Pickling or bleaching oak, or other light-colored woods, is a method of infusing the wood with an even lighter color – white or sometimes a very light grey – that gives the piece an almost ethereal glow. The effect is popular in many parts of the world: the American South, Scandinavia, and Northern Europe especially. The idea probably started in Europe in the 1600s when caustic lye was infused into the wood to prevent insect infestations. They found that this treatment not only kept the insects away but also looked pretty cool.
This type of effect can be used on wood anywhere in your home both interior and exterior: floors, walls, ceilings, shutters - even furniture. The photo above shows a gorgeous pickling effect on the ceiling of the great room that our Design Studio created for the owner of a carriage house in Flourtown, PA. The photo below shows a wood wash effect that we created for drawers and cabinets in the bedroom of a barn to residence conversion in Chester County.
Various techniques can be used to achieve the perfect look for your home:
This new home in Gwynedd Valley features a pickled wood effect to lighten the exterior beams and posts.
The wood wash treatment below was created for a beautiful renovation project in Fort Washington.