Simply Good Design: The Rustic Wooden Chair Absolutely Anybody Can Build

Think you can’t build a functional chair? You’re more capable than you imagine, if the design is right. Originally designed in 1974 by Italian designer Enzo Mari, the Sedia 1 Chair was made for self-assembly, with a simple design, an easy build process and a highly sturdy result. The design was included in Ilse Crawford’s first Good Design Masterclass for Braun, a video series that aims to inspire “good design for a better future.” 

The series explore Braun’s three key design principles: simple, useful and built to last. These principles can be most valuable when it comes to our most basic needs, with items like eating utensils and the curved S-bend waste pipe on toilets, which almost singlehandedly ushered in the era of modern hygiene in the 19th century. The chair, Crawford explains, is especially important because it’s both sustainable and empowering.

“This is a really clear example of open-source furniture,” said Crawford. “These were plans that were published and available for anybody to use. This was a message, not in a bottle, but in a chair. [Mari] was a 1970s activist who wanted to shine a light on the culture of consumerism and inbuilt obsolescence. Aesthetics was really not the point. This was simply an intention to reframe the future.”

Furniture company Artek put the Sedia 1 chair design into production as a kit of parts, including pre-cut pine boards, nails and instructions, and it requires nothing but a hammer to assemble. But you can also build it yourself using your own materials. The original plans are in European lumber sizes, which makes it hard to follow here in the United States, but thankfully, some helpful woodworkers have translated those plans to our dimensions. Check out the plans on Medium.

Top 10 Custom Wood Camper Van Interiors

Did you know vans these days can literally contain everything AND the kitchen sink? Whether carried out as DIY projects or professionally, camper van conversions take workhorse vehicles and transform them into compact mobile homes, and many #VanLifers choose to line their interiors almost entirely with wood. These cool projects demonstrate just how much functionality (and dreamy, comfortable domesticity) you can achieve when you insert wood paneling, countertops, cabinets and other built-in elements. Sure beats all the plastic in a typical RV, doesn’t it?

How many different kinds of wood can you fit in a single van interior? Ask dog duo Hagen and Harper and their human parents of “Two Dogs and a Van,” who completed this awesome DIY project.

Emma Gabrielle’s van features a gorgeous resin-inlaid wood countertop, wood cabinetry and a colorful ceiling.

This surfer-oriented van by Wavemates has wood paneling that curves up onto the ceiling for a cozy feel.

Hayley’s gorgeous boho van is bursting with personality, from the trailing plants to the moon and sun plywood cutouts creating a little separation between the bed and kitchen.

Arizona-based company Tommy Campervans completes conversions so awesome, you can hardly tell they’re van interiors rather than (admittedly tiny) houses. The shower in this one is an impressive addition, but it’s the wood that really shines.

Anni named her sweet little Mercedes van “Elsa.” This conversion boasts a lovely combination of natural wood and painted white surfaces for a clean, organized but warm look.

Have you ever seen a van quite like this one? Taking inspiration from traditional Roma vardos, Tymer and Ashley’s Sprinter van has curved wooden frames over the bed offering additional storage and one-of-a-kind style.

Contrasting dark and light wood tones somehow make this van extra homey, especially with those handcrafted doors.

Krys and Taylor transformed a Sprinter van into a cozy roaming home with tons of character, and these pictures really capture just how much ambiance wood can add into the mix.

The mood inside this custom van by builder Advanture Co. is one of the darkest and most dramatic we’ve ever seen. It’s appropriately named “The Woodsman.”

White Pine All the Time: 25 More Ways to Appreciate This Wood

The most awesome thing about finding Eastern White Pine projects on social media might just be gaining a new appreciation for all the different ways to use this prized wood. Gorgeous, cathedral-like barns? Check. Historical restoration projects? Check. Intricately carved sculpture? Check. Bonsai? Yep, some of that too.

You all really love this tree, and it’s easy to see why. It’s breathtaking to behold in the landscape. It’s an integral part of our history. It’s absolutely gorgeous in a wide range of applications. Check out these 25 recent Instagram posts featuring #EasternWhitePine including artwork, unabashed love for nature, DIY projects and the work of pros like Maine Cabin Masters.

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Pine Project Inspiration: Complex Bird Houses by London Fieldworks

Part functional bird house, part sculpture: these complex creations by collaborative arts practice London Fieldworks create mini cityscapes high up in trees. Some have large arched doorways for a classical look, while others feature the archetypal birdhouse entrance holes preferred by many smaller species, like chickadees. 

The creators, including London Fieldworks founders Jo Joelson and Bruce Gilchrist, often build them as site-specific installations commenting on the changing architecture of the surrounding city. “Spontaneous City: Clerkenwell,” for example, is set in a tree at London’s St. James Church, Clerkenwell, which has early 12th-15th century architectural foundations and was once full of dense housing for the poor, but is now undergoing gentrification.

But the birdhouses are pretty delightful in their own right, just to look at and enjoy; there’s something organic about the way they almost seem to colonize the trees that host them, like moss or mycelium. Many of them are made of pine in shapes that are simple enough to mimic, so if you’re in need of a fun backyard project, you might be inspired to build a birdhouse city of your own.

DIY birdhouses are a great first project to work with Eastern White Pine. Check out a simple tutorial by Birds and Blooms, and get some tips for working with white pine from Woodcraft Magazine.

Design with White Pine: DIY Accent Wall

Got an itch to make some changes to your living space? An accent wall makes a dramatic impact, and it’s surprisingly easy to pull off, even if you choose to install some rustic wood planks instead of simply painting it a bright color. 

This weekend DIY project uses either 1×4 or 1×6 pine boards, which you can find at your local lumber retailer or home improvement store. To get just the right worn-in look, many people choose to distress the boards using methods like hammering, chiseling or wire brushing before staining and installing the boards.

At Family Handyman, a DIY project submitted by user P McDermott mixes up different stains for a lovely patchwork effect.

“Some boards received 1 coat, some received two coats, some were wiped off to make them lighter, others received one color followed by a different color. No two boards ended up the same due to variations in the wood grain.

I put 1/4″ underlayment on the drywall first using a few drywall screws through the studs, then glued and nailed the boards to the underlayment. The corner moldings were also homemade using a standard 2×4 ripped in half and using the table saw to cut out the “block” so that only the corners were left. I enjoyed designing the wall and [my wife] loved figuring out what colors to use, how long each board was going to be, and where to place them on the wall.”

Designer Kristin Eldridge took a similar approach, but with darker stains. In their case, doing some of the work and hiring a contractor to complete the rest was the right choice. They used “everything from kitchen utensils to an ax” to distress the wood and set up a workstation in the backyard for staining. 

“Here’s where the contractor comes in…he and Brent cut the boards into various sizes and then he nailed them to the wall with a nail gun.  He used some spacers so that some of the pieces would be lifted and create a less-than-perfect look, which is what we were going for. We also decided to have him wire some sconces on each side.  I went with this sconce from Lowe’s and left off the light shade for a more industrial look.  Later, we installed wire baskets to the wall for night stands.  I ended up changing out my pillows to these kilim ones and made the graphic black and white pillow for contrast.  Oh and the black and white photos are a mix of old photos and instagram photos attached with washi tape.”

Eastern White Pine Wood Plank Wall Eldridge Work station

Of course, there’s always the shiplap wall option, too. Popularized by Chip and Joanna Gaines’ popular HGTV show ‘Fixer Upper,’ shiplap produces a gorgeous rustic effect, and it’s easy to DIY. Check out our tips and tutorials.

Your Pine Projects! 22 More #EasternWhitePine Inspiration Images

Seeing what the world is making with Eastern White Pine never gets old. The projects are as varied as the people creating them, from rustic flower boxes to cabins by the Maine Cabin Masters. What’s not to love? Whether you’re one of those craftspeople or just want to express your appreciation for this majestic tree’s beauty and important role in the ecosystem, share your photos on Instagram with the hashtag #EasternWhitePine to see them featured here.

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