Our Shou Sugi Ban® charred timbers have been specified by architects for many impressive domestic and commercial projects. If you watched Grand Designs, which aired on Wednesday 22 September, you would have seen a stunning example; Sayang House.

Having lived in Malaysia for 17 years, client Gretta wasn’t looking for a traditional style of architecture. Her nephew, a professional architect, Carlos Gris, was up for the challenge of designing his aunt’s new home.

Carlos had to take into account his aunt’s taste and that the property would neighbour his parent’s home in Ely. He was also aware of the fact that his dad, Fernando, would undertaking some of the work, as a very hands-on project manager.

Architectural Design in Steel Glass and Charred Timber

In response to the client brief, Carlos designed a steel-framed, single-storey property. A flat roof was created using SIP panels, which were slotted into the precisely cut steel frame. These were sufficiently strong to enable the creation of an expansive roof terrace.

In Malaysia, generous roof overhangs protect from the intense heat. Although, rarely a concern in the UK, this style of roof, extending beyond the perimeter of the main structure, was part of the design.

The walls of the building were predominately formed from floor to ceiling glazed panels, held within thin frames. This created a strong connection with the surrounding garden and nature. The classic modernist style pavilion also reflects the flat fen landscape.

Grand Designs Features Shou Sugi Ban®

Charred Timber or Render?

The architect specified Shou Sugi Ban® cladding as the finishing touch to the design concept. He was uncompromising in his belief that this would add quality and integrity to the building. As the traditional technique of charring timber originated in Japan, this connected the Asian inspired design and build materials.

The client wasn’t immediately convinced. Traditional charred timber is textured and black; she felt this looked too heavy. Always mindful of her budget, she also questioned the cost implications. A large percentage of the building would be timber clad and she was erring in favour of render.

We were able to supply a selection of Shou Sugi Ban® samples in lighter tones. Knowing that the traditional style of crackled, black wood does not suit all projects, Exterior Solutions Ltd has developed an extensive range of finishes.

We supplied lighter grey and brown samples that might have greater appeal to the client. Fortunately for the architect and us, the client loved our charred wood. They ordered a bespoke solution; a warmer tone version of Shēdo charred douglas fir, desired for its defined grain.

As Kevin McCloud demonstrated on the show, a controlled charring process alters the timber cells. Resin is released and is absorbed through the grain. This creates a highly aesthetic finish with practical benefits. The charred timber cladding becomes more resilient to rot, mould, insects and weathering.

Grand Designs Features Shou Sugi Ban®

Precise Installation of Charred Timber Cladding

The Ely Grand Design showcased the highly skilled work of Phil from Kings Carpentry Ltd. Lockdown meant that the architect was unable to be on-site, so Phil was on hand to receive the consignment of timber. He then worked from highly detailed instructions provided by Carlos to ensure the precision finish that the architect visualised.

“The shou sugi ban cladding looks amazing… glad that I can transform Carlos’s design into reality. The shou sugi ban is a gorgeous product to work with thanks to Exterior Solutions Ltd. I hope to work closely with these again to create some more customers dream homes.” – Phil King

We were very impressed to see the exceptional results achieved by Kings Carpentry Ltd. You showcased Carlos’s vision and our product in the best possible light Phil.

Beautiful Shou Sugi Ban

In the episode, Kevin McCloud’s reacts to seeing the finished home with the word ‘beautiful’. He describes the timber cladding as ‘a skin of burnished bronze in the fenland sun’. He recognised that the charred wood gives a glint that you don’t get with standard timber cladding and, along with the overhanging roof, tie in with the home’s Asian roots.

Client Gretta was also impressed, describing her home as a thing of beauty. She says that the quality of the build was worth the extra spend. Do you agree?

Grand Designs Features Shou Sugi Ban®

Manufacturers of Shou Sugi Ban® Charred Timber

If enhanced grain timber would realise your architectural vision, Exterior Solutions Ltd is happy to provide samples to help entice and sway client opinion. Located in Buckinghamshire, FSC timbers are skillfully hand charred in our on-site workshop.

We invite you to visit our website to discover more about premium quality timber cladding and download our online Shou Sugi Ban® brochure. You can also see other examples of impressive architectural designs featuring our charred timbers.