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Posts Tagged ‘wood’

A friend introduced me to a wonderful website that is the best online resource for wood. I love wood in all forms, and the various types boggle my mind. They come in different types and cuts. For floors, common cuts are plain, quartersawn, rift, and rift & quartersawn. Each cut has its own character, and you need to cut it the same way vertically to get a specific visual. While choosing floors and cabinet wood for my renovation, I got so engrossed in the wood types and found beauty in the grains, cuts, and character surrounding them. A part of me feels guilty though that trees have to be cut because customers (like me) create demand for wood.

I got rift & quartersawn red oak floor strips done in my apartment, and they look wonderful. Just the right amount of light and dark without being too grainy like the usual oak floors. I wanted light wood to keep dark areas of the apartment brighter. Also, dark floors show more dirt. Reminds me of something my mom always said — dark or light, the dirt is there, so it doesn’t matter whether you see it or you don’t – the dirt is still there.

Anyway, I looked at various wood types on the site. My architect showed me a gorgeous sample of African Mahogany veneer, and I fell in love with it! I decided to do my kitchen cabinets with the wood with pale green tiles and countertop. I took a risk with green, but I loved the countertop and the sample looked perfect with green.

African Mahogany, also called Khaya, is lower priced than other mahogany types. The veneer, when finished, has a nice shine and looks like a mild version of Tigerwood. Tigerwood has very dark prominent lines/stripes, kind of like a tiger’s stripes hence the name. It is a beautiful wood type, and reminds me of burnt wood in a fireplace due to its dark lines. If you have Tigewood in your place, nothing else will stand out as much.

I love the way my kitchen has been done, and the wood looks stunning. With pale green floors it looks amazing – I did not expect the green floors to look so good. Green is a tough color, and I used a color enhancer to bring out the green. But since the tile is pale green and not bright green, it has a calming influence. I feel like walking on them without shoes and feel the warm-cold floor on my feet! Warm because of the warmth the look adds, cold because well slate is cold! I did all bathroom cabinets in the same wood to keep uniformity between woodwork in the entire apartment. It looks perfect with every tile and countertop.

I am so happy with my choice, and have discovered so many many beautiful things during the course of my renovation. There is really so much beauty in the world! But nature’s beauty is the best. I looked at so many many porcelain tiles but none, not even ones that call themselves “faux stone”, could mirror the beauty and warmth of stone. I forced myself to use porcelain in one bathroom to be practical and it looks nice and modern, but the beauty of stone is just outstanding.

Marble, limestone, slate, quartz, quartzite, sandstone, and granite are some stone types. A common characteristic among stones is that you cannot choose the color they come in – every single stone tile is different. You cannot pick one and think that the entire place will look the same color – there are a ton of variations in all stone tiles. Many people don’t like that, but I love it. It adds so much character, and makes the place interesting. I saw a sample of Travertine and chose it for a bathroom; the actual tiles had many variations and the bathroom ended up being quite different from what I envisioned, but I love it.

Marble looks grand in bathrooms and kitchens and makes a statement, but they etch very easily. So many historical sites in India are made from marble, and the etching adds to the beauty and history of the buildings. People use marble as kitchen counters and it is easy to knead dough on it. It looks gorgeous (no other stone compares), but is impractical. A ton of kitchens have it as backsplash. I love marble Calacatta, which is commonly used along with carrara.

Limestone is very popular in bathrooms and has a very calming influence. It etches very easily from lime, etc. Many historical buildings in Italy and Jerusalem are made from limestone. I think that age and usage add character to the stone. Travertine and Jerusalem Gold are commonly used in bathrooms.

Slate is commonly used in bathrooms as well, and is a tad cold and hard. It is commonly found in India. I like slate on display, but I hate it in bathrooms. All bathroom pics I have seen look so ugly and “heavy” in terms of visuals. The variations are huge. The only slate I like is Burlington which is what I used on my kitchen floor.

Quartz is a type of slate with shine.

Sandstone is not as common, is soft, and can stain. Sandstone has swirls – the yellow one has sand-like swirls and black has water-like swirls.

Soapstone is very durable for kitchen countertops and can be continuous as a sink as well. It looks quite nice too, but is very common. Looks awesome with white cabinets.

Quartzite is one of the toughest stones, and is used in kitchens. It is a good stone, but very bland and light on the grains. I like quartzite because it is not as grainy as granite, but the ones I saw seemed to harsh or dull.

Granite is very grainy, busy, and heavy. I hate granite – I really do – till I saw exotic ones. When I first saw granite and my contractor recommended I use it as tiles, I almost gagged – I was horrified at the ugliness, heavy grains, and busyness. I looked and looked and could not find a “lighter” granite. I thought that I may have to use quartzite or engineered stone in the kitchen. Then I walked into Woodmode on Lex ave and came across the most gorgeous countertop I have ever seen in my life, with heavy variations and shiny speckles. It was so stunning that I moved all the books on the counter and was awe-struck at the beauty. I had to have it. The store people did not share the name with me. So I turned to the Internet and after days of browsing found it. My architect saw it at Walker Zanger, and I was in love! I did not find something as gorgeous, but close. WZ had one of the most gorgeous granite and quartzite I had ever seen. I loved their Chianti leather finish, and wanted to use it somewhere but it was too expensive. It was absolutely breathtaking and would have looked outstanding in my kitchen, but I decided to use my first choice. It made me see granite differently. Granite has layers, fissures, and veins, and some of them have a 3D effect where the veins are a layer below the top of the counter. I started seeing the beauty of granite and its variations. The different types seemed so fascinating, and I found myself drawn to ones with sparkle, and it seemed as if all granite stones had a sparkle somewhere.

My granite countertop is being installed tomorrow – I hope it looks good – I spent a hell of a lot of time, effort, and money on it.

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Layers in wood

A friend recommended checking this site out for pictures on wood – http://hobbithouseinc.com/personal/woodpics/

The guy who owns this site is very passionate about wood, and posts pictures of all types of wood from different angles. One major renovation decision is – what type of wood to choose for cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom? The cheapest are stock cabbinets, then semi-custom, and finally custom. Stock cabinets are available in showrooms and are standard sizes. You buy the kitchen off the floor or order cabinets from a manufacturer in standard sizes. Semi-custom are available from cabinetry places that make the cabinets semi-custom in terms of stains, wood types, etc. Custom cabinets are made from scratch. First you select the wood, how the wood should be cut or the effect desired, if you want a different color the wood can be stained or painted to achieve the color.

Staining is a process where the cabinet maker sprays the wood with a stain and wipes down the stain with a cloth. That way you can retain the effect and look of the wood’s grains and yet get a different color. Each wood reacts differently to stains. Cherry may be more brown while maple may be slightly yellowish even with the same stain used on both. Walnut is much darker than both. Wood cut is important. The way a wood is cut affects the grains and textures – it can change an entire look. Over time wood may darken, areas exposed to more light may change color and look different from cabinets in darker areas. I love checking out the different layers in wood, textures, grains, and the effect cuts have. My favorite is tigerwood. The wood really looks like tiger stripes and is gorgeous! It has reddish tones, and darkens well. Very exotic.

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