Douglas Fir flooring, with it’s tree origins in the Pacific Northwest, can be an uncommon wood floor in the East. But in this new construction install, the owners salvaged the Douglas Fir joists of the former mid-century auto shop at the site. The bownish-orange tone of softwood species often call for some element at the opposite end of the color spectrum. Here, the design also layers the contrast of organic wood figure and color, with cast iron in a traditional radiator, painted blue black. The concise and elegant balance unfolds in the surrounding hallway with natural light and a wicker bulls head on the wall.


The reclaimed Redwood paneling within the entryway to 951 Pacific St. in Brooklyn welcomes visitors to the city’s first condo built to Passive House energy standards. The accent wall provides rich natural wood tones in a small but prominent entry vestibule, reflecting the quality and sustainability of the development project. R-951 is a project by Paul A. Castrucci Architects.

shousughiban_charredcedar_brooklynShou Sughi Ban on reclaimed Douglas Fir at 158 Clifton, a Passive House project. The old growth woods were recovered from Worcestershire Sauce tanks in NJ, and milled into 5” & 7” clapboard. Oslo exterior finish of  natural oils was applied as a top coat. The ebonized facade is characteristic of the Japanese fire treatment technique that dates to the 1700’s and serves as a modern application, furthering the exterior performance of a sustainable material, and producing a subtle and dramatic silhouette of the underlying virgin Douglas Fir figure. The darkened boards amplify a sublime quality of the Egyptian revival inspired dormers, bound to the Mansard slate roof and seeming to take flight. Less expected –  an oiled and darkened reflection of climate change denial now taking root in the Capital.

280 Jefferson Ave #B-Dining-Open Kitchen-NYCRustic softwood floors seem like an unlikely choice for a classic Brooklyn Brownstone, which generally greets visitors with strip or plank Oak floors, or occasionally a rare Pine original, but the aged planks feel like a natural fit. The home was restored as a double duplex, with co-owners occupying each of the units. The floors were re-milled from a potato farms in Hadley, MA, with the original planks tongue and groove moulded at 5” widths, and long 10’+ plank runs. Along with their distinct virgin Hemlock grain, they retain an aged brown patina, original saw marks and a face nail pattern that is can be found in farm board planks. Wire brushed and finished, the floor unfolds with the charm and rich intricacy of an old map. The two units specified a slightly different surface – one ‘skip planed’ and the other left as-is – a subtle but ultimately defining quality of the separate spaces. This kind of design dialogue  – rustic and refined, rural and city, lights and darks – seems to characterize the project, and perhaps the lives and values of the occupants, a mental health care professional and a staff person with the United Nations.


It may be easier for some to remain optimistic about the coming year, but renewal of American history, beauty, and sustainability is always at hand with antique and vintage lumber. Make American wood again…with a new table, shelving project or accent wall. 10% off in addition to overstock deals through the Jan. 20th.

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