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7 gorgeous black timber homes to swoon over

Charred timber has emerged as a fashionable choice for cladding

Flat-roofed black-clad cubic volume juts out from gently slop hillside, with one end propped up on skinny stilts on a woody site.
La Roche emerges from a hillside in Montreal.
Photo by Adrien Williams via Dezeen

Charred or blackened timber has emerged as a fashionable choice for cladding, especially for contemporary reimaginings of cabins and nature retreats. Below are seven sleek examples that use Shou Sugi Ban and other similar techniques to add a dark and unexpected dimension to otherwise simple, minimalist architectural designs.

1. An Australian refuge for a homeowner with a sleep disorder

Photo via Dezeen

Melbourne-based firm Black Line One X Architecture Studio (aka BLOXAS) designed the Garden Pavilion for a client who suffers from a sleep disorder, creating a peaceful retreat that offers protection from excess noise and even light. A curved, blackened timber facade no doubt contributes to the calming effects of the modern home.

2. La Roche is a hillside aerie in Quebec

Darkened timber also has a way of making a home appear one with the surrounding landscape, as is the case with La Roche, or, the Rock, a flat, boxy home designed by Montreal-based architecture firm Atelier Général that perches on a sloping hillside and features a construction of wood and glass.

3. A burnt timber facade remixes a contemporary take on a cottage

Photo by Tim van de Velde via Chris Collaris

Shou Sugi Ban-treated pinewood clads this contemporary take on a cottage north of Amsterdam, where local firm Chris Collaris Architects remixed a traditional gable-roof structure with an asymmettric silhouette, oversized windows and dormers, and passive house features.

4. Floating tiny sauna all but disappears into its surroundings

Photo by Small Architecture Workshop via Inhabitat

This tiny “floating” sauna in Åmot, Sweden, by Milan-based firm Small Architecture Workshop all but disappears into its surroundings, especially since its charred facade blends in with the dark forest behind it and the glassy surface of the lake atop of which it sits.

5. Custom-designed in Arkansas

Photo by Mark Jackson

In Fayetteville, Arkansas, a family built their dream home with the help of award-winning Marlon Blackwell Architects—and very affordably, at that. To save on costs, the team used inexpensive materials like concrete brick wrapped by a wood carapace, which was made of burnt timber, of course, adding a moody depth to the otherwise sun-filled abode.

6. A rustic Pacific Northwest retreat

Photo by Andrew Pogue via Designboom

Oxidized black cedar and blackened cement wrap the Little House in Washington’s Hood Canal, which was designed by Seattle practice M W Works Architecture + Design to frame magnificent views without intruding on the natural landscape.

7. An intimate and charming 320-square-foot library cabin

Photo by Shane Lavalette

What’s more charming than a tiny library? One that happens to be a cabin in upstate New York, of course. Menlo Park, California-based Studio Padron designed this intimate 320-square-feet getaway inspired Japanese architecture and Norwegian design for a client who imbued his half Italian, half Norwegian heritage into its conception. The result is a rustic and very personal home.