Reclaimed wood checks off a lot of boxes for today’s traveler, whether they are looking to connect with a destination’s unique natural environment, it’s history or just feel warm and fuzzy.
It’s hard to think of a material that plays better to today’s upscale traveler than wood, except maybe reclaimed wood.
Consider some the trends we’ve written about in the last year:
The one thing all these design trends share in common is they seek to help today’s technology frazzled, screen-bound traveler reconnect with the physical world.
Wood interiors evoke physiological, psychological and environmental benefits like few other materials, according to a review of scientific research compiled by the Australian environmental foundation Planet Ark. Those benefits include “feelings of warmth, comfort and relaxation,” the very same benefits shown to occur when someone spends time in nature, according to the report.
The report cites studies showing that that wood paneling, floors, cabinets and beds reduced blood pressure, heart rate and stress levels compared to steel, curtains and other materials. Other health benefits included:
Improvements to a person’s emotional state and level of self-expression
Improved air quality through humidity moderation
Reclaimed wood does all this, plus:
brings the potent force of nostalgia to bear
qualifies as a sustainable material under LEED and other sustainable certification programs
is stronger and more stable, making it particularly well suited for flooring and furniture
can yield wider planks when harvested from large beams made of virgin timber
What is reclaimed wood?
Reclaimed wood is harvested from old homes, barns, textile factories and other structures, including many built prior to World War II. When these buildings outlive their usefulness, they are demolished, and the wood is extracted and reconditioned through a very labor-intensive process. The wood often must be removed by hand to minimize damage. It must then be cleaned of all nails and screws and refinished and sorted.
Some of the most prized boards are sawed from massive beams hewn from the virgin yellow pine that once stretched from Virginia to eastern Texas. These beams can yield much wider planks than are available from virgin timber, but only after being cut into boards and refinished.
All this work, plus rising interest in reclaimed wood as a sustainable material, means prices for reclaimed American hardwoods start at about $7 per square foot. Reclaimed wood is such high demand that Pioneer Millworks, which exhibited at the Boutique Design trade fair in New York City in November 2018, has resorted to salvaging it from landfills.
Reclaimed wood is used to make everything from furniture to paneling and flooring in both residential and commercial buildings. In the Southeastern United States, machinery-pocked heart pine stripped from old textile mills is highly prized by affluent homeowners for its rich red patina and the memories it evokes of the region’s textile heritage.
Why use reclaimed wood?
When designing a hospitality space, using reclaimed wood can be an effective way to not only make guests feel warm and cozy, but provide an authentic connection to local history that will imbue their visit with a sense of romance. (For a taste of how effective nostalgia is as a hospitality marketing tactic, check out this TV commercial from the Biltmore Estate.)
Reclaimed wood can also be an elegant and effective way to emphasize a brand’s commitment to sustainable development, especially when it’s part of a project seeking LEED- or Green Globe-certification. It may be the only way to use certain types of exotic or rare woods without provoking a backlash from consumers.
No wonder reclaimed wood is so highly sought-after.
Reclaimed wood in hospitality design
Below are a few examples of boutique hotels that have used reclaimed wood to bolster their brand and provide an immersive and unique guest experience.
Post Ranch Inn, California
Post Ranch Inn, built on a cliff a thousand feet above the ocean in Big Sur, uses reclaimed wood, glass, steel and stone to “further enhance the sense of harmony with nature,” according to its website. The Post Ranch Inn’s 39 guestrooms use redwood boards reclaimed from wine casks, custom-built furniture and linens made from organic fibers to “blend rustic elegance with luxury and comfort” and create “a serene retreat where romance and connection thrive.” Rooms come sans televisions or alarm clocks. No pets or children, please.
The Lodge at Primland, Virginia
Parts of The Lodge at Primland were built with oak reclaimed from a factory in the nearby Shenandoah Valley in an effort to celebrate the heritage of the area and highlight the Lodge’s commitment to sustainability. The lodge is the main attraction of a 26-acre resort listed by Fodor’s Travel in 2015 as one the 15 best leaf-peeping destinations in the United States.
Desert Pearl Inn connects its guests with Utah history by using reclaimed wood from the Lucin Cutoff railroad trestle throughout the property. The material is old-growth redwood and Douglas fir, “a truly exceptional strain of reclaimed wood that’s used to lend beauty and elegance to the historic Desert Pearl Inn,” proclaims the inn’s website.
Beachwood Custom scours the world for the best sources of custom furniture and finishes so boutique and premier hotels can offer the best quest experiences. Contact us today to see what we can do for your hotel property!