I've been thinking of creative ways to cut costs in my small house designs. At home depot I saw a lot of backyard sheds made out of plywood and I have liked the look in the past. I'm thinking Zumthor's tarred plywood sheets in his Serpentine Gallery Pavilion. Here are a few projects that I've been looking at that seem to capture the look, and I'm hoping, the cost of my small house design.
Starting at the top: This Washington cabin uses fir plywood sheets both inside and out to maximize material efficiency. (I would love this stained black!)
This exterior looks like traditional 2 by 4's but is inventive in its positioning and connection to the substrate — countersunk screws. Also note the care in angling the top of the projecting pieces, to allow for water to shed off of the siding.
I'm loving this cottage in Sweden! The exteriors has a twist as the siding boards are installed on edge over black roofing felt. It creates a different effect depending on where you stand and also seems to save a lot on materials since you can eliminate a lot of the boards.
And here is Zumthor's tarred plywood garden oasis.