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January 11, 2014
Architecture gets expensive, so these homebuilders put their creativity to work by designing with plywood. Here's how they saved a buck on materials without looking, well, cheap.
Minimalist mezzanine bedroom with French oak floorboards

ROCK THE BOAT

New Zealand architect Davor Popadich worried that plywood floors his mezzanine bedroom would feel monotonous, given that the walls and ceilings were ply too. So he and his wife sourced second-grade French oak floorboards and filled in the holes in the timber’s knots themselves. Then they used leftover boards to make a door to cover a small opening between their room and August’s and for the sliding pantry door in the kitchen. Photo by Simon Devitt.

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Courtesy of 
© 2011 Simon Devitt
Originally appeared in Rock the Boat
1 / 8

NHR APARTMENT BY GUT GUT

The architects of this Bratislava apartment renovation designed a modular shelving system out of plywood that gets repeated throughout the house. Here, the kitchen island with induction cooktop and the bookshelves are clearly from the same family without looking like twins. A green Dish Doctor by Marc Newson for Magis adds a splash of color next to the sink. 

Originally appeared in NHR Apartment by Gut Gut
2 / 8
Picnic-style bench in Norfolk, England

BARNS ENNOBLED

The main public space of the renovated Ochre Barn is broken up by a full-height OSB pod, which contains a bathroom and a utility room with a view. Construction-site offcuts comprise a 20-seat table, which architect Carl Turner made from a birch-core black phenolic-faced plywood, a waterproof material more commonly used to form concrete. The film-coated ply from UK supplier James Latham comes cheap, making it ideal for this kind of experimentation. Photo by Christoffer Rudquist.

Originally appeared in A Pair of English Barns Hide Unabashedly Bold and Budget-Friendly Minimalist Interiors
3 / 8
The Trzebiatowskis’ bathroom retains the spirit of Arizona heat with its shocking magenta ceilings, floors, and walls. The vanity is anything but—opting for art instead of a mounted mirror—and is made from sanded and sealed oriented strand board (OSB), a

XEROS EFFECT

The Trzebiatowskis’ bathroom retains the spirit of Arizona heat with its shocking magenta ceilings, floors, and walls. The vanity is anything but—opting for art instead of a mounted mirror—and is made from sanded and sealed oriented strand board (OSB), a waste material typically used in framing. Photo by Gregg Segal.

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Originally appeared in Xeros Effect
4 / 8
The second floor houses three lits bretons, boxlike compartments where the curtains can be drawn to close sleepers off from the world. Inside, each has a built-in shelf 
for personal belongings and a favorite read.

GREENER PASTURE

Jean-Baptiste Barache’s elegant retreat in the tiny Normandy town of Auvillier is a modern play on centuries-old forms and technology. Playing on the idea of a traditional wooden chapel, the second floor houses three lits bretons, boxlike compartments made entirely of plywood where the curtains can be drawn to close sleepers off from the world.  Photo by Céline Clanet.

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Originally appeared in Modern Wooden A-Frame Retreat in France
5 / 8
Henry Point Lake Cabin in Northern Idaho

CHANGING THE POINT

A Vancouver, Washington–based couple called Portland architect Michael Flowers and design partner Judson Moore to take charge of a remodel and expansion of their second home, a cozy lakefront cabin. The pair added light and texture while uniting the new interior spaces to its property. The lower-level sleeping area boasts a plywood wardrobe, Eames LCW, and Eames plywood folding screen. 

Originally appeared in Changing the Point
6 / 8

LONE STAR

Texas architect M.J. Neal's plays off a regional typology, low corrugated-metal outbuildings, to carve out a low-key, expansive, farm-like abode for a painter. Keeping with the inexpensive but design-forward strategy, plywood lines the stair walls. Photo by Jack Thompson.

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Originally appeared in Lone Star
7 / 8
Green plywood door shelf space

SIMPLE DIVISION

When in doubt about all that plywood, considering a vibrant paint job. A Tokyo architect wanted more shelf space in her home office, so she added a plywood door with built-in bookshelves that opens into her bedroom to form a reading nook. Glimpsed from the adjacent room, the space looks larger than it actually is, thanks to the bright green walls. Photo by Ryohei Hamada.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in This Shape-Shifting Apartment Lets an Architect Work from Home
8 / 8
Minimalist mezzanine bedroom with French oak floorboards

ROCK THE BOAT

New Zealand architect Davor Popadich worried that plywood floors his mezzanine bedroom would feel monotonous, given that the walls and ceilings were ply too. So he and his wife sourced second-grade French oak floorboards and filled in the holes in the timber’s knots themselves. Then they used leftover boards to make a door to cover a small opening between their room and August’s and for the sliding pantry door in the kitchen. Photo by Simon Devitt.

Photo by Simon Devitt. Image courtesy of © 2011 Simon Devitt.

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