Our tiny house has felt more and more like a home these past few weeks, as we have moved more and more of our activity indoors with the colder weather. More importantly, we have hosted potluck dinners and even overnight guests within its walls.
As the calendar turned to November, the ease with which we’ve been spending our days and nights completely outdoors has vanished, and more often than not, we truly need a warm, dry place to hang out. In the morning, after sleeping in the tent, we eagerly walk up the hill to the house and warm ourselves next to a fire in the wood stove. We have even spent a few nights sleeping inside the unfinished house, cozily falling asleep to the flicker of the wood stove flames, or to the pitter-patter of rain on the metal roof.
Finishing the bedroom nook has been a high priority, and a good example of how we are constantly having to make complex decisions about materials in the interest of time and money. We are excited to use earthen plasters on much of our living room, and reclaimed barn wood as wainscoting and in the mudroom. But to finish the bedroom quickly and easily, it made more sense to go with drywall.
Brian has always disliked the process of taping, mudding, and sanding drywall seams. We brainstormed ways we could get around the dust and mess of the sanding process, but still work quickly. The solution we came up with, after brainstorming with friends and neighbors, was to try a gypsum plaster over the entire wall, and tint it with iron oxide pigments. This way we avoid the entire sanding process, and would not have to finish with a latex paint, as the color would be imbedded in the plaster.
Getting just the right color was tricky, as we wanted something that was not exactly the same color value as the car siding we used for the ceiling. I was hoping for something in the terra cotta to salmon range. Beth, Brian, and our good friend Alexis, who is also a skilled plasterer and American Clay specialist, mixed and tested, mixed and tested until we found something we really liked.
Alexis applies the plaster.
Beth finishes an exposed edge with a fancy Japanese tool.
In some ways this was a bit of trial and error, with a bit more error than success. The next day we noticed tiny cracks in the plaster, and it seemed to be drying unevenly. A bit more research and a conversation with a gypsum plaster supply store revealed that we should have used this particular plaster as a base coat, and then a different product as a finish coat. We are going to wait a few days and see how the whole wall drys to decide how to proceed.
But, you can see how beautiful the color is, and how the texture of the plaster really makes the room feel earthy and warm. I love the contrast against the light ceiling, and it will be the perfect cozy nook in which to sleep … in good time.