We’re zeroing in on five of our favourite charred wood homes and cabins from around the globe. 

A technique that originated from 18th-century Japan, Shou Sugi Ban is the charring of wood – traditionally cedar – that’s coated in natural oil, to protect against the weather and insects. Also making a home less susceptible to fire, this artisanal wood treatment is now widely appreciated, finding its way into contemporary residential architecture, furniture and objects. 

We’ve long gravitated to charcoal timber-clad homes for their textural and timeless appeal and the way they settle in with their surrounding landscape. From Toorak, Melbourne to Belgian’s woodlands we’re satisfying our fascination with five striking examples of charred wood homes. 

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Two Sheds by DREAMER with Roger Nelson

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Two Sheds by DREAMER with Roger Nelson

Two Sheds by DREAMER with Roger Nelson

DREAMER collaborated with architect Roger Nelson on Two Sheds; a project that redefines regionally-appropriate residential architecture in a bushfire prone area. Set in the hills east of Lorne, Victoria Two Sheds is a reductive retreat, using minimal materials to enhance the backdrop of the bordering bush.  

Inspired by the rural vernacular, Two Sheds comprises of two simple gable-roofed structures with a veranda, clad in charred timber that has been left exposed within. The identical structures mirror each other and are connected via a glazed gallery internally, as well as a terrace and path outside. At the communal areas’ heart is a dark central box reflecting the blackened exterior, where on one side lies the artful black and gold kitchen and the other, a clever joinery divide. 

Two Sheds by Dreamer and Roger Nelson

Two Sheds by DREAMER with Roger Nelson

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Two Sheds by DREAMER with Roger Nelson

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Two Sheds by DREAMER with Roger Nelson

House S Keerbergen by Hans Verstuyft

House S Keerbergen by Belgian minimalist Hans Verstuyft was designed to disappear into the woodlands. The low-rise home is clad in blackened wood planks with a burnt outer later, following the Japanese technique of Shou Sugi Ban to protect the structure against rot and insects.

The cladding was chosen to fade the transition between inside and outside and intensify the experience of living in nature. The wooden slats have a strict rhythm adhered to through the placement of the home’s windows. The bedrooms feature a raised porch, also constructed of charred wood to act as a soft transition to the outdoors. The exterior is echoed inside, with dark timber flooring the foundation to Hans Verstuyft’s signature pared-down scheme

Slow Beam by Lauren Bamford and Hearth Studio

Slow Beam by Lauren Bamford and Hearth Studio is located in Hobart. A luxury Airbnb and holiday home for photographer Lauren Bamford and her family, Slow Beam is a striking new-build comprising of two box-like pavilions. The two-storey home has a charred-wood shell, contrasting the towering gums around it and making the most of its sweeping hillside views. 

The saturating black exterior is reflected inside where a vibrant colour palette and geometric patterns explode in contrast. A sumptuous mix of bold mid-century design pieces, crazy paving and tactile textiles, Slow Beam affirms the beauty in black inside and out. 

Shou Sugi Ban House by Hecker Guthrie

The Shou Sugi Ban House by Hecker Guthrie and Jacobsen Arquitectura is quite unlike any of the other homes on its tree-lined street in Toorak, Melbourne. As the project name suggests, the Shou Sugi Ban House is clad in timber, preserved and sealed using the said Japanese technique. The charred wood offers the home weather resilience and a matte textured effect, through a series of bold geometric forms. The timber fins on the upper level provide a sense of privacy and equally, connection to landscaped outdoor area and pool.

The home carefully intertwines South American and Japanese approaches to design, where charred timber meets strong clean lines, raw natural stone and timber-lined ceilings and floors.

Cabin A by Bourgeois / Lechasseur Architects

Cabin A is a holiday home that nestles into the steep, all-white slopes in the Charlevoix Region of Quebec, Canada. Overlooking the St Lawrence River, the region known for its picturesque skiing landscape. A stark contrast with the snowy surrounds, the A-frame structure is clad in charred-timber, referencing nautical design – as though a sail facing the wind. 

The asymmetrical structure subverts the traditional A-frame cabin. Its angular shape can be enjoyed in the Russian plywood-clad interiors; a material also used to create custom built-in furniture, emanating the kind of warmth you’d only wish for in the snow-capped hills.

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