By Allison Ballard StarNews Correspondent
As a Wilmington-based real estate agent, Nilesh Jethwa sees how a lot of home trends look in real life, and not just on the pages of a magazine or a Pinterest post. There’s one style that he likes well enough to use in his own home – shiplap. “I’ve used it in two of my bathrooms,” he said. “I love it.”
Many credit HGTV, and more specifically the popular show "Fixer Upper" (which is now in its fourth season), with bringing shiplap out of the farmhouse and into the mainstream. “We’ve always done shiplap, but it really started to take off a little over a year ago,” said Carter Derrick, co-owner of N.C. Lumber & Supply. He and his business partner provide shiplap to home-improvement stores, as well as builders and do-it-yourselfers, he said. They have a small warehouse in Wilmington on Old Dairy Road that’s open to the public.
For those who don’t watch home improvement television, shiplap is a type of wooden board that has a notch (or rabbet) cut along its edges. The rabbets allow the boards to fit together tightly, which is beneficial for insulating and water tightness. Because of this, it was often used in barns and historic homes.
“We get asked about shiplap a lot,” said Brandy Crawford, with Teal Interior Design, which has offices in Wilmington and Raleigh. “People want to know if it’s just a trend. We absolutely think it’s a classic look, and one that works well for the coast.” Designers like how it adds a subtle interest and texture to walls.
“You can use it in a lot of different ways,” she said. Its sturdiness, combined with a high-gloss paint makes it very cleanable, and perfect for beach cottages, high-traffic areas, mudrooms and bathrooms. Shiplap is cost effective, she said. But depending on its finished look, it can fit in with a variety of design aesthetics, from modern to casual chic.
“We really think it adds value and character to a home,” Jethwa said. He moved into his Pine Valley-area home in September. “It was built in ’82, and we are starting to update it.” In his work with Next Home Cape Fear, he likes a lot of the shiplap looks he’s seen. Renovating two bathrooms with shiplap is just the first he’s planning. He’d also like to add the boards to his dining room and a waist-high half-wall in the living room.
Shiplap is available in many materials and colors, including manufactured woods. More commonly, though, the boards are wood. “We offer Southern pine, which people really seem to like,” Derrick said. For fans of the look, they say that shiplap is here to stay. “We definitely expect it to continue,” he said.