Sound Like a Designer :: Cerused


Here’s another term to help you sound like a designer {or at least not look confused if someone brings up the term} :: cerused.

The wood-finish technique known as cerused {also known as limed oak} has been around since the 1500s.  The finish used to use white lead to achieve the look -- white lead was also used in cosmetics at the time {Queen Elizabeth I was known to put that toxic stuff on her face!}  Somewhere along the line, someone discovered that it was gorgeous as an overlay on porous woods, or wood with a raised grain and oak fits the bill nicely.  The white pigment reveals the grain of the wood without affecting the overall color of the wood finish. Now that we know how nasty lead-based anything is, a non-toxic wax is used to produce the look.

Cerused finishes are often seen in casegoods, cabinetry, furnishings, flooring and doors.  The finish is pretty versatile in that when used on lighter woods it comes off as casually elegant, while it is very dramatic when used on darker woods like ebony {or wood stained to look like ebony.  Ebony is pretty rare these days.}  The finish was very popular in the Art Deco era with famed designers Jean Michel Frank and Paul T. Frankl and enjoyed a resurgence in midcentury modern design.  Now it can be seen in designs ranging from the traditional to modern.

I love the beachy-cool feel of this Newport Beach living room.

design :: spinnaker development

Cerused mirror and chest of drawers from Bungalow 5

via Bungalow 5

The cerused oak cabinetry and floors give this kitchen a casually elegant vibe.

design :: nastasi vail designs

I like the combination of high-gloss painted wood floors with the rustic cerused chairs and tailored cerused breakfront.

The black cerused walls in this living room {library?} is subtle and elegant.

I like the combination of the soothing sage-green-gray walls with the light gray cerused floors.

design :: kohler

If this was my bathroom, I might never leave!  I love the combination of the dark grey cerused vanity and stone herringbone floor.  Plus, I bet the shower is a steam shower... ahhh.... steam showers!

design :: Bluewater Home Builders

I could totally see myself curled up in one of the window-seat nooks with a book -- so cozy!

design :: joel kelly designs

Here's a more transitional take on the cerused oak-paneled room. Plus a nude figure <giggle>

from the 2006 kips bay show house

A midcentury-style cerused oak bedside table.

om design

Above I showed you a picture of subtle dark cerused oak.  This foyer designed by Kelly Wearstler is anything but subtle.  Kapow! Serious drama going on here!

design :: kelly wearstler

Another dramatic piece of cerused oak design -- these cube tables are highly versatile and can be used as bedside tables, side tables or even a coffee table if pushed together.

via 1stdibs

A gorgeous cerused oak-paneled bathroom in Patrick Gilles and Dorothée Boissier's breathtaking Paris apartment.  I've used images of their apartment in other posts, but maybe I need to do a post solely devoted to the place. Hmmm....

design :: patrick gilles + dorothée boissier

The combination of the cerused oak french doors and slate flooring is so rustic and pretty.

via linen and lavender