Reclaimed Wood Wallsby Kevin McGowan
Everitt & Schilling Tile started six years ago with an idea and a glimpse into the future trends of the tile world. At the time we were still a design-build firm that wanted to work with clients to create the most interesting and beautiful spaces a home could provide. While working on our materials palette for one home in particular, we saw an emerging trend at a large tile supply trade show. Everyone had screen printed wood look tile - while the technology hadn't caught up with the enthusiasm for the idea, it was clear to us that there was something unique coming to the tile world. While at breakfast one morning during the show, we dreamed up the idea of small subway type bricks made from real reclaimed wood. Little did we know that we would be endeavoring into this new adventure of creating a manufacturing company in the United States and becoming one of the leading wood tile manufacturers in the world. We knew early on that reclaimed wood walls would be a trend that would be coming. We had seen elements of it in different locations and saw that the idea was starting to take hold with major designers and architects on the leading edge projects. What we also saw was that it was unrefined. The wood was inconsistent, hard to source and labor intensive to get right for any project. From our years in building and designing we also understood that if we were ever going to make something out of this complicated product it was going to take a lot of time and energy to get it right.
Why Reclaimed Wood Walls?
A lot of people ask us why we started with the idea and the material. At first it was about the pragmatism of the availability of the materials. Living here in the West, it appeared on the surface that reclaimed wood would be in abundant supply for the foreseeable future. People were willing to get rid of it for any number of reasons and there seemed to be a lifetime supply of it. What we didn't realize was how complicated it was going to be to use the material and make it something people would rely upon as a design element. We hoped that by productizing and leveraging a factory, we could create a reasonably costing but effective design solution for the material. We also recognized early on that the trend in design towards adding warmth and character were really an important aspect of the products effectiveness in design options. But more than any of that, we really fell in love with the look of reclaimed wood in a refined look like the tiles we were producing. We thought it added significant interest while retaining the beauty and story of reclaimed wood.
The Herringbone Backsplash
We started working with a talented designer named Erin Hatzis here in Colorado. She had used one of our tiles as a feature wall in her home and it was a real show stopper with her furniture arrangement and color selections.
At the same time, she had a goal in mind of remodeling her kitchen. She asked us about the use of our Mulberry pattern in white as a backsplash option. We had done all the testing on our ceramic coating to assure ourselves that it could be used and would be an amazing reclaimed wood wall feature in her kitchen. She remodeled her kitchen and added our wood tile to the space. It was really a beautiful design - something that challenged the conventions of wood use in a kitchen space and added such a dynamic beauty to the entire room. It soon became a signature of our company as well. Our herringbone tile became a best selling product for us and remains one of the distinctive elements of our line of tile. We specialize in small format material to add interest and character in a highly thoughtful and refined product.
We soon started seeing our herringbone tile in more projects and each one was subsequently more impressive than the last. Brooke Wagner in southern California put a show stopper together in a master bedroom that took our breath away. This reclaimed wood wall feature is one of the most spectacular installs and combinations of materials that we have ever seen used. It defines our tile in the market as one of the products that leading designers love using. It adds differentiation and innovation to the design and elevates the reclaimed wood genre to something that isn't relegated or pigeon holed into one design style.
Random or Precision?
Over the years of our work one of the best rewards we have experienced is to see the value that our tile adds to the design community and the results of the final product that meet their goals. We started our adventure because one of our original clients wasn't interested in the randomness of reclaimed barnwood. She had seen it “done” before and wasn't impressed with the look or the lack of refinement. It seemed to her that reclaimed had to be equated with a style. It was “rustic” or “mountain cabin” and it wasn't of interest to her in her design tastes and aesthetics. The simple transformation of making the wood into a refined piece was a metamorphosis that took the wood from its limiting style to one that could cross into any design space. We always seem to find ourselves talking to designers about how our product offers a refinement that is unavailable in the standard methods of labor and carpentry. We usually start by breaking it down one step at a time. The narrative goes something like this:
“First tell someone to go take down a barn - every piece. Then bring it back to a factory and clean it and take all the nails out. Once you have that done you need to mill it to 3 thicknesses. Then chop it into different widths and lengths. Make sure you put a wobbly edge on it and spray all the cut edges so that it looks like it was a wood piece found in the field. After that assemble it into interlocking mosaics and finish it with a ceramic coating.”
Typically by the time we get to step 4 of that the designers are laughing and recognizing the design value and leveraging power of the production facility. We think that reclaimed wood walls don't have to be the random hodgepodge of wood that gets tacked to the wall with limited precision and limited control on consistency. We have dedicated our company to the idea that we want to make the worlds best reclaimed wood wall covering. We are interested in raising the bar for designers and giving them the tools they can use to make a space special and spectacular. If you have a wall you are considering using reclaimed wood on, call us and we can talk you through how to use our materials in your design. We love helping people realize the value in our product that they can add to their designs to make stunning spaces.
Visit Everitt & Schilling Tile's Reclaimed Wood Wall Gallery for more ideas and design inspiration.