Copper Harbor Lighthouse

Copper Harbor Lighthouse

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Wrapped in Wood

Horizontal lines. The interior of our home is full of horizontal lines.

I'm not sure why I chose a photo taken on the diagonal to illustrate horizontal lines. Is this better?

When we decided to use our own wood - milled from our own pine trees - to cover all the walls and ceilings of our home instead of drywall, we discussed which direction (or directions) the boards should run. Steve was pretty flexible but was probably leaning toward having some horizontal and some diagonal. Me? I knew I wanted all those pine boards placed horizontally. No doubt in my mind at all. Since I just finished telling you that our home is full of horizontal lines, I guess you can see who won that argument. Seriously, we never argued at all. He left the decision in my hands. Putting the boards vertically would have seemed way too midcentury America for me - like every wall would need an Early American sofa sitting in front of it - or a Danish Modern Davenport. Remember those? Putting the boards on the diagonal would have been even worse - a bad 1970's retro look - and I got rid of my bean bag chair a long time ago. Nope, the boards HAD to be horizontal. I must have made that decision back in 2004 or 2005 when we were first drawing up our house plans. What has happened in America since that time?

Well, along comes Fixer Upper on HGTV - with Chip and Joanna Gaines. We don't have TV at this house, but the show was on when we still lived in Calumet - long enough for me to get hooked on it. I love Joanna's style and enjoyed watching her work her magic down in Texas - making a light and airy space out of an ugly old mess of a house in every episode. Here's a shot of their own Texas home (courtesy of countryliving.com).

See all those horizontal lines? Joanna is the queen of white shiplap. She has helped make that style of wall & ceiling treatment extremely popular. Some people who don't have the wherewithal to install shiplap in their homes are even using black Sharpie markers or paint pens to draw fake shiplap lines on their walls nowadays! Seriously! Check the Internet!

Anyway. . . we have wood planks on our walls - installed horizontally - but they're not white. They're unfinished. Truth be told, I toyed with the idea of whitewashing some of the walls (probably the bathrooms). Whitewashing would have allowed the grain and knots to show through. However, Steve was adamant that he wanted to see the wood in its natural state and color. Since I think our home should reflect both of us, I had no problem letting him make that decision. Still, we did spend many hours researching whether or not we should coat the planks with a clear polyurethane. After touring a home that had raw pine on the walls for many years and realizing that our wood was going to darken with age - poly or no poly - we decided to leave them raw. The walls will never turn that dark amber color so common in midcentury homes - caused by the varnish used back then - but they will change color. In fact, they already have.

In hindsight, I'm glad we left our pine boards raw - especially after living in this house for an entire winter. We're WAY up north - with long winters - with lots of snow - and we have lots of windows. That means we only see this colorful view part of the year.

Most of the year we see this.

Get it? A few months of this.

Many months of this!

Now, let's imagine what things MIGHT look like if we had white planked walls throughout the house. Instead of this view from the great room. . .

we would see something more like this.

OK, maybe it would be more like the next photo, as the deer head mount would still be brown.

Again, instead of this. . .

it would be more like this.

One more time. Instead of this. . .

this.

Feels overwhelmingly cold, doesn't it?

Yes, I know I could have added pops or punches of color throughout the decor, but seeing all that white on the walls and through all the windows would have been too much for this home in the Keweenaw. I really enjoy the feeling of being wrapped in natural wood.

I also like the variations in our planks. We have the typical knots of knotty pine.

We have some unusual knots on boards we call "character boards."

We also have many boards with interesting grain patterns.

We've even had discussions about which boards are our favorites. (OK, it may have been the middle of winter when those discussions took place. Remember, we don't have TV!)

The wood always feels warm and cozy - and "cabiney." (Let's just pretend that's a word!)

I'll be back soon with some summer changes I made in the master bedroom.

All is well in the Keweenaw.

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