By Charles Richardson
Before the decorating, before the painting or the wallpapering, homeowners must make important decisions about the type(s) of wood they will integrate into their new home. After all, the wood you select for flooring, cabinets, and trim is a terrific way to enhance the appeal of a particular room, while adding long-lasting value to your home.
Let’s take a look at some of the more popular wood choices available to homeowners today:
This is one of the most important features of your house. New, finished hardwood flooring not only gives guests a positive impression of your particular style, but it also imparts a level of quality that can impact cost per square foot and resale value. Wood is also very customizable. Today, there are many wood species available to homeowners: cherry, oak, hickory, maple, and dozens more. Types of grades (clear wood, select wood, common wood, etc.) and cuts (plainsawn, quartersawn, riftsawn, etc.) also present homeowners with ample choices to fit there aesthetic preferences or utilitarian needs. For example, young families with small children or indoor pets will have different needs than empty nesters. Be sure to speak with a designer or contractor to determine which flooring options are best for your family—as well as what type of finishes (water-based, oil-based, acid-cured, or moisture-cured) work best with specific woods.
This is another popular feature that has gotten extra attention in recent years. The old days of cookie cutter cabinetry have given way to a new breed of homeowner that desires custom kitchen cabinetry, custom book shelves, custom pantries, custom entertainment centers, and so on. As with flooring, the type of wood that is selected can enhance the overall ambiance or character of a particular room. Many contemporary kitchens that feature a predominance of stainless steel and glass lend themselves to the warmth and organic texture of custom wood. Of course, there are select woods that come in every shade and texture imagineable: alder, cherry, oak, maple, and so on. Many homeowners are selecting woods that feature natural characteristics, or “imperfections,” to add character. These include mineral streaks, sound knots, burls, bird pecks, among others.
Interior trim is an accent that is often overlooked during the building phase. Homeowners should consider the trim work in every major room—dining room, great room, living room, entryways, and so on—as it can have a subtle, yet positive, impact on the overall elegance or feel of any room, from the ground up. It all starts with baseboards, or “skirting,” that can vary in terms of width and depth, and should complement the paint or wallpaper on the walls. The chair rail trim usually matches the baseboard and should be roughly 36 inches off the floor (it can vary if need be) to balance the symmetry of the walls from the floor. Crown molding at the top of the wall should complement the baseboard and chair rail, though the size and style of the molding can vary according to preference. The purpose of crown molding is to soften, or blend, the abrupt angle between the upper wall and ceiling to create a refined transition. Additionally, homeowners should consider the wood trim work on windows, doorways, and picture rails—all of which should present a perfect marriage of aesthetics and function.
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