How I created my Scandi style white wash look on rafters

How do you know what ‘your’ style is? Experts will tell you to look at all the inspirational images that you’ve collected (Pinterest, magazine tear-outs, Instagram, etc.) and look for common themes. One of the repeating elements among my reference images was white washed wood. The Scandi (short-hand for Scandinavian) look. It’s also popular in Holland and other minimalist interiors. The look is basically a stain or sealant that contains a white pigment and gives the wood a white wash look as a result. In a workshop I attended in Stockholm earlier this year, I learned that this technique is an age-old trick for suppressing the yellowing that happens as tannins present themselves more visibly in wood over time. Function driving form / aesthetic that has now become a major trend. There’s a number of products available –many of them zero or low VOC that can be used or combined to achieve the right look. I read several DIY blog posts from folks across the world to try and learn from their failures and successes before I hit up my local eco-supply store, EcoWise, to get the goods. Jim doesn’t carry WOCA products–the one I read the most about–so instead I tested his Osmo wood wax and Rubio Monocoat oil products. Each wood type will respond to stains, sealers and paints differently, so I was advised to get a piece of the actual wood I’d be using and test, test, test. I ended up selecting Osmo in white matte. I wish I liked the way the Monocoat turned out, since their wax is zero VOC and smells amazing. I’ll try to use it elsewhere.

Paint on, rub in with T-shirt rag. We averaged about 45 minutes per beam the first day to complete one side. We let it dry overnight and then returned the next day to flip (sooooo heavy) and finish the underside. I think we got faster the second day and learned to put less on. We also learned that once the rag is saturated with paint, it’s far less effective at rubbing the paint into the wood and the white pigment will sit on top instead of appearing to be ‘washed’ over the grain. Also, not sure how they got their knots to not absorb the white pigment, cuz ours just soaked it up.

inspiration from a family in Sask. who did the white-washing themselves, using WOCA.
The crew sanding down the beams prior to staining
We didn’t end up using this for the Douglas Fir beams, but I may use it elsewhere. It smells really nice.
Completely non-toxic. Made in Belgium.
paint on, rub in with rags (old T-shirts)
This proves how much the lighting affects the final look of the wood
The first “finished” piece installed in the M House ceiling.

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