Wood paneling may conjure up images of dark dens and libraries, but not in Norway, where architects and builders use the age-old practice of lye bleaching to create pleasingly pale wood surfaces. Norwegian-born architect Casper Mork-Ulnes used the technique in his renovated 19th-century Victorian (see Architect Visit: Mork-Ulnes in San Francisco). Mork-Ulnes says, "Given the dark winters, Norwegian homes tend to have light or colorful interiors. The farmhouse I grew up in had lye-treated floors. Lye bleaches the wood and stops the yellowing effect of aging due to sunlight exposure; oil or green soap is then applied to protect the wood."
Photos by Bruce Damante.