthetic as to not take your eye away from catching the live-edge mantel.
The weathered patina was left on the surface of the reclaimed old growth fir countertops, adding a timeless warmth to the kitchen and providing a surface that isn’t cool to-the-touch as you find with a granite or natural stone surface.
The rings from the fir tree visible on the end of the large reclaimed beam are a focal point with this rugged timeworn conversation table. Rustic furniture pieces such as this create a great center piece in an urban modern decor, melding styles together to create comfy ambience in an otherwise modern space.
Reclaimed wood decor is only limited by your imagination! From tables, mirrors and mantels to home decor…if you have a project in-mind…we’d love to hear from you.
By Josh Price