Reclaim and Restore - Walk in the Forest

I took the same walk this morning - under different trees and different skies, and yet, I walked. - M


It takes time in a forest to understand how the trees speak. It takes time to listen and understand the Zen of nature and how it communicates to one another. Autumn is the time of a transformation, a metamorphosis of change in color and light. Each one of us feels that energy, it cannot be denied. Walking in my woods, where fallen trees still lay from the spring storms and the leaves that  have changed colors  are already blowing in the wind... I am reminded of the  gifts that the forest gives us. Reclaimed and restored wood is of significant importance and we tend to not think of it as a Zen approach to living, mainly because of the designers that work with restoration lumber are creating design concepts for Barn Homes and Colonial Revival designs that do not show the known clean, Zen-like design elements we identify as minimalist. So where do we decide what is Zen? Is it only in the Asian inspired interiors, or can Zen Living designs be a philosophy, an intuitive nature of working with natural materials for the only purpose that it is the right thing to do. I was inspired to write this blog after seeing my brother, his wife and their children restoring their home they just purchased - a neglected, foreclosed authentic barn home.  In restoring the authenticity of the wood in their home, I could feel the energy and the light come alive again, as if the house was giving thanks, and the forest that these woods came from had a purpose.

A few days had past from my weekend visit at his barn house when I was invited to celebrate the evening with a LUXE HOME event at the Merchandise Mart. I was drawn into a new showroom and was in awe at the magnificent wide plank wood flooring display and the essence of their new showroom. I was in awe... and is was no coincidence that I discovered Carlisle Wide Plank Floors just after spending a weekend on a Barn Home restoration.   I discovered with this company that not only are their wide plank floors magnificent in texture and color but that the owner, Dale Carlisle, has a love for the forest, too.

Working with reclaimed woods and restoring boards that are sometimes over 300 years old is truly a work of art. The boards are restored one at a time, as they are meticulously cared for. Carlisle also works with a small group of timber growers who uphold the highest level of sustainability - and as quoted by Carlisle, "so future generations enjoy our magical forests."  I understood that evening in their Merchandise Mart Showroom, that zen living is beyond borders. It is beyond a line of what is zen and what is not. In the pursuit of saving the woods that were destined for destruction, a new life begins again. All in the hands of Carlisle. Nationally recognized for their methods with recycling wood, in addition to LEED certification, Carlisle wide plank flooring holds the FSC Antique Certification as a leader of reclaimed wood. The FSC, known as the Forest Stewardship Council governs how woods are reclaimed, reprocessed and resold. Carlisle offers reclaimed woods from original barn, milled barn, chestnut, heart pine, oak and one named "Grandpa's Floor", which is antique, reclaimed wood floor planks. Established in New Hampshire, Carlisle Showrooms have expanded to New York, Denver, Washington, D.C. and now we welcome them to their new showroom in Chicago.  I look forward to seeing how interior designers and buyers will incorporate this zen philosophy and reclaim these wide plank floors into their designs and homes.


Zen Living is more than a design concept, it is a way of life. It is having the wisdom to make the right choices for the greater good for our world. It is not a "me" way of doing business, it is for all and in that all... we must look at how we impact our planet. In learning more about this wide plank flooring company, it was no longer the love of the beauty of what I saw, what I touched and experienced and the possibilities  that I could incorporate into a Zen Living design.. it was the heart that I felt beating. From discovering old floorboards that were covered up in dirt and debris... buried to lie beneath layers of garbage or structural wood and joints  from a  building that has been cleared and neglected , a floor is reborn. That, my friends is Zen living reclaimed once more. The forests that grow today bow in honor of bringing their ancestors to life.


Love & Light...



Carlisle Wide Plank Floors  222 Merchandise Mart Plaza  Suite 131  Chicago, Il 60654  Showroom 312.464.0633




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