Where I live, by the creeks and estuaries in East Anglia, salvaged wood turns up in many people’s homes – crafted into sculptures of the wading birds that dot the shorelines in winter. Foremost among driftwood bird sculptors is Guy Taplin, who made the birds above. He’s sometimes known as the Bird Man of Wivenhoe. Along the river banks between his studio and Ella’s Place you’ll see upturned tenders (the little rowing boats that carry you out to the larger sailing or pleasure boats anchored further out on the water). Many of the houses are weatherboarded in the vernacular East Anglian style, too. A good friend of ours says it looks more like New England, USA, than Olde England.
The reclaimed and salvaged wood trend has been everywhere in interiors this year, too, cropping up in all kinds of editorials and ads. Used well to complement other materials and colours, it doesn’t need to overpower and can look chic, rather than just shabby.
Here are a few examples of the trend I’ve found recently.
1. The neutral and earthy tones of reclaimed – salvaged – wood can help to soften a room when used carefully. The accent wall above is complemented by the stone, steel and leather, but allows the pop of a red armchair and yellow pouffe to stand out.
2. As a headboard, above, it provides the colour-pop on its own, jumping out to contrast with the colourful wall.
3. The weathered boarding, above, adds notes of outdoor wilderness to a small space, without turning the room into a log cabin.
4. Reclaimed wood units and shelves make for a stylish kitchen, above, that also helps to bring the outdoors in.
5. A lighter touch in the kitchen with the trend comes with the addition of a single reclaimed wood cupboard, above.
6. For a calming space, the natural tones of wood look great when set against clean whites and complementary shades. To mix things up, try bringing in different textures instead of colours.
7. And remember that wooden panels can still be painted, even if they’re salvaged. The fun pops of colour above really help to lift the room.