Every so often, the stars align and an opportunity presents itself, though this is definitely a first for me (I know, you’re wondering what Artis Wall has to do with this, so just read on). With my husband having started a new position in June, and our purchase of a new home, he basically forfeited a summer vacation. So that the summer wasn’t a complete loss, I planned a road trip to Ohio, so that I could visit my best friend from college and D could play with her sons.
About a week before the trip, I received an email from Artis Wall, likely stemming from my master bedroom unveiling post. Upon investigation, I got lost in the beautiful photos of reclaimed wood paneled walls, each with a history. Here’s the cool part, Artis Wall’s parent company, Baker-McMillen, is located just outside of Akron, Ohio — a little under an hour from where I would be visiting. After a phone chat with marketing and Artis Wall’s co-creator, Will Kimmerle, I arranged a visit to the plant while I was in the area.
After a brief introduction to the Artis Wall team, I was taken on a tour of the plant to see how Artis Wall reclaimed wood planks are processed. Due to the proprietary nature of the product, I was unable to take photos of the process, but I can tell you that the team is small and each reclaimed wood plank is handled with care…by REAL people (and nice people at that).
I love repurposed artwork and decor, and Artis Wall reclaimed wood planks takes this concept to an elevated level. Not only is the wood sourced from old, historic barns and structures across the United States (Artis Wall is 100% made in the USA), but a feature of the product/process that doesn’t get enough attention is the fact that Artis Wall replaces what they take. Much like reforestation, or even wetland preservation, Artis Wall replaces the wood that it takes from barns.
I was under the impression that Artis Wall wood was being taken from razed barns, but I was quickly set straight. Not only is Artis Wall creating a product with a history, but they’re helping preserve that history by replacing the wood that they take. In fact, they were just about to head to Amish Country to retrieve wood from a few barns (so they’ll have more stock soon!).
What’s Old is New
I purchased my first home when I was 25; built in 1979, my townhome’s decor was pretty much untouched since then. I typically have a difficult time visualizing spaces, so when I saw the shingled wall in what would be my living room, I knew I had to tear everything off to start with a clean slate. Not only was a single wall covered in wooden shingles, but they had painted said wall a dark shade of brown underneath. This was not my first experience with wood paneling/shingles, as our family home had the same feature when we purchased it in the late 80s. Wood paneling definitely wasn’t ‘in’ then, but Artis Wall is bringing back wood paneling features and elevating the look with reclaimed wood.
It’s definitely interesting to see how old fashions and techniques are brought back into style and revitalized. While I could not envision my former home with the wood paneling it came with, I can now see how beautiful our living room would look with a removable reclaimed wood accent wall.
When ‘New’ Becomes Old
Perhaps the best part of Artis Wall is that it is easily installed…and easily removed. While I was left with hundreds of holes, left from staples used to secure the wood panels, Artis Wall has patented a way for users to easily install AND remove their reclaimed wood panels without destroying their walls in the process: A.I.M.™ Strips.
Should you decide you no longer like your reclaimed wood paneled Artis Wall where it’s located, or decide to change your decor, you can easily remove the panels. Having had the chance to speak with Artis Wall co-creator, Will Kimmerle, I learned that he worked for over a year to find a way to install Artis Wall without damaging your walls.
I remember renting a home, where we were not allowed to use nails to hang artwork, and spending a significant chunk of money on Command products…only to have the product fail. A clock we had received as a wedding gift fell from the wall, breaking on the hardwood floor, and taking a chunk of the plaster with it (the clock was lightweight, so it was well within the product’s weight limits). Not only did we end up doing more damage with a nail-less product, but we ended-up with an expensive broken clock.
Having a similar experience, Kimmerle spent a great deal of time coming up with an adhesive option (A.I.M.™ Strips) that a.) won’t damage your walls, and b.) actually works! I was amazed to see it in action, Will quickly removed strips from his office wall to demonstrate the damage-free ease of use — I was sold!
A Piece of History
The artwork my husband and I display around our home is not only there for aesthetic purposes, but also as conversation pieces. Artis Wall panels are each stamped with an origination code that you can then enter on the site to discover the history of the structure from where it came. One of the interesting things about Artis Wall is that they research the history of each structure, and provide a detailed history of the structure’s use, or uses over time, giving you an intimate look at the history now gracing your walls.
If you grew up in a house with antiques, you know that the introduction of wood into your home can be precarious (my parents once acquired a piece with wood worms that had to be treated quickly, before it could ‘attack’ other pieces in our home). Artis Wall reclaimed wood panels are all treated in a process of kiln heating (160 degrees for 4+ days), to kill any fungus or possible pests and remove moisture from the wood.
Because all of the moisture is removed from the wood, you want to open your cases of Artis Wall panels upon receipt and leave in the room where you’ll be installing for at least 72 hours prior to use. This will acclimate the wood to the climate of the room, allowing you to install the panels without fear of your hard work being railroaded by expanding panels; if you’re the impatient type, and your panels do expand after installing, you need only adjust the panel placement after expansion.
I am absolutely impressed with Artis Wall, from their company history, their passion for the product they produce, and the rich history they’re helping to preserve. If you’re looking to make a statement in your home, consider adding Artis Wall reclaimed wood panels — your wall will be the talk amongst friends!