Watching a supercut of footage from Open Door videos by TikTok user @crazysaladcomedy of celebrity after celebrity commenting on the provenance of their wood furniture and objects, you begin to feel like you’re hallucinating. “This was made out of the wood from Winston Churchill’s yacht,” Dakota Johnson says as she wanders her Pierce & Ward–designed home. “This is a teak bathtub,” Peter Sarsgaard says, his wife Maggie Gyllenhaal finishing his sentence, “It’s amazing. It’s made by Scottish barrel makers.” “The neck of this guitar was made from wood that was recovered during the renovation of the Chelsea Hotel,” Michael Imperioli shares, brandishing the instrument for the camera. The chaos of that succession of wood shoutouts is exactly what caused it to catch fire on the video platform earlier this week, reaching over 1.7 million views.
Though you might expect a thick layer of snark to coat the comments section of the post, and there certainly is a good deal of that, there are just as many people who recognize their own behavior in the TikTok. “Why do they sound like me? I love the history of wood objects,” writes user @regblackgrl. “Oh my god. I do this with our bed. Never again will I tell people where the wood came from!!! Dying,” writes @stacey_walker__. For some, as easy as it would be to dismiss these gushing celebs’ comments as brags, there’s something actually quite relatable in them.
Though a public figure pointing out a dining set with links to a famous prime minister is far different from a layperson describing a reclaimed coffee table, the storytelling potential of the material is the same. Today, when hours each day are spent in an impermanent digital world and synthetic materials make up so many everyday items, wood’s ability to endure and reflect history is incredibly attractive.
“Often, as was the case with the secretary from Hovdala castle, layers of paint have been painstakingly scraped off to get to the original color, each with a hint of a different time. Eventually, you’re left with a patina revealing a history full of stories,” says Mick Aarestrup, the co-owner of Lief Gallery, where Kirsten Dunst and her designer Jane Hallworth found the stately secretary that once held court at one of Sweden’s oldest castles. “Besides the obvious reasons such as design and practicality, the combination of history and the human touch creates a connection with the past that can be very desirable.”