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(BPT) - As Americans design their dream homes, or plan the remodel of their existing ones, wood is once again becoming a prominent feature in their interior design schemes. One species in particular — cypress — is attracting the attention of both millennials in the suburbs and boomers along the shoreline. So what’s the appeal?
“Cypress is a unique wood that offers a variety of looks,” says Brian Meier of the Southern Cypress Manufacturers Association, www.CypressInfo.org. “It’s readily available in visual grades ranging from knotty to knot-free. And it’s a beautiful wood. Its natural color, which typically varies from golden honey to light chocolate tones, can include red and olive hues. And while wood is a timeless building material that can complement any architectural style, cypress will make a design statement in any room.”
The appeal is real
Cypress is often the go-to material for siding and other exterior applications where good looks and durability really count, and rightfully so. However, it’s those same attributes that make cypress an ideal choice for indoor applications like high-end cabinetry and bold, built-in storage solutions.
Mandeville, Louisiana custom cabinet manufacturer Geoff Philippus agrees. “Thanks to its natural resistance to water, cypress is a great wood to use in wet zones, such as kitchens, bathrooms, mudrooms, and even outdoor cooking areas,” he says. Philippus added that customers usually come to his custom shop with a design in mind, and he then offers suggestions on how to achieve their desired look.
“More often than not we introduce people to cypress, from new growth, reclaimed, river recovered, or pecky cypress with its naturally occurring pockets and holes," Philippus says. "It’s something they’ve never seen before, and they fall in love with it. We recently completed a massive kitchen island and matching built-ins showcasing pecky cypress. The visual effect is like nothing else out there and it’s one of my favorite projects.”
Add some personality
Plain walls and bare ceilings are passé. Today’s savvy homeowners are looking to add personal style to their living spaces beyond what a fresh coat of paint can provide. Adding a touch of cypress to the mix is a great beginning.
According to Mark Jefferson, a specialty woodworker from Palm City, Florida, “Nothing adds aesthetic warmth to a room like wood,” he says. “And cypress packs plenty of character and design flexibility. I’ve used it for everything from coffered ceilings and decorative doors to paneling and general millwork. Cypress also is excellent for structural design elements, such as exposed timbers and beams, which are popular because they open up a space, making ceilings seem higher and rooms look bigger.”
Wooden furniture is synonymous with durability and a long-term investment that can be repaired, refinished and passed down from generation to generation. And while furniture can be crafted out of many different wood species, for custom furniture maker Jason Straw of Gainesville, Florida, his choice is cypress, and for several reasons.
“Cypress offers intense imagery and color, with a rich grain and texture that makes stunning furniture — or rather, functional pieces of art,” Straw says. “It’s a great wood to craft dining room tables, desks, vanities, headboards, and nightstands.” But for Straw, there’s an even greater appeal.
“I like using cypress, especially logs that are recovered from rivers and swamps,” Straw says. “To know that I’m using wood from a tree that probably started growing thousands of years ago — and has been under water for at least 100 years — is fascinating to me. The wood’s history is on my mind every time I work with it.”
You too can be inspired. Visit www.CypressInfo.org to explore the myriad ways cypress can make a design statement in your living space.