Working with wood

Exotic tree plantings are on the rise in New Zealand, as an increasing number of people ask for more wood in their home designs.

From structural timbers to mouldings, hardwood floors to feature walls, kitchen splashbacks to exterior features and cladding, wood has become a must-have in contemporary bespoke homes.

Native timbers such as kauri, rimu and matai are highly sought after, especially for joinery, along with many exotic options. American black walnut, ash, pine, teak, beech, mahogany, rosewood, French oak, cherry, American white oak, American hard maple, Alaskan yellow and western red cedar are all used in New Zealand.

Aesthetically, timbers are often selected for their colours, grain patterns and workability, depending on how and where they are used. From a functional aspect, wood is like a good wine, getting better with age. Cedar is a classic example.

Why wood? It’s strong, durable, and long-lasting, a natural material, and – if obtained certified, e.g. by FSC or PEFC – it comes from responsibly managed forests, contributing to sustainability.

Current trends towards sustainable building practices, and also biophilic design, make wood an even more attractive material for architects and interior designers seeking to incorporate those principles into their creations.

Wood is being used in contemporary design in several forms, from the entire structure to specific architectural elements, and detailing within a home.

Interior uses:

Flooring: Wooden floors provide a touch of elegance and additional warmth in a home, able to be laid in a variety of patterns, and materials.

Walls and panelling: Whether indoors for a contemporary bedroom or dining room, or outside for effect on a verandah, wooden cladding helps create private and beautiful spaces. As a natural material, it instantly adds warmth and natural light to an interior.

Doors and window frames: Wood varieties such as western red and Alaskan yellow cedar are excellent for hard-wearing doors and window sashes, able to be painted over or stained and varnished for a natural look.

Not all importers bring in the same species, but almost all stock kwila, purpleheart, and vitex. Most stock western red cedar and oak, either American white oak or European oak, as well as various hardwoods.

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