This cypress ceiling was given a washed treatment with Romabio Mineral-Based Paints.

Designer tip: Karen Giffel on new looks for old cypress

Long a staple of mountainside homes or cabins, cypress wood still has a soft spot in the hearts of many Southerners looking to give a natural touch to their interiors. But like many types of wood, the color can darken or change over time, throwing off any color scheme that may have existed before. Karen Giffel, owner of Karen Giffel Interior Design, knows that this can be problematic, and she has more than a few solutions that can help.

“One designer tip I have pursued in a couple of my new design projects is lime-washed cypress,” Giffel says. “In my experience, cypress tends to ‘orange’ over time, which isn’t necessarily what a homeowner is looking for. But to help maintain the texture and character of the wood, and with the clean and fresh palettes that I usually propose for my clients, there are ways to help appreciate the history of the cypress while exposing the grain of the wood in a unique way. This can be achieved with a few different techniques: thinning and painting on plaster, for example, to help kill the orange tone, or using a custom paint wash with a glaze to maintain the true character of the wood.”

To learn more about Giffel and her projects, visit