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Douglas Fir Designs: The Latest in Architectural Ingenuity

October 26, 2011 by | Nicole | There have been 0 comments

Wood is wood. Right? Well, we beg to differ. Douglas fir has been made over, though you might not recognize the Old Fir from his usual rosy-hued self as flooring, trim, and paneling. But, today’s architects are using this go-to wood in new ways. These design wizards are concocting remarkable residential dwellings (and art) that are not only aesthetically-appealing, fashionably-fresh, and structurally-sound, but also environmentally-conscious.

We at AltruFir don’t want you to be left out of the loop. We’re excited about how far this tried ‘n’ true timber has come since the days of David Douglas way back in the 1700's. These next five designs bring the best out of Old Fir.

Design 1 – We’re crossing the Atlantic to London, England where Kyson Design worked wonders on Cadagon Corner. Located in the city’s tough east end, the Modern East-Ender hugs the street corner where Victorian terraced homes once stood but were destroyed in WWII. Today, three well-sheltered homes are banded together by a beautiful black palette of Douglas fir. The wire brushed and vacuum stained planks block out car noise and views of the nearby freeway. The horizontal position of the planks draw attention its natural vertical grain as does its juxtaposition to each unit’s oversized two-storied window facing the neighborhood park. Kyson Design tops each new home off with an atrium on the glass-constructed roofs. The London-based design team used sustainable materials when possible and incorporated a specialized air pump to reduce its home’s carbon emissions. Though not quite the Queen’s residence, we’d fancy a look inside the Modern East-Ender.

Design 2 – Next, it’s down to Tours, France. This rustic open cubed home had us ooh là là-ing at every turn. Jean-Charles Liddell, from RVL architects, redesigned the original 1960 house that sits on a charming country orchard. Douglas fir dresses the refurbished home inside and out. Untreated exterior planks “float” above steel mesh sliding shutters that protect from the elements when closed and integrate living-space with the outdoors when open. Naturally finished Doug fir partitions and flooring – leftover from the exterior planks – create fluidity between living quarters. The result is an airy space based on a simple construction. We think Liddell’s lofty home looks like a breath of fresh air. And get this, it was delivered on a semi-trailer and assembled in two days…Gasp!

Design 3 – Let’s bring it on back home to the good ole USA in Kansas City, Kansas. Studio 804 designed the green-building LEED Platinum Prescott Passivhaus. When we took a gander at this contemporary construction we thought it was the Modern East-ender’s twin – the dark Douglas fir clad home is located in an urban area undergoing transition. But, on further inspection, there were some notable differences. Being one of a kind in Kansas, it’s achieved a 90% reduction in the average use of heating and cooling energy, which is well above today’s green-building standards. The single residential home is equipped with multiple slats, super insulation, and high-performing windows. The Prescott Passivhaus is also equipped with thermal mass, which is the home’s ability to absorb heat into its material makeup. The foundation consists of laminated veneer, a key component in Studio 804’s design goal. The Prescott Passivhaus is also teaching the local community a thing or two about sustainable living. We couldn’t ask for a better multi-tasker.

Design 4 – More and more people are living large by living smaller – literally. The design team at Alchemy Architects out of St. Paul, Minnesota has taken big steps in the micro-housing movement. Welcome the weeHouse, an adorable boxy pre-fab home designed with the environment in mind. Recycled paper and resin countertops, dual-flush toilets, and natural energy components like smart roofs and geothermal heat are just a few of the weeHouse’s earth-friendly features. These micro homes come super small as 435sqft. studios or larger in the two-story double-decker design at 1,335sqft. The original weeHouse, built in 2003, features an all-over Douglas fir interior. Pretty darn good-looking if we say so ourselves.

Design 5 – We couldn’t help but mention how B&N Industries, INC. in California is bringing high school back and putting it in your home – though you wouldn’t know it at first glance. They’ve taken those dusty old Doug fir gym bleachers and made them into wall art. The B&N Iconic Panels are made by carving intricate designs into the reclaimed wood which are then covered with a protective laminate. Take your pick from paisley or geometric-inspired designs. The finished panels are easy to install and can also be used for shelving. The Douglas fir ones are beautiful and the patina really packs a punch. Besides being pretty cool, they’re really nice for the environment too.

- Nicole Morales


This post was posted in All Entries, Douglas Fir Flooring, Douglas Fir Trim, History and Interest, Douglas Fir Paneling and was tagged with Douglas fir flooring, douglas fir design, douglas fir cladding

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