Using reclaimed materials in new homes isn’t a new phenomenon. For decades, owners, architects and interior designers reused materials to add character to a home. A stone mantel imported from a French chateau or few antique hardware pieces salvaged from a church added a touch of history to a new structure.
Unique historic features like exposed stone, custom pillars or timber floors evoke heritage in a home. The materials tell a story.
The story of our Westlake Residence combines history with a dash of adventure.
Westlake, the tiny town of 1000 residents, was named the most affluent neighborhood in the country by Forbes. It’s no surprise: Westlake pairs lush country living with proximity to Dallas and Fort Worth amenities. Residents report seeing longhorns, bison, hawks and coyotes regularly.
One of the most interesting features of the Westlake Residence, built by Sebastian, is its use of recovered and salvaged materials: a barn made with wood from a dismantled Idaho lumber mill and horse troughs cut from one thousand year old logs.
Lance Karnan is a principal at Arc Wood Timbers, the company that provided the reused materials. Karnan shares a bit of the history of the Westlake Residence:
“We used some salvaged sinker cypress logs that were hollowed out and used for horse troughs on the property. Sinker Cypress, which is also known as Sinker Bald Cypress, Deadhead Cypress, Heart Cypress, River Recovered Cypress, Reclaimed Cypress or Salvaged Cypress, are harvested trees that sank as they were floating down the rivers in log rafts to the nearest sawmills. Historians estimate that anywhere from 10% to 20% of the logged virgin growth Bald Cypress trees sank en route to the sawmills on the rivers.”
According to Arc Wood Timbers, old growth Sinker Cypress logs contain a protective oil that creates a natural preservative, making Sinker Cypress one of the most rot resistant and insect resistant woods found anywhere in the world.
Karnan describes some of the characteristics that help determine the age of the Sinker Cypress logs used at the Westlake Residence:
“These salvaged cypress logs were pulled out of the Apalachicola River that flows from Seminole Lake in Georgia down to the Gulf of Mexico. Since these sinker cypress logs have the hand axe end cut to them, that means they were harvested pre-1870, which was when the cross cut saw started to be used.
These logs (specifically the 48” diameter log used for the 24′ trough) were underwater for at least 146 years. Based on the overall density of growth rings on the large trough log, which when we counted they averaged at least 40 rings per inch, that placed that log at being about 960 years old when it was harvested. So, 960 yrs + 146 yrs underwater = 1,106 year old tree. Pretty cool.”
The barns on the Westlake Residence project have their own backstory, as told by Karnan:
“The reclaimed Douglas Fir material all came from a dismantled mill in Lewiston, ID, originally owned by Potlatch Lumber Company and constructed in the 1920s. In 2013, the new ownership entity decided to dismantle all the Potlatch/Clearwater Paper mills and barns on the property in Lewiston. There was over 4 million board feet of timber and lumber reclaimed/salvaged from the dismantled barns and mills.
There were 6 large post and timber barns built at the mill. The largest buildings measured 80′ x 1600′. They were massive!
The 2 barns dismantled and used for Westlake construction were both 80′ x 900′. They were primarily used to store kiln dried lumber.
The Westlake Residence used every single 3 x 8 dismantled horizontal beam and every single 3/4” x 7” reclaimed shiplap ceiling material pulled out of the 2 dismantled barns.”
And now, the rich lineage continues in the beautiful Westlake Residence.