The Wood Style We Didn’t See Coming – Chunky, Knotty Pine Furniture Is Back (Or Is It?)

design by imogen milford| styling by annie portelli | photo by amelia stanwix | via the design files

Now seems like as good of a time as any for a distraction and to talk about a “crazy” design trend we have been noticing. A trend that quite literally took us all by surprise because I guess this is the year of surprises. This one, however, is GOOD (but that also could be up for debate:)). So why were we shocked, possibly horrified, but also completely intrigued by this mystery trend?? Well, because we’re talking about chunky, knotty, and slightly glossed pine furniture. WHAT?!!! Hold that groovy cord bound phone.

Ok, to be fair I’m a late ’80s baby so I guess I missed the true “pine wood heyday” of the ’70s. But even still, I never had the immediate, “whoa this cool” moment when I saw a piece of chunky pine wood furniture. I don’t think I’ve ever had any positive or fond associations with it until…now.

design by brian paquette interiors | photo by laure joliet

You might be thinking, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. That crazy furniture in my basement is cool now?” And I will tell you the answer is, yes. And it’s serious because some of our favorite designers like Kelly Wearstler, Commune Design, Reath Design (and more) have been gently leaning into it. Which makes it undeniably cool…right? Which then must mean that all of EHD is on board. If they aren’t they can defend themselves and answer to me in the comments:)

design by kelly wearstler | photo by mathieu salvaing | via dezeen

So I think the only natural thing to do (as we always to in trend posts) is to figure out what makes it special now, after so many years of contempt. How and why has 2020 taken this otherwise banished type of furniture and brought it back to life? We want answers and I am going to give them to you.

Soooo…Why Now?

Emily Henderson Trends 70s Pine 2
via lawson-fenning x parachute home

Ha. Well, I/we don’t “officially” know this answer but I’m going to wildly speculate until we figure it out together.

Emily Henderson Trends 70s Pine 3
design by murphy deesign | photo by zeke ruelas

I have this theory that there is a 30-year cycle in fashion trends (clothes are easier and cheaper to modernize) and a 40-year cycle in interior trends. It takes us a little bit more time to figure out what the heck to do with some of “those” crazy design trends of the past. Granmillenial (not to be confused with our beloved Eccentric English Grandma) came a little early because to me it was a reinvention of ’90s shabby chic. But this whole pine wood reboot took its sweet ole time, coming back at around 50 years later.

Emily Henderson Trends 70s Pine 4
design by kelly wearstler | photo by the ingalls | via curbed la

A part of me wonders if we are just out of things to reinvent so why not take a swing at glossy pine wood? But then when you look at the pieces used in these photos, you see that they are CLEARY special. Not just a last resort design option.

Emily Henderson Trends 70s Pine 5
design by commune design

But let’s see why these are special. Their chunky, shiny frame is paired with very cool (and modern) fabric like leather, fur or a modern patterned textile. In addition, their physical shape is usually special in and of itself.

Emily Henderson Trends 70s Pine 6
design by commune design

They also are the perfect “eccentric” accent piece to an otherwise very modern room. A Phoebe to a Rachel if you will. I mean Phoebe was a VITAL part of Friends and brought the necessary “weird brilliance” to what could have been an otherwise just ordinary show. Are those fighting words? Whoops! Back to pine!

But How Can I Cheat on Matte with Gloss?

Emily Henderson Trends 70s Pine 7
styled by alexa hotz | shot by jonathan hökklo for remodelista

No one is saying you have to give up on your dear matte, but maybe it’s time to open our hearts to gloss. Guys, it’s 2020, let’s get polyamorous with our wood finishes. It’s low risk, high reward, and more to love. But trust me I get it, making the mental switch to liking a glossy natural wood feels anything but natural. And if you actually just can’t with gloss but are down for that sweet ’70s shape, take a note from Emily and her mountain house nightstands.

left: via chairish | right: photo by sara ligorria-tramp, from: our calm scandinavian master bedroom

When she found them on Chairish, they looked like the picture on the left – shiny and orange toned. That was a HARD pass for her scandi mountain house retreat. So she had them stripped and they ended up being the perfect “weird” shape in her otherwise serene master bedroom.

Emily Henderson Trends 70s Pine 12
photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: in defense of the comfy sectional—a friend’s almost-finished family room

But as shown from our Sixpenny shoot above, EHD is not gloss opposed. We just are easing into it with a slightly lighter sheen. Baby steps you could say.

design by reath design | photo by laure joliet

Ugh if these chairs are a testament to gloss WORKING, then I don’t know how else to proceed. I mean hubba hubba, right?

The Cool Factor

Emily Henderson Trends 70s Pine 9
design by cyndia harvey | photo by veerle evens | via clever

A trend always equals cool, but does cool always equal a trend? Hmm..that’s a bit too philosophical for a pine trend post during the apocalypse so let’s focus on why we think pine is cool…

Emily Henderson Trends 70s Pine 13
design by heidi caillier design

Again and (I think) most importantly, it’s how it’s styled in a modern space with other interesting pieces. Think back to the breakout trend of 2019, Postmodernism. An entire room full of postmodern decor would have been visually too much and would’ve looked dated (depending on the chosen materials and colors). However, a dash of it could bring a room to life! The same goes for pine furniture except it looks far more approachable.

Emily Henderson Trends 70s Pine 16
design by atelier ace | photo by adrian gaut | via dezeen

WAIT! Maybe that’s ultimately why it’s cool. It’s like “the nerd” in high school who almost always grows up to be the coolest adult. They don’t look threatening, are incredibly interesting, and are super easy to be around. That same general idea is why I think “eccentric granny” and wicker are big 2020 trends. There seems to be this desperate need for comforting nostalgia in the home more than ever. Sure we want our homes to be “cool” but we really want them to feel safe. Did we decide to get philosophical after all and crack the code??

So if you are on team glossy pine wood and want the comforts of yesteryear, here’s what you should look out for. The key is to look for a piece that is minimal because they stay far away from any ornate detailing (remember, think ’70s pine, not ’90s). It’s all about simple but interesting lines and chunky curves. And of course, don’t forget the knots and gloss.

Here are some more examples of what I mean so you can look out for them when you are on the hunt…

Emily Henderson Trends 70s Pine Furnitureroundup
clockwise from top left: photo source | photo source | photo source | photo source | photo source | photo source

Alright my sweet friends, this trend post has come to an end. If you are wanting a piece for your house because you aren’t one of the lucky ones with a basement full of these gems, head to Cailtin’s incredibly helpful and hilarious post she did on vintage sellers on Instagram in the US that will deliver to you.

Otherwise, I am ready to chat about pine wood in these comments. I want your thoughts, theories, and general feelings about the future of design in 2020. Was glossy, knotty pine wood something you thought you’d see???

Love you, mean it.

Fin Mark

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