Naked Wood: A Natural Trend in Home Furnishings

by Leona Gaita

Today we are once again joined by Leona Gaita, Interior Design Expert and Contributor. Leona shares with us her inspiring ideas and advice to help us enrich our homes and lives with beauty and elegance.

There’s something afoot… An organic new trend… I wonder if the FCC knows about it! I wonder if your grandmother would approve! Wood furniture that’s STARK NAKED without a stitch of paint or stain, and barely a lick of wax or sealer! It’s out and about where decent people and young children can see it! It’s everywhere! It’s a scandal! …IT’S VERY FRESH!!

Des. Work Inc. oval french curve dining

This look is popping up in every category from the most classic French traditional styles, to ultra modern and everything in between. The trend goes hand in hand with the green movement, and is an expression of a reverence for the beauty of the natural world.

I think it’s also a backlash against the extremely dark, almost black wood finishes that have been so popular. Starkly black being replaced with stark naked! That’s how the style pendulum swings.

antoinette daybed zentique

Very often the classic French pieces are paired with undyed linen and other organic fabrics. This is the Antoinette Daybed from Zentique.

valencia chair form shine home

The Valencia Dining Chair from Shine Home is a classic Gothic Revival Wheelback chair, but the natural state of the wood gives it a modern twist.

bob church console

From Bobo Intriguing Objects, their Church Console Table takes a traditional turned leg table, and makes it into something quite new with iron supports and a raw wood finish.

cain natural limed oak desk arteriors

I love this Campaign Desk from Arteriors. Indeed, the washed out finish makes it look as if it’s been through a few wars. Very charming!

essex dining table shine home

The Essex Dining Table from Shine Home has very up-to-the-minute geometric details in the leg design. That is a serious (very naked) slab of wood!

West Elm Raw Wood Coffee Table

West Elm is in on the trend too with their Raw Wood Coffee Table. The naturally occurring high contrast in the wood grain gives this minimalistic piece all the ornamentation it needs.

daphne glass natural display atreriors

Daphne Glass and Natural Wood Display Cabinet. I love the airy feel of this piece, which is enhanced by the natural wood finish.

arteriors maning 6 light

From Arteriors, the Maning Six Light Natural Wood Chandelier. This piece looks very original and unique to me. Wood is not commonly used in chandeliers, let alone natural unfinished wood.

bastille lounge chair zentique

Can’t get more traditional than this French Bergere Chair from Zentique. They call it the Bastille Lounge Chair. So I guess if you’re in the Bastille, you don’t get stain on your furniture. Just wax! That’s your punishment!! But seriously folks, I think the natural look on this chair really sings.

The rugged unfinished wood combined with iron gives this piece from Design Workshop Incorporated an interesting industrial look. It’s a great piece for an urban kitchen.

kitchen rolling crt des. wkshp inc.

Here are some fabulous naked wood accent pieces:

10121 W Butterfly Joint Acacia Wood Stool by roost Largemu de & li
revival garden & home Casablanca 3 Drawer chestmu design & living solid collection

Whether it’s an elegantly curved and carved traditional Bergere chair, or an abstractly sculptured geometric table base, the beauty of natural, naked wood speaks for itself. In this high tech age of steel and plastics, it seems that wood, the most time honored, versatile and renewable furniture material in the world, has found a way to be cutting edge…yet again!

What do you think of this naked wood trend?

Leona GaitaLeona Gaita has an infectious enthusiasm for interior design that she shares with us, with her clients and with the readers of her popular blog, Gaita Interiors.

With a lifelong involvement in the fine arts and design, Leona designs for Gaita Interiors, a staple of the local community for over 40 years, serving Larchmont, Westchester County and the New York metropolitan area.

All furnishings are available through Gaita Interiors (914) 834-8282.

$20 Flea Market Quest — Challenge # 16

Ready for a treasure hunt Design Junkies?

We soaked up some fab flea-market shopping tips when we explored the Rose Bowl with keen-dude-of-design Kenneth Brown. If you haven’t seen it, check out the video here.

It’s time to apply that knowledge on your own shopping trip. Here’s your assignment….

Kenneth Buying Vases

Show us the decor your can score for twenty bucks at your local flea market . For his Andrew Jackson, Kenneth snagged these splendid brass-inlay vases that he can make into striking lamps. The patina is amazing and they will add character to his space.

Brass-Inlay Vases

So call your friends, make a plan, wake up early and fill your mugs with java. Pack your design notebook and don your Indie hat and jacket, whatever you need to psyche up for the quest.

Cruise over to your local flea market (swap meet or whatever yours is called). Explore, negotiate, and buy. Then report back to us.

Using the easy Challenge entry form, share with us a photo of the home-treasure your $20 bought (or perhaps a shot of you with your treasure) and tell us the story:

  • How was your hunt?
  • What attracted you to your find?
  • Where in your home will you use the piece(s) you bought?

I bet we see a real variety. How will New Englanders’ finds compare with Californians’? What will y’all snag down South? And what will my UK buddies hunt down?

Yowzah there’s more–I’m cooking up a cool prize for a random winner drawn from all the Entrants to this Challenge. Check back soon for details!

So Off on Your Quest, You Will be the Best! (A little Seussian encouragement.)

Enter by Wednesday, October 14, 2009 to be eligible for the prize and included in the Ta-Da! Challenge Results post. We can’t wait to see your flea-market score!

$20 Flea Market Quest -- Challenge # 16

  • Submission Deadline: Wednesday, October 14, 2009
  • Ta-Da! Challenge Results: Thursday, October 15, 2009

Be the first to enter »

Kenneth Brown Shops the Rose Bowl Flea Market

Let’s spend a Design Junkie’s dream day together in Pasadena, California as we scour a world-class marketplace for decorator finds with one of the planet’s top designers. Watch and learn from Kenneth Brown, acclaimed interior designer and host of HGTV’s reDesign as he shops the legendary Rose Bowl Flea Market.

We get up with the sun and comb the Rose Bowl with Kenneth, a member of his design team and a client. Follow along by video as the team tackles the “West’s Best Treasure Hunt,” scoring vintage furniture and accessories for clients and for themselves. All the while Kenneth shares his savvy flea-market tips and strategies for finding the “goodies,” negotiating your best deal and having fun!

Click the arrow below to watch the 13-minute video. Click the square icon near the bottom right to view Full-Screen. If you have difficulty viewing the video, try the low-res version.

Kenneth often hunts flea markets and finds them perfect spots to discover "the finishing touches for a project to make it unique. That's what we love about design," says Kenneth. "Mixing the good, expensive stuff with the beautiful found, inexpensive stuff."

I had a blast hanging out with Kenneth, Adam and Peter. With every find we absorbed Kenneth's contagious enthusiasm and soaked up his ever-ready design tidbits.

The Flea Market HuntersWe're starting a band: Kenneth and the Flea Market Hunters. What do you think?

There's lots more to come. Read for our follow-up story where you can:

  • View a complete slide show of the rest of our hunting fun that day.
  • Learn more details about our purchases.
  • Look at the rest of the beautiful and interesting pieces we saw at the Market.
  • Print a list of Kenneth's flea-market shopping tips to take along on your next treasure hunt.

Kenneth Brown is one of Los Angeles' most sought after interior designers whose recent clients include tween-set superstars Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron, soccer star Mia Hamm and MLB first baseman Nomar Garciaparra. He has been named one of the top 100 designers in America by both House Beautiful and Western Interiors. Besides hosting his HGTV show, Kenneth designs signature product lines for QVC and Babies”R”Us.

The Wall Street Journal ranks The Rose Bowl Flea Market and its five miles of booths as one of the top five Antique Markets in North America. You'll find Hollywood stars, serious collectors and bargain hunters at the Market every second Sunday of the month, rain or shine.

"They have everything under the sun here," says Kenneth. I think he's right.

Photographs by Ann Revoredo, Video by Special Defect Media. Copyright 2009,

Designer Rods — Unexpected Color for the Bath

The bath is a perfect spot for a surprising pop of color and whimsy. Case in point: Designer Rods. Beach addict and obsessive beach-glass hunter, Nancy Boughton, created the prismatic accessories to display her growing beach glass collection.

Beach Glass Designer Rod in the Bath

“As an interior designer, I have a special fondness for unique, distinctive and innovative accessories that make a home come alive,” says Nancy. “Beach glass is one of those design elements for me.”

It’s a family affair—Nancy and her children experimented to find the right materials for their tubular creations. “When we came up with the idea of putting beach glass into a tube, we thought it wouldn’t work,” says Nancy. “We tried over a half dozen kinds of plastics and glasses before settling on the ones we use today.”

Nostalgic Marbles Designer Rod

Nancy has expanded the line beyond beach glass to include nostalgic, multicolored marbles, vivid half-marbles and textural seashells and stones. She offers two end cap styles in four finishes.

Beach Glass Robe Hook from Designer RodsDesignr Rods Beach Glass Towel RingCobalt Half Marbles Designer RodBrown and White Seashells Designer Rod

I discovered Designer Rods in the book Decorating to Go. But the company also earned recent awards from Kitchen and Bath Business and the Kitchen/Bath Industry Show.


Have you included unexpected color in you bathroom decor? Please tell….

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