When you hear the word “faux” what emotions run through your mind? Exactly! You want the real thing! If the real thing is available, why would you choose faux? Doesn’t faux mean “fake”? Let's break it down.
Through my years of experience in all things home, from design build renovations to how you curate the interiors of your home, I will showcase a couple examples and why you would choose faux over real and when to stick with the real deal.
Let’s talk REAL for a moment. When it comes to a furniture piece, like a dining room table, then yes you definitely want real! For those who want the joy of purchasing a solid wood table, it will hold up for years and years to come. Part of that reason is because of the density in solid wood, as well as the fact that you can actually sand that table down in the future and refinish as often as needed without having to worry about stripping the wood too far down. Another ideal real situation would be maybe a cutting board. You would for sure want a solid wood cutting board. The fact that it gets used daily heavily would require using solid wood to be able to hold up and last a long time. If you used faux for a cutting board, there would be no “faux-ing” way it would last even through a few meal preps (ha! I cracked myself up on that one).
Here is a list of items I think would work best with solid wood:
Dining room table
Butcher block counter top
Wooden bowls or plates
Mantle (only because it is a conversation starter and so many people want to “tap” on it to see if it is solid or faux. However, if you’re limited on special sizing with solid, faux would work just as well)
Toilet seat (not sure why I put this in, but it would be so cool)
Ok, now I am not a fake person. I can’t stand fake people or fake stuff. But in this case we’re going to “fake it until we make it” or should I say “faux it until I know it”. With that being said, use faux unless you know it will not get the idea across or be a good fit for the situation at hand.
We do quite a bit of beams and ceiling design in our shop and we have had the honor of working on so many beautiful homes that have been featured because of this. There have been so many clients that have come into our store to meet with us about beams for their ceiling. Until they are properly educated on beams, they think that they “have to be solid” and there’s no other way. Hmm, let me explain the can of worms you will truly open if you use solid beams (by the way if you want solid beams in your home, I am not here to talk you out of it).
Old growth, for example, is what we choose to use as a company. We use salvaged old barn wood from the midwest to build everything out of. Back in the 1800’s when they would build these giant structures and barns, they didn’t have much equipment and it was all man power. I like to compare these men and women back then to the Egyptians and how they would build their pyramids. It’s actually mind blowing what they were capable of doing with just their God given strengths and self will. These old trees they would cut down, they would hand shape them into the proper size. A lot of these old beams (sometimes at lengths of 50 feet), would be used as the ridge beams and trusses in the barn. They didn’t have any sort of cranes or other high tech equipment like we do nowadays, to put a building together. They would notch the beams out and use joinery to connect the posts and then hoist up the framing of the barn with as much man power as they could get.
Now for us when we get a beam, let’s say it’s a 10”x10”x10’ beam. Most of these beams are hardwoods by the way. I cannot even express how HEAVY a solid wood beam is. Aside from using a forklift that can easily lift 6,000 pounds, it takes about 6 full-grown men to move this beam and lift it. Even with 6 people surrounding and supporting this beam, it is still a struggle because of its weight and awkward size as well. Not normal.
What most clients don’t understand when requesting solid beams, is how heavy they actually are. They are beautiful, but they are beasts! There are a couple factors people do not consider when choosing solid wood beams:
Because of the weight from the beams, you would have to build proper blocking in the home to hold the weight up (which costs a lot of money, between the engineer, construction costs as well as redoing the drywall). If not, these big honkers would come crashing down and actually become a giant safety hazard. Or widow maker as I like to call them!
Whatever the size is (HxDxL), you are stuck with that. And the sizes were not exact. Sometimes, for example, a 10”x10” is not a proper 10”x10”. It could be a 9”x10”, a 10”x11” and so on. So you have to keep an open mind of a lot of fluctuation when using solid.
The patina and color tone. When using solid beams, you are stuck with the color for the most part. There are definitely ways to stain or create flow with the color, but you can only change the tone and texture too much without taking away from the natural beauty.
The labor. They are very labor intensive to both move around, install and pick up. Also because of the safety hazard, whoever is installing them will not feel bad about charging a premium for this.
Here are reasons I would recommend faux:
More continuity with a uniformed look as far as the exact aesthetic you want.
Exact sizes you need.
A fraction of the weight and install is less aggressive without all the code restrictions, making the install much more budget friendly.
And they look REAL!
We really do pride ourselves on the level of design we put into our box beams. You hardly ever see a seam, and if it needs to be there (due to certain size and the limitations), we make them blend in so well that it is not the focus of your eye. We have fooled so many people through the years with our faux beams because they actually look real and get the point across!
Another great option to utilize faux, would be for shelving. Sometimes people want a very “thick” looking floating shelf, but the weight is extreme. A great way to achieve the look and limit the weight, is by building a box shelf. This also comes in handy when wanting to put electrical lighting in your shelves. It gives a place for the transformer and other wires to live comfortably.
So, take it or leave it. Everyone has their own ideas and opinions. This is just ours and ways we think you can do and get away with Faux vs Solid. See for yourself…
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