American Heirlooms - March 2020

For years, homeowners have opted for faux, synthetic wood furniture over real hardwoods. The primary reason was affordability over quality, allowing those on shoestring budgets to afford “wooden” pieces. But in 2020, the trend of affordability over function is dwindling, and according to interior design experts, more homeowners are choosing to spend a little more to improve the quality and life of the furniture in their home. In December 2019, Forbes asked interior design experts to highlight which trends were ending and what styles were becoming popular. Stylist Kelley Mason explained that the faux-wood look offers consumers a too-perfect look, style, and feel, which can create a sterile environment that many homeowners are actively avoiding. Instead, more people are opting for warmer, deeper, and imperfect looks that only real wood can create. Mason explains that the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi is coming back with a vengeance. Wabi-sabi focuses on the innate beauty of imperfections, such as wild grain styles and holes where knots once occupied. These pieces create an authentic look many consumers are craving, as faux pieces appear more fake than functional. Real wood can be more expensive, and that is what initially drove the consumer away from its pieces. In addition, it requires a higher level of care than faux pieces. In a consumption-heavy society, this pushed designers and homeowners toward faux. Phrases like “roughing it” might lead you to think you’re stuck with trail mix and dry granola bars on backpacking and camping trips. Nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, with a little preparation and some creativity, you can have delicious food on your next backcountry trip. Here are some tips to get you on the right track. Use premixed spice and meal packets. One surefire way to spice up any meal is with, well, spice! There’s no need to bring the whole container of cinnamon or cumin. For a tasty breakfast, mix oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and cinnamon ahead of time and pack them in a container. Lentils, quinoa, and a cumin and pepper spice mix can make a great chili-inspired dinner. Turn to one-pot meals. One-pot meals mean less clean up and more fuel efficiency, which is especially helpful for backpackers. With your premixed packets of food and spices, just add water and you’ll be on your way to a tasty meal. Pizza in the backcountry? Yes, you can even cook pizza in the backcountry! All you need are a few simple ingredients and either a campfire stove or grate. You can buy the dough or make your own at camp by mixing flour, salt, water, and yeast. Knead the dough,

then let it rest for 20 minutes. Add oil to your skillet and place it on your camp stove or campfire grate to heat up. Press the dough firmly toward the edges of the skillet, then place the skillet on the fire or stove and bake until one side of the dough is golden brown, then flip. Once the other side is cooked, add toppings and place back on the heat source until it’s ready. Enjoy! Keep your food to yourself. To protect yourself and wildlife while you’re enjoying your delicious meals, practice Leave No Trace principles and pack out what you bring in. When critters begin to associate humans with food, it creates problems for every species. Always keep food away from where you sleep, eat at least 100 yards away from your tent, and use secure containers to store food for the night.

However, experts have noted that more consumers prefer the artisan quality that comes with choosing real hardwood pieces over faux wood. The lifetime value they receive from the pieces is outnumbered by any budgetary advantages faux wood has. Real wood drives the desire for the bold styles design trends in 2020 are maneuvering toward. This is great news for hardwood craftsmen and companies. As their pieces become more valuable on the market, the door opens up to many creative possibilities. If trends continue, 2020 is set to be an exciting year for craftsmen.

2 • THE SWISS CRAFTSMAN

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