According to Alina Dizik, one of the leading Wall Street Journal’s real estate commentators, a growing number of luxury homeowners are finding new appreciation for an old idea. In fact, the older, the better. 

Pursuing a way to enhance the feel of modern homes, more and more homeowners are “getting into the groove” of reclaiming ancient materials—especially old wood. Antique timbers from old New England barn sidings have long been recycled, but usually only for walls. Now other uses are being found to add character to otherwise unexceptional rooms. For St. Louis homeowners looking to update their own homes, looking to the past might be an idea worth thinking about.

The Journal highlights a successful example in a Minnesota couple who used 1900s-era oak fencing to create an unusual dining-room ceiling. They liked the effect so much that they located some 1850s midwestern barn wood to use as exterior siding—then used the hand-hewn beams to look like support beams. “That’s the first thing people talk about,” according to the owner.

Now the search for reclaimed wood isn’t limited to barns. Materials from log cabins and factories originally built in the 1800s can be worthy prizes—as long as “they look as primitive as possible.” Today’s timber doesn’t supply the same look and feel as the more ancient wood because fast-growth techniques used by suppliers don’t create the same effect as do the antique hardwoods. Harsh weather—lots of it—makes the difference. While new wood tends to shrink “or cup and bow,” the old stuff just hardens—and looks terrific when contrasted against modern surfaces.

Despite its growing popularity and the obvious limit to how much can be reclaimed, dealers claim that St. Louis homeowners might find ample supply. Agents rely on word-of-mouth to claim structure that a being dismantled, so “it just keeps on coming.”

The old-materials-contrasted-with-new is an idea that may not leap to mind when St. Louis homeowners consider updating, but when it’s well done, can add unique appeal. Whenever you’re thinking of original ways to add value to your own St. Louis home, I hope you’ll give me a call! 636.329.4100