New can be so passé. We always imagine materials not in terms of how they look brand new, but how they look and function as they fail and decay. Brick buildings take a century before they are in their prime. Zinc siding won’t look its best until it’s seen at least five years of sun and rain.
There are a lot of newly engineered look-alike products out there. You can buy faux wood siding, Mahogany ceramic tile, cardboard flooring and plastic laminated cabinets, all touting themselves as “better than wood.” Outside the showroom and subject to just a few months of real-life wear and tear these new products will look very tired, very soon.
We soak hardwood-flooring samples in buckets of water just to find out whether it cups, cracks, or de-laminates. And then we dry it back out again just for fun. We scratch samples with our keys and then leave them out front of our office to get walked on in the rain, sun and snow. Try that with a floor made of wood photographed onto sawdust.
Compare our 1 ¾” thick solid wood interior doors to the hollow sandwich of ¼” MDF featured in all but the best high rises. As someone who both likes to entertain friends and have my daughter get a good night’s sleep, the extra investment seems like a pretty good deal.
Our materials are chosen for their integrity, many remain unchanged since the Victorian era. They are going to last you a very long time and get better with age. Nothing is delicate, so run with Tonka trucks and don’t be afraid to spill a little wine. Like the bar top in a Parisian brassiere, the signs of life well lived will all look like they’ve always been there.