From the days of rudimentary log houses to today’s modern timber homes, wood has been a favored home building material for centuries. Its earthy appeal, natural look and warm feeling are ideal characteristics to elevate the facade of a minimalist home.
The profile of these modern homes is typically angular and sometimes severe, so cladding them in wood warms up the overall feel and helps them blend with the landscape in a more natural way. There are different ways to incorporate wood, but ultimately, all lead to a home that is attractive and welcoming.
Gabled Roprachtice House
Set amid the Jizera Mountains in the Czech Republic, this home clad in vertical wood planks is ideal for viewing the adjacent meadow and the vista beyond. The lines of the steeply pitched roof follow the contours of the land, which is common among homes in this area. The gabled roof is unified with the rest of the structure thanks to the long planks covering the steep angle. On the second level, a unique dormer window, oversized in every way, makes the mountains beyond a focal point from inside the home. And, on the inside, wood is used to soften the angular spaces with unfinished ceiling beams and rustic furniture.
Czech Home Set on Stone
Built with the same materials used on the traditional cottage in the region, this spare structure is faced in naturally weathered wood. The home, set near Hejnice in the Czech Republic, is unique because it is set atop plinths, cantilevered over the edge as if it was pushed over the edge. The exterior of the home is covered in vertical larch planks, highlighted by modern gray window frames as well as a metal roof. The tall windows running the length of the house afford views of the panoramic valley beyond. Both the wood and the stone help the house blend in because the land is quite rocky. The interior of the home also uses wood generously to add character to the rooms, with polished wood floors, wood trim and natural wood beams on the ceiling.
Sloping Icelandic Cabin
Clad in the same gray tones that often cloud the surrounding landscape, this Icelandic cabin in the north of the country is a three-peaked modern marvel designed by Studio Arkis. Located across the bay from Akureyri, Villa Lola can also be three apartments that all have views across the water. The walls and roof are finished with larch wood that was pre-weathered to its natural gray color. The home sits amid the natural changes in the land, where it is seasonally enhanced by grasses, weeds and woods that have been largely left undisturbed. Built with sustainable materials, the entire structure is constructed from wood, save for one concrete wall that gives added stability to the home. Inside, the blond wood floor keeps the interior bright and adds warmth to the modern spaces.
Compact Modern Mountain Getaway
With a touch of Scandinavian inspiration, the Villa Boréale is a minimalist cabin in Charlevoix in Quebec, Canada. Known for its views, forests and skiing, the area is an ideal spot for a wood vacation home. With the clean silhouette of a modern barn structure, the home, designed by Cargo Architecture, features pale, natural wood applied vertically. Dramatic contrasts are provided by the black metal cladding that is made of steel with a matte finish. The windows are strategically located to take maximum advantage of the views and natural light. Inside, the home maintains the minimalist feeling in the living spaces with pared-down furnishings and sleek kitchen design. The wooden home blends seamlessly with the wooded surroundings and offers everything a family would need during a mountain getaway.
Hilltop Ocean View
Perched on a hilltop overlooking the ocean in Hvaler, Norway, this triangular home sits on an unadorned plot, emphasizing its jutting nature. Finished in natural wood that will weather to a natural gray patina, the colors are reminiscent of the sea and sky in the area. The unusual silhouette, designed by Reiulf Ramstad Architects, includes windows only in the very center, surrounding an outdoor courtyard that is precisely in the middle of the house. The severe, geometric look is softened by the wood exterior. Inside, the space is done in floor-to-ceiling wood, surrounding the residents with warmth and nature throughout all the angular rooms in the home.
Retreat at the End of the World
The southernmost tip of Scotland’s Isle of Skye feels a bit like the end of the world, which happily suits the homeowners. They worked with Dualchas Architects to create this single-story, horizontally oriented structure. The home has shore access and extraordinary views back to Knoydart, Morar, Ardnamurchan and down the coast to the island of Eigg. Despite the fact that most local buildings are gabled, this minimalist design features a rectangular profile of multiple linked buildings that are clad in horizontally oriented larch wood panels. The overall design fits into the landscape and includes a living room that is lower than the rest of the house, following the natural contour of the grade. Large windows and deep alcoves allow for plenty of views and protected areas for sitting outside in all kinds of weather. The inside is decidedly minimalist, focusing all attention on the views outside the windows.
Year-round Mountain Cabin
Not only is this Norwegian cabin set in the woods, but it is also completely focused on wood as a material both inside and out. Situated in the mountains above the village Ål, the simply shaped home designed by Reiulf Ramstad Architects features two separate buildings, one with all the communal living spaces and second dedicated to the sleeping spaces. Each building is set on a different grade, following the topography of the land. The simple interior is done in unfinished plywood while the other major elements — the fireplace and kitchen island — are made from concrete that was poured on site. Large windows punctuate the sides and the main building is capped at each end with an entire wall of uninterrupted glass, making it seem as if the interior is part of the outdoors. The raw nature of all the wood used echoes the natural surroundings of the forest.
Austrian Summer House
A sharply peaked cube set in southern Austria serves as a minimalist retreat, sitting unobtrusively on the landscape. The exterior of the home is mainly crafted from wood and was designed by Judith Benzer Architektur, inspired by the region’s wine houses. The horizontal larch planks are complementary to the landscape, especially in the cold winter when the home is not used and the exterior was designed to shut off the windows entirely with the fold and flap shutters that lie flush when closed. They can also be used in the summer to keep out light and heat. The unique wooden patio, shaped like a shadow of the building, adds a wooden element to the outdoor space. Inside, plenty of exposed concrete and steel are used in their raw and unadorned state, maintaining the minimalist aesthetic.
Rustic Prefabricated Polar Cabin
Looking a little like a creature with a faceted shell, this wood cabin, called Varden, sports a prefabricated structure. Sitting on Storfjellet mountain in Norway, the cabin was designed to echo the harsh and rugged setting and at the same time be able to withstand the arctic winter. Designed by Spinn Arkitekter, the structure has a minimal impact on the environment and is built with sustainable materials. The cabin, which is 15 square meters in size, is built from 77 timber panels that fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. A thick concrete slab serves as a stable base and a small ramp leads to the decking in front of the house. Inside, the timber shell and wood furnishings make for “a warm and inviting atmosphere” heated and lighted only by a small woodburning stove and candles.
An Imposing Family Home
The dark wooden, exterior of this home is imposing and belies what is inside: a bright interior that is full of natural wood. The outside of this tall, vertically planked home is clad in red cedar that has been painted. Designed by architect Katsutoshi Sasaki for his own family, the home in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, Japan is called T Noie for its T shape. The tall, narrow home looks mostly like an uninterrupted expanse of wood planks because all the windows are at the top of the walls except from the sliding glass door on one side. The bright, open-plan interior is lined with natural Falcata plywood and has a towering eight-meter-high ceiling. A spiral staircase winds up from floor to ceiling with rooms arranged on platforms at various height, with the main living areas on the ground floor.
Tall, Dark Dutch Masterpiece
Steeply pitched and clad in blackened timber, this Amsterdam home has an unexpected roofline and plentiful windows. Set in a former industrial area, the house, created by Dutch architect Chris Collaris, occupies a footprint of a mere 60 square meters. The home is actually three stories on the inside thanks to a small studio under the peaked roof, which is clad in the same waxed black pinewood. By exaggerating the roof overhang on one side, it builds volume and adds height and space to the house. Minimalist black window frames and small gutters that are incorporated in the edges of the roof keep the look clean and smart. Inside, the aesthetic has a more reclaimed focus, with concrete flooring and plenty of furnishings created with upcycled materials.