Repeat after us: Shou sugi ban. Devised as a way to make wood less susceptible to fire and to keep away insects and rot, this longstanding Japanese method involves torching your building materials. The results are long lived and hauntingly beautiful. And now charred wood is widely available for domestic use.
Above: Lumber retailers of late have begun to specialize in shou sugi ban. Shown here, a sampling of the shou sugi ban finishes offered by Delta Millworks in Texas, which focuses solely on burnt woods and works directly with private and commercial clients. Another provider is the reSawn Timber Co. of Bucks County, PA. In the UK, Shou-Sugi-Bann supplies, designs, and installs shou sugi ban cladding, flooring, and wall coverings in colors that it compares to "the dying embers of a log fire and the charred effects of a burnt wooden board."
Above: Charred lumber for use as siding, fencing, decking, and flooring. Photograph via reSawn Timber Co.
Above: Delta Millworks and reSawn Timber Co. specialize in using cypress, as well as yellow pine and vertical grain douglass fir, all grown in the southern US and treated with variety of burned finishes. Photograph via reSawn Timber Co.
Above: reSawn Timber Co's shou sugi ban with a subtle char.
Above: A house with shou sugi ban siding in Kajiyama, Japan, by Sakuma Studio. Photograph via Materialicious.
Above: Shou sugi ban siding and a living roof on a farmhouse in Sweden. Photograph via Basic Label Sweden.
Above: A modular studio (for use as a home office, guest room, or play space) made from shou sugi ban siding by Sett Studio of Austin, Texas. In addition to its designs, the company sells charred wood in a range of shades, including pine with a white-washed finish, $12.99 to $14.99 per square foot.
Above: The interior of Sett Studio's modular studio.
Above: Shou sugi ban timber with bright dividers on the exterior of a residence in Amsterdam designed by architect Pieter Weijnen, who studied wood charring techniques in Naoshima, Japan. Photograph via Dwell.