Wood Paneling – Dressing up the Wall

Nothing compares to the unique experience of walking into a room with wood paneling.  The captivating patina and texture of wooden paneled walls envelopes those who enter with sensual warmth not achievable with any other treatment.  Natural, oiled, waxed, stained or painted—from the cozy cottage to the elegant English manor—wood elevates any room to a new dimension.

Interior paneled walls have nearly always been decorated.  From as early as the 15th century series of panels were set into molded frameworks arranged on interior walls.  Originally, hardwood paneling was used as a means to seal a room from cold drafts, but almost immediately became showcase for craftsmanship, with artistic expression reaching its peak in the 18th century.

Throughout history various forms of lining interior walls with wooden treatment has changed from one dominant form to another.  Each has its own character that lends to the unique ambiance of a wooden room, especially when combined with hardwood plank flooring.

Find a specialist to assist you to select and create just the right look.  Drawing from a wide selection of wood species coupled with various methods of installation—from wainscot to the full height of the wall—you have available tongue and groove v-jointed, butt-jointed, pickwick, and bead-board paneling, raised panel wall systems, recessed flat panel wall systems, rough-sawn plank boards, log siding, and other options only limited by your imagination.

For raised and flat paneled walls, seek an expert craftsman to assist to layout and design wall systems that can be prefabricated in a mill with rails, stiles and paneling ready to assemble on the job site.   Furniture-grade factory finishing may also be available upon request.

Quality wood paneling will be 3/4”-thick tongue & grooved, end-matched, and finished on both sides.  It should also be kiln dried to less then 7-8% moisture content.

Wood paneling is available in reclaimed antique, and new imported and domestic wood species, including: oak, maple, cherry, ash, hickory, mahogany, cypress, cedar, walnut, heart pine, and many other species in a variety of grades and cuts.

 

Tim Day owns WOOD & Co. in Atlanta Georgia.  His company specializes in wide plank flooring and other hardwood interior architectural elements for the home.   For more information about wood paneling, visit them online at: www.theWoodCo.com.

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Traditional Patterned Wood Flooring

There are, no doubt, as many variations of patterned flooring as there are wood species.  Wood floors began for entirely utilitarian purposes.  For those wealthy enough in the fifteenth century, second floors were added with planks laid across the joists as flooring.  It proved far better than the earthen floor, so often the choice, of the first floor – the ‘ground’ floor.  The wood floor soon moved downstairs.

The first wooden floors in colonial America were wide, thick planks harvested from old-growth forests. During the Colonial Era, it was common to use rough-sawn wide planks on the main floor.  Most of these floors were from unfinished old growth pine and longleaf heart pine boards; although, for practicality, whatever species of wood readily available was used.  Over time, foot traffic added a smooth, venerable patina to the floor.

Later in the fifteenth century, during the Baroque era, wood floors became both utilitarian and decorative.  Function gave way to form.  Matching and contrasting wood species were used to create borders and patterns within the floor.

By the early nineteenth century, patterned floors were beginning to show up in finer homes.  Wooden plank floors remained the most common, but by now parquetry and other patterned floors were growing in popularity.  The earliest floors had hand-painted patterns.  Later, this gave way to intricate wood patterns.

Parquetry is the method of arranging pieces of wood in geometric patterns. Parquetry comes from the old French ‘parchet’, literally meaning “a small enclosed space“. Fabrication was labor-intensive, as each piece had to be cut and fitted by hand. To smooth the floor surface, the entire floor was scraped and planed by hand, then varnished or waxed.

Many patterned floors were prefabricated into panels; the panels would be fitted together on site to create a finished wood floor.  Framed squares, known as Parquet de Versailles, were introduced in 1684 as parquet de menuiserie (“woodwork parquet“).

Today, many of the older patterns remain in vogue.  Herringbone, chevron, Parquet de Versailles, and variations on these patterns are used in grand spaces and finer homes.  We specialize in traditional parquetry and custom patterned flooring in a wide range of wood species, grades and cuts. Presently Quarter-sawn white oak and American black walnut are the most popular for floor traditional parquetry. For more information about patterned wood flooring, visit us online at: www.theWoodCo.com.

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HDTV Cabinets & Home Theater Solutions

 

If you do not want your flat screen TV displayed proudly on the wall in the family room, one good solution is to house the HDTV in a fine cabinet that enhances your room décor.   However, today’s flat-screen HDTV’s and home theaters present unique challenges for design of wooden element and, especially, cabinetry. Thin contemporary flat screen TVs do not require the deep cabinets that once housed bulky TV’s of the past. In fact, new TVs now look very much out of place hidden in a re-purposed armoire or deep cabinet.

While TVs have become much thinner, they have simultaneously grown much wider. The modern TV cabinet must be as much as 50% wider than with older CRT TVs. Sadly, high-quality surround-sound components, such as receivers, gaming controllers and DVD players, have not shrunk in depth as rapidly. They often require a 16” to 22” internal cabinet depth.   Hence, few more of the unique design dilemmas.

To make matters more difficult, ergonomic viewing height for TVs have not changed. Even though thin flat screens lend themselves to mounting them on a wall at any height, the best height for viewing remains eye-level – actually, the HDTV should be aligned to place the eyes at slightly above the TV center from the viewing location. Higher arrangement makes for uncomfortable viewing, especially, when seated. Thus, the often used over-the-mantle or aligned with wall art position, is not appropriate – this high placement is certainly not ergonomically suited for comfortable viewing.   The exception is in rooms where folks would generally be standing, such as a game room with a pool table.

With respect the surround-sound system components, the good news is that infrared remote control methods are becoming a thing of the past. Most modern audiophile receivers and other components can now be controlled over open WIFI protocols via iOS or Android based tablet or smart phone apps, or with proprietary specialized technology, rather than infrared (IR) remote controllers. Therefore, the surround sound, DVD and gaming components no longer need to be in the same room, much less, in line of sight, as with previous IR controlled devices.  Aside from eliminating a pile of remotes, this allows for the HDTV cabinet to be completely redesigned for a much shallower cabinet depth.

Additionally, this enables cabinets to be properly proportioned, not just horizontally for the thinner and wider HDTV, but vertically as well. A properly designed HDTV cabinet will enable to the HDTV panel to be placed at a proper viewing height while incorporating design elements that make the TV and the cabinet to look balanced in the room with other furniture. Thoughtful design enables the HDTV cabinet to become a functional and decorative room feature – a piece of furniture – rather than a distraction.

For example, in the HDTV cabinet shown in this photo, the TV panel is mounted at the proper-seated viewing height. The cabinet lower compartment and upper shelf balance the HDTV aesthetically within the cabinet. The cabinet itself, fit nicely within the space, working in concert with the height of the wall paneling, adjacent furniture and wall art.

Another consideration reflected in this HDTV cabinet design, is the woven oil-rubbed bronze open grill. In this plan the cabinet doors can remain closed when using the surround sound for music only. Even the horizontal rails (stiles) of the cabinet door decoratively arch over the center channel speaker for clean, unobstructed music with the doors closed – form meets function in this cabinet for today’s HDTV and surround sound systems.  At WOOD & Co. we work with our clients to create custom solutions.

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Timber Frame Construction

Timber Frame Construction is a form of construction where the use of metal fasteners, including nails and screws, is not employed. Timber frame construction is a unique wooden framing technique composed of large wooden beams that lock together with mortise & tenon joinery.   Wooden pegs act as a locking mechanism with the joints of the timbers to form the open interior generally with visible structural elements. It is thisccc-assembly visible timber skeleton that creates the venerable charm of a timber frame structure.

Timber framing or “post-and-beam” construction are techniques of building with heavy timbers rather than dimensional lumber. Traditional timber framing is the method of creating structures using carefully fitted heavy timbers. The heavy timber components are joined with tradition mortise & tenon methods secured with wooden pegs. (Although, to save time and money engineered internal concealed fasteners are often employed today in place of true mortise & tenon joinery.) The only element that is holding the structure together is wood. It was common to build with these methods the 19th century and earlier. ccc-pavilion-cIn the early days logs were squared using axes, adzes, and drawknives, hand-powered tools. Carefully fitted joints were created with hand tools. This building method has been used for thousands of years.

The technique is venerable and desirable even today. There is just something about the heavy timber construction methods showing into the living space. It feels so substantial, so strong, so well constructed. Though we now employ power tools to speed up fabrication, true craftsmen, using time-honored skills, build most timber frame structures with techniques of joinery and fitting proven over the centuries. In the 1970s, craftsman revived the timber framing tradition in the United States and has become in vogue in homes, barns, and other structures.

Even in the residential setting, post and beam with heavy timber tradams-arched-trusses-070716cusses are often featured in key rooms within the home.   With today’s dimensional lumber construction methods, in these applications, the home is often over-framed.   The timber elements are seen as more of a decorative feature. It creates the same cherished timber frame look and feel without the engineering concerns of full-structural applications. Many times heavy timber brackets and braces are used for additional structural integrity or merely to enhance the look and feel.  However, full structural timber framing can be combined with dimensional lumber framing techniques.

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Timber Trusses

Dating back to the 500 BC, timber frame construction is a time-honored technique that is still in vogue today.  Widely used by the Egyptians and the Romans, it later found wide acceptance throughout Europe.  The 12th century cathedrals and other structures we admire were built to stand the test of time.  They hold our awe and admiration.

There is just something about the heavy timber construction components showing into the living space.  It feels so substantial, so strong, so well constructed.  And well constructed they generally are.  True craftsmen, using artisan skills, build most timber frame structures with techniques proven over thousands of years.

The hidden mortise and tenon joinery, often with visible pegs to lock the joint together, portend rock-solid joints designed to stay in place.  Now computer-aided design, three-dimensional modeling, and large computer-controlled milling machinery are employed along with venerable hand craftsmanship.  Even internal engineered steel joinery components are used to save cost and improve structural strength and stability.

Heavy timbers transform a room from the ordinary to the extraordinary.  While often employed for dramatic affect in the family room, there is a timber construction design for any room, from the kitchen and keeping room, to the bedroom.  From more simple exposed beams and purlins, to elaborate soaring truss systems, there is a design to compliment any room.

Timber trusses have nearly always been embellished.  Clever designs go beyond mere utilitarian load-carrying structure.  Over the centuries a wide range of common designs have been used and reused for both their strength and decorative appeal – scissor, hammer beam, king and queen post, employing straight and radius chords, some with and without collar ties, often utilizing decorative brackets and braces, and so on.  Ceiling decking and paneling adds to the visual affect.

They make up a gallery of starting points to marry the functional with the pleasing to the eye.  Now days, over half of our trusses are merely decorative.  Many are, in fact, installed after the roof structure is in place.  For many of the trusses systems we now build, the only load that they carry is their own.  This has allowed us to utilize exotic wood species in a hollow box-built fabrication technique that would not be possible with true structural timber framing.  Now we are limited only by our imaginations.  For more information about wood moldings, visit us online at: www.theWoodCo.com.

 

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Trimming the Room

Wood is beautiful.  Suiting any architecture and decorative style, wood molding can be used throughout the entire house, elevating ordinary rooms to the spectacular.  The genial warmth and lustrous personality of wood paneling, wood molding, and other hardwood architectural details (including heavy timber trusses, beams and coffer systems) distinguish your home, making it memorable.

Wood details reveal our personalities as we decorate our homes with wood moldings and other wooden appointments.  The detailing makes a room whole – from the crown molding, to the stairs, and the plank floors under our feet – wood transforms a home from the ordinary to the extraordinary.  It ties the edges of a room together – creating a decorated transition between walls and floors, and the walls and ceilings.

Certain moldings are suitable to traditional construction, other are more suited to contemporary.  However, some homes are more period-architecture specific with moldings expressly appropriate for their architecture.  For example, craftsman, Victorian, Georgian, etc. each have their own a style of molding historically used for their construction, and often design purposely for their unique characteristics.  These moldings are referred to as historically correct for the style of the home.

However, many of today’s homes are more eclectic, drawing from architectural elements from across architectural periods and mixing together moldings from various home styles.  It has become more a matter of personal preference and taste for those not seeking to recreate historically accurate homes.

The reputation for quality and durability speaks for itself.  Dollar for dollar no other material matches wood molding’s aesthetic appeal, versatility and practicality.  Wood molding is available in a wide range of wood species to match other elements of the wooden room.

Standard and custom wood moldings are available in new and antique, imported and domestic: oak, maple, cherry, ash, hickory, mahogany, cypress, cedar, walnut, heart pine, and many other species in a variety of grades and cuts.  For more information about wood moldings, visit us online at: www.theWoodCo.com.

 

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Wood for the Ceiling

Pecky Cypress ceiling paneling

When designing a room, amazingly, the ceiling is often overlooked.  But, a well-ornamented space is best designed from the top down.  What’s over your head has more to do with the feel of a room then any other aspect.

Like all aspects of home construction, paneled ceilings have seen their share of changes come and go.  Prior the 16th century the structural frame of the roof served as the only ceiling in most houses.  The degree of ornamentation and embellishment depended on the status of the building and the wealth of the household.

By the 17th century, finer homes had wooden beams that divided ceilings into compartments, called coffers.  These coffered ceilings were embellished with various degrees of decorative molding and paneling.

During the 20th century tongue-and-grooved boards were installed as paneled ceilings routinely in kitchens and bathroom; often v-jointed, beaded, or merely butt-jointed.

Cypress V-Grooved Ceiling, Antique Heart Pine Beams

Now with the renaissance of vaulted and higher ceilings, architects and designers are able to design and decorate adapting and reinterpreting many traditional forms of paneled ceiling architecture.

In virtually any wood species you can imagine—plank ceilings, coffered ceilings, exposed beam, timber frame, decorative trusses, bead board and v-jointed board paneling for ceilings, log beams, and decking are among the many alternatives we have for you to consider.

Wood paneling is available in reclaimed antique, and new imported and domestic wood species, including: oak, maple, cherry, ash, hickory, mahogany, cypress, cedar, walnut, heart pine, and many other species in a variety of grades and cuts.

WOOD & Co. specializes in wide plank flooring and other hardwood interior architectural elements for the home.   For more information about wood ceiling paneling, visit them online at: www.theWoodCo.com.

 

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Stepping up to Wide Plank Flooring

With the wide selection of wood species, don’t settle for common, production narrow strip-width oak flooring.  Imagine your rooms finished in your favorite wood in extra long, wide distinctive plank floors once found only in historic period homes.  The wider plank flooring, in longer lengths portend quality that stands out as a cut above the rest.  There is no crisper, cleaner, longer wearing, more attractive floor available.

Distressed White Oak Floor

Common strip-width flooring generally measures 1-1/2 or 2-1/4” wide; the 1-1/2” as is often found in late Victorian and turn of the century homes.  Plank-width flooring describes flooring measuring 3” wide, running commonly up to 8”.  Depending on wood species, some woods are available even up to 12-14” wide.  Be aware that the wider the boards, the more care should be taken to ensure proper environmental conditions to minimize cupping and separation between boards.  Seek an experienced plank-flooring specialist to be sure your plank floors are installed properly.

Suitable to any architecture and decorative style, it can be used throughout the entire house. Hardwood plank floors elevate ordinary rooms to the spectacular.  The genial warmth and lustrous personality of wood plank flooring distinguish your home, making it memorable.

Its reputation for quality and durability speaks for itself.  Dollar for dollar no other material matches wood’s aesthetic appeal, versatility and practicality.  Able to outlast your mortgage, wood plank floors will be attractive long after carpet and other materials have been replaced many times.  Perfectly sound one hundred-year old wood plank floors are not uncommon.

Walnut Wide Plank Flooring

It cleans easily.  Unlike carpet, wood floors won’t collect molds, pollens, dust mites or mildews or absorb dust and odors.  There are no toxic fumes to give off. Making wood plank flooring the perfect choice for the allergy sufferer.

Quality wide plank flooring should be:

  • 3/4”-thick;
  • Tongue-and-grooved and end-matched;
  • Relief plowed on the back for improved stability; and
  • Kiln dried to approximately 8% moisture content.

For the most custom, high-quality look, choose to have your floors sanded & finished onsite.  Pre-finished wood floors generally have micro-bevels between the boards to hide over-wood – a term describing a slight difference in thickness from one board to the next.  Site finished floors are smooth and flat with no separation between the boards.

Most plank flooring manufacturers will also carry a large selection of matching paneling, moldings, mantles, doors, cabinets, trusses, beams, and stair parts to compliment the majority of species of plank flooring that they sell.  Your local plank-flooring specialist can also offer a wealth of new wood flooring ideas.

 

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