photo of pickled ceiling
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 like on the ceiling in this great room in Flourtown
photo of pickled ceiling

Pickled ~ Bleached Wood

Pickling - Bleaching - Lye Wash - Drift-Wood

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.

The Old Village Design Studio developed a unique wood wash we call "Palomino".

Various techniques can be used to achieve the perfect look for your home:

  • pickling
  • bleaching
  • lye wash
  • drift-wooding

The Old Village Design Studio has developed our own techniques to bring pickling and other great effects to your space - without the hazards of caustic lye or bleaches.

This new home in Gwynedd Valley features a pickled wood effect to lighten the exterior beams and posts.

Pickling effect used on the beams, posts and shutters on this home in Gwynedd Valley

Other techniques can also be used to lighten the grain (cerused or limed wood) or react with the tannin (fumed oak) in the wood to produce a grayish effect.

The Old Village Design Studio develops custom specialty finishes and decorative effects to make your home both beautiful and unique. Contact Us to discuss how we can help bring your ideas to life.

If you can dream it ... we can create it!



More than just a Painting Company ~ We Cater to Fine Homes

Old Village Master Painters, Ltd
348 Railroad Ave
Ambler, PA 19002 USA
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Catering to Fine Homes in Gwynedd Valley. Fort Washington, Chestnut Hill, the Main Line, Philadelphia and throughout the
Delaware Valley


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Old Village Master Painters, Ltd
More than just a Painting Company ~ We Cater to Fine Homes
Logo for Old Village Master Painters,Ltd

348 Railroad Ave
Ambler, PA 19002 USA
version: 1.0.1.4
Ver 1.0.1.4