Nothing much beats the texture and warmth of natural materials in our homes — think natural fibres, plantlife and exquisite timber.
In Munich, Pool Leber Architekten have really run with this idea, adding a bright and spacious new loft to a 1980s housing block.
The project was more complicated than it looks. The four-storey concrete-framed structure was not previously strong enough to take on the load of an extra floor.
The solution was to remove the old upper floor and replace it with two new storeys made from cross-laminated timber — an engineered wood that offers just as much strength as concrete and steel.
The results are a testament to wood’s uncanny ability to lighten and bring warmth to a home.
"The interior space is designed as a flowing sculpture, binding all functions together in a series of interlocking interior and exterior spaces," explained the firm.
"The apparent dynamic and organic form belies a rational grid laid over the load-bearing walls of the building below.”
Outside, the new timber structure is concealed behind a cladding of steel panels, but inside wood is a prominent feature, covering walls, ceilings and floors.
We look at a few ways the natural material can achieve a similar look to Pool Leber Architekten’s project in Munich.
In the kitchen
The warmth of timber makes it incredibly versatile. You’ll find it can match virtually any colour palette or material to produce some stunning results.
Here, light coloured wood with a strong grain adds a welcoming look to this family-sized kitchen. Together with the white benchtops and cabinetry, it brings a spacious and bright element.
Finding a bold colour or exposing brick to create a feature wall can produce some eye-catching results, but timber can make a space look cosy, inviting, and ultimately calming.
This wonderful example shows just how well this concept can go in a bedroom. It also has so much character and warmth from the use of added natural elements such as wool and jute rugs.
A similar philosophy can also be applied to your bathroom. This example shows a slightly more rustic element being brought to the space but, along with the vanity, a sense of nature is effortlessly brought into the mix.
Exposed timber beams, structural supports and timber-clad ceilings are architectural features that are consistently being added to new builds and renovations alike.
These unique features add interest and character to homes while celebrating the beauty of wood as a structural material.
Features using clear, finished timber joinery also produces gorgeous results.
Here, the large window and sliding doors bring the outdoors in, and the wood helps create an additional luxurious connection with nature.
As we’ve seen, wood is a lovely counterpoint to a predominantly white interior, providing warmth and a sense of calm.