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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’s North Shore. Photograph by Simon Devitt.
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‘s Auckland home, including an ingenious accordion door. Photograph by Simon Devitt.
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’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.
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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