The Secrets of Snickarglädje
Scandinavian homes have been made of wood for thousands of years, from rough log homes when the land was first settled to the pre-fabricated wooden homes you can order from a catalog today.
But a wooden home is not complete without some manner of decoration to show a degree of individuality. Each home has to be quick to find and recognize over some distance, and in a country that features many red wooden houses with white trim, that can be difficult.
Carpenter's delight is the sort of winter-time DIY you can do to add a lot of character to your home, and make it look like it comes straight out of a fairy tale. Your house does not have to be made of wood to incorporate these classic elements, they will fit any house and make it look more rural and traditional.
Decorating Your Roof Line
The first place where you can apply these decorations is at the roof line. If your roof has a slant, the place where the two sides meet forms a perfect angle to place decorations in.
There are four major shapes for the decorative piece itself. One option is to create a solid triangular block, the angles shaped to align with the roof angle. You then have a solid canvas from which you can remove wood to form the decorations.
The second form involves creating two "split" forms, each a triangle conforming to one angle of the roof, whose decorations mirror each other. When you place them inside the roof hip, it will leave a gap between them. This is a great form to choose if the two shapes are complementary, but not identical. For example, two different animal shapes facing each other, or two initials of its inhabitants.
The third form is a basic, solid form like the first, except it also features a "tip" that points down from it. A shape like this compliments well with a single window that features an upwards point, or it can be used to give a bit of an edge to a house that otherwise would have many "softer" design elements and curls.
Finally, there is the "void" form, where the solid form has had a portion of its mass removed. This makes for a lighter, more dramatic shape revealing more of the house's basic form. It is also much easier to place, as you have more room in the shape to affix it with screws.
Below is an image showing these four shapes next to another. The image above features a combination of the "void" and "tip" shapes, each complementing the other to form an exciting, dramatic form.
Decorations at the hip of the roof connect and solidify the angles, making the roof look heavier. This works well if the roof is plain in shape, or if it has a similar color to the house.
Below the roofline there are two opportunities for adding supports: connecting the roof to the house, and supporting the roof of a porch or veranda. There is usually a lot of space there that does not bother a person walking or working underneath it, and this is a thankful location for adding additional decorative elements.
These supports are basically upside down "L" shapes affixed with the curls and decorations of your choice. It is important to note, as shown in the image below, that the decorations themselves are mirrored between the two halves of the L. So the left and right sides of it are symmetrical.
The L-shape itself supporting the decorations looks best when the leg that is attached to the building (the "solid" line) is a little longer than the one attached to the roof (the "support" line). This gives the illusion of the building holding up the roof, and also draws the eye naturally from the roof towards the wall.
Wall supports ground the roof in the building, and are great to use if the building itself looks lighter or weaker than the roof. These supports will give a bit more visual dominance to the building itself, balancing out a dark or heavy roof type.
Decorating Beams and Corners
Support beams lend strength to a house, and they also look strong if they are added as decorative elements. But even in a number they sometimes look detached or separate from the building and this might make it look like they are "floating". This makes the house look less solid.
By adding decorative woodwork between the beams, they are connected to each other and, by extension, to the home's profile as a whole.
Another option is to add decorative corners to the outside of the house if it is a single, solid color and in need of some definition. You can also use corner work to bring definition to heavy beams that dominate the view.
Decorative work on beams and corners help to emphasize the unity of the various design elements in a home. When doing this, the style of decoration between beams, roof line and hip must remain consequent.
Skirting And Lattice
When you build a porch or veranda, supported by beams, the space in between requires filling in to create a semi-private space. To do this you could use a skirting of decorated wooden planks, or solid boards with decorative cutouts.
If you want to lighten up the weight of the decorations, you could also opt for a lighter latticework. A simple weaving of decorative wood should suffice for this, or you could create bigger cutouts and leave less wood, so that the material seems lighter and allows a clearer view.
Note that on a porch or veranda, these decorations serve to create separation and the illusion of privacy. It's not intended to physically shutter off these areas. Doing so would diminish the view, but runs the risk of making the home as a whole look squat and heavy. Lighter design elements are always more desirable where possible.
Lattice and Skirting provide separation and the illusion of privacy to spaces transitioning between inside and out, such as porches and verandas.
Can I make these myself?
Yes you can! All of these elements are made of simple wood, and none of them are structural in nature. You can add them as decoration to your home, and remove or replace them as needed without any issues.
These decorations are a great hobby to take up in winter time, when days darken early and you need something to pass the time.
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