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10 Favorites: The Unexpected Appeal of Plywood

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10 Favorites: The Unexpected Appeal of Plywood

September 1, 2017

Does the versatility of plywood have no limit?

From boats to furniture; plywood is flexible, inexpensive, easy to use, and reusable. Made from refashioned pieces of wood that have been bound together, forming a building material that is stronger and stiffer than the sum of its parts; plywood came into its own in the 20th century, and its popularity grows today. Here are our recent favorite sightings and uses.

1. Interior Walls

A shuttering plywood-lined interior (grain and knots included) in a tiny beach house in Seasalter, England. See Two London Creatives Shore Up a Tiny Beach House, Ikea Hack Kitchen Included. Photograph courtesy of the Modern House.
Above: A shuttering plywood-lined interior (grain and knots included) in a tiny beach house in Seasalter, England. See Two London Creatives Shore Up a Tiny Beach House, Ikea Hack Kitchen Included. Photograph courtesy of the Modern House.
In The Architect Is In: A Modern Cabin; Natural Light and Plywood Included, Bay Area architect Nick Noyes discussed a project in Healdsburg, California, featuring a plywood-lined interior. Photograph by Cesar Rubio.
Above: In The Architect Is In: A Modern Cabin; Natural Light and Plywood Included, Bay Area architect Nick Noyes discussed a project in Healdsburg, California, featuring a plywood-lined interior. Photograph by Cesar Rubio.

2. Kitchen Backsplash

Toronto-based interiors stylist Jennifer Hannotte created a Scandinavian cottage-style kitchen on a limited budget using plywood. See Steal This Look: Toronto Kitchen for tips on how to re-create the look. Photograph by Angus Fergusson.
Above: Toronto-based interiors stylist Jennifer Hannotte created a Scandinavian cottage-style kitchen on a limited budget using plywood. See Steal This Look: Toronto Kitchen for tips on how to re-create the look. Photograph by Angus Fergusson.

3. Furniture

In Setagaya Apartment in Tokyo by Naruse Inokuma Architects, a highly figured plywood panel has been used for a dining room table. Photograph by Masano Nishikawa.
Above: In Setagaya Apartment in Tokyo by Naruse Inokuma Architects, a highly figured plywood panel has been used for a dining room table. Photograph by Masano Nishikawa.
No-frills plywood tables (and shelving) in Melbourne. See Jury: A Cafe in a Converted Prison.
Above: No-frills plywood tables (and shelving) in Melbourne. See Jury: A Cafe in a Converted Prison.

4. Headboards

At Hotel Henriette in Paris, headboards are made of plywood, some of which are fancifully-painted. See The Très DIY Hotel Henriette in Paris (Starting at $97 a Night).
Above: At Hotel Henriette in Paris, headboards are made of plywood, some of which are fancifully-painted. See The Très DIY Hotel Henriette in Paris (Starting at $97 a Night).

5. Staircases

A concealed plywood staircase leads to a loft in The Brick Barn: A Modern English Farmhouse in Norfolk.
Above: A concealed plywood staircase leads to a loft in The Brick Barn: A Modern English Farmhouse in Norfolk.
In Simon Astridge’s Plywood House: Raw Materials in a Victorian Remodel, the staircase is made of pale birch plywood.
Above: In Simon Astridge’s Plywood House: Raw Materials in a Victorian Remodel, the staircase is made of pale birch plywood.
Plywood stairs (and built-in shelving) in A London Townhouse Designed to Catch the Light. Photograph by Rory Gardiner.
Above: Plywood stairs (and built-in shelving) in A London Townhouse Designed to Catch the Light. Photograph by Rory Gardiner.

6. Sliding Shutters and Doors

A sliding barn door made from oak floor boards becomes a feature in a bedroom clad in plywood, by architect Davor Popadich on Auckland&#8
Above: A sliding barn door made from oak floor boards becomes a feature in a bedroom clad in plywood, by architect Davor Popadich on Auckland’s North Shore. Photograph by Simon Devitt.
Plywood sheets line the entire interior of architect Davor Popadich&#8
Above: Plywood sheets line the entire interior of architect Davor Popadich‘s Auckland home, including an ingenious accordion door. Photograph by Simon Devitt.
A plywood door conceals a small room with shelves and a WC in The Perfect Studio Apartment, Budget Edition.
Above: A plywood door conceals a small room with shelves and a WC in The Perfect Studio Apartment, Budget Edition.

7. Ceilings

In A Cost-Conscious House in Sweden That’s a Pinterest Sensation, nearly everything—including the interior walls, ceilings, and bathroom vanity—is constructed from plywood.
Above: In A Cost-Conscious House in Sweden That’s a Pinterest Sensation, nearly everything—including the interior walls, ceilings, and bathroom vanity—is constructed from plywood.
In A Light-Filled Chalet in the Italian Alps, Updated for a Young Skier, plywood adds detail to the steeply pitched ceiling.
Above: In A Light-Filled Chalet in the Italian Alps, Updated for a Young Skier, plywood adds detail to the steeply pitched ceiling.
Plywood is used for the ceilings in a modern kitchen in Massachusetts by Burr & McCallum Architects, members of the Remodelista Architect and Designer Directory. See A Civilized Factory by Burr & McCallum Architects. Photograph by Peter Vanderwarker.
Above: Plywood is used for the ceilings in a modern kitchen in Massachusetts by Burr & McCallum Architects, members of the Remodelista Architect and Designer Directory. See A Civilized Factory by Burr & McCallum Architects. Photograph by Peter Vanderwarker.

8. Architectural Details and Trim

Plywood frames a window in a bare-bones summerhouse. See Scandinavian Simplicity: A Reimagined Swedish Summerhouse.
Above: Plywood frames a window in a bare-bones summerhouse. See Scandinavian Simplicity: A Reimagined Swedish Summerhouse.
A plywood chair rail wraps around the kitchen and dining rooms in A Compact Apartment in London by a Craft-Oriented Architect.
Above: A plywood chair rail wraps around the kitchen and dining rooms in A Compact Apartment in London by a Craft-Oriented Architect.

9. Kitchen Cabinets

A kitchen clad entirely in plywood by Johannes Norlander Arkitektur. For more of the all-plywood interior, see Architect Visit: Johannes Norlander in Sweden.
Above: A kitchen clad entirely in plywood by Johannes Norlander Arkitektur. For more of the all-plywood interior, see Architect Visit: Johannes Norlander in Sweden.
An inset plywood backsplash, shelves, and cabinetry in A Cost-Conscious House in Sweden That’s a Pinterest Sensation.
Above: An inset plywood backsplash, shelves, and cabinetry in A Cost-Conscious House in Sweden That’s a Pinterest Sensation.
Plywood cabinets provide a neutral backdrop for a bright fridge in Kitchen of the Week: Eclectic English Kitchen, Color Included.
Above: Plywood cabinets provide a neutral backdrop for a bright fridge in Kitchen of the Week: Eclectic English Kitchen, Color Included.
Plywood cabinets with cutout cabinet pulls in a bright German kitchen. (Note also the built-in plywood bench in the small breakfast area.) See Happiness at Home with a German Design Duo.
Above: Plywood cabinets with cutout cabinet pulls in a bright German kitchen. (Note also the built-in plywood bench in the small breakfast area.) See Happiness at Home with a German Design Duo.
Plywood cabinetry in Serena Mitnik Miller&#8
Above: Plywood cabinetry in Serena Mitnik Miller’s kitchen. See Kitchen of the Week: A Hip, Low-Key Kitchen in Topanga Canyon, Hidden Fridge Included. Photograph by Nicki Sebastian, courtesy of Rip & Tan.
A tiny kitchen built almost entirely of plywood in Kitchen of the Week: A Compact Family Kitchen in Paris.
Above: A tiny kitchen built almost entirely of plywood in Kitchen of the Week: A Compact Family Kitchen in Paris.

10. Bathroom Storage

Plywood creates smart storage opportunities in a small hotel bathroom/closet. For more, see Bathroom of the Week: An Economical Plywood Bath in Tahoe.
Above: Plywood creates smart storage opportunities in a small hotel bathroom/closet. For more, see Bathroom of the Week: An Economical Plywood Bath in Tahoe.
A simple plywood vanity (plus shelves and door) in A Cost-Conscious House in Sweden.
Above: A simple plywood vanity (plus shelves and door) in A Cost-Conscious House in Sweden.

More ingenious uses for plywood:

N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on November 19, 2012.

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