Photos by Chelsie Lopez
Since Brianne Boettner started Timber & Tulip in 2016, the Minneapolis furniture designer and business owner has been creating custom furniture for her clients with originality and flair. “Not only do we strive for product that packs a design punch, we build with an attention to detail and level of quality to match,” she writes on her website. She has also expanded from a simple coffee table to bar tops and counters, consoles and credenzas, sideboards and desks, conference tables, bed sets, mantels, and mirrors—even ping-pong tables!
So, at the start of a new year, we asked Boettner about trends she sees in wood and tips for incorporating the finest wood furniture into your home.
Natural Wood Finishes
“These are certainly not a new concept,” says Boettner, “but not only do I see the trend continuing, I also see natural wood tones and textures expanding into a wide variety of spaces throughout the home—which really speaks to the versatility of wood and its ability to fit into a wide range of spaces.”
Lighter finishes, Boettner adds, “have been and continue to be at the top of designers’ and clients’ request lists. Rift white oak with a natural ‘cooling’ finish [which removes the yellow tones from the oak] makes a space feel brighter and more spacious, and the wood medium adds organic texture that still feels modern and clean.”
Still, dark wood “has its place in design,” she continues. “Woods like black walnut offer a bold, rich tone that brings a nice contrast to an otherwise lighter design aesthetic while also complementing other darker tones in the space (e.g. flooring, cabinetry). Natural stains also still have a presence. They’re a common option when trying to match other features of a space exactly. They’re also a more cost-effective option as opposed to premium hardwood material.”
“Highly unique, figured wood is gaining ground,” Boettner says. Take burl wood material. This rare wood “has shown a real comeback and is the perfect medium for a statement piece that has a more natural modern vibe. The concentrated grain of this wood is what creates its visual appeal and will make a statement, whether as a coffee table, mirror, or door front of a credenza or cabinet.”
Boettner also sees live-edge material, wood in its natural slab form, continuing in popularity. “What used to be considered a rustic furniture piece now commonly serves as a statement in the most modern of homes,” she explains. “It allows a client to select that one-of-a-kind piece of wood that cannot be replicated exactly even if we tried. It is the true definition of nature turned to art.”
Boettner notes that clean, crisp corners and flat panels are giving way to “softer edges and textures, round coffee tables, oval dining tables, textured cabinet doors. This trend challenges us to add a softness and/or dimension to wood that isn’t necessarily intuitive.”
To modernize wood or add a unique element to a piece, the trend is toward adding other media to pieces, including metal, resin, or acrylic. “These materials can really add some nice depth to a furniture piece,” she says. “A metal base is a perfect complement to a beautiful wood top and offers a nice break in texture when you are pairing a wood top with wood floors. We’ve also been playing around with new and interesting ways to introduce metal into the wood top itself, which is a fun and unique way to incorporate the metal element.”
Colorful resins or epoxy, she continues, are a great way to “make imperfect wood functional. These products are most commonly used when filling natural voids in tabletops, but can also be used for creating interesting cabinet doors or other unexpected accents.”