Minimalist Home Objects Made of Solid Pine

A Swedish company called Vaarnii wants to help usher in a new era of interior design: one dominated by the refreshing beauty of pine wood. Their collections of minimalist furniture and decorative objects is designed to endure for generations and eliminate unnecessary frills to put the focus on the wood itself. The result is a series of creations that are boldly simple and clearly durable.

“Pine is substantial, characterful, full of natural pattern and colour and, if grown correctly, it is strong. The Finnish vernacular style that inspires us is a direct product of this material: Pine was always the wood of choice for Finnish craftspeople because it was local, free and abundant; an embarrassment of riches. As a result, the making processes and design thinking that shaped our domestic lives is pine shaped and pine coloured; log houses, carved implements, rustic furniture. There is a primitiveness, a raw beauty, a reassuring strength, generosity of scale and warmth to this architecture and object culture that we want to return to and celebrate again.”

Scots pine is the most common tree growing Finland, making up about 44% of all forests. Vaarnii chooses slowly grown trees for carpentry and cabinetmaking, which are heavier and hardier, sustainably harvesting the trees during the coldest months of the year. 

“Pine is full of natural oils and resins which, over time, react with UV light to bring a rich honey colour to the wood. This characterful mellowing is something, we believe, to look forward to. Cracks, knots and lively grains are all used to maximum decorative advantage. A black filler is used to fill naturally occurring cracks. Making these visible is true to our values of honest furniture making.”

Vaarnii’s pine products include a blocky dining chair; a stool with rounded legs; coffee, dining and side tables; a lounge chair with ergonomically rounded surfaces; and a series of accessories like mirrors, bowls, trays, wall hooks and doorstops. Each item has an impressive solidity and heft that elucidates its quality. 

“The designs for the inaugural Vaarnii range celebrate all the natural qualities of pine: A wide and expressive grain means pine lends itself, structurally and aesthetically, to being used in large expanses. And so, our designs use pine generously: Swathes of solid wood make bold and heavy designs. Which is just as well, as the furniture is intended to serve generations.”

Low Cost Pine Details Liven Up a Victorian Terrace Addition in Sydney

Low cost pine home renovation

When architecture firm Alexander & Co. was commissioned to freshen up a Victorian semi-detached terrace house in a suburb of Sydney, Australia, they envisioned a structure that could be “a scaffold for growth and change.” Though it was in poor condition with a layout that didn’t make sense, the house still had good bones and a lot of promise. The clients, a family with young children, wanted the result to feel humanized and imperfect. Rather than “a collection of set gyprock and flush surfaces,” as the architects put it, the home should feature natural materials, and retain the sense that it’s a work in progress that will be continuously altered in the years to come to meet new needs and preferences.

Low cost pine home renovation kitchen
Low cost pine home renovation living room

The project also came with a tight budget, requiring the architects to get creative. Instead of featuring an open plan, they decided to densely divide the space into a greater number of rooms, offering plenty of opportunities to sit down, rest and take in views of an old gum tree in the center of the rear garden. An ongoing project including three renovations over a period of seven years, the home has a new pine plywood loft as a “rumpus room” for the children and beautiful pale pine details throughout, accenting the white walls and stone flooring.

Low cost pine home renovation wood ceiling

“For the young children, the home was to explain how it was built; to show its structural rhythms, to demonstrate how materials could be added to one another and result in spaces which are honest and often surprising. Inspired by the works of Alvar Aalto and Louis Kahn, the home has a loosely modernist philosophy, whilst its exploration of locally available and low cost pine structure and Carrara stone gives it an almost Scandinavian sensibility.”

Low cost pine home renovation hallway
Low cost pine home renovation dining room

“The home is representative of the non-static state of ‘completion’. In effect, each gyration of the project represents another ‘incomplete’ end point, the home is a scaffold for ongoing change and the family has relished this fact. The interiors reflect this also, with various finishes, materials and furniture continuing to evolve, as do the tastes and needs of its occupants. The palette is a contemporary interpretation of a Scandinavian style. Low cost pine structures and exposed pine ply sheeting makes up the majority of internal finishes, with various uses and formats of Carrara tile to bathrooms, kitchen splash backs and floor surfaces. The home is quirky, infused with the unique spirit of the family and its progressive domestic evolutions. Not surprisingly, it is the integrity of imperfect, inert and low cost materials which gives the home so much of its spirit.”

Glass Writer’s Cabin Features an Undulating Organic Pine Wall

writer's cabin mudd front

A modern glass writer’s cabin set within a gorgeous garden in Spain? Sounds amazing, but believe it or not, the coolest thing about this transparent getaway is one of its interior walls. MuDD Architects used digital fabrication technology to design an undulating pine plywood wall full of built-in bookshelves, which create a dynamic curve within an otherwise rectilinear structure. Visible from outside, it’s the only built-in feature in an otherwise minimalist design.

writer's cabin mudd ashelves

The cabin was designed and built within a few months for a children’s book writer, who needed a space that could act as a source of inspiration for her future stories. Set in the North of Madrid, which experiences cold winters, it features a custom cast black iron hanging wood stove, a continuous roof made of folded oxidized iron and a slightly off-center roof peak. The floor is also one continuous surface extending from the exterior terrace to the interior of the cabin. Set within the plywood of the bookshelves are tiny built-in lights that create an effect of fireflies at night.

writer's cabin mudd chimney
writer's cabin mudd curving shelves

“The most challenging part but as well one of the most important parts of the house are the highly complex curvy bookshelves adapted to the very specific sloped high roofs of the house. A different tone of wood this time locally sourced pine wood is used and on purpose left natural to contrast with the maple syrup finishing of the maple inside cladding panels.”

writer's cabin mudd glass

“These bookshelves create a sensation of the movement held still in a time where the heavyweight of both the horizontal and verticals are counterbalancing the weight of the high roof. The bookshelves are composed of 100 different pieces cut with CNC with Fusteria Digital in Girona where different sorts of dry assembly were tested in order to be the most discrete possible.”

This “Quarantine Cabin” is the Perfect Place to Get Away From it All

In 2020, many people stuck in tiny apartments within big, shut-down cities fantasized about having their very own “quarantine cabin.” Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a place to distance yourself from crowds, commune with nature and take a break from all the stress of the pandemic? Even in 2021, as the Covid-19 crisis appears to be receding, the concept is tantalizing, so this design called “The Voxel Quarantine Cabin” is as relevant as ever.

Created by a team of students and researchers from Barcelona’s Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, the cabin was designed with isolation in mind and built using wood harvested from the immediate surroundings on the building site. Taking its name from the abbreviation for the phrase “volumetric pixel,” the cabin was built in just five months as part of the students’ master degree program. 

“The project researches the ecological transformation of wood as a structural, thermal, and constructive material from sustainable forest management because of its capacity to store CO2 in buildings,” the designers say. 

The students milled, dried, processed and pressed Aleppo Pine into cross-laminated timber sheets called lamellas on site at the Valldaura campus. They chose 40 pine trees to harvest according to a sustainable forest management plan that encourages the growth of small trees to improve biodiversity.

“In a feat of obsessive commitment to locality and understanding the material flows of architecture, every lamella of every panel was tracked and traced, ensuring that every single wooden element of the house can be accurately traced back to the point where the tree it came from once stood,” the project team said.

The exterior wood was charred using the Shou Sugi Ban process to protect it from rain and insects and formed into slatted rain screen panels. Collected rain is routed into tanks for the outdoor shower and kitchenette. Three solar panels provide power for a laptop and lighting, and a self-contained biogas system treats waste from the toilet to generate fuel for cooking and heating.

Basically, it’s the perfect place to get away from it all, whether you’re in the midst of a global health crisis or just need to eliminate all distractions long enough to complete a project.

Learn more about Shou Sugi Ban and how wood buildings can help fight climate change by storing CO2:

Modernist Furniture Series Explores the Possibilities of Pine

Pine doesn’t get enough credit as a versatile, malleable and beautiful material in Modernist design. So says Studio Sløyd, a Norwegian design firm aiming to take advantage of this sustainable resource, which grows abundantly in the area. The designers wanted to demonstrate how perfect pine can be for sculpting pieces that feel fresh and of-the-moment.

Studio Sloyd modernist pine furniture

“FH.02 is a three legged stool made out of solid Norwegian pine,” say the designers. “We wanted to create an object that used pine in a contemporary manner. Using a common typology, we explore how far we can push the shape and structure of the wood to create something unique. The result is a bold stool with massive legs that displays the intricate patterns within the material itself.”

Studio Sloyd modernist pine furniture three legged stool

It’s these patterns and variation in the grain that make pine such a special wood to work with, and they’re showcased here with an impressive degree of craftsmanship and intimate understanding of the material. The series only consists of two stools, but it’s easy to see how this rounded, organic yet minimalist style could be extended to larger pieces like tables, beds and cabinets. 

Studio Sloyd modernist pine furniture chair
Studio Sloyd modernist pine furniture seat

“Furuhelvete is a Norwegian expression stemming from the overuse of pine in Norwegian homes and cabins, often associated with a style that is considered distasteful or outdated,” Studio Sløyd told Dezeen.

“With the Furuhelvete collection we wish to challenge the traditional perception of the wood and create a new interest for this local and wonderful material.”

Studio Sloyd modernist pine furniture detail

The collection successfully demonstrates why pine is ideal for modern design. But for those whose love for pine never wavered, these stools can still provide inspiration for new ways of laying the grain by cutting lumber and piecing it back together with an eye for detail. Open those images and examine them up close to see what we mean.

Design with Pine: Get Inspiration from This Unique Room Divider

Now that the pandemic has shifted the way we interact with each other, especially indoors, room dividers are a hot topic. If you need to create some safe separation at your business, office or even at home, you might be looking for creative ways to divide up the space that also look nice.

Here’s a great example that can provide some inspiration for your DIY project (or, if you’re not that handy, show it to your contractor!). Architects Juan Alberto Andrade and Maria Jose Vascones have created a room within a room for technology services company Mendotel, allowing employees to safely host meetings and workspace within an open office. 

“The work dynamics were analysed, getting as a result an office and sales location with different levels of privacy,” said the architects.”With a reduced space, the reticulated shelf was partitioned with glass divisions from floor to ceiling, which provides solid privacy but allows visual permeability throughout the place, creating a new interior facade.”

Theoretically, as long as everyone is wearing masks, employees can gain an extra level of protection from visitors – and vice versa – by opening up these window-like partitions. The architects crafted the walls out of pine lumber, glass and oriented strand board, but you could adapt it with plywood, plexiglass or other materials you have handy or prefer to work with.

Instead of looking like it came straight out of a hospital or creating an atmosphere that’s less than welcoming, these pine partition walls have a graphic architectural look to them, adding something visually cool to the ambiance of the space.