This 1970s barn has been made warm and serviceable with our prefinished plywood interior lining.
This 1970s barn has been made warm and serviceable with our prefinished plywood interior lining.
For Connoisseur Kitchens’ Mark Geurts, working with PlyPlay is a pleasure from start to finish.
While one may be quick to label it a ‘man cave’, the level of finish on the interior of this shed is anything but cave-like.
Turning a former mechanic’s workshop into a high-end office space was quick and easy using PlyPlay.
After the Kaikōura earthquake in November 2016 rendered his living room uninhabitable, David Turner faced a lengthy rebuild; but a dramatic new look more than made up for it.
A cabinetmaker by trade, Phil Hayes decided that his next project at home would involve making birch plywood drawer units.
When Phil began his apprenticeship, he worked mainly with solid native timbers – rimu and kauri – and plywood only made an appearance behind the scenes to join furniture together.
‘But then I saw how nice a finish you could get with ply, and it inspired me to make some drawers with it. I like it because it is stable and natural (not a veneer), as well as hard-wearing and scratch resistant, which makes it perfect for furniture.’
Cutting the panels for the units involved using a dimension tool that can break sheet sizes down quickly, easily and accurately. It could also do all of the mitres and angles required, and in general Phil found the ply very easy on his tools in terms of wear-and-tear – a marked departure from solid timber.
When it came to building the drawers, Phil used concealed fixing, to hide all the joints behind the front face of the ply. This involved biscuit-jointing – grooving two edges to accept a wood ‘biscuit’, then gluing the parts together and clamping them overnight – resulting in what he found to be a very solid finish.
Sealing cut edges involved going over them with a fine sander to remove the saw blade marks, and then simply adding a coat or two of a water-based Cabot’s stain. Phil also notes that using a pre-finished product is much more efficient than what he had encountered during his days as a professional furniture-maker.
‘When we made cabinets with solid wood, you then had to hand them over to who we called the “French polishers”, who would go over it, and if they weren’t happy, it came back to you again for more work. With PlyPlay, I could cut and assemble it and it was ready for use practically straight away.’
Having achieved what he set out to do – and then some – Phil is rapt with the end result.
‘My first thought when I finished the cabinets was, “Wow, people would probably really like to have these in their home,” which was a nice feeling.
‘I love working with natural timbers, and think that plywood should be brought to the front a lot more in interior and house designs.’
A PlyPlay feature wall adds character and robust surfaces for everyday family use.
This compact, cedar-clad house is located on a steep site in Arrowtown with spectacular views of The Remarkables and The Hills Golf Course. Designed by Hofmans Architects, the classic modernist box has a trapezoidal roof and walls, creating beautiful folds in the elevation and roof plane. A warm walnut stain to the cedar harmonises with a rusty red corten steel-clad basement; the lightweight timber offset by the weight and mass of the steel base.
Contrasting with the warm and earthy exterior, the soft grey walls and floors of the interior are set off by a large, black PlyPlay feature wall. Wrapping the kitchen, laundry and kids’ bedrooms, it creates a striking feature through the living room, entrance and TV room. This design detail emphasises the space planning and provides a robust wall and door surface which kids constantly scuff past.
Interior designer Stuart Bateman specified PlyPlay Double Trouble – a prefinished 12mm class I (BD) pine plywood with a satin, black stain finish. The design brief was for neutral and natural tones, but with some fun and quirky elements. Bateman has contrasted the black plywood wall with a Melamine kitchen in three different tones. This visually breaks the joinery into smaller elements, as well as reducing the scale of the kitchen overall.
Builder Myles Herschell of MWH Construction said PlyPlay was easy to work with on the project and very stable during the storage time on-site. ‘For the corner finishing, we cut a 45-degree bevel on a slide saw to get mitred edges,’ says Herschell, ‘then we sanded and stained the edges. We glued and clamped the corners, applying expanding Gorilla Glue so we could knock off any excess glue after it set to get a neat, clean line.’
In addition to wall lining, PlyPlay was used to build a TV cabinet and built-in seat (doubling as storage) in an alcove near the front door.
Auckland designer Angus Muir has designed and built a new information centre for city-centre residents and visitors. Amidst all the disruption from large transport and high-rise projects, the city needed a physical information centre to communicate the changes with residents and visitors.
Angus has transformed two shipping containers internally and externally to create an information centre for categories such as arts and culture, cycleways, walking routes, heritage spaces, urban forests and Māori sites of significance. A joint project between Auckland Council and Auckland Transport, Pā Rongorongo contains up-to-date information on all the construction work downtown and allows people to customise their own walking tours of the area.
Doubling as an art installation, at night, the exterior glows in different colours, while inside, a warm plywood interior acts as a display and learning space. Angus has used prefinished PlyPlay Naturally Naked and designed a series of slots in the board to accommodate a custom click system. This allows shelves, signage, story panels, and 3D cityscape models to be clipped onto the wall for display.
‘PlyPlay gave us a hard-wearing, beautiful clear finish,’ says Angus. ‘Being precoated, it made the whole process more streamlined, which was ideal for creating a temporary space.’
A conventional office unit has been transformed into a double-height architectural space for a new private gym. Situated in Freemans Bay, Auckland, WILLPOWER by Will Garrick is kitted out with state-of-the-art training gear, a physio studio and a nutrition clinic. It's an integrated fitness environment that needed to feel inspiring and fun to train in.
'People are really surprised by the expansion in height when they walk in,' says Garrick. 'By cutting back the second floor, we gained all this height and space, which is exactly what you need for a gym environment.'
By removing over half of the original mezzanine, architect Julian Guthrie has flooded the long, narrow footprint with natural light and provided a generous volume for the training area. The existing staircase is linked to the (now) much smaller mezzanine by a timber and steel bridge, creating an exciting design feature out of a planning predicament.
'I have worked with a mix of neutrally toned materials to create an industrial feel but still with a sense of quality and warmth,' explains Guthrie. 'Black rubber flooring grounds the space, creating a comfortable and durable training surface. This is offset with white-painted concrete side walls, accented by feature walls of textured zinc-grey fibre cement, and exposed structural pine flooring and plywood.'
The boutique training studio has a contemporary, high-quality feel to accentuate the high-tech equipment it contains. Finishes had to be robust, as appropriate for a gym, but still add to the design aesthetic and meet the budget. The grey, coated fibre cement feature walls are contrasted with clear-finished ply, adding contrast and variety.
'We were looking for cost-effective wall finishes that had texture and visual interest to offset the simplicity of the other base materials,' says Guthrie. 'The design demonstrates how quality custom interior architecture can be created within a prosaic space, and how 'off the shelf' utilitarian products and finishes can combine to great architectural effect.'
With Auckland City's focus on, and investment in, active transport - more cycle lanes and safer pedestrian crossings - building owners are supporting this behavioural shift by providing better end-of-trip facilities. The recent refurbishment of 82 Wyndham Street is an exemplar of secure bike storage and high-quality bathroom facilities for cyclists and walkers, encouraging more people to use these modes of transport.
Designed by Ignite for Argosy Property Limited, the 1998 interior has been transformed into energy-efficient office space with a 5 Green Star rating. The upgrade includes replacing HVAC, lighting, surface finishes, and creating new, high-end public lobbies and communal spaces. The end-of-trip (EOT) facility is a very desirable feature for CBD buildings, and it supports the building's green credentials.
Ignite has transformed an underutilised basement storage space to create the new bike store, locker bay, and bathrooms, with a dedicated entrance off Wyndham Street for easy access. The design team researched international examples - particularly in Australia - and saw a trend for amenities similar to a private gym. Generous shower rooms for private dressing, along with multiple hand basins and mirrors, make getting ready for work more enjoyable and convenient. Bathrooms are luxurious in their design, generous in size, and tiled throughout.
The bike store is secured by a full-height chain-link wall with good visibility from the locker area. There is a total of 40 wall-hung bike parks, and space for four electric bikes with power charges. Black-stained PlyPlay plywood lines the walls to provide a robust surface finish and to add to the considered design detail. PlyPlay is a low-formaldehyde plywood, manufactured from sustainably grown FSC® Chain of Custody certified Russian birch and, like material selections throughout the interior, had to meet product sustainability profiles in order for the building to achieve a 5 Green Star rating.
You can purchase PlyPlay™ from CARTERS.
With champagne tastes but only a $10k budget, this couple selected a luscious black plywood for their new kitchen. Prefinished in a satin UV-cured poly, PlyPlay creates a robust and beautiful surface.
When planning their new family home in Mt Maunganui, Courtney Jones saved a Pinterest board of slick black kitchen photos. ‘When I looked closely at the images, I realised several had a timber finish,’ she says. ‘Having renovated before, I knew I could create the same look with plywood, but black plywood was hard to source until I found PlyPlay.’
Courtney chose a prefinished 19mm PlyPlay plywood for thick, stable doors and drawer fronts. The board was UV-coated in PlyPlay’s Penrose factory, and then sent to the Cutshop® Waikato in Hamilton to get it digitally cut for the exact drawer and cupboard sizes. Courtney and her husband Todd sanded and sealed the edges on site, built the units in the garage and installed them in one weekend.
The couple had used plywood in their previous kitchen, where they had a long back bench for all the utilities – the sink, dishwasher and oven – giving them a clean island bench for serving. They enjoyed this layout, so replicated it in the new kitchen. At the last minute, they also decided to line the stair wall in black ply and use the space underneath for the pantry and fridge. The black PlyPlay has added a strong feature to the white living space, and it connects visually with the black-clad house exterior.
‘The most successful part of the kitchen is the ply,‘ says Courtney. ‘Despite being black, it has real character and depth. It’s not shiny or matt, making it great for sticky little fingers. I love it when the sun streams in and highlights the grain of the wood.’
Creating characterful spaces that would handle the knocks was a priority for Auckland designer Richard Furze when designing his new loft. But so was time and cost savings. PlyPlay provided a solution that would shave weeks off the timeframe and result in a beautiful, pre-finished plywood surface.
The loft is designed for flexible guest accommodation and as extra play space for the kids. Neatly located above his double garage and below height-to-boundary daylight lines, the 48-square-metre space provides a lounge, double bedroom, bathroom and kid's cubby-come-storage space in the apex.
Furze chose blonded PlyPlay wall and ceiling linings for their character and speed of installation. The pre-finished product provides time and cost benefits because it avoids the need for plastering and painting trades, and the robust surface means far less wear-and-tear over time when compared with painted plasterboard.
"I wanted ply for its warmth and texture, but also for practical reasons," explains Furze. "The low sloping ceilings will undoubtedly get knocked, and plywood stands up to this better than other options, meaning less maintenance. We had time and cost constraints too, and wanted all the linings to come pre-finished so we could move in early."
The plywood provides a modern, soft industrial feeling to the space. Well-placed skylights and a blonded finish reflect the light around. Rooms feel larger and more spacious. Furze has contrasted the plywood with black doors, black lights and dark tiles in the bathroom for a clean, contemporary look.
PlyPlay™ has a tough and environmentally friendly factory-applied UV paint finish, and is glued and panel-pinned to the framing on site. "The ply arrived on site with its protective film, and the builders definitely treated it with more respect because of this cover," says Furze. With coatings applied in a controlled factory environment, all panels arrive ready to install, making for a consistent interior finish.
This classic Coromandel bach has slowly evolved its own wonderfully eclectic style. PlyPlay features in its latest transformation, helping to maintain the old bach character while adding a durable and modern finish.
The fourth generation of the Heaney family is now enjoying holidays at the bach, a structure that has grown over time as the family has grown. With more beds and privacy needed, the latest renovation transforms a sleeping mezzanine into two self-contained bedroom suites, and a concrete block games room into a cosy lounge retreat.
‘This bach has evolved as many New Zealand baches have done in the past,’ says interior designer Sonya Cotter. ‘Lean-to is built on lean-to, the roofs have been popped up, and furniture is brought down from the city as the house extends. It tells the story of the generations, and it was important that this latest alteration celebrated those layers, not try to conceal them.’
The new palette of materials includes prefinished PlyPlay plywood linings, bold geometric fabric prints, textured sisal flooring, and 1950s paint colours for the existing furniture and doors. By embracing the diversity of the existing house, the new elements inject fun and colour.
The concrete block games room is now a comfortable winter den with a new fireplace, blonded plywood wall linings, built-in furniture, and beautiful textiles. Sonya has detailed a long, built-in divan with proper bed mattresses and drawers below, so guests can store their gear during the day and have a comfortable bed at night.
To create a seamless finish, the divan bases and wall linings are in the same blonded PlyPlay – a Carter Holt Harvey Radiata Ecoply prefinished with a factory-applied UV paint finish. As well as hosting big family groups, the bach is also regularly rented out, and so it was important to have a hard-wearing, scratch-resistant finish.
The plywood continues upstairs to transform the mezzanine into two separate bedroom suites and a small study integrated into the landing. The single material makes the area feel more spacious, with the lively colours and textiles adding accents to the warm timber
‘It was about creating cosy, charming rooms that fit the vernacular of the bach,’ notes Sonya. ‘We broke up the scale of the ply sheet with battens and had lots of fun with IKEA fabrics and the bright, bold paint colours.‘
Set in a characterful mixed-use neighbourhood in Auckland’s Ponsonby is 43 Brown Street, a boutique apartment development by Legacy Property.
Clad in brick, with exposed concrete and steel interiors, the building references the heritage warehouses of the area. The design, by architect Conway Brooks, shows honesty and authenticity in its materials and scale, and in a style that nestles in beautifully with the area’s eclectic built environment.
Exposed masonry and concrete construction provide a far higher sustainability rating than timber framing, thanks to the high thermal mass floors and walls. Not only functioning as excellent heat sinks, these materials also mean fewer trades on site, as the construction finish becomes the final finish after being polished and/or painted.
Apartment living spaces feature high studs, exposed steel beams, timber shuttering and services painted out in white for simple, light-filled interiors. Interior designer Sonya Cotter detailed all the built-in cabinetry and finishes in the bathrooms, kitchens and living areas. She chose PlyPlay to line living-room and bedroom walls in keeping with the architect’s design concept. The pre-finished pine plywood allowed for a faster install time with fewer trades on site. Its blonded factory finish complements and softens the white walls with the warmth of timber.
‘The great thing about plywood as a wall lining compared with a veneer is the timber pattern comes in a large format,’ says Cotter. ‘You don’t have the stripes of a veneer. Instead, the ply has this big show of grain displayed right across the room to create a lot of movement and interest. Every sheet is different and it shows a lot of character and warmth.’
The versatile PlyPlay™ softens the concrete in the space while still complementing its soft-industrial aesthetic. The neutral background allows each resident to style their interior according to their taste in furnishings and fabrics. Darker furniture and fittings provide a more sophisticated, city character, while introducing bright colours gives an interior a younger and livelier touch.
With the trend toward smaller lot and house sizes, it’s time to revisit the humble garage. Its potential as a multifunctional space is largely untapped, but with the right materials, fittings and design it can be transformed into an attractive and versatile room. In addition to storing cars, it can also serve as a family breakout space, workshop or project space. It can even change use according to the season. Whether you have tots or teens, or an empty nest, the garage is ready to be viewed as a space that can be used for more.
Interior designer Sonya Cotter has styled this Auckland garage three ways: as a secondary living room, as a games room and for a practical yet comfortable gardening workspace. To the existing dark blue polypropylene carpet, she has selected pre-finished PlyPlay™. “The plywood immediately transforms the room with the warmth of timber,” she says. “It feels more welcoming, which is important for a family space, but also because garages are inadvertently used as another entry into the home.”
PlyPlay™ provides equal measures of style and practicality making the space as desirable as it is functional. Glued and panel pinned to the existing plasterboard lining, the plywood offers a strong surface for hooks and fittings. Whether storing bicycles from the ceiling, hanging gardening tools or a bean bag, hooks and brackets won’t rip out like they can from plasterboard. And if a hook is removed, the hole hardly shows due to the texture of the wood.
Being prefinished also means the construction time is quick and relatively mess-free. Builder Phil Hays lined this garage in under two days. “It took me about half an hour per sheet to install,” he explains, “and because they are pre-finished, I was the only contractor required. No need for plastering or painting trades. The protective plastic on the PlyPlay surface allowed me to easily mark my cut lines, which sped up the installation.”
Maintenance is also an important consideration for garages, as anyone storing sports or gardening gear can attest to. Bumped and marked plasterboard is not attractive and takes a lot of work to keep clean. PlyPlay™ by contrast, has a strong Ecoply substrate and durable UV-cured polyurethane finish. It handles more knocks, wear and tear and is easy to clean with a soft wet sponge.
Creating an enviroment for trend spotters to feel at home in was the task asigned to Angus Muir Design who specialises in creative solutions and treatments of space through design and installation.
PlyPlay was the perfect partner for the Left Field Lounge bar during NZ Fashion Week where the team's concept was "a very simple aesthetic this year, a nice mix of rustic, simple colours and lush greenery".
It is expected that 30,000+ guests will stop and enjoy the space throughout NZFW.
There is no question that fashion and design go hand in hand.