We have had deliveries this week of macrocarpa, cedar, and veneer samples. Their scent is warm and beautiful - whispering their potential to be made into a warm inviting home.
There are certain smells and textures that evoke memories - it's a sense that is often forgotten in architecture - but one that creates an environment that remains etched on the mind. I talked with a lady recently who had memories of rooms clad in cedar, where the smell of the forest remained. Our previous house had cedar shelves in the cupboards which both kept the moths away and also infused the linen, while our current home uses recycled rimu timber, sealed with a natural citrus scented oil, as tactile balustrades and handrails.
It is often portrayed that the definition of comfort in a new home equals slick glossy finishes and white paint, and yet the introduction of textures, scents, and tactile materials on wall surfaces enrich our experience of daily life and create memorable spaces.
Timber is a renewable building material, however the choice of which timber you use is key. Environmentally Certified timbers, or those forest and wood products labelled as FSC or PEFC, mean that they originate from legal sources which meet approved social, economic and environmental standards (they show that their suppliers are not stripping rainforests, but are logging in a sustainable way). Other choices for home interiors include demolition timber (this gives a second life to old trees) and reconstituted veneers made from plantation timber (which sates the commercial hunger for the rich exotic woods, without the cost to the natural forests).
We also have beautiful NZ homegrown Macrocarpa and Douglas Fir that can be used in different ways both inside and outside a home. A less well known construction timber within NZ is Totara that is sourced from sustainably managed, privately owned farms in Northland. FSC Red Cedar (originating in Canada) provides an even grain, good stability and longevity (although there is of course the argument that it still has a long way to go to get here!).
I was pleased this week to have one key outgoing delivery - our last remaining demolition rimu boards (that had established their home in our hall after a previous life as the joists at Middlemore Hospital). They have been whispering their potential for a long time now, so we finally took them to our cabinetmakers, and now look forward to seeing them reappear in their new form soon!