We’ve been talking about Thoughtful Sophistication™ a lot in our studios; what it means to us and what we hope it means to others. Of course, there’s ourThoughtful Sophistication collection—but it’s more than just the products and finishes you see. It’s a way to move Beyond the Barn™ to see the other side of reclaimed wood, options that are sleek and modern with a soul.
However, nothing good comes from just talking in your own bubble, so we reached out to some of our design friends to get their take on what Thoughtful Sophistication means to them, what they see as the next wave in interiors, and how they stay inspired as a creative.
Susanne Angarano, Principal and Interior Designer at Ashley McGraw in Syracuse, NY.
I had the fantastic opportunity to chat with Susanne Angarano, Principal + Interior Designer at Ashley McGrawin Syracuse, NY. The architectural design firm creates spaces where people are inspired to work, learn, collaborate, and play—or “design with purpose”, as they say. Susanne’s work is mostly in educational spaces.
D: Thanks for taking the time to talk with me today Susanne, I really appreciate it. Tell me more about your work in sustainable design.
S: Thanks, of course. I started my education in Interior Design and got my masters in Sustainable Design. I landed at Ashley McGraw because it’s a very design AND sustainability focused firm full of people very passionate about both. Our firm is very deeply rooted in sustainable building science and holistic sustainability which is my passion. We have a great balance of the science and the ecological in our sustainable approach and I love how they synthesize together in our designs.
Is holistic sustainability the next step for design?
S: I think so. We take a lot of our direction from International Living Future Institute’s Living Buildings Challenge—what I would call a holistic design approach. It looks at the science behind the energy, water, and site—but also materiality, beauty, social justice, and environmental justice—it’s a great framework to use. I think that even if projects aren’t going towards this certification it’s a great guiding principle for projects so that sustainability can become more than just energy usage or recycling to end-users and clients.
Cruising into a new space with views of the Sound and reclaimed wood! We couldn’t think of a better fit for a major cruise line’s new headquarters than our Reclaimed Smooth Teak flooring.
Designed by SkB Architects, the new corporate office will allow the Holland America Group to consolidate their 900+ employees in a modernized work environment. Located on Pudget Sound in Seattle, the headquarters interior pays homage to traditional boat decking with Reclaimed Teak, a classic boat-building material, throughout the offices and common areas.
The layout for ‘work’ levels has cubicles flowing around the perimeter of each floor with offices, conference rooms, and flex space occupying the center. On the second level, an emergency response center, training & conference rooms, and eatery are all shod with Reclaimed Teak. The Teak also flows from floor to stairs and benches in several areas.
Over 14,000 square feet of the salvaged Teak, with an all natural oil/wax finish, found new life throughout all six levels of Holland America’s new building. The wood unifies each level, offering incredible durability and warm tones to the various work areas.
Our Teak is reclaimed from retired structures — office buildings, homes, boats, and factories in Indonesia. Teak maintains the authentic beauty of 18th and 19th-century planks. With an extremely hardwearing surface, it’s the ultimate specification for lasting value. It is milled from certified FSC® Recycled 100% Teak to exacting industry standards for nail down installation and finishing.
One percent of all of our Reclaimed Teak sales are donated to conservation causes in Indonesia and Malaysia. Currently, we’re supporting the Borneo Project in their fight to end the loss of habitat for the indigenous peoples of Indonesia.
Various finishes and surfaces, fit for every design style, are available on our Surface Selector.
Welcome to SoWa! The South Waterfront in Portland, OR, locally known as SoWa, continues to blossom with living and retail spaces. The area is modeled after the skyline of Vancouver, BC and is focused on eco-friendly living; nearly all of the buildings are LEED certified. Situated on the river there is easy access to downtown via the street car.
The Osprey – Block 37, a new 270-unit apartment building along the River Parkway, celebrates the connection between the river front and Portland’s active lifestyle. The design and material use, from Clear Vision glass to Reclaimed Smooth Teak, work to bring the outside in (and vice versa).
Located on corner of SW Gaines Street and SW River Parkway, Block 37 was designed to be contextual to its surroundings. The street level features the first waterfront retail space in SoWa, as well as a dog washing area, storage for kayaks/paddle boards, bikes and other gear. This storage area has a storefront presence which connects tenants with the urban riverfront walkway. Area visitors get a glimpse inside where Block 37 resident outdoor enthusiasts clean gear after a day on the water, a trip camping & hiking, or a long day in the (bike) saddle.
SoWa (The Osprey – Block 37 is the white building on the lower right side of this photo.)
GBD Architects describes the Block 37 design as a modified U-shape building which either projects or steps back to emphasize corners, breaks up the massing (adding a pedestrian scale); and provides shadow lines, texture and visual interest. The layout allowed for a second-level terrace and a common “living room” which joins a second-level deck fronting the river and greenway, further connecting residents to their surroundings.
“Our design approach, what we term ‘thoughtful living’ has been to think in decades rather than years, consistent with the overall vision for the Waterfront District,” said Paul Keller, founding principal and CEO of Mack Urban, the property developer.
Reclaimed Teak paneling welcomes tenants and visitors at the main lobby entry of Block 37. A street level seating area thoughtfully invites folks to sit and chat.
Inside, materials are posh with an expansive lounge, upscale kitchen salon, and a mail room with seating area and sofas. Reclaimed Smooth Teak* paneling accents the common areas, leasing office, and lounge/game room. On each level, the living unit’s entries are surrounded by the authentic 18th and 19th century planks that pay homage to the nearby river/water, having been used traditionally for boats and decks.
Altogether 4,900 sq ft of Reclaimed Smooth Teak with a natural oil/wax finish adorns various walls within Block 37. With incredible stability and an extremely durable surface from years of weathering and use, Pioneer Millworks traditional Smooth Teak is precision milled and sanded, showing the natural beauty of the wood grain. Offering an organic touch, it serves as a point of connection between indoor living spaces and engagement with the outdoors.
FSC-certified as 100% recycled, the teak planks further Block 37’s efforts to attain LEED Gold Certification. Other sustainable design strategies include: high-performance envelope, rainwater treatment, native landscaping, light-color roof with filtration rock garden, access to public transportation, and high-efficiency M/E/P systems.
* Our Reclaimed Teak is sustainably salvaged from Indonesia. 1% of all of our Reclaimed Teak sales are donated to conservation causes in Indonesia and Malaysia. Currently we’re supporting the Borneo Project in their fight to end the loss of habitat for the indigenous peoples of Indonesia.
When Greg & Dee approached us about their family’s timber frame retreat home we knew it was going to be fun. They had great plans and land with amazing views – but more, their goal was to create a home as environmentally friendly as possible. Eliminating VOCs and incorporating reclaimed and organic materials (plus a solar array) were “must have” elements. We recently had a chance to chat with Greg about life on the mountain:
Expansive views of Catamount and Butternut Mountains enjoyed from the home.
“Well firstly, we loved the rich color and character we saw in the reclaimed timbers in the showroom,” explains Greg. “Now that they’re part of our home, we are so pleased that we went this direction.”
Greg has a special affinity for a particular Douglas fir post near the kitchen. It isn’t uncommon to see him hugging the post on his way into the common areas. “Every time I come into the house after I haven’t been there for a while, there is a post that I wrap myself around and give a giant hug too. I’ve been known to give it a little smooch as well. I really do love this house.” We can relate. In fact, hugging, handling, smelling, and staring dreamily at wood is typical day-to-day around our mill and office.
Our teams do love reclaimed wood!
“We wanted to use as much reclaimed wood as possible because it’s environmentally friendly and a healthier option for our family, but also just as important, we love the sustainability aspects of re-purposed wood,” Greg continued.
We learned that it would be common for Greg & Dee to have large gatherings and lots of cooks in the kitchen. Foot traffic would be heavy, but they live in a relaxed atmosphere, so shoes would be off. This type of living would be a good fit for Walnut as it is a softer hardwood. The rich coffee, purple, caramel, and tan toned wood flows throughout the main level of the home. “The Reclaimed Walnut floors are one of the best decisions that we made. We used a no VOC finish so they do require more care, but they are so beautiful that it’s totally worth it.” To balance out the darker floors, the custom NEWwoodworks cabinetry stays light.
Reclaimed Walnut flooring meets American Prairie Taphouse siding and is joined by Reclaimed Maple/Beech furniture (crafted by NEWwoodworks).
The interior trim is Douglas fir which joins with American Prairie Taphouse reclaimed softwoods on the bedroom, entry, and stair walls. “We were initially concerned that with having too much wood, that decorative wood paneling on the interior walls could be overkill. Turns out the team at Pioneer Millworks suggested just the right amount and it ended up being the perfect complement to the interior of our home.”
The custom stairs and railing were crafted by NEWwoodworks.
The stairs lead from the main level to a rec room, kid’s bedrooms, and an exercise room via Douglas fir and Walnut raisers and treads with a cable railing system.
The lower level rec room includes an entertainment center crafted with Reclaimed Settlers’ Plank Hardwoods and topped with Reclaimed American Gothic hardwoods (crafted by NEWwoodworks).
The lower level features Reclaimed Teak, an incredibly durable species with rich, warm tones. “Choosing the reclaimed teak was an excellent decision for downstairs. We love the look and really appreciate how well it has stood up to heavy traffic from the kids, friends, and our gym.”
“The rec room’s ‘as-found’ industrial salvaged timbers add a lot of fun and character to the space. Using them throughout the house would not meet our aesthetic desires, but in this room the timbers along with the reclaimed barn-wood on the ceiling definitely add to our house.”
When approaching the home it appears to have grown out of the land, to be part of the surrounding forest thanks in part to the exterior siding’s hard-earned natural tones. “Our favorite Pioneer Millworks element is the cladding on the exterior of the house. Perhaps more than any other feature, this multi-color, multi-textured wood sets the tone for the uniqueness of our home.”
Homeowners Greg & Dee.
“One of our favorite things to do is wake up in the morning on a cold winter day and lean back and our chairs in front of the picture window and drink in the view with a nice warm blanket and a hot cup of coffee. If a mountain was able to give birth to a house, this would be the house.”
Thanks Greg, Dee, and family for letting us be part of your dream home!
***** New Energy Works Timberframers (our sister company) designed Greg and Dee’s retreat home creating a layout with ample party space with unobstructed southern views of the Catamount and Butternut Mountains. They included screened and covered porches which blur the line between interior and exterior spaces. Their team enclosed the home with the high efficiency Matrix Wall System and SIP roof panels. This same group was also responsible for installing the American Prairie Reclaimed Siding. We work elbow to elbow with New Energy Works and are always thankful for how smoothly our combined projects go. Plus, they’re as wood obsessed as we are!
(If you’re interested in the whole story, Timber Home Living Magazine has followed this project from design to completion.)