Decorating with historic materials

Artitalia, an Arizona furniture company, crafts furniture using wood poles that were once part of the support structure for Venice, Italy.
Artitalia, an Arizona furniture company, crafts furniture using wood poles that were once part of the support structure for Venice, Italy.

The Charlotte Observer

Great houses are decorated with history. It can take years to furnish a home in a way that builds a personal story with ties to the past, but the time you invest surely will be worth it.

Some of the pieces you find will have a story to tell based on the way they were produced or manufactured. That was the case when I was searching for flooring for my home. I discovered a wonderful new olive-wood flooring product from Italy.

Italians love their olive trees. In fact, farmers are not allowed to prune theirs without government permission. The olive groves are carefully monitored through satellite imagery and inspections. Older trees that have stopped producing fruit, some as old as 350 to 700 years, are carefully pruned so new growth can return and once again yield fruit. This harvested wood is then documented and sold to certified lumber mills for kiln drying and processing.

Specified Flooring is one of a few companies in the world that turn this wood into flooring. The result is a beautiful surface that is three times harder than oak with a spectacular grain pattern.

A special historic wood is used in furniture built by Artitalia Group out of Scottsdale, Ariz.. The company was founded by an Italian, Marco Felicioli. Growing up in Rome provided him with a wonderful opportunity to experience the true beauty that can come only from history. After settling in America, he began importing finely crafted pieces from Italy for designers and homeowners. This love of connecting people with history led Artitalia to develop furniture from wood that has a fascinating story.

If you have visited Venice, you know that the city is built on wood poles driven into the sandy sea bottom. These posts are harvested as they decay and replaced with new wood or even plastic poles. Artitalia has created multiple furniture pieces incorporating wood from the harvested posts. As these wood posts diminish in numbers, it’s really quite exquisite to have a piece of this history. Each piece comes with a certificate that identifies the artifact’s location and date of recovery.

Imagine having dinner on a table made from this wood and the wonderful story you’d have to share. Build on the story by setting the table with your grandmother’s china and serve your sister’s favorite family recipe. Light the room with a chandelier that you bought for just a few dollars during an antiquing trip with your best friends. Now you have a wonderful room filled with history and fascinating stories.

This is how houses become great, interesting homes. It’s not about having a decorator shop for you and filling your house with matching accessories and furniture pieces. It’s about sharing who you are through your own story. So get out that wonderful collection of baseball cards and your signed Yankee baseball. Put them on the shelf or in a frame and make them part of your everyday life and your story.

Designer and home improvement expert Vicki Payne is host and producer of “For Your Home,” available on PBS, Create TV and in national and international syndication. Reach her at ForYourHome.com.

Read more Home & Garden stories from the Miami Herald

  • Home fix

    Weather, pets can damage air conditioners

    Q: I’m trying to sell my home. The buyer hired a home inspector who said I needed to replace the air conditioner because the coils were damaged by hail. My air conditioner works just fine, but the buyer insists on getting a new air conditioner. Have you ever heard of anything like this?

  • Living Smart

    House cleaning means the exterior too

    House cleaning isn’t just an inside job. Your siding, driveway and garage floor get dirty, too. And just as a freshly cleaned car seems to drive better, a spic-and-span exterior feels great to come home to.

  • Washington Report

    Credit lines are fashionable again

    There’s been a resurgence of borrowing on home equity over the past 12 months, researchers and credit watchers have found.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category