Tag Archives: rustic

Caring for Rustic and Reclaimed Furniture

We are often asked the best way to care for rustic and reclaimed furniture as well as stick work and driftwood furnishings.  LittleBranch Farms in Tennessee has put together a little primer published by mountainiving.com with great tips to help you keep your treasures looking their best for many years to come!

Caring for Rustic and Reclaimed Furniture

Inspired by the Adirondacks

It is probably pretty clear to anyone taking a look at our furniture pieces that we love the Adirondack-style of furniture.  Rustic, yet with refinements.  Cozy, but not too soft.  Natural, yet with a clear design.

This article has some beautiful pictures of Adirondack-style furniture and furnishings.  Take a close look at the stair railing!

An Adirondack-Inspired Guest Suite

Going Rustic

I was recently reading a blog article at www.lpostrustics.com, where the statement was made, “As our world gets more and more complex, many look to a quiet retreat reminiscent of a simpler time.” I think that is very true.  What we are seeing is people finding their way back to rustic decor, some of whom are using it in new ways.

Whether it is live edge slabs of wood being combined with more modern elements such as ironwork structures or a marriage of rustic natural wood married to painted surfaces, rustic accents are finding their way into homes where they’ve never been used before.

Live Edge Table with Aluminum Frame
Live Edge Table with Aluminum Frame

What is behind the shift?  One reason, I believe, is that there are more and more people interested in living simply. For many, that means a reconnection with nature, and bringing more nature into their everyday lives.  What better way to bring more nature into your everyday life than to incorporate all varieties of rustic furnishings into your home?

Stickwork furniture fits into this growing niche market.  The natural materials, and the very organic design of our artisan furniture brings the essence of nature into a room.  This can be accomplished through decorating an entire room with rustic furniture, or by bringing in elements to a room such as with a console table, a coffee table or a whimsical piece of home decor.

Birdhouse Plant Stand
Birdhouse Plant Stand

What are your favorite rustic elements to add to a room’s decor?

What is that Wood? Black Walnut

One of the first woods we had available to us when we relocated to North Central Ohio was Black Walnut.  As it turned out, the property where we live has several Black Walnut trees and there were literally dozens of branches on the ground as the result of high winds.  As we collected the branches, we decided what to keep to try using in our stickwork furniture.

“Black walnut is highly prized for its dark-colored, true heartwood. It is heavy and strong, yet easily split and worked. Walnut wood has historically been used for gunstocks, furniture, flooring, paddles”, states Wikipedia.org.  We love the rich color the wood develops as it is exposed to the air and elements.

Stickarondack Chair, Walnut sticks
Stickarondack Chair, Walnut sticks

One of our first pieces was what we like to call a Stickarondack – essentially it is an Adirondack style chair made using all smaller sticks and branches for the seat and back of the chair.  The chair has a very rustic look and feel to it, making it fit quite well into any rustic decor, whether it be cabin, mountain, or primitive.  Because it is based on the Adirondack style chair, it also works quite well in a cottage or beach setting.

Walnut Adirondack Chair
Walnut Adirondack Chair

We also wanted to use some of the Black Walnut to make slabs and see what the same style chair would look like using those slabs in place of the sticks.  As it turns out, slabs work quite well!  They give the chair a “beefier” presence.  Somehow, it just seemed right to add some antlers to this chair!

Another of our first pieces was a side table which used narrow slabs cut from some of those branches.  The slabs provided both a smooth, level surface for the table, as well as some unique character because of the way the slabs fit together.

Black Walnut Side Table
Black Walnut Side Table

Black Walnut is a great wood for our handcrafted, artisan Stickwork Furniture!

DIY Projects –

Today I conquered the dishwasher!  The battle was not heated, but it was fought across territory that was very unfamiliar to me.  The fact that I prevailed has surprised me.  The best weapon?  My iPhone.  I was able to take photos of the parts all spread out so that I

DIY DIshwasher cleanout

could check that I had nothing left outside the dishwasher when I thought I had it all back together (surely, someone besides me has had the experience of getting something back together only to find a screw that ought to be attached to something inside whatever you just reassembled?)

Let me share with you that I am a convert to doing routine maintenance on the dishwasher.  Our dishwasher is 7 years old, and I had never before done what I did today. I became aware of the process of cleaning out the dishwasher because the dishes on the bottom rack were routinely coming out of the dishwasher with more debris on them that what they had when they were put in before the wash cycle.  A little research on the web, and I found www.appliancerepair.net/dishwasher-repair.html.  A deep breath, and I was off and running to find the right screwdriver to take on this project.

The disassembly was amazingly quick – I had all the parts removed in less than 10 minutes.  What took a really long time was cleaning the gunk off all those parts!  I spent almost an hour cleaning!  Calcium had built up just about everywhere, and where it wasn’t there were other strange substances: 2 toothpicks, one square plastic clip that comes on loaves of bread, a few strands of alfalfa, 3 or 4 popcorn kernels, and one small plastic tip that had broken off a removable basket from the dishwasher.  No wonder there was water standing in the bottom most of the time after the dishwasher had been run!

Reassembly was almost as fast as taking things apart – about 15 minutes – mostly due to my trying to install one piece too soon and having to take it back out when I realized things were out of order.

I have now run the dishwasher for its inaugural load, and I can honestly say that the volume of noise is significantly reduced, and everything on the bottom rack came out clean!

So, how does this apply to artisan stickwork furniture made from natural materials?  Good question!  It really does.  Stickwork furniture, although fairly rustic and tough stuff in the furniture realm, can still benefit from some routine maintenance, especially if it is being used as outdoor furniture.  Covering furniture for the winter months with a tarp, or relocating to a protected garage or covered patio area is optimum.  Additionally, we like to tell people that a coat or two of Helmsmans Spar Urethane is a great way to give stickwork furniture the advantage in all weather and in all climates.