Madilynn Chieduch of Amanda Hamilton Design Studio says she is increasingly incorporating used or worn wood because of its various colours and textures.
"We've been creating a visual element by installing chevron pattern on the walls using reclaimed wood," says Chieduch, junior interior designer and retail development lead with the Calgary company. "It's also a popular material for shelving, including floating shelves in the kitchen."
Instead of choosing to create clean lines by trimming knots or bark off the wood, Chieduch says homeowners often include a piece in a more raw form, such as a stump for additional seating or a coffee table.
Chieduch notes that fewer homeowners are choosing butcher block countertops in their kitchens because of the predominance of wood cabinetry and the potential for wear and tear.
Even though wood can change and crack over time, both Chieduch and Kim Stobbart, a Malahat, B.C., furniture designer, say that can enhance the beauty and bring out new qualities in the piece.
As a natural product, wood needs to be treated differently than a synthetic material. Chieduch recommends sealing pieces like coffee or dining tables to prevent damage.
Stobbart seals her pieces with a waterproof finish so they can be used indoors and outdoors.
"Once the pieces are sealed they are good to go," says Stobbart. "Even wine can't hurt it. The furniture should be enjoyed and lived with. It just makes them that much better to have a worn piece. If it gets a ding it makes it that much more beautiful and special.
"Allowing the wood to be worn, weathered and loved creates the feeling that your home is lived in, and that's what I love."
In addition to the warmth it can bring, Stobbart says because of wood's diversity both in type, like cedar, oak and pine, and uses, it is a timeless inclusion in interior design.
"Wood is something that will never go out of style," she says. "Everyone just loves it. A beautiful wood piece is something they can have forever. They become heirlooms, but now instead of oak, it is cedar used in a more modern way."
Designers like Stobbart maximize the natural qualities of a piece of wood by using simple design. Many of her pieces have uncomplicated shapes which highlight the grain and colour of the wood.
"It is such a beautiful thing," says Stobbart. "It's a way to bring nature and the wild into your house."
In addition to creating wood furniture that serves as functional art for her clients, Stobbart includes a lot of her work in her own home, including a fireplace hearth and dining table.
"When I built this house I knew I wanted to use wood as much as I could because the house is in the forest near the ocean," she says.
"I've always been attracted to wood, and I've always been an outdoors person spending a lot of time in the forest. It is nice to bring it in to my home."