Knotty by Nature

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photos by:
April 3, 2010

In snowy Sweden, where pine planks and the democratic design incubator Ikea reign supreme, a local architect pays homage to his patrimony, making a small, slatty home feel like a rather big deal. 

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  Per Bornstein’s house sits on a hill between a large forested park and Gothenburg’s former industrial area. Much of the surrounding area awaits design as thoughtful and lovely as this home built on a previously abandoned lot.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    Per Bornstein’s house sits on a hill between a large forested park and Gothenburg’s former industrial area. Much of the surrounding area awaits design as thoughtful and lovely as this home built on a previously abandoned lot.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

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  The facade is punctured by a variety of differently sized windows: Those flush to the wall indicate the house’s public rooms, while the those for the private spaces are set back.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    The facade is punctured by a variety of differently sized windows: Those flush to the wall indicate the house’s public rooms, while the those for the private spaces are set back.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

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  Architect Per Bornstein and his daughter Velma relax in the living room. The woodburning stove was a second-hand store find.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    Architect Per Bornstein and his daughter Velma relax in the living room. The woodburning stove was a second-hand store find.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

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  Exposed pine dominates the downstairs reception area.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    Exposed pine dominates the downstairs reception area.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

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  Bornstein and his daughter Velma sit at a table the architect designed himself; the dining chairs were designed by Arne Jacobsen for Fritz Hansen.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    Bornstein and his daughter Velma sit at a table the architect designed himself; the dining chairs were designed by Arne Jacobsen for Fritz Hansen.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

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  Though the house is a mostly wooden affair, a sense of transparency pervades, thanks to many windows and the glass front door.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    Though the house is a mostly wooden affair, a sense of transparency pervades, thanks to many windows and the glass front door.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

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  Competing grains of laminated pine panels enliven the stairs.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    Competing grains of laminated pine panels enliven the stairs.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

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  The bathroom includes a sink Bornstein discovered in a secondhand store.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    The bathroom includes a sink Bornstein discovered in a secondhand store.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

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  The ground floor has a visitor’s bedroom for when Velma has friends over to stay.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    The ground floor has a visitor’s bedroom for when Velma has friends over to stay.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

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  The first thing visitors see as they enter the house is Bornstein’s impressive collection of architecture and design books. The sofa and chair were designed by Bornstein for Swedese.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    The first thing visitors see as they enter the house is Bornstein’s impressive collection of architecture and design books. The sofa and chair were designed by Bornstein for Swedese.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

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  Bornstein’s living room features an intriguing collection of furniture. The sofa is made by Swedish manufacturer Ire. The 1970s wood burner was a secondhand store find, and the wood table, by Bruno Mattson, was found in a bin at a recycling station. He inherited the lounge chair from his parents.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    Bornstein’s living room features an intriguing collection of furniture. The sofa is made by Swedish manufacturer Ire. The 1970s wood burner was a secondhand store find, and the wood table, by Bruno Mattson, was found in a bin at a recycling station. He inherited the lounge chair from his parents.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

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  Exposed pine boards dominate the interior, giving a subtle, warm backdrop to the splashes of color that his stove and collection of books provide.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    Exposed pine boards dominate the interior, giving a subtle, warm backdrop to the splashes of color that his stove and collection of books provide.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

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  Though she's yet to properly design a building, Velma's small office has her set up to do big things.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    Though she's yet to properly design a building, Velma's small office has her set up to do big things.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

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  The knot-flecked staircase leading down to Bornstein's office gives serves as a solid core to the home's circulation.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    The knot-flecked staircase leading down to Bornstein's office gives serves as a solid core to the home's circulation.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

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  Though the view is snowy for much of the year, Bornstein has quite a vista from his living room. The black leather chair is a hand-me-down from his parents.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    Though the view is snowy for much of the year, Bornstein has quite a vista from his living room. The black leather chair is a hand-me-down from his parents.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

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  The essence of Bornstein's design is to show materials in their natural state. And considering the natural state of Sweden is decidedly on the wooded side, pine was an easy, and inexpensive, choice.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    The essence of Bornstein's design is to show materials in their natural state. And considering the natural state of Sweden is decidedly on the wooded side, pine was an easy, and inexpensive, choice.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

  • 
  The kitchen is from Ikea and the dining chairs by Arne Jacobsen, but the table is pure Bornstein.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    The kitchen is from Ikea and the dining chairs by Arne Jacobsen, but the table is pure Bornstein.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

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  Simple black tiles and a basic, exposed showerhead kept costs down, allowing other parts of the house to function as the showpieces.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    Simple black tiles and a basic, exposed showerhead kept costs down, allowing other parts of the house to function as the showpieces.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

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  Bornstein derives endless inspiration from his massive collection of design books. The clip lamps attached at the top shelf provide an easy, and targeted, lighting scheme.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    Bornstein derives endless inspiration from his massive collection of design books. The clip lamps attached at the top shelf provide an easy, and targeted, lighting scheme.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

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  This bedroom makes use of the same monochrome simplicity of the rest of the house, another nod to the integrity of the exposed pine boards.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    This bedroom makes use of the same monochrome simplicity of the rest of the house, another nod to the integrity of the exposed pine boards.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

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  Velma works a puzzle in front of a sofa from Ire.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    Velma works a puzzle in front of a sofa from Ire.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

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  The white linens appear almost ghostly against the natural grain of the wood and muted glow of the window's winter light.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    The white linens appear almost ghostly against the natural grain of the wood and muted glow of the window's winter light.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

  • 
  With the majority of the house's windows facing down the slope, not only does Bornstein maximize the views out, but he assured that his home would have loads of natural light pouring in, even if it only lasts for a few hours in winter.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    With the majority of the house's windows facing down the slope, not only does Bornstein maximize the views out, but he assured that his home would have loads of natural light pouring in, even if it only lasts for a few hours in winter.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

  • 
  The black tile in the entryway mirrors that used in the bathroom, giving the small palette of materials a kind of interior coherence.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    The black tile in the entryway mirrors that used in the bathroom, giving the small palette of materials a kind of interior coherence.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

  • 
  Black and blond are a natural match in Bornstein's largely wooden kitchen.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    Black and blond are a natural match in Bornstein's largely wooden kitchen.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

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