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The Ultimate Guide to Reclaimed Wood

Hand hewn box beams installed in Santa Barbara county home
This beautiful Santa Barbara County home is made complete with Box Beams of Hand Hewn Hardwoods in a natural sanded finish. A vintage look is preserved with the centerpiece of this project, a stunning 12″x12″ by 26′ beam, standing over the dining area.

Reclaimed wood is becoming more popular in the design world daily, captivating the imagination of those seeking to blend history with modern elegance. This remarkable material, known for its rich patina and storied past, is more than about aesthetic appeal; it’s a journey back in time and a tangible piece of America’s craft heritage. Early pioneers faced difficult challenges, and reclaimed wood tells a story of resilience, craftsmanship, and centuries-old natural beauty.

The beauty of reclaimed wood lies in its versatility; it doesn’t confine a space to a rustic feel. It harmonizes seamlessly with contemporary materials, proving that the past’s charm can bring warmth to any design. This synergy between old and new creates environments that are not only visually stunning but also rich in narrative.

Tangiers Oak flooring installed in luxury Pacific Palisades home
Tangiers Oak Flooring provides a warm and inviting atmosphere to this beautiful home in Pacific Palisades, California. The rustic style and inviting hues of the flooring perfectly complement the bright and airy interiors, creating an inviting and luxurious atmosphere.

About E&K Vintage Wood

E&K Vintage Wood in Los Angeles, California, has emerged as a pioneering force in this industry, sourcing and finishing this transformative material. The company sources reclaimed wood and works closely with its clients to transform spaces with bespoke solutions that provide a sense of history and sustainability. Through meticulous selection and finishing, we ensure that every piece of reclaimed wood meets the highest quality standards and perfectly matches the vision of designers, architects, and homeowners.

This is about more than an aesthetic choice. It speaks to sustainability and pays homage to the craftsmen from our shared heritage. Suitable for both luxury homes and high-end businesses, reclaimed wood promises to transform spaces, making them visually captivating and richly storied. In this guide, we will explore the essence and allure of reclaimed wood, offering insights into how this timeless material can be seamlessly integrated into modern designs. 

Planed White Oak Boards and beams installed in vaulted ceiling of luxury home
Beautifully crafted details, such as Planed White Oak Box Beams give this home a modern charm and character that you won’t find anywhere else. E&K also supplied White Oak lumber for the stair treads and accent pieces, creating a unified look throughout.

Designing with Reclaimed Wood

Designing with reclaimed wood brings warmth and historic charm to modern spaces. It brings the memory of its previous life and warmth that new materials simply can’t replicate. The process of integrating reclaimed wood starts with a vision as to how best to incorporate its character with their projects, whether it’s showcased as a significant architectural element or used as an accent to architectural design.

The beauty of reclaimed wood lies in its versatility, particularly in surface and finish treatments. Thanks to a wide selection of options, we can tailor the wood’s appearance to fit any project. From leaving the wood in its naturally weathered state to applying surface treatments and stains, reclaimed wood can be transformed to match or complement any design palette. 

“The beams look incredible! I can’t wait to see them installed. My interior designer is planning to get this project published in Architectural Digest.”Keeran Kumar, MDScripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas

Creative Uses of Reclaimed Wood

Reclaimed wood is increasingly becoming an essential element in interior and exterior design, crucial to infusing warmth into modern architectural projects. It’s not just used as a design accent; it’s a cornerstone of design aesthetics, transforming luxury homes and adding depth to commercial properties.

Beams:

Reclaimed wood beams enhance many different design projects, blending the character of hand hewn, planed, and rough textures with modern design sensibility. Available as box  beams for covering existing or as solid beams, they bring a sense of authenticity and the feeling of home. These beams make a statement, providing a natural contrast that beautifully offsets modern materials.

E&K Vintage Wood has mastered techniques that ensure their box beams are virtually indistinguishable from solid reclaimed wood beams. This expertise allows them to offer beams that not only embody the authentic aesthetic and texture of solid wood but also provide a practical, lightweight solution for spaces where structural support is a concern. 

Barnwood siding installed on wall of outdoor terrace in luxury home in Hollywood Hills
The use of barn white and weathered grey reclaimed wood adds a unique story and texture to this luxury home, demonstrating the seamless integration of reclaimed wood in sophisticated living spaces.

Reclaimed Paneling and Siding:

Reclaimed wood elevates exteriors by serving as a distinctive material that highlights the natural beauty of aged wood. When used as exterior siding, it makes a bold statement, adorning homes and businesses with character and warmth. On the interior, reclaimed wood transforms spaces into striking showcases, often becoming the focal point of any room. It introduces depth and warmth through stunning accents. Whether utilized for paneling or siding, reclaimed wood offers the versatility of a contemporary finish or something a little more rustic. It retains a character unique to reclaimed materials even when planed to a smooth surface.

Reclaimed Flooring:

Reclaimed wood flooring doesn’t just make a bold statement; it touches every corner of a home with its character and unique charm. It helps bring different materials together with a rich, textured surface. With its wide range of appearances, from contemporary planed wood to textured rustic surfaces, reclaimed wood can bring layers of history and personality that new wood simply can’t match. This flooring choice is not just about looking back; it’s a forward-thinking decision for a contemporary design that preserves America’s craft history.

Dossetti flooring custom made for this client and installedThis California home in Venice is styled with an ideal blend of classic and contemporary charm. Featuring our reclaimed Oak flooring, the Dossetti finish for this project was custom-made for this client, adding a touch of timeless elegance to the modern interior.

Preserving America’s Craft History

Reclaimed wood’s natural warmth resonates with people of all ages. Its historic charm adds to its aesthetic appeal, with every piece a reminder of its former life. Whether sourced from an old barn, a decommissioned factory, or a historic dock, reclaimed wood bears the marks of weathering the test of time.

Reclaimed wood is a testament to the creativity and resourcefulness of pioneer craftsmen and a permanent record of our shared heritage. It’s a choice that breathes new life into materials that might otherwise be forgotten, transforming them into elements of beauty. It rescues wood from ending in landfills and reduces the need for new wood. 

I have been a customer at E&K for about 5 years now and used reclaimed oak beams throughout the house as a focal point of the design. …unmatched approach at producing the highest quality reclaimed lumber.”Tyler KrikorianKrikorian Construction Inc.

Why Reclaimed Wood?

Reclaimed wood, by its very definition, is lumber salvaged from its original application and repurposed for new construction or design projects. Unlike fresh-cut lumber, reclaimed wood carries a history as rich and varied as the structures from where it came. 

The historical significance of reclaimed wood cannot be overstated. Each plank has survived for decades, witnessing bygone eras and the frontiersmen who helped build this country. This wood was cut before the arrival of American industry and is, in many ways, a foundation on which this country was built. 

Architects and designers are increasingly drawn to vintage wood, captivated by its aesthetic qualities and the promise it holds for modern design. The unmatched tones and surfaces of reclaimed wood, developed through years of exposure and use, simply cannot be replicated by new materials. 

The texture of reclaimed wood is unique, with tighter grain patterns and colors that only come with years of exposure and the passage of time. Often created based on available tools, some reclaimed wood is Hand Hewn, Rough Sawn with different tools, and cut from raw lumber axes and adzes.

There is a trend in architecture and design to create spaces that are sustainable, meaningful, and connected to the human experience. Reclaimed wood is the perfect choice for luxury residential homes and high-end hospitality and commercial businesses in an era marked by rapid change and environmental challenges. 

reclaimed Oak planks 2x8-9 lumber in the yard

Reclaimed Oak lumber is among our most popular and beautiful products, sourced from vintage barns, factories, and other historic structures. We offer a range of options for both exterior and interior use, including weathered rustic grey exterior boards to interior wood available in warmer tones.

Understanding Wood Species

The world of reclaimed wood is vast and varied, with various species, surface treatments, and finishes. From the rustic appeal of Rough Sawn Oak to Mixed Hardwoods to Douglas Fir and Pine, choosing wood species is an important first step when designing your next project. These materials serve as the canvas, setting the stage for further refinement. E&K Vintage Wood offers expertise in navigating these choices for well-known designers, architectural firms, and homeowners. 

Ensuring a bespoke fit for each project, we honor the material’s rich legacy while meeting architectural design specifications. Each wood species has inherent characteristics—color variations, grain patterns, and patina—contributing to the aesthetic feel.

“Beams arrived this morning, I even helped unload. They look GREAT! The guys should be gearing up to start installing possible tomorrow.”Sarah AdamsProject Manager
Sonoma Hill Builders

Oak

Oak, with its distinguished strength and grain, offers a timeless appeal. Its robustness and character come from decades, sometimes centuries, of use. Its versatility makes it a favorite among those looking to add a touch of elegance and durability to their spaces. 

Mixed Hardwood

Mixed Hardwoods were often crafted from readily available trees and present a rich palette of textures and hues, allowing for spaces with nuanced layers of warmth and history. 

Douglas Fir
Reclaimed Douglas fir possesses a striking grain pattern and a beautiful range of colors, from light tan to a deep reddish-brown, which deepens over time.

Pine
Reclaimed Pine, with its warm texture and unique patina, offers a blend of rustic charm and elegance. Its visually appealing grain makes it ideal for both modern and traditional spaces

custom siding blend of reclaimed Oak fencing from a Kentucky horse farm installed as exterior accent

A unique design element, the reclaimed Oak Fencing sourced from a Kentucky farm has been repurposed as accent siding for the upper level of this Beverly Hills home. A homage to the past, this element adds rustic charm and a touch of history to this modern design.

Beyond the visual and tactile allure, the history of the wood—its provenance, how it was used, and the journey it has taken—adds its character and a sense of authenticity to spaces.

The Perfect Finish

The journey from raw reclaimed wood to finished architectural elements is one of transformation. Here, surface and finish take the front stage. Circular and band saw marks and wood carved with various hand tools make every reclaimed wood plank unique. Reclaimed wood is often planed, resawn, sanded, and wire-brushed, offering various styles from contemporary to rustic.

Finish treatments, including natural looks and custom stains, enhance the wood’s beauty and protect it against the elements. E&K Vintage Wood are expert in this area, offering guidance and expertise in creating or selecting the right finish. With one of the most extensive finishing departments in the country and a wide variety of proprietary finishes, E&K works directly with clients to create bespoke looks that perfectly match the aesthetic of a given project.

UV protection is an option for exterior applications, safeguarding the wood against sun damage and preserving its color and integrity. Some customers prefer that their wood weather and develop a patina over time and forego UV protection. Natural weathered grey wood offers consistency without the need for ongoing UV protection. 

“Great place for artistically beautiful wood. Great variety. They took their time with me, and helped me put my vision together! I was especially impressed with E&K’s firsthand knowledge of the wood!”Edmund V.★★★★★

Sourcing Reclaimed Wood

The quest for high-quality reclaimed wood presents several challenges, requiring a selection of reputable suppliers. E&K Vintage Wood leverages its large network of national suppliers toleft source wood that meets the highest standards of quality and authenticity. Our expertise in finding and identifying the reclaimed wood solution is especially important when providing wood for large multi-site projects.

The wood’s provenance, age, and previous life are all important. Inquiries about how the wood has been treated and from where it was sourced provide valuable insights into the quality and sustainability of the material. E&K Vintage Wood fosters a culture of respect and appreciation for reclaimed wood by prioritizing authenticity and ethical sourcing.

The selection of wood species and finishes for reclaimed wood is an art and science that demands attention to detail, a deep understanding of materials, and a commitment to quality. 

A Diminishing Resource

As demand for reclaimed wood has soared, so has the reality that there isn’t an endless supply. This material, rich with history and character, comes from buildings, structures, and spaces that served in their original locations for decades if not centuries. We must acknowledge that these sources are limited. The supply of reclaimed wood is directly tied to the past, and there are only so many old barns, factories, and historic buildings to draw from.

Due to their original prevalence or durability, some types of wood are more readily available than others. This variability requires a knowledgeable approach to selection, ensuring that the reclaimed wood chosen for a project is not only beautiful but also available in enough quantities to complete large orders.

E&K's Rushmore reclaimed Mixed Species siding installed at Pac City Mall, California
We provided over 40,000 sq. ft. of exterior siding for this newly built upscale Mall in Huntington Beach, California. A key decorative element to the overall look, this product helps establish the casual atmosphere of this popular shopping center. Working directly with the developer and designer, we found a solution that perfectly met the aesthetic for the project. Rushmore Custom Siding blend combines a mix of brown reclaimed interior barn boards with exterior grey weathered barn boards.

Commercial Projects

This is especially true for large commercial projects. We source wood for multi-location businesses and phased rollouts. We handle projects of all sizes, including hotel chains, large tech companies and outdoor malls. Projects like these require a consistent look throughout, a challenge with reclaimed wood, and one where our years of expertise make the difference. 

E&K Vintage Wood works closely with commercial account clients, helpging to guide them through the many available options. From sourcing and surfacing to creating bespoke surfaces and stains, we take pride in our record of fulfilling large commercial orders..

Limitations of Faux Reclaimed Wood

Some companies offer faux wood products in response to the growing scarcity of reclaimed wood. These alternatives, manufactured to mimic the look of aged wood, present an option for those seeking a similar aesthetic without the need for authentic reclaimed materials. These imitations fall short of capturing reclaimed wood’s unmatched character and tone. The look is similar, but the depth, texture, and connection with the past cannot be replicated.

“I’m a home builder and their selection is spectacular… I’ve used their reclaimed posts, siding, beam wraps and mantles. All of them have exceeded expectations and are great conversation starters. I will continue to shop here and send clients here as well.”Mason W.★★★★★

The E&K Difference

With over two decades of experience providing reclaimed wood from our showroom and yard in Los Angeles, California, our journey has provided us with a profound understanding and appreciation for this timeless material. Our expansive network of national suppliers ensures diverse and rich options, catering to our clients’ unique needs and visions. With one of the most extensive finishing departments for reclaimed wood in the country, we specialize in bringing the highest quality reclaimed wood beams, siding, paneling, and flooring. Working hand in hand with our clients, we craft custom solutions that meet and exceed expectations. Our commitment to excellence and collaboration transforms spaces into personalized statements of style and sustainability.

 

Getting Started with Your Next Reclaimed Wood Project

 

Embarking on your reclaimed wood project begins with a creative vision. The journey to bringing this vision to life can be made confidently when you lean on the expertise of reclaimed wood professionals. At E&K Vintage Wood, we invite you to start this collaborative process by completing a detailed request form for us to review. This initial step allows our team to understand the details of your project and how we can be most effective in realizing your dream. This approach ensures you select materials that enhance your space and work with your project’s specifications.

 

Contact E&K Vintage Wood